Saturday, July 28, 2007

Kyu Review: YMI's "Jade Luster" Go Stones

Click on image to enlarge.

"Jade Yunzi!" exclaimed my friend when I popped-open the reed basket. "Those must be expensive!"

As I explained to him, these Yunzi are not made of jade but they do appear as such, complete with subtle patterns. The "Jade Luster" Yunzi are among the latest additions to Yellow Mountain Imports's Go product offerings.

The light stones have slight variegations that resemble jade. Click to enlarge.

Contrary to my friend's first impressions, these stones are not expensive. They sell for US$45 which is just $13 more than their regular single-convex Yunzi.

Middle Kingdom Theme

We all choose our Go equipment to suit our tastes. Back in 2005, when frankiii and I were exchanging notes about gear, he expressed a strong preference for single-convex Yunzi for a couple of reasons:
  • Flipping the stones over made it easier to study variations.
  • Single convex Yunzi reminded him of China, where Go originated.

The game is Shusaku (B) versus Shuwa (W). Black has a 2-stone handicap. Click on image to enlarge.

If you want a set with a more Chinese theme, then single-convex Yunzi would be your first choice. However, the "Jade Luster" Yunzi really drive that theme home because few things shout "Middle Kingdom" the way jade does.

I wasn't sure if the light green shade of these stones would look alright on my board but, as you can see from the photographs, they work just fine. The flash and my digital camera tended to wash-out the lighter-colored stones so I took another photo outdoors.

Looking a little greener but still a somewhat washed-out. This is the set photographed outdoors. Click to enlarge.

The photo above better captures what the stones look like in natural light. Indoors, the stones have a deeper jade color which is pleasing and easy on the eyes.

I think the looks of these stones would be enhanced when played on a slightly darker surface like YMI's bamboo boards. YMI also had a laminated dark-cherry board at one time but it looks like they're currently out of stock.

Another Option: Old Yunzi

Today's Yunzi with whiter stones.

Old Yunzi with a yellow tint to the white stones.

Afficionados of course know that the original Yunzi had a slight yellowish tint to the white stones. These are now called "Old Yunzi" and YMI sells sets of these also for US$45. If you'd like to theme your set along traditional lines, these are an option to consider.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Now, ... where was I?

I'm looking forward to the the 6th of August as I'll be declaring my Go sabbatical to be officially over. I don't think the time-away has improved my game, but I think it has given me an opportunity to re-evaluate how I want to spend my time improving at it.

Coming-Up: A review of YMI's "Jade Luster" Yunzis

The stones were yet unwashed, but my immediate reaction upon opening the shipping box was, "These are too nice for reed bowls!"

I'm talking about Yellow Mountain Imports's new Jade Luster Yunzi stones (US$45). I received a set about ten days ago but was in the midst of certification exams and was too tight on study-time to write a review into my blog. I'm hoping to finish it before the end of this week.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"Spoiler" for The Last Potter Book

I'm in the midst of a certification exam right now but I know that some of you are Harry Potter fans and I just wanted to do a quick off-topic post on the last book.

For those of you who shop at Borders, you'll probably get the joke of the image below. If you want the image to print on a T-shirt (to wear on the night of the book release), you can find it here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Photos from the Philippine Go Association

I very much enjoy seeing how Go is enjoyed in different parts of the world. Pong at Yellow Mountain Imports recently shared with me these photos from the Philippine Go Association in Makati, Metro Manila.

I noticed the Hangul (Korean) in the sign which suggests that the club is probably partly-supported by members of the local Korean community. (Expatriates, perhaps?)

These photos were take by Alvin who works with Pong in YMI. That's him in deep thought.

Here's his board position. It still looks reasonably balanced in the chubansen.

Alvin's opponent is also in deep thought. Behind them, we see ...

... a game in its counting stage.

There's a good deal of activity at this club.

And another match goes into the middle-game.

I just noticed that the ladies are almost equally-represented at this club. That looks like a clock on that table.

These two seem to be building the pinwheel fight-pattern after someone played on tengen.

My thanks to Alvin and Pong for sharing these photos with us! It was great to have a virtual club visit and see how Go is being enjoyed in the Philippines. I hope the club members get to see their photos, leave some messages, and join the online community at

I also discovered that they have a video on YouTube and have embedded it for your enjoyment.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Summer reading: YMI gets its Chinese books in

Pong had informed me months ago that they would soon be importing some Chinese Weiqi books and I'm happy to report that they've arrived. I would recommend that you drop by Yellow Mountain Import's Go book section.

I imagine that collectors will want a copy of the complete games of Honinbo Shusaku (pictured above, US$45).

The more practical choice, in my humble opinion, would be the collection of Lee Chang Ho's life-and-death problems (US$45).

Keep in mind that these books are written in Chinese but, as is the case with kifu and tsumego, they are usually not difficult to understand even if you can't read the language.