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