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Japan Woodworker Catalog Features “Go Board”

07 July JWW 2013 Cover  In this day and age of electronic games, there are still a few games left to play without the aid of technology, but with the use of good old fashioned brain power.  Similar to Chess or Checkers/Draughts, “GO” is an attack-capture board strategy game played on a 19″ x 19″ wood grid for two players.  This size board is typically used for tournament play.  The game originated in China about 2500 years ago using a 17″ x 17″ grid board, but changed as it became more prevalent in Japan and Korea.  Beginners usually start with a 9″ x 9″ or 13″ x 13″ board.

JWW_July2013_cvrDSCN7392aThe Go Board is featured in the July 2013 edition cover of The Japan Woodworker Catalog and was built by our wood product development guru, George Snyder.  This board is 21″ x 21″ x 4-1/2″ thick, made from three 1-1/2″ thick Bamboo counter top layers that are Titebond glued and screwed together, clamped with Bessey “F-Style” Clamps, then finished with Watco Satin Spray Lacquer.  The Brazilian Cherry legs are 4″ x 4″ x 8″, dowel assembled to the Bamboo top and finished with General Finishes Georgian Cherry Gel Stain.  You’ll need a Bevel Gauge to transfer the leg angles for cutting on the table saw.  Some of the counter top material had voids, but were epoxy filled along with blanks cut from Bamboo wood purchased through Woodcraft.  The complete assembly weighs 50 lbs.

Go Board TutorialThe Go Board Game

The objective of the game is to use 2 different colored stones, usually black and white, following a vacant path along the lines to surround the opponent’s stones.  Two players take turns, placing one stone anywhere on the board at a time.  A stone must be placed on the intersection of the vertical and horizontal lines.  Once a stone is placed, you cannot move it.  If a stone is in danger of being surrounded in one or more moves, it is considered to be in “Atari”, similar to being “in-check” in the game of chess.  If the stone or stones become surrounded, they are captured, removed and handed to the opponent as a prisoner.  Each prisoner is worth 1 point.  The game ends when both sides don’t want to play anywhere and pass successively.  Then both territories are counted and the larger side wins.  Your final score is your territory on the board, plus the captures you have removed from the board.

Go Board Tutorial3When either side thinks he can’t win the game no matter how he plays, the game is resigned.  Unlike many other games, this is considered an honorable outcome.  Playing on in the face of a crushing loss is not.  Game time, ranking system along with a complete interactive teaching/playing tutorial can be followed by clicking on the left photo.


This is a great family project and game piece, great for all ages to keep your minds sharp, worthy of  ‘Spock’  like mentality.
Head to your woodshop, build one of these, learn to play, live long and prosper, but most of all, “GO”…have some fun!

Click on this link to preview the Japan Woodworker July 2013 Catalog.

auf Wiedersehen!…Frank



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Comments (3)

  1. avatar
    Michael Sweet, June 26, 2013
    Nice explanation. I am in the process of completing mine. A little different than yours. I started it about 2 years ago. Here is the link to my Facebook page that shows what I have done. Just need to finish painting and making the legs and bowls. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.483448201729510.1073741826.100001930028886&type=1&l=03b8438ee0 Reply
  2. avatar
    Lew, June 29, 2013
    That's a beauty! Love those legs. Reply
  3. avatar
    Andy, August 20, 2013
    It's a beautiful piece. Couple of small corrections, thought - the standard board is not 19 inches by 19 inches. 19x19 (or 13x13, 9x9, etc) refers to the number of lines on the playing field, not the dimensions in inches. A proper go board is not square, either. The distance between the lines length-wise is slightly larger (23.7mm) than the distance between the lines width-wise (22mm). This compensates for the visual skew of perspective when you sit and look at the board, and makes the squares look more "square." A board built to these dimensions (with a standard border around the edge) will be 16 23/32" wide by 17 29/32" long, and will fit the standard size of stones used around the world. Reply

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