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Having watched my nine year old niece and her seven year old brother’s skill at Connect Four (seriously, they can beat most adults without trying), I figured that those same spatial reasoning skills would make them natural go players. Not having a board handy, I decided to build one:

The board

  1. Go to the Pittsburgh Go Association’s section entitled Materials and download the 9×9 Board.
  2. Print the 9×9 Board and fasten it to something. I used a glue stick (of which my sister had PLENTY) to attach it to the gray side of a piece of cardboard I had cut out from a Golden Grahams box. Use your discretion if Golden Grahams aren’t available. 🙂

The stones

  1. Go to your local game store (game meaning DnD or miniatures, not game as in xbox 360). Here in the St. Louis area, we have several options for stores, many of which can be found at the Game St. Louis website, in the Links section. Otherwise, just do a search for ‘st. louis game store’ and look for something in close proximity.
  2. Look for something called ‘gamer stones’ or as a more generic term ‘glass stones.’ They won’t look like your typical Go stones, but for the board I was building, this wasn’t an issue. In fact, I felt that being able to buy tubes of blue stones and tubes of yellow stones made the set more interesting for my younger audience. These tubes (with 25 stones each) cost me $2.50, but a few of the local places I’ve found have them for under $2.00. I made sure that each player had 50 stones (based on a 9×9 board having 81 points) and then bought them a nice velvety bag to hold them in.

Altogether, less than $15 investment for the knowledge that I’ve contributed to the mental development of my niece and nephew. While this set was for younger children, there’s no need to consider it only a set for juveniles. A club with a limited budget and newcomers would be just as well playing on a similar set.

Further Recommendations

Consider stopping by Wal-Mart and picking up one of those cheap lamination kits. Your board might have a tendency to last longer with this added layer of protection.

Also, I’ve read somewhere that local glass places will often have spare pieces of glass that could be used as stones. I haven’t tried it, but it might be worth it for the cost-conscious buyer (allegedly, these stones are practically given away).

Finally, remember you could always do something like making stones out of construction paper. Get a compass and construction paper in two different colors. Find the right size measurement (I’d estimate between .5″ and 3/4″), then draw and cut.

If there are any other suggestions about construction feel free to leave them in the comments field. Otherwise, good luck on your own endeavors.

The official post for the STL-Go blog isn’t until tomorrow, but I found this and thought I’d share it with everyone. The article Cho Hun Hyun 9p (profile @ Gobase.org) at the blog Full of Suprises describes the issue he has with new players today. The message I took from it: Don’t be so worried with winning. Take chances. Have fun. But don’t “tl;dr” this one, it’s worth it.

Put simply, Sensei’s Library is one of the best resources for weiqi players.  From Aji to Yose, you’ll be able to find pages on any weiqi-related term along with examples along and past discussion on that term.

Sensei’s is a wiki similar to Wikipedia, in consideration to a few differences that include Sensei’s specialization in weiqi-related material. The community on Sensei’s is generally friendly, and wiki faux pas are usually forgiven with a light reprimand for failing to do more research concerning etiquette.

The question of where to begin can be overwhelming to the new visitor, but Sensei’s provides a “Starting Points” link which gives the user just that: A place to begin their understanding of Sensei’s Library and through it, weiqi.

Starting Points

  • Pages for Beginners – This section will be of most use to the new players (although some “old hats” might benefit from a revisit from time to time). From a section on “Rules” to suggestions on how and what to study, this really is a fantastic place to begin, and a section that players of every level should visit when they first begin working with Sensei’s.
  • Guided Tours – Here you’ll find many “themed” paths to pursue to gain a better understanding of this resource. The possibilities branching from this page are many. I’d recommend not missing out on this one during initial visits too.
  • Recent Changes – Once you’ve become a regular at Sensei’s, this will probably be your most frequented page. Any time a change is made on a page, it shows up here. Find out something interesting about a recent cup tournament or follow a discussion on a newly developed joseki.

A page I just recently discovered is Benjamin Teuber’s Guide to Become Strong. Stressing study around tsumego, this guide also includes a great discussion from some of the giants of Sensei’s. Regardless of skill level, pages like Joseki and Japanese Go Terms will probably help in your study of the game.

Once you’ve gotten a feel for how Sensei’s is run and what a good page looks like, you might feel the need to begin editing pages. While entering the edit mode itself is quite easy, Sensei’s does have a few peculiarities all of its own. From text formatting to diagram guides, all of the relevant information can be found on the page How to Use Wiki.

One of the first pages you’ll probably be apt to create will be your own personal page. While not a stunning example of what you can do, check out my personal page. On it, I include not only a little bit of information about my life, but relevant links to other pages of mine, how to catch me for a game, and what to expect in terms of skill from that game. Take it as a starting point, rather than a template. The great thing about the Wiki-style site is that you have complete freedom over what you include.

As cliche as it sounds, Sensei’s is what we (the weiqi-playing community) make of it. The more we contribute, the more useful it becomes. It really is a fantastic site that encourages a bidirectional flow of information (between the contributors, viewers, and site admin) rather than the one-way flow (from the contributors to the viewers).

Likewise, this blog needs contribution in order to really be effective for the weiqi playing community of St. Louis. Do you recommend any pages from Sensei’s that I missed here? Feel free to leave in comments where they’ll probably be edited back up to the article.

May 2017
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