American Go E-Journal

GO SPOTTING: Go Sets at Barnes and Noble

Tuesday December 25, 2012

Here’s an exciting sign of the times: a stack of go sets in the “Classic Games” section of Barnes and Noble. And not just buried on the shelf, but stacked in the aisle, a higher-profile position, priced at $34.95 each. We found this display on New York’s Upper West Side: other stores may not feature it as prominently, but according to the set, B&N commissioned a Chinese manufacturer to produce this set exclusively for them, so they must hope to sell a lot of sets.  The board folds and locks to hold the 360 pieces (not 160 as listed on the B&N website) when not in use. The stones are made yunzi style (flat on one side). Many players prefer the double-convex stones, which are easier to pick up after a game, but yunzi stones have their fans; during post-game analysis, just flip them over to recall which moves were actually played in the game. A few short years ago, books about go were a rarity in mainstream bookstores, Seeing such a prominent display of actual playing equipment inspires hope that our favorite game has finally hit the big time. This version may not quite be ready for prime time; according to the picture on the website, the hoshi, or star points, seem to be missing. Imagine what the Chinese workers who made these sets must have thought.  Nice as it is to see go going mainstream, discerning shoppers can find nicer sets at Yellow Mountain Imports (check out their portable sets, some under $10), Kiseido or Yutopian.
- Roy Laird 

Categories: Go Spotting
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