First thing first, you need the tools i.e. GO ban (board) and GO stones. GO ban consists of a rectangular block of wood, usually Icho/Ginko, as free of knots as possible, about 44 cm. long, 401/2 cm. wide and 12 cm. high. Four feet are set into the bottom of the board so that the over all it stands about 20 cm. high. The players customarily are seated on the floor mats (tatami) with the board between them. Some boards are constructed about 31/2cm. thick and without feet, suitable use on tables now that they have been introduced into Japan. On the board parallel to the two sets of sides are drawn two sets of 19 black lines, each line being about 1 mm. Regarded as a whole, the field is a rectangle whose sides are 381/2 x 42 cm.
The stones are placed on the points where the line intersect. The total number of stones is the same with the total number of intersects, that is, 19x19=361, and these are divided into 180 White stones and 181 Black stones. The white stones are made of mussel shell and the black stones are made of slate or of basalt darkened with lamp-black. The form of the stones is approximately that of a convex lens but, it seems, intentionally somewhat irregular. The Japanese have a unique way to hold the stones called uchi kata i.e. held loosely between the fore and the middle finger, and then brought down with a smart rap on a hard wooden board. The white stones are usually somewhat larger than the black and both larger than the board requires. The result is that in play there is not enough room for the stones to lie side by side in an orderly way and so they push each other about and even out of line.
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