Balancing a Warped Goban
Very few of us can afford a 12 inch floor goban to play on. Many of us must settle for very thin, lower quality boards. Unfortunately, these thin boards often warp, causing the board to wobble and jiggle during play. Not only that, but the sound is definitely muted compared to a floor board.
There is a simple solution, and depending on the quality of your stones, no extra equipment is required.
When you sit down to play, take 4 stones, 2 of each colour, and place them under the 4 corners of the board. This will raise it off the table. There will still likely be one corner which causes the board to wobble. Push the stone under this corner into the center until it will not go further. Now the wobble has disappeared and the distance from the table allows the board to vibrate longer when a stone is played, making a richer sound.
Obviously, if you are using slate and shell stones you will be reluctant to place them under the board. Any hard object should work, even coins. It is easier if the board is raised enough to slide a pencil under to push the stone towards the center though.
If you are like many people using Ing Stones captures are often placed directly on the table. There is a danger of a capture stone sliding under the table and not being counted at the end of the game, or during when players are determining whether they are ahead of behind.
A little honesty, and being consistent with placing two white stones and two black stones every time should keep this from really ruining the game. The other solution is to use something else to prop up the table.
If your goban is single-sided, a permanent solution is to use thick felt pads designed to stop furniture from scratching hardwood floors. They can be purchased from the hardware store and are self-adhesive, so no time is spent placing them each game. It also makes it easier to slide the goban around while playing. With separate supports everything must be picked up, moved and re-adjusted if the board needs to be slid over to make way for bowls. This is very difficult if the game is in progress.
If you prefer to have your goban sit more rigidly on a surface, you can use rubber or silicone pads. These pads are generally smaller as they are used to keep objects from scratching the surface of a table. Silicone pads are usually transparent.
Use only 3 stones or pads instead of 4. Place two under the left corners and one under the middle of the right side.
- That way there's no chance that the board wiggles. No adjustment procedure of any fourth stone is required.
- Two of the corners are not directly supported. If a stone is played there with emphasis, the entire game may be jarred (depending on the pitch).