How To Shrink A Goban

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This page is a posterboard for various techniques to create smaller boards out of a regular (and real) goban.

Table of contents

Make a Mask

  • Perhaps the easiest way to shrink a goban is to cut two strips of paper and mark the borders of the desired board size with them. Two of the sides will be the regular borders and the two remaining sides will be marked by the paper strips. -Fando
  • A much nicer approach is to cut out a square in a posterboard or piece of cloth such that the material exposes the center of the board out to the desired size. The posterboard can be folded in two and carried around with the goban, but the cloth can be jammed into any random pocket. The masking material should obviously be the same size as the goban. -Fando
  • So far I was always using masking tape to mark the edges of the smaller board, which works quite well too, and has the advantage that it doesn't move (compared to strips of paper for example). But the idea with the cloth sounds good too, though it's not as flexible. -Niklaus

Gobans Need Not Apply

  • Don't shrink the goban, just draw out a small board on a napkin or what have you. -Fando

No Masks Needed

  • using hoshi of larger boards as corners:
    • For a 5x5
      • use the 9x9 hoshi
    • For a 7x7
      • use the 9x9 hoshi + 1 corner
      • 13x13 hoshi
      • a quadrant of 13x13 ( = tengen + 1 corner,advantage: two "real" sides)
      • a hoshi quadrant on a 19x19
    • For a 13x13
      • use the 19x19 central hoshi area
  • folding board
    • For a 9x9, take a folding board, fold it in half and use the side with 9 lines. Then you only need one bit of paper to mask off an edge.


  • If you want simple, yet beautiful mini-goboards or original-sized I found: [ext] you only have to print it, maybe even on thicker paper. The 9x9 fits a single paper, 13x13 on two, 19x19 or four (which you can tape/glue together afterward) -- icez?


  • Smaller boards can be indicated with paint. Let the 1A corner remain the same for all three sizes if the board is marked, else center all three. Use two colors of acrylic paint, one to distinguish each of the two "mini-boards" you want to create. Mark the boundary of the 9x9 and of the 13x13 with a row of dots inside the squares around the borders of the "boards within a board." -- IanM

Always have a small board handy

The only way you get to play a small board game without having unnecessary lines sticking out of some edge points is actually having a small board handy. [ext] Nihon ki-in sells inexpensive cardboard 9x9 ones. Even though the net store only seems to carry Hikaru themed boards, a set with no pictures and push-out cardboard stones (the set comes in a zip-lock bag for later storage) also exists. These sets are super light weight and take up virtually no space in your briefcase/backpack/go board box, so you can always carry many, which gives you the main advantage: you can donate the set to your student after the game!

The best way to store a 13x13 board is to have it on the back side of your regular 19x19 board.


Please add your techniques! :-)

juhtolv: How about (chain)saw? :-P Sorry, I just could not resist.

How To Shrink A Goban last edited by on April 7, 2008 - 00:57
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