Sliding Stones On The Board


Table of contents

Good vs. Bad Sliding

  • MortenPahle: To the extent that you cannot slide a stone around on the board unless you are actually playing it and considering that you should not disturb the already played stones, this cannot be much of a bad habit, no? - Actually, when the goban is starting to be filled up, I quite like to slam the stone down and then slide it into place. Since I do like to slam the stone down, at least I don't upset the other stones if my aim is off - but I do sometimes have to slide it 2-3 places to get it into the desired spot. - Then again, my slam the stone down force and frequency is inversely proportional to the strength of my opponent :-)
    • SirLyric: I developed the habit of putting a stone on the board and then sliding it into place from watching too much HikaruNoGo, where it seems they do it all the time. I had a (much stronger) tournament opponent admonish me for it, saying that it was possible some opponent would argue it had to stay where I had 'played' it, despite having not removed my fingers and done it in one motion. He seemed to indicate that if there was no momentary pause in the movement of the stone then it would be alright, though. Has anyone known this to be a problem or considered it rude?
    • Bob McGuigan: I have seen pros in tournaments bang a stone onto the board some distance from where it is intended to be played and then slide it rapidly into place, all in one motion. This was an expression of emphasis in playing the stone. Certainly there was no slow sliding of the stone around looking for the best place to leave it.
  • AndreEngels: The problem is that there are two kinds of sliding stones, one good (or at least unobjectionable), the other really bad behaviour. To choose an intersection, let the stone come down on some nearby point (perhaps more in the open) and move it to that place is not bad behaviour. But it is bad behaviour to make a decision as to what to play, or change one's mind, after the stone has hit the board. One should not be moving the stone back and forth, or have it touch the board, stay at a spot for a while, then go somewhere else.
    • MortenPahle: Does anyone do this? I can see how it'd be annoying, but I've never seen it done. BTW, I just thought of yet another Go variant: SlidingGo ;^)
    • AndreEngels: It is not very common, but there are players who do this - they decide on a move, put the stone on the board, and with their finger still on the stone but the stone already on the board they start doubting again.
    • JTron: It seems the consensus is that if you are sliding the stone into place after you are committed to the move, it would be fine, but if you are trying out different positions, it's a bad habit. Specific to Hikaru No Go, although I'm sure it's not 100% accurate, I can't believe it would be so popular if Japanese players found the first (good) form of sliding stones objectionable.
  • I find this habit, of keeping a finger on the stone and seeing if one still likes the move, to be common among newbies who have a memory of playing Chess in childhood. There seems to be a common convention with teaching Chess that "once your finger leaves the piece, it is played". This leads, of course, to young players trying out a move on the board, then weaving their hand about with a finger still attached to the piece to see if the move is any good. I find that placing my own stone immediately, while their hand is still on the board, is a good way of demonstrating that their efforts at amnesty-through-continued-contact are fruitless :-)
This is not just a common convention in chess but a rule that is enforced in all tournaments. Once you touch a piece, you must move that piece, and once you release the piece, that is your move.
Actually that rule exists in go too, it is once your fingers leave the stone that it can be considered as played, and as such even if sliding the stones is a bad habit, playing before someone lets his fingers leave the stone is considered by many as an even worse one (and additionally I think that the Japanese consider it as a form of forfeiting, could someone confirm this ?)
Some of these habits tend to stick for the rest of the player's career; my hypothesis is that they weren't taught not to do it early enough :-)
  • Scartol: My guess is that the KiseidoGoServer isn't helping this matter any. The KGS client shows a ghost image of the stone to be played while the mouse is moving around (the java client JaGo does this too). This is helpful in visualizing and learning how to read, but players probably rely on it and then transfer the practice into real life.
  • damien: Like has been said above, if I'm playing in a crowded spot on the board, I'll lie the stone nearby in the open and slide it into place. It's a quick movement with no hesitation, so it doesn't appear like you're changing your mind or doing the chess-finger-touch-wiggle. I haven't had anyone admonish me on this. I do think it's a bad habit to slide a long ways (In HikaruNoGo they'll slide what looks like 6 or 7 spaces) and if you do slide, not to do so forcefully enough to damage the soft goban wood.

Beware the Tricks!

  • BlueWyvern: I went to a go club for the first time a week and a half ago and I had a weird problem with an opponent who had an extremely loose shirt. Every time he reached across the board to play near where I was sitting, he would end up disturbing the stones on the board, but he never seemed to notice.
    • unkx80: I have just come back from my Go Association, after playing a game where I have to keep reminding my opponent about his shirt disturbing the stones on my upper-right corner. :-)
  • Kagura: I once played a japanese man in a go club in San Francisco, and he had the weirdest habit. Whenever he would place a stone on the board, he would touch three or four of the stones around that one, and move them slightly off position in a random direction. He did this almost every time he put a stone down, and he wasn't just doing it to reposition the stones for his viewpoint. I can only assume he was doing it to have an edge later in the game to say, "My stone is inbetween two lines, but it was actually played here (where it is beneficial for me)."

Rearranging Stones

  • Remillard: It's not completely off-topic I suppose since it involves moving stones around. Is it impolite to take a moment and reposition the stones if someone was a little less than careful with putting their stone down (or while removing captives)? I ask because I don't often play "live" folks, and the board I have is rather dinky (12"x12" roughly) with rather dinky stones, and it's VERY easy to have the best of intentions and mess things up. If things are just a bit wobbly, I can live with that, but if they start moving over to different intersections, then something has to be done. -
    • Alex Weldon: The guy I play face-to-face most often has the annoying habit of often playing halfway between two intersections, forcing me to guess which one he actually played. Of course, I don't just continue playing on the assumption that I know where he played - I reach over and move his stone to the intersection I think it's at. Usually I'm right, but sometimes he moves it back to the other intersection and looks at me like I was trying to cheat by changing his move.
    • Hu: One can simply say "I will be unable even to begin to think about my move until you complete your move."
    • blubb: I even lost one game in a recent tournament because of a sloppily placed stone! As I could reconstruct afterwards, it must have been placed quite exactly in the middle between two intersections along the direction we were facing each other, whilst sideways, accurately at the line. The set of stones we used consisted of various sizes, and the misplaced one was particularly thick, so that it appeared to be located at either of the two points nearby, depending on the player's perspective. I did not even doubt its intended place because it looked very clear to me. Later, when the accident became evident, the tactical relevance had already become enormous - cutting off a big group or allowing it to connect. My opponent insisted that he had placed the stone one point closer to me than it looked like from my point of view. I was so perplex that I didn't even call for an arbitrator but gave in, which I surely won't do next time if that ever happens again. :)
  • Stefan: I don't know whether it's polite or not, but I most certainly do this. Not that they need to be 100% regularly placed, but if they get a bit too loose it seems to disturb my thinking. In tournaments I try to avoid adjusting stones in an area where my opponent is looking/thinking, since that would be disturbing to him. In club games I don't even care about that. I did notice during tournaments that the players on Center Court usually don't care. It particularly strikes me every time I see Guo Juan play - goodness me she plays sloppily!
  • DaveSigaty: I live in Japan and most Sundays I watch both the Channel 12 Haya Go Championship and the NHK Tournament on television. To this amateur eye the pros do this often - both their own stones and their opponent's, regardless of whose turn it is. In clubs here everyone does it (I am an inveterate fiddler myself). I have never had or heard a complaint (of course in Japan one wouldn't ;-)
  • Jenny Radcliffe: I play teaching games sometimes with Alan Scarff (would it be more accurate to say he plays teaching games with me?). At any rate, he says he saw some professionals and discussed with some high-level amateurs, in Japan, and if someone moves a stone more accurately on to the intersection after it's been played, the better players will "tut tut" in disapproval. In fact, he says, the pros prefer it if the stones aren't too accurately laid, because if they are, it means you're relying on the board for visualisation, instead of seeing it in your head, and that leads to sloppy thinking. Personally, I go with the sloppy thinking. :)
  • Zinger: I find sloppily placed stones distracting. There is one opponent in particular at my club who does this regularly. Usually I can tell which point it's on, but it still bugs me. My solution is to nudge it into place with my own stone or fingertips, whenever I get around to playing an adjacent point - this way it's not so obvious that I'm being fussy.
  • Malweth: I've played (in a tournament - since that's the only RL play I've had) against someone who incessantly "fixed" the position of the stones - even if they were just a bit off. This I find incredibly annoying, but since he was perhaps 30-40 years my senior I didn't say anything ;) If I really have a hard time telling which point a stone is on, I will adjust it. If I don't have room to place my stone, I'll adjust the surrounding stones (while placing mine). -- I do notice that, when playing a ko, the surrounding stones get pushed further and further away from their correct points... I kind of like this because it draws your eye to the ko a bit.
  • binky?: I've played in a club with an old suspended timber floor. It is also a cafe, so every time someone walks past, all the stones slide about on the board. Its very difficult to resist continually straightening them after being used to the precision of an online board. I think it is not bad etiquette to replace them when they fall off the edge, but it really does not spoil the game if they all slide about in unison.
  • {Bob McGuigan]: With internet play more common than face-to-face play (in the West at least) I've heard people say that they don't like face-to-face play because the stones are irregularly arranged, unlike the rigid perfection of placement on the computer screen. And, of course, there is no sliding or rearranging of stones in internet play.

Sliding Stones On The Board last edited by on May 26, 2013 - 06:27
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