About a year ago, when I was living in Europe, I bought a set of Go equipment from a European distributor – Yunzi stones, a shin-kaya board and bowls. After a while, I realized I’m not satisfied with the quality I got, and I’d like to know the opinion of the OGS community (I won’t name the distributor because the point here is not to shame them, and I also think that not everything is their fault).
The first thing I noticed is that the board and stones are not matched in size. The board has Chinese spacing (22 x 24 mm) while the stones are sized for the smaller Japanese spacing (21 x 23 mm), so I get this ugly gap between stones that looks like butt crack:
The website did not mention spacing, but I bought the board and stones as a set, so I expected them to be matched.
The second thing I noticed is that the white stones look smaller. I used calipers to measure a random sample of 10 stones of each color (what can I do, I’m an engineer) and it turns out that the white stones are both smaller and thinner than the black ones by a significant margin. The sizes are also not vey uniform, there is a lot of variation from stone to stone.
At first I thought I might have received mismatched stones (black and white of different sizes), so I looked up the Chinese markings on the package, and I think they are not mismatched, as far as I can tell with my very limited knowledge of Chinese. It seems they just came that way from the factory.
The third thing is the board itself. I had to take my board as luggage on a plane trip and it took some hard bumps. On some places where it was bumped, the varnish started to crack and flake off, and a different color showed underneath (also visible on the bottom right of the picture). Being who I am, I took a pocket knife, made a deep cut on the underside of the board and voilà! The yellow color is just varnish. The wood underneath is a completely different color:
As I understand it, shin-kaya is supposed to be a kind of wood that looks and feels like kaya, but is not the real thing. It’s not supposed to be “random softwood of a totally different color, painted over with cheap yellow varnish that flakes off”.
Now for questions:
Is this the actual quality I can expect when spending about 150 Euros on a Go set? Am I being too picky? Is it possible that the store dumped bad inventory on me because I have a foreign-sounding name? Or did I simply have bad luck?