Upgrading to Slate & Shell stones from Glass worth it?

Dear all,

I am new to this site, in fact I am new to this community. With my lovely girlfriend we started our journey in the realm of GO, we are from Romania, Transylvania.
For Christmas I have bought a hopefully sufficient set from Hebsacker verlag which consist of the following: 50mm Shin Kaya board (Chinese made) with Korean mulberry bowls and 9mm Korean Jungstones (which cost 208 euro). The stones I have to say I will see only next week as it was sent to me the cheap 7mm ones, but the 9mm ones are already on the way, the costumer service was very nice and helpful. Also bought a few books from Kiseido publishing which contains the Go players Almanac also, which will arrive only next week with the stones. I got the Graded go problems and Go for beginners from Kaoru Iwamoto which we already reading, and it is quite easy, but we still read it through.

The board looks nice, it is heavily lacquered, which I can’t compare with anything, only a cheap MDF folding board (Which feels more woody when I touch), but it is solid from 4 piece made, but I can’t feel the grains really, it’s shiny. This is true for all professional boards or just the cheaper ones from China or Korea? I mean that it feels generic a bit and not really wood from touch. Of course knocking it you can hear the solid wood really nicely.

It may be too soon, but I was already thinking from the beginning to buy Slate & shell stones with the set.
I think the mulberry bowls will be sufficient, I am just thinking of buying a set of Slate & Shell.

I saw Mr. Kuroki’s site, but the prices are I think with shipping and fees a bit too much now that I bought a full set.

I am looking for Jitsuyo level (Standard Grade) stones, most preferably in the 33-35 Size.

Do you think it would be worth it for me to buy new or used stones? Where should I be looking? Again, only for stones. I don’t think it would be wise now paying extra for bowls, because that I bought this set for Christmas.

What do you suggest, Slate & Shell are really good from the beginning or I should just stick to the glass stones for now and just buy Slate & Shell later? I am thinking about this now for 2 weeks and I don’t have the 9mm stones yet, but still thinking about Slate & Shell. Also it would worth buying SLate & Shell to this Shin Kaya board?

I would gladly listen to your opinions and advices!

(I attached a picture of board and bowls without the stones of course.)IMG_0086


Welcome to OGS. Hope you enjoy your stay.

That is a beautiful board you have. And the bowls are also magnificent.
Most players I know have a much thinner multi-layered multiplex go board. And plastic containers for the stones.

I hope you will enjoy playing with such a fantastic set.
Advice: be patient. Play for a while, see if you truly enjoy it and then there comes a moment that you know what you really desire and the decision comes naturally to you.
Have fun playing go.


I think you’ll know yourself what you want.

I’ve maybe being playing go 2-3 years, also just getting glass stones for Christmas :slight_smile: I had just a set that I got from a local shop which came with bowls a board and some plastic stones, and before that I just had this learn to Learn to Play go pack (https://www.bookdepository.com/Game-Go-Pack-Matthew-MacFadyen/9781780974248). (The plastic ones below aren’t too bad, they work for playing/reviewing games but hopefully the glass ones will look/feel cooler :slight_smile:)

For second hand stones this recent post might interest you Store.Baduk.Club - A new online shop for Go Equipment!

Also feel free to stop by the forums to chat, for Go advice on problems, or for reviews etc or even to share IRL go pictures Playing Go IRL pictures :slight_smile:


Usually Korean stones are a bit smaller as Japanese, and Japanese as Chinese. (Diameter)
That’s not a problem for how you bought your set.
I hold a lot of different kind of stones and boards, including slate/shell.
Personally, they are not my favorite but I like better some “modern shape Chinese style” and another thick “Japanese style” both glass yunze bought in Kunming.

My slate/shell are medium sized they look great but I think to really enjoy that kind you need some quite thick and it rises the price at some crazy level so not sure it’s wise to buy them.

I would rather go for some best glass set .

Now I know that not everyone has a large budget for go materials (I include go clubs) but in my opinion the quality is often undervalued and is a big part of the pleasure to play go. Consider how many hours you will share your set with others or study for yourself. At least for me the lowest quality to consider are some thick and heavy plastic stones with some not shiny grain, I figure the ing stones for ex, but better going for glass directly.


Thanks for the shout-out :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

I should have some size 30 utility-grade arriving later this month, which would be about 205 euro if shipped internationally (if they can be found for less, I would absolutely do a price-match). Of course, EU also applies a VAT to imports so that inflates the cost significantly.

For just a bit more (about 45 euro), I just finished cleaning a set of moon-grade size 32


I feel like it’s the kind of thing where, if you know, you know. I personally would hold off until you’ve been playing a while, maybe had a chance to try slate&shell in person. Keep in mind that Yunzi is a solid mid-tier option that may feel better in the hand than glass.

That said, slate and shell stones are awesome and I totally think you should get some.


I dunno. I had the “chance” to play once with slim slate/shell and we’ll i didn’t enjoy so much. Thin stay thin I prefer thick.
Btw I consider yunze to be in the glass stones category.

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Hey! Thank you for your opinion, I must ask you mean did not like it because they were too thin, with which you played with, or?
I am considering a minimum of Size 32, but I will think more of Size 34 , 35 or 36 when I will buy.

I think the following steps are reasonable:
a) Wait for your glass stones to arrive and see how much you like them
b) If glass stones are not to your satisfaction, I’d second the idea of bi-convex yunzi stones. (I have not touched any glass stones, but I happy with my yunzi set)

From the same shop you ordered your set, these are the yunzi bi-convex stones:
Cost: 59.50 Euro

These are the slate and shell of the same size/category (32):
Cost: 480.00 Euro

It is 8 times more expensive. Are slate and shell stones really 8 times better than yunzi? I do not know.
So, if you can afford them, then by all means go for it, but they certainly do not sound as a “value for money” purchace.


I mean I don’t like the feeling of stones being a bit like buttons or chips. The thickness is as important as the aspect (polish, lines of the shell) to me. Not mentioning the weight associated.
So buying thick shell is really expensive, otherwise I won’t buy shell buttons to play. So that still leave the option of nice thick yunzi.
Well that’s my own taste.


Are any luxuries “worth it”? A lot of people think so and how you spend your money is up to you of course.
I agree with the suggestion to play with what you have first and then see how you feel later on.
Shell stones are not at all necessary, they will not improve your play so are objectively not worth it. However, if you will gain sufficient pleasure from them or the mere fact of owning these beautiful things then you may feel they are worth it.

Consider also the not insignificant pleasure of just looking at them for sale and imagining that you could buy them maybe but not quite yet. Sometimes the anticipation is better than the end itself.


If you’re a beginner, it’s not worth it. Make sure you really like the game in the long term before you pump money into equipment, especially as Go can be played perfectly fine for barely any money.


Yunzi, melamine and marble stones are also very nice. Yunzi stones occasionally break, but I think shell will also degrade or chip eventually.


Shell break too. Same as glass/yunze stones. Plastic burns.

And gets dirty on the long run. Plastic is a bit porous. Sweat, skin oil go into the stones. Especially noticeable with the white stones. Hard to clean.

Shell have a bit same tendency to turn yellow like plastic do.

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There is also something called 永子 (yongzi), but it seems to be fairly expensive even compared to slate and shell.

Yunzi left, yongzi right: https://tchan001.wordpress.com/gs32-yongzi106small/

Yunzi top, yongzi bottom: https://tchan001.wordpress.com/gs32-yongzi107small/

Are these widely used in China?

Never met these stones ( but I did read about like you did ).

Consider if you might play with 3 people, Glass has more colours than just black / white :-?

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The “classic” Chinese stones are bit more yellow as white. And the black look green but only when watching a light through them, so not so useful.
You can vary by shapes too, and there are some fancy sets with other materials/colors.