Category: Reviews

Company Review: Yellow Mountain Imports


Yellow Mountain Imports has the most well designed website that I’ve seen to date. It’s images do not take too long to load and show the absolute aesthetics of each of the games they sell. Everything is designed so well that it doesn’t take a computer whiz to navigate.

One of the great aspects about YMImports is the fact that they have “Game FAQs.” Essentially, any commons questions that may arise about purchasing some of the different games are already answered. In addition, any questions regarding how to play a number of games is also included!

If you are wondering what makes YMImports one of my favorite places to purchase things, it’s the fact that they have free shipping on orders over $125. Now now… I know that it may seem like a lot of money for some players out there, which is why it’s so awesome that THEY ALSO SELL ON AMAZON! A number of the things that you’d like to get (e.g. Deluxe Go Roll Up Magnetic Portable Set) can go for free shipping on Amazon at a lower cost to you.

Also, in case you are wondering, the shipping for regular items is about normal. Not too pricey since they tend to be shipping heavier items (e.g. boards or stones) and include a tracking number and usually ship within a week.

The best aspect of YMImports is their customer service. In the few times I’ve had issues or questions, I’ve always had a response within 12 hours. Like I mentioned in my review of the Shin-Kaya - 1-1/2” (4cm) Go Floor Board with Yunzi Stones and Bowls, I had missing stone pieces and they were quick to respond and ship out the replacements.

The only critique (if it can even be called that) I have about YMImports is the fact that a majority of their books tend to be written in other languages (e.g. Korean and Chinese). But that’s honestly a small thing compared to all the positive aspects they have.


YMImports is one of the best places to get your typical Go equipment. If you are looking for higher end stuff, you’ll have to wait for me to get a well paying job before I can review that aspect. But other than that, this is the place to go for great and reliable equipment that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Company Review: Slate and Shell


Slate and Shell is one of the most well known publishers and distributors of Go books in English. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before I arrived at their home page.

Their Go books contain a nice variety that cover most of the major topics you’d hope to see at a site that exclusively sells Go books. As one of Kiseido’s competitors, they pretty much have everything you might expect from Kiseido and probably a little more. This is not to be much of a surprise since their market is the English literate population.

I ordered three books: How Not to Play Go, Understanding How to Play Go, and Understanding Dan Level Play by Zhou Yuan. The shipping was only $5.00 and they did not disappoint since I received my order within a week (ordered on the 21st of August, and it arrived around the 25th).

In comparison to Kiseido, I’d have to say that their e-mail confirmation was far more professional and comforting.

Here’s a screenshot of Slate and Shell’s….

Here’s a screenshot of Kisedo’s…

As you can see, DRASTIC difference. (Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy Kiseido’s books. It’s just they could do a better job on not making me worry that I’ve just handed my information over to a Grade C hacker.)


Slate and Shell has a great selection of books at great prices. In addition to the typical Go books that you will expect to pay around $25.00 for (e.g. dictionaries of tesuji), Slate and Shell offers a nice selection of books in the lower price range (e.g. How Not to Play Go by Yuan Zhou $10.00) that still contain quality information.

Company Review: Kiseido

If you order straight from the publisher Kiseido, you’ll find that the price for a lot of books (that aren’t available on Amazon) are SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper for a BRAND NEW copy. For all those who are skeptical about ordering from Kiseido, I went ahead and ordered the first two volumes to test it out. Here are my observations:

  1. The ordering and payment process does seem kind of sketchy.

  2. The e-mail confirmation looks terrible (like one giant text blob).

  3. There was no tracking number that was given.

  4. Shipping was $3.50 for me.

Was I worried? Absolutely. Except I had to find out how reliable this would be, and here are my findings:

  1. Ordered on August 12th, and it came in the mail on August 21st! It may be a little over a week, but it was fast to me considering the fact that it was coming all the way from Japan and shipping was only $3.50.

  2. Books were protected well and were in great condition when they arrived.

  3. Verdict: Although I had my skepticism and it didn’t have a tracking number, 100% TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Website Review: The Interactive Way to Go

Interactive Go Website Screenshot

Rating: 5 / 5 Ponnuki


  • Presents information in a simple and easy to understand method for brand new players.
  • Utilizes interactive diagrams to help reinforce what you’re learning.
  • Available in 30+ languages.
  • It’s FREE!!!!
  • The best online tutorial available online for players!

Detailed Review:

Prior to discovering The Interactive Way to Go by Hiroki Mori, I had attempted to read various articles on the rules of go here and there; but none of them ever really made sense to me and this inevitably delayed my discovery of how incredible this game is. Fortunately for me, I eventually stumbled upon this treasure trove that allowed me to finally jump head first into the world of go.

To start, the website’s strength is in its simplicity. The technological requirements are minimal and do not require any fancy computer hardware in order to use it. As a result, one should not expect an extremely flashy website with fancy animations everywhere. In addition, it has a simple user interface that makes it easily accessible to practically any user.

In regards to its content, this is the best aspect of this site because it takes you to the ABSOLUTE basics. It takes a step-by-step approach to teach you the concepts and does a fantastic job simplifying a majority of go terminology into concise sentences that are easy to understand. In case you are not aware, the lowest go rank is considered to be 30 kyu. This rank assumes that you already have an idea of basic concepts like atari, ladders, and so forth. With this tutorial, you start out as a mere 50 kyu, so one can deduce that this tutorial spares no effort in catching you up to speed! Another aspect that I really appreciate about this website is its step-by-step approach.

Like any other good tutorial, this site does not hesitate to utilize diagrams to further illustrate its concepts. However, what makes this tutorial truly shine are the interactive problems. As if the explanations and diagrams were not already sufficient, these interactive problems are embedded into the lesson so that to further illustrate his point and reinforce what you are learning.

Interactive Go Problem Screenshot

While it may be frustrating at times since the answers are not given, I assure you that the solutions actually exist. Whenever you get stuck, I would recommend going over the written explanation and diagrams again before using trial and error to figure out the solution.

Bottom line: The Interactive Way to Go is a top notch tutorial that every player who even has a remote interest in learning go should check out!

Last updated December 6th, 2012 (Rank: 6 kyu)