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A Gift Between Nations - Frank's Board

Frank measuring lines When the President of the United States visited the President of China on November 17th, 2009, President Barack Obama gave President Hu Jintao a unique gift, created by Frank Salantrie, a long-time member of the Triangle Go Group. The gift was a beautiful Go board. This is the story of that special board.

In early November, White House staffers contacted the American Go Association and asked if it would be possible for someone to create a Go board for President Obama's mid-November trip to China. Frank Salantrie's name was mentioned immediately, as he had crafted a wonderful board for the 2006 US Go Congress. Paul Celmer, the Triangle Go Group's national representative and AGA board member, contacted Frank, and the wheels began turning.

President Obama was born in the state of Hawaii, so the wood chosen for the board was a Hawaiian variety called koa. An appropriately sized piece of koa wood was quickly shipped to North Carolina, where Frank precisely measured and cut the piece to the correct dimensions for a Chinese board. At this point, Frank began carefully planning the 19 by 19 grid which delineates the board's playing area. Frank also reviewed the finishing techniques and materials available, considering both the brief amount of time available to complete the work and the ideal finished appearance.

The grid lines were cut into the wood using a computer guided laser. The White House provided a digital version of the Presidential Seal and President Obama's signature, and these files were used to burn the emblems into the bottom of the board.

Presidential Seal

Although this unique and meaningful gift was not immediately noted in the Western press, some Chinese news organizations quickly produced reports on the topic.

"Hu Jintao and Obama meeting about important core benefits."

Last update November 27, 2009