Go Book Reviews 2001-2003

Go Book Reviews 2001-- 2003

This page contains reviews of books, software and equipment that were published in The American Go E-Journal between 2001 and 2003.

1971 Honinbo Tournament, The (2/19/01)
2002 Go Yearbook (11/04/02)
The ABCs of Attack and Defense (4/21/03)
AIGO 1.3.0 (04/22/02)
Art of Capturing Stones (1/06/2003)
Attack and Defense (Elementary Go Series, Vol. 5) (2/12/01)
Beautiful Mind, A (2/11/02)
Beyond Forcing Moves (9/26/01)
Book of Go, The (04/08/02)

Breakthrough to Shodan, The (1/7/02)
Cho Hun-hyeon's Lectures on Go Techniques, V. 1 (01/22/02)
Compendium of Trick Plays, A (12/16/02)
Counting Liberties and Winning Capturing Races (11/03/03)
Cross-Cut Workshop (07/01/02
DieOrLive software (11/05/01)
EZ Go (5/7/01)
Fighting Ko (3/19/01)
First Kyu (10/1/01)
Five Hundred and One Opening Problems (11/11/02)

Five Hundred and One Opening Problems (12/23/02)
Galactic Go, Vol. 1 (02/04/2003)
Get Strong at Attacking (04/15/02)
Get Strong at Invading (5/29/01)
Get Strong at Tesuji (4/2301)
Get Strong at the Endgame (05/06/02)

The Girl Who Played Go (07/15/2003)
Go as Communication (03/31/2003)
Go Elementary Training & Dan Level Testing CD (9/10/01)
Go Elementary Training and Dan Level Testing CD (10/8/01)
Go for Beginners (4/30/01)
Go Player's Almanac, The (6/12/01)
Go Player's Almanac, The, 2001 edition (10/22/01)
Go Player's Almanac, The, 2001 edition (04/15/02)
Go World (the magazine) (6/25/01)
Gogod Database (8/20/01)
Golden Opportunities by Rin Kaiho (1/29/01)
Graded Go Problems for Beginners (Vols 1-4) (3/5/01)
Graded Go Problems For Beginners: Vols. I-IV (08/26/02)

Great Joseki Debates, The (6/4/01)
Handbook of Star Point Joseki(05/19/03)
How to Play Handicap Go(04/28/03)
In the Beginning (5/14/01)
Intermediate Level Power Builder, Vol. 1 (8/13/01)
Intermediate Level Power Builder, Vol. 1 (9/22/03)
Introduction to Go; Rules and Strategies for the Ancient Oriental Game (09/16/02)
Invincible: The Games of Shusaku (12/10/01)
Jungsuk In Our Time (8/06/01)
Kage's Secret Chronicles of Handicap Go 4/11/01
Learn to Play Go (four volumes) (5/21/01)
Learn to Play Go, Vol. I; (11/25/02)
Learn to Play Go, Volume IV: Battle Strategies (5/26/03)
Leather Pente or Go Game Set (10/16/02)
Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go (3/12/01)
Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go (02/25/02)

Life and Death, Elementary Go Series Vol. 4 (2003)
Life and Death: Intermediate Level Problems (06/17/02)
LiveOrDie Software 03/25/02
Magister Ludi: The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse (10/21/02)
Magnetic Go Set (Kiseido MG25) 3/27/01
Making Good Shape (03/24/2003)
Many Faces of Go Joseki Dictionary (Palm OS Edition) (2/26/01)
MasterGo, software (09/23/02)

Master of Go, The (7/10/01)
Monkey Jump Workshop (09/02/02)

The Nihon Ki-in Handbook Volume 4, Handicap Go (03/17/03)
The Nihon Ki-in Handbook Volume 4, Handicap Go (11/03)
One-Thousand and One Life-and-Death Problems (08/19/02)
Opening Theory Made Easy (01/28/02)
Palm SGF (11/2003)
Pro-Pro Handicap Go, edited by the Nihon Ki-in (2/5/01)
Positional Judgment: High-Speed Game Analysis (03/11/02)
Purpleheart Go Board (10/20/2003)
Restless Directed by Jule Gilfillian (1/29/01)
Sabaki, How to Manage Weak Stones (2003)
Sabaki, How to Manage Weak Stones (07/28/2003)
Segoe Tesuji Dictionary(2003)
Split; a play (09/30/02)
Tesuji and Anti-Suji of Go 4/17/01
Tesuji, Elementary Go Series Vol. 3 (6/6/2003)
Tesuji Made Easy CD (8/28/01)
The Thirty-six Stratagems Applied to Go (1/20/03)
Tournament Go 1992 (11/19/01)
Treasure Chest Enigma, The (12/24/01)
Understanding How to Play Go (9/4/01)
Understanding How to Play Go (10/15/01)
Understanding How to Play Go (4/2/01)
Utilizing Outward Influence (2/04/02)
Way of Play for the 21st Century,A (11/26/01)
Word Freak, by Stefan Fatsis (09/09/02)

            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="1971_honinbo_tournament"></a> The 1971
                        Honinbo Tournament (2/19/01)<br>
                         By Kaoru Iwamoto, 9-dan<br>
                         (The Ishi Press 1972)<br>
                         Reviewed by Lon Atkins, 15K</b></p>

                        <p>"Presence" is a word we often
                        attribute to a powerful personality.
                        Presence may also imply our attendance
                        at an event. Great events are usually
                        sparked by strife between powerful
                        people. A tournament battle for a
                        prestigious title can capture both
                        meanings of the word.</p>

                        <p>The 1971 Honinbo Tournament was rich
                        with presence in every sense of the
                        word. Rin Kai Ho, Honinbo, seemed
                        invincible. Whatever challenger might
                        rise from the Honinbo League must be
                        truly a remarkable player to have a
                        chance. "The 1971 Honinbo Tournament"
                        tracks the ascent of Yoshio Ishida to
                        his destiny. The author, Kaoru Iwamoto,
                        feels this exceptional presence in his
                        bones. His words transport us straight
                        into the tournament. They give us
                        pictures of the contestants, the
                        conditions, the stakes and the
                        high-voltage tensions of the games.</p>

                        <p>In my first reading of the book I
                        drank the atmosphere, and I
                        meticulously worked my way through a
                        game or two. In my second reading
                        (having improved a bit) I was able to
                        appreciate more of the wonderful
                        annotations Iwamoto provides. Enjoying
                        the games makes the narrative all the
                        more vivid.</p>

                        <p>This is a book of two great virtues:
                        "Presence" is one, the historical
                        chronicle. Incredibly fine go with
                        superb annotations is the other. In my
                        third reading, which will surely
                        happen, because this book is one of the
                        cornerstones of any enduring go
                        library, I expect to feel more acutely
                        the presence of mythic 1971 and the
                        battle of these great warriors.<br>
                        <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="2002GoYearbook"></a>
                        2002 Go Yearbook<br>
                         Published by Korean Baduk
                         Waller's Go Books, $40<br>
                         Reviewed by Les Waller</b></p>

                        <p>The Korean Baduk Association (KBA),
                        in addition to their Baduk Monthly
                        magazine, also publish the Baduk
                        Yearbook, which mainly consists of
                        Korean and international tournament
                        games over the past 12 months. It
                        includes 24 color photographs of
                        various Korean professional go players
                        and the text is entirely in Korean.<br>
                         The 343-page book is divided into four
                        sections, the first covers 15 Korean
                        professional tournaments and includes
                        250 games. The second section has 11
                        international and foreign professional
                        tournaments and includes 101 games. The third covers
                        four amateur tournaments and includes
                        16 games. The fourth is an appendix
                        which consists of a collection of
                        various types of interesting plays
                        within the tournament games; a KBA handbook; a list of internet sites; an
                        address list of Go Associations
                         around the world; brief descriptions
                        of title holders from Korea, Japan,
                        and China.<br>
                         The prior year's yearbooks would take
                        a game and spread it over a couple of
                        diagrams. This year all the games
                        within the book are placed in one
                        diagram each. If anyone has taken a
                        game and tried to put it into sgf
                        format or play it on a board, then they
                        know how difficult it can be looking
                        for a numbered stone in a game with
                        over 200 moves. There are only about 12
                        pages of advertising in the entire book
                        and they are mostly confined to the
                        front pages along with the color photos
                        of the players, which are nicely
                         This book is probably better for
                        senior ranking players than it is for
                        lower kyu players. I'll spend more time
                        going over the commented games I
                        receive from this newsletter than I
                        will all these yearbooks I have sitting
                        on my shelf already.</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="ABCsOfAttackAndDefense"></a></b>
                        <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><b>The
                        ABCs of Attack and Defense<br>
                        By Michael Redmond 9P<br>
                        Published by Slate and Shell<br>
                         Translated by Steven Bretherick,
                        Edited by William Cobb and Gordon
                        Reviewed by Michael Turk (Australian
                        April 21, 2003</b></font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">This
                        book features an all-too-rare
                        combination, an author who not only a
                        strong player but a good teacher, too.
                        Based on four principles - two of
                        attack and two of defense, "ABCs" is
                        designed for weaker middle-level kyu
                        players. Chapter 1 illustrates four
                        basic principles of attack and defense
                        in relation to the sanrensei (three
                        star points in a row) formation.
                        Chapter 2 applies these principles to
                        handling the two-sided two-space-high
                        and the two-space-high and knight's
                        move double approaches. The basic
                        principles are clearly reinforced and
                        some supplementary principles are also
                        expounded. Chapter 3 demonstrates the
                        movement of the stones in accordance
                        with the four basic principles when
                        black uses a pincer within 4-stone
                        handicap games, again reinforcing the
                        basic principles. It also briefly looks
                        at building a moyo. The final chapter
                        looks at 3-stone handicap games and
                        illustrates the use of miai. And,
                        again, the basic principles are
                        reinforced with examples of fighting.
                        One of the skills that I lack at my
                        level is the ability to fight
                        effectively or consistently,
                        particularly against stronger players
                        in a handicap game. This book is a sort
                        of fighting primer. It contains
                        examples from illustrative games and
                        various joseki and tesuji for attack
                        and defense. The emphasis is on
                        understanding rather than memorization.
                        I am looking forward to surprising my
                        regular opponents in the Sydney Go Club
                        and on kgs with an improved ability to
                        fight in the next few months as the
                        result of applying the principles
                        contained within this

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="AIGO"></a> AIGO
                         by A. lizuka<br>
                         Shareware. Available for download at
                        License US $8<br>
                         Reviewed by Stephen Charest,

                         As a beginner whose real life gives me
                        far less time to play Go online or in
                        person than I'd like, I searched for
                        software that would run on my trusty
                        Handspring Visor so that I could use
                        the time on airplanes, in hotels,
                        waiting for judges, and so forth. I
                        didn't just want a game recording
                        program, either, but something that
                        could play at least as well as I play
                        now (not a difficult feat for a
                         AIGO seemed to fit the bill, the only
                        actual Palm OS software I found that
                        will play the game, even if it's at a
                        fairly basic level.<br>
                         The technical aspects of AIGO are
                        pretty good. The software isn't huge
                        (151k), so it doesn't take up a lot of
                        space. The program will play 9x9,
                        13x13, or 19x19 games, with the player
                        selecting whether the computer plays
                        white or black. You can also set your
                        own handicap level, up to 9 stones.
                        There's also a game recording mode,
                        where you (or you and another human)
                        use the software to play each other.
                        Finally, you can set the software to
                        play itself.<br>
                         The biggest advantage AIGO has is its
                        convenience as a PalmOS system. It
                        really is handy to be able to whip out
                        your Palm Pilot and zip through a 13x13
                        game while killing time. It's much
                        easier than doing so on a laptop. The
                        display, especially at the 9x9 and
                        13x13 level is pretty good and is quite
                        readable at night, using your
                        PalmPilot's illumination. Display at
                        the 19x19 level is a little small, and
                        you must be very careful where you put
                        your stylus to make your move (unless
                        you're in the 2-step move mode). This
                        is one place where the take-back (an
                        improvement in the 1.3.0 version) comes
                        in handy. The program will count your
                        score on request or at the end of two
                        passes (Japanese counting), and gives
                        you an opportunity to cross-check its
                         The SGF save function is handy, if a
                        bit cumbersome. To save a game, you tap
                        the "Save" function in the menu, which
                        then saves the game in the "Memo Pad"
                        function of the Palm Pilot. You must
                        then hotsync your PalmPilot to your
                        desktop or laptop, then rename the
                        saved game (the name AIGO gives it is
                        the full text of the game!) and use an
                        SGF editor to open the game.<br>
                         The real question is "How well does it
                        play?" The answer is, well enough to
                        break you of basic bad habits like
                        closing up your own eyes. If you make
                        such a silly mistake, the program (like
                        most other players) will jump on it. On
                        the other hand, if you're looking for a
                        palm-sized Ing-Cup contender, this
                        ain't it. Quite honestly, I'm not sure
                        there ever will be one -- PalmOS does
                        have its limitations. It isn't
                        difficult to fool the software into
                        letting me get away with building eyes
                        under circumstances that a human player
                        of 15K or higher would thrash me over.
                        Oddly enough, the game seems to be best
                        (or perhaps I am worst) at 9x9 games.
                        Still, I have a winning record against
                        it. With a 23k rating on KGS, that
                        tells me that this program probably
                        plays about the 20k level. (As a
                        reference, I've read that programs such
                        as ManyFaces or WuLu, both past winners
                        of the Ing Computer Go Cup, play around
                        the 15-10k level).<br>
                         The program does seem to have a
                        limited self-teaching function: it
                        doesn't often make the same mistake
                        twice. However, I've discovered certain
                        patterns (again, especially in 9x9
                        games) which will almost always result
                        in a pass by the computer. On the other
                        hand, it seems to be learning how to
                        invade open territory in areas that,
                        when I first started using it, it would
                        have treated as my territory.<br>
                         If nothing else, AIGO is fun and a
                        good way to pass time. It's also great
                        if you meet someone while traveling and
                        don't have a board handy. And for
                        beginners like me, it's not bad to help
                        break us of bad habits. However, like
                        any other computer software, it still
                        can't replace a human player. I'd like
                        to see some joseki patterns or maybe
                        some life or death problems to load and
                        solve using AIGO; then it would be a
                        much better teaching tool. Still, if
                        you keep in mind that humans won't act
                        as predictably as the software, AIGO is
                        worth the eight bucks just to practice
                        some basic functions.</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="ArtofCapturingStones"></a></b>
                        <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><b>Art
                        of Capturing Stones<br>
                         by Wu Dingyuan and Yu Xing<br>
                         Published by Yutopian<br>
                         Reviewed by Steve Fawthrop<br>
                         January 06, 2003</b></font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">This is
                        a delightful book of problems. It
                        concentrates on two themes,
                        ishi-no-shita (under the stones) and
                        nakade (big eyes), and offers 91
                        wonderful problems to get you thinking.
                        It must be admitted that many of the
                        shapes are unlikely to occur in a game
                        (although very few are so artificial as
                        to appear contrived) but that does not
                        detract from the beauty of some of the
                        sequences. I found myself smiling with
                        pleasure over and over when a problem
                        was solved. Without doubt, there is a
                        lot to be learned from this book, but
                        it is not for the beginner. A sound
                        knowledge of basic tesuji is required
                        to appreciate it. You will probably
                        have a thrill of excitement the first
                        time you use one if these techniques in
                        your own games. I would recommend it
                        for high kyu and above.<br></font></p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="attack_and_defense"></a>
                        Attack and Defense (Elementary Go
                        Series, Vol. 5) (2/12/01)<br>
                         by Ishida Akira, James Davies, 256
                        pages (September 1997) Kiseido
                        Publishing Co.<br>
                         Reviewed by Barry C. Willey, 12K

                        <p>This is a valuable book is an
                        excellent introduction to the middle
                        game for go players who know the
                        basics. It takes for granted that you
                        are familiar with some basic openings
                        and begins at that point. Focusing on
                        the strategy and tactics of large scale
                        fighting, the authors use the balance
                        between territory and influence to show
                        the reader how to best attack an
                        opponent's stones while defending one's
                        own framework. This book helps novice
                        players develop workable and potent
                        strategies utilizing influence and
                        teaching defense against common
                        attacks. Middle to high kyu players
                        would easily benefit from this

                        <p>I first read this book when I was
                        about 19K and found it immensely
                        helpful. It sets out basic ideas on how
                        to choose a successful strategy during
                        the middle game. With those principals
                        in mind it gives you specific tesujis
                        or techniques to help put that strategy
                        in play. Next it teaches a few
                        essential defensive moves and three
                        fundamental principals on reducing and
                        invading frameworks. This book helps
                        the novice player place priorities on
                        moves during the chaos that starts to
                        grow during the middle game and
                        encourages players to use their
                        creativity to find their own moves.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="BeautifulMind"></a> A
                        Beautiful Mind<br>
                         by Sylvia Nasar</b><br>
                         <b>$16, Simon &amp; Shuster</b><br>
                         <b>Reviewed by Chris Garlock</b></p>

                        <p>Any book with no less than six
                        references to Go in the index is a
                        must-have for the serious player. When
                        the book in question is also the basis
                        for a major motion picture with not one
                        but two scenes featuring the game, it
                        becomes required reading.<br>
                         Sylvia Nasar's "A Beautiful Mind" is a
                        riveting story of genius, madness,
                        love, and, ultimately, the incredible
                        fragility and strength of our very
                         The true story of the life of math
                        genius John Nash is considerably more
                        complicated than the film version now
                        playing in a theater near you, and the
                        book makes for rewarding post-film
                         Of special interest to Go players, of
                        course, are Nash's encounters with the
                        game of Go, which began in his first
                        year at Princeton in 1949. "There was a
                        small clique of go players led by Ralph
                        Fox, the genial topologist who had
                        imported it after the war," writes
                        Nasar. Fox got strong enough to be
                        invited to Japan to play and invited
                        Fukuda to play him at Princeton.
                        Fukuda, naturally "obliterated Fox" as
                        well as another local player by the
                        name of Albert Einstein.<br>
                         Go figures in the tale of Nash's
                        descent into madness, as well. At one
                        point, "he imagined he was a go board
                        whose four sides were labeled Los
                        Angeles, Boston, Seattle and
                        Bluefield," writes Nassar. "He was
                        covered with white stones representing
                        Confucious and black stones
                        representing Muhammadans." Later, Nash
                        "was thinking of another go board whose
                        four sides were labeled with cars we
                        had owned: Studebaker, Olds, Mercedes,
                        Plymouth, Belvedere. He thought it
                        might be possible to construct 'An
                        elaborate oscilloscope display...a
                        repentingness function.'"<br>
                         And the game theory that won Nash the
                        1994 Nobel speaks as much to the game
                        of Go as to other applications: the
                        possibility of mutual gain rather than
                        zero-sum games where one player's gain
                        is another's loss. Nash's insight,
                        writes Nasar, "was that the game would
                        be solved when every player
                        independently chose his best response
                        to every other player's best

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="beyond_forcing_moves"></a> Beyond
                        Forcing Moves, Understanding Kikashi
                        and Tactical Timing<br>
                         By Shoichi Takagi 9D, Translated by
                        Brian Chandler<br>
                         Reviewed by David Dinhofer</b></p>

                        <p>In my never-ending quest for
                        advancement to dan-level play, I
                        stumbled upon this text. The title was
                        a very attractive one, one that implied
                        that, as a kyu player, I have only
                        scratched the surface of this game's
                        complexity. And indeed, this book makes
                        that clear. I look at joseki and I am
                        beginning to see that a joseki is
                        really a fluid sequence meant to change
                        with the "mood" of the game.</p>

                        <p>Shoichi Takagi has carefully chosen
                        about twenty games to demonstrate the
                        art of kikashi (making a defensive move
                        with the best return) and sabaki(making
                        good shape with the most efficiency in
                        a difficult situation). As a 1-2 kyu
                        player, I am not sure I would have
                        considered the possible sequences and
                        variations mapped out by Mr. Takagi.
                        Now, on my second reading, I am
                        beginning to make some sense of it.</p>

                        <p>Master Takagi breaks up the book
                        into three sections; Basic Concepts,
                        Putting the Concepts to Work, and
                        Masterstrokes. Each section has
                        examples that clearly demonstrate the
                        concepts with alternate sequences that
                        a kyu level player might make(at least,
                        ones I probably would have made). When
                        I learn the alternatives, I think to
                        myself that I don't know if I will ever
                        remember them in times of stress.</p>

                        <p>But I also can't help thinking about
                        the alternative that I would not have
                        thought about before. The book is well
                        organized with good diagrams. Brian
                        Chandler's translation is clear and to
                        the point. Summary portions of this
                        text have good descriptions and

                        <p>I think the weaker kyu player will
                        not learn as much as the weaker dan
                        players. But both will gain insight
                        into the complexity of the game. I plan
                        on rereading this book at least once a
                        year to understand a little better that
                        which was completely incomprehensible
                        the year before.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="The_Book_of_Go"></a> The
                        Book of Go<br>
                         By Bill Cobb<br>
                         Sterling Publishing, $14.95 128
                         Reviewed by Terri Schurter</b></p>

                        <p><b><br></b> Bill Cobb's "The Book of
                        Go" is an excellent introduction to Go
                        for the rank<br>
                         beginner. It comes complete with a set
                        of stones and a reversible 9x9 and
                         13x13 board. Aside from the audience
                        for which it is intended, The Game
                        of Go is also a "must read" for anyone
                        considering the capture game as a
                        method of instruction, and also for
                        collectors of Go literature.<br>
                         The first half of the book is spent
                        explaining the rules of Capture Go
                        and offering strategies for play. Problems
                        for Capture Go are also offered, and
                        sample capture games are analyzed.
                        After a thorough, clear, and
                        interesting explanation of Capture Go
                        the reader is introduced to
                        full-fledged Go. Concepts such as the
                        rule of ko, establishing connections,
                        and life and death are clearly covered.
                        The life and death problems are easily
                        solved, as they should be in a
                        beginners' book to make them
                        accessible, and to build confidence in
                        the reader.<br>
                         Basic strategy and tactics are covered
                        next including ladders, nets,
                        snapbacks, and throw-in sacrifices. Go
                        proverbs, study problems, and a list of
                        recommended go books round things
                         Readers are left wanting more and
                        knowing where to find it. The chapter
                        on "Go on the Internet" points readers to
                        the right resources including links
                         to KGS, IGS, the American Go
                        Association, and my own archive of
                        E-Journal articles about online Go.<br>
                         "The Book of Go" fills a glaring gap
                        in existing Go literature; there are
                        beginners' books such as Go for
                        Beginners, which are fine for those who
                        actually have someone to play with
                        after the reading is over. However, The
                        Game of Go is the only book I have seen
                        that is truly aimed at the uninitiated,
                        and offers a means to begin learning about Go
                        without the help of an experienced
                         player. Two Go newbies could open this
                        book and accomplish some serious Go
                         learning on their own.<br>
                         "The Book of Go" is a strikingly well
                        designed book that will attract
                        attention in bookstores, where it is
                        already available. The timing of this
                        book is excellent since it comes
                        quickly on the heels of the release of
                        the hit movie "A Beautiful Mind" which
                        has piqued the interest of the general
                        public in Go. Bill Cobb and Sterling
                        Publishing have pulled off a brilliant
                        tesuji with the publication of this
                        excellent beginners' book.<br>
                         Available at

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="breakthrough_to_shodan"></a> The
                        Breakthrough to Shodan<br>
                         by Naoki Miyamoto 9-dan<br>
                         Translated by James Davies<br>
                         Reviewed by Christopher

                        <p>Go books in general suffer from two
                        flaws: they are narrow in scope (many
                        times by necessity), and they are
                        written in a flat style, often by
                        someone other than the purported
                        author. The Breakthrough to Shodan has
                        neither of these flaws. Because it was
                        taken from a set of lectures
                        transcribed into magazine articles, it
                        rings with the author's voice in a
                        lively prose. In addition, the book's
                        scope is broad enough to appeal to any
                        kyu level player.</p>

                        <p>"Breakthrough" is divided into
                        sections that deal with low handicap
                        games. Within these sections, Miyamoto
                        describes "Strides," or principles, by
                        which black can rid him or herself from
                        negative attitudes. By taking the
                        reader through five-, four-, and
                        three-stone games, Miyamoto deals with
                        negative attitudes and complex
                        joseki.Miyamoto shows how dan-level
                        players often hoodwink weaker players,
                        even those who are strong fighters. His
                        treatment of the Taisha Joseki
                        exemplifies this: the Third Stride in
                        Chapter 7 is "Know the Taisha, but
                        don't play it." After reviewing several
                        complex variations, demonstrating the
                        pitfalls, he shows the reader a simple
                        variation that stresses thickness. It
                        is an easy variation to remember, but
                        what makes it so important is that it
                        works with the power of the starpoint

                        <p>Miyamoto does this with many popular
                        joseki: shows how black tends to get
                        into trouble with complications,
                        squandering the influence of the
                        starpoints, rather than playing
                        perfectly serviceable joseki that
                        compliment influence. Starpoints are
                        about influence, and influence favors
                        fighting. But without sensing the
                        direction a wall made from handicap
                        stones exerts power, fighting can
                        degenerate into who is the best reader.
                        (Hint: against a dan, it's rarely the
                        kyu.) Therefore, fighting should take
                        place, but in an arena where black has
                        the advantage. The Breakthrough to
                        Shodan shows the reader how to create
                        this arena, how to see through white's
                        false threats, and to trust the power
                        of influence to create territory
                        naturally, through a positive
                        approach.Each chapter ends with two
                        whole-board problems that test the
                        reader's positional judgment.</p>

                        <p>The end of the book is a set of
                        problems derived from the
                        large-knight's extension from a
                        starpoint, and here Miyamoto shows the
                        techniques white has used over the
                        years to terrify and bamboozle
                        kyu-level players, and the correct
                        refutations.Since the book never really
                        moves past handicap go, it should
                        perhaps be called The Breakthrough to
                        One Kyu. But this is quibbling.
                        Miyamoto's philosophy of "You don't
                        need to be fancy to win at handicap
                        go," shows again and again how to find
                        attacking moves that work with
                        thickness and take territory. This book
                        was worth four stones to my go
                        strength, and any kyu-level player can
                        gain from its expansive approach and
                        clear thought.</p>

                        <p>Available from Ishi Press:

                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="Cho_Lecture_Vol_1"></a>
                        Cho Hun-hyeon's Lectures on Go
                        Techniques, Volume One<br>
                         Translated by Sidney W. K. Yuan<br>
                         Edited and diagrammed by Craig R.
                         Yutopian Enterprises, paperback, 220
                        pp. $17.50.<br>
                         Reviewed by Neal L. Burstein, Ph.

                        <p>Cho Hun-hyeon 9-Dan came to Japan to
                        study Go at the age of ten. He won many
                        tournaments with clean 3-0 sweeps, long
                        dominating Korean Go. His lectures help
                        the intermediate player to answer
                        attacks by building secure shape and
                        structure for the endgame. For example,
                        the connection of two stones to form a
                        "full" triangle after a hane is often
                        seen in strong games. Cho shows us by
                        example why this is essential to
                        prevent problems later. When two stones
                        touch on the third line, do you play up
                        or down, extend or hane? Cho
                        demonstrates the preferred sequence of
                        moves that will stand to the endgame
                        and shows why other results are
                        inferior. The problem sets are, like
                        joseki, fighting patterns analyzed to
                        obtain a good result.<br>
                         The book format is brilliantly
                        designed. Each topic comprises a set of
                        clearly numbered diagrams to illustrate
                        weak and strong play. Each diagram is
                        supported by a caption and brief
                        explanation. There is no other text to
                        confuse the reader. The brief
                        introductory chapter illustrates
                        connects, cuts, shapes, and hanes in
                        detail. Problem sets comprise the bulk
                        of the book, each answering situations
                        that arise in play. Each problem is set
                        on a right-hand page with a handful of
                        stones already in correct position. The
                        possible solutions follow two per page,
                        clearly captioned, to show good and bad
                        responses for each side. The diagrams
                        save 1000 words in illustrating correct
                        stone placement relative to those
                        already in position. What else is Go is
                         This book is ideal for players of
                        10-24 kyu. Strong players might review
                        for fundamentals missing from their
                        game. Writers, translators, and Go book
                        editors would do well to study and
                        utilize the clear format.<br>
                         Available at www.samarkand.net.</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="CompendiumofTrickPlays"></a> A
                        Compendium of Trick Plays<br>
                         Edited by the Nihon Kiin<br>
                         Yutopian Enterprises<br>
                         Reviewed by Lon Atkins, 12K</b></p>

                        <p>Don't buy this book if you think it
                        will arm you with dozens of dazzling
                        swindles with which to win games
                        quickly. Buy this book if you are a
                        student of joseki, tesuji and shape -
                        in other words, a student of go!</p>

                        <p>If you study joseki, you'll find
                        here many trick plays that could foil
                        your joseki efforts if you were to face
                        them for the first time in a real game.
                        If you study tesuji, then you'll see
                        plenty of them here - trick plays are
                        all about setting up tesuji. And if you
                        study shape, you'll see how adhering to
                        the principles of good shape can save
                        you from trick plays and how mindlessly
                        reacting with "natural" moves can
                        sometimes destroy your shape.</p>

                        <p>There's a mixture of material here:
                        basic trick models, historical
                        examples, theory of trick play, pop
                        psychology, slippery places in joseki,
                        and even some cartoons. The crown of
                        the book is a section of 25 problems by
                        Maeda Nobuaki 9 dan. Solving them will
                        enhance your practical skills.</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="CountLiberties"></a>
                        <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Counting
                        Liberties and Winning Capturing
                         By Richard Hunter<br>
                         Published by Slate &amp; Shell<br>
                         Reviewed by Dennis Hardman<br>
                         November 3, 2003</font></b></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">This
                        book deals with the rather narrow (but
                        valuable) techniques of winning
                        localized life-and-death fights
                        occurring between groups of stones
                        where it is a race to see which group
                        lives and which group dies. The book
                        describes the basics of what actually
                        counts as a liberty, categories of
                        liberties (e.g., inside vs. outside),
                        how these liberties figure in the
                        fight, and the types of fights that can
                        occur (Type 1, Type 2 with a Ko on the
                        outside liberties, etc.). It provides
                        the reader with "formulas" for
                        evaluating a fight without having to
                        explicitly read out every line of play.
                        The trick is to correctly count the
                        number and type of liberties to
                        determine the type of fight so that one
                        can ultimately apply the "formula".
                        Later chapters show how the techniques
                        are used in realistic fighting
                        situations, and provide about 50
                        problems and several commented
                        professional games to drive the
                        concepts home. Well written and nicely
                        laid out, I would recommend this book
                        to players of all strengths,
                        particularly those with a mid-kyu
                        ranking. However, this book should be
                        valuable to even the strongest player
                        because, as the preface points out,
                        "Many players, even quite strong ones,
                        have a poor grasp of these

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="CrossCutWorkshop"></a>
                        Cross-Cut Workshop<br>
                         by Richard Hunter.<br>
                         Slate and Shell, $10.<br>
                         Review by Barney Cohen, IGS

                        <p>Caught in a cross-cut? Then extend!
                        Or at least so goes the famous proverb.
                        Unfortunately (or fortunately,
                        depending on how you look at it), Go is
                        rarely that simple. After studying a
                        large number of next move problems,
                        Richard Hunter observed that the
                        extension was rarely the correct
                        solution to a cross-cut problem. His
                        suspicions were apparently confirmed by
                        watching advice from two professionals
                        on Japanese TV. Consequently he
                        undertook an extensive study of
                        situations in which cross-cuts arose in
                        actual play. This research led Hunter
                        to identify nine (yes nine) basic
                        patterns that frequently arise from
                        cross-cuts, depending on the presence
                        or absence of other friendly or
                        opposing stones in the vicinity.<br>
                         The results of Hunter's study, which
                        was first published in a series of
                        articles in the British Go Journal has
                        now been pulled together in the form of
                        a slim book, entitled Cross-Cut
                        Workshop, the latest offering from
                        Slate and Shell Press. The material in
                        the book contains the original articles
                        plus a dozen new problems for
                        additional practice. The depth of
                        presentation is suitable for Kyu-level
                        players, although low-level Dan-level
                        players may wish to review it.<br>
                         I recommend this book highly. Hunter's
                        approach is wonderfully didactic: He
                        presents the nine basic patterns in two
                        parts. For each pattern, he shows you
                        how to handle the cut correctly and
                        what can happen if you play
                        incorrectly. Problems are provided
                        along the way to test your
                        understanding of the material. And
                        additional problems are included at the
                        end to reinforce the lessons.<br>
                         Apart from the immediate lesson of how
                        to handle a cross-cut, the book shows
                        Kyu-level players the importance of
                        being able to look at a situation and
                        mentally work through several different
                        patterns. It is not enough to simply
                        come up with your next move (i.e.
                        extend -- more of the time wrong
                        anyway). Hunter demonstrates how you
                        must adjust your strategy to the
                        presence of surrounding (friendly and
                        opposing) stones and be able to work
                        out an entire sequence of moves before
                        playing the first stone. Learn that
                        lesson, and the one afternoon that you
                        spend reading this book will be repaid
                        many times over.</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="die_or_live"></a>
                        DieOrLive software<br>
                         By Lyu Shuzhi<br>
                         Reviewed by Chris Garlock, 1d</b></p>

                        <p>Ask any pro how to get stronger and
                        the first words out of his mouth
                        invariably are "Study life and

                        <p>The problem (pun intended) is that
                        studying life and death (tsume-go) is
                        hard and, let's be honest, boring. I
                        love these elegant little problems but
                        until a couple of weeks ago five a day
                        on the subway each morning was all I
                        could find the time for. Forget about
                        cracking the book on weekends.</p>

                        <p>Now, thanks to Lyu shuzhi's
                        'DieOrLive' software, I'm solving more
                        than 20 problems a day, seven days a
                        week. DieOrLive makes life and death
                        studying so easy, fun and addictive
                        that it may well become the go crowd's

                        <p>The tsume-go student's dilemma is
                        whether to cudgel your brains until you
                        solve the problem or to give it your
                        best shot and move on. DieOrLive solves
                        the dilemma by speeding up and easing
                        the process of solving over 1,000
                        problems, grouped as basic, beginner,
                        intermediate or advanced. You match
                        wits against the program, which
                        responds instantly to each move. Solve
                        the problem successfully and you're
                        rewarded with a "success" message; if
                        not, you get a "failed" message.</p>

                        <p>Either way, the instant response and
                        easy interface proves remarkably
                        addictive. Success spurs you on to
                        solve more problems while failure sends
                        you back to take another crack at it.
                        The software itself doesn't care: you
                        can drop in at whatever level you like,
                        re-do problems you already worked on or
                        try out new ones.</p>

                        <p>The astonishing thing is that after
                        just a few days I found myself
                        instantly spotting successful sequences
                        where it would have taken me several
                        minutes before in a book, if I'd even
                        had the patience to keep trying. And
                        the proof of the pudding is that none
                        of my opponent's groups are safe
                        anymore. Try DieOrLive and your
                        opponents will soon be calling you
                        "killer" too.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="ez_go"></a> EZ Go<br>
                         by Bruce &amp; Sue Wilcox<br>
                         Ki Press, 1996<br>
                         Reviewed by Lon Atkins, 15K</b></p>

                        <p>When we start playing go, reasonable
                        mastery of the game seems very distant.
                        One technique to determine the position
                        of a distant point is called
                        "triangulation." Triangulation involves
                        taking a bearing on that distant point
                        from two rather widely separated

                        <p>Bruce and Susan Wilcox have written
                        a book based on concept as opposed to
                        inculcation. It camps a far distance
                        indeed from the problem books. EZ Go --
                        based on a series titled "Instant Go"
                        that ran in the American Go Journal in
                        1977 and 1978 -- covers all the basic
                        concepts from making shape to attacking
                        weak groups. It offers some useful
                        original ideas, like sector lines. It's
                        also full of proverb-like rules of

                        <p>I don't suggest that anyone start
                        with EZ GO, but after working hard in
                        the traditional forms, you might
                        benefit a great deal from the
                        concept-based, metaphor-driven approach
                        offered here. As you read EZ Go, the
                        material covered in traditional books
                        may gain an extra level of meaning.
                        Likewise, EZ Go's concepts will
                        resonate more strongly. That's the
                        benefit of triangulation.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="fighting_ko"></a>
                        Fighting Ko<br>
                         by Jin Jiang<br>
                         (Yutopian, 1995, original Chinese
                        version February 1987), 146pp<br>
                         Reviewed by Clayton Wilkie, 1D</b></p>

                        <p>This is a handy pocket sized book
                        that relies mainly on teaching by
                        example. It amounts to a thorough
                        survey of how ko situations can arise,
                        how they fit into the overall logic of
                        the game, and what the effects of
                        avoiding them would be. Most of the
                        book is suitable for middle to high kyu
                        players, but the final chapter and
                        concluding problems move up to the
                        dan range.</p>

                        <p>Fighting Ko contains a few pages
                        dealing with capturing races, including
                        the best explanation I have seen of a
                        basic principle governing them.
                        Unfortunately, it is presented with no
                        special emphasis, right along with the
                        less satisfying rules of thumb you have
                        probably seen elsewhere. Further, this
                        section should logically lead to a
                        discussion of capturing races involving
                        ko, but the only related topic, on
                        approach move kos and the like,
                        precedes the capturing races.</p>

                        <p>What the book does not provide are
                        hints on how to find ko threats, and
                        how to play so that when a ko arises,
                        you do not find yourself devoid of ko
                        threats. There are only a few examples
                        of effective ko threats in the book.
                        Study of this book should help a wide
                        range of players to recognize
                         ko possibilities in their games, but
                        it will not help you fight them.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="first_kyu"></a> First
                         By Dr. Sung-Hwa Hong<br>
                         Good Move Press/Samarkand<br>
                         Reviewed by Chris Garlock</b></p>

                        <p>One of the best go books has a scant
                        handful of diagrams and very little on
                        tactics or strategy.</p>

                        <p>"First Kyu," the novel by the late
                        Dr. Sung-Hwa Hong, is the story of
                        Young-Wook Kwon, a young Korean student
                        who abandons his career and family in
                        pursuit of the life of a professional
                        go player. Anyone who's been even
                        lightly bitten by the go bug will be
                        entranced by this slim yet substantial
                        novel, packed with fascinating details
                        of the rocky road to professional.</p>

                        <p>Dr. Hong's premature death recently
                        at just 51 robs us of not only a
                        charming man and strong go player, but
                        of a great teacher, as well, for "First
                        Kyu" is much more than just the tale of
                        one go player's trials and
                        tribulations. The novel, which clearly
                        has a strong autobiographical flavor,
                        explores the conflicts between duty and
                        dreams, and the difference between
                        desire and determination.</p>

                        <p>Of most interest to go players, of
                        course, is the window "First Kyu"
                        provides into the game as a way of life
                        that does not yet exist in this
                        country. In Korea, in addition to the
                        select group of players who earn a
                        living as professional players, it is
                        also possible to eke out a life as a
                        club pro or as a gambler in go games
                        called "bagneki" where players and
                        spectators wager large sums based on
                        the margin of victory.</p>

                        <p>The lure of the easier way, then, is
                        another theme in "First Kyu," as Wook
                        must choose between gambling and the
                        purity and rigor of studying the
                        masters in the quest to become a
                        professional. Of course, it is in this
                        study that we, along with Wook, learn
                        the real lessons of go and life. Give
                        up a little to gain big. Slow down,
                        beware of speed. Greed for a win takes
                        the win away.</p>

                        <p>"Every book will reveal its truth if
                        read one hundred times." This Confucius
                        quote refers to Wook's review of
                        collections of master games, but it
                        applies to "First Kyu" as well. Just 98
                        more times and I can write a better
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="501_OpeningProbs"></a>
                        Five Hundred and One Opening
                         Mastering the Basics Vol. 1<br>
                         By Richard Bozulich and Rob van
                         Kiseido Publishing Company; 2002; 256
                         Reviewed by Peter Shotwell</b></p>

                        <p>Cognitive Psychologists say that the
                        clearest measurable difference between
                        novices and expert Go players is that
                        experts turn visual patterns into
                        verbal principles, and novices do not.
                        This is most obvious in the opening,
                        where 'intuition' must be used to find
                        what is important.<br>
                         Each of the 501 problems are
                        introduced with one of 25 different
                        principles, such as: 'Take profit while
                        attacking your opponent's weak
                        stones!'; 'Push back the border of your
                        opponent's territory while expanding
                        your own!'; and 'Rob your opponent's
                        stones of their base, then attack
                         The book is meant for all levels of
                        players. The problems are taken from
                        amateur and professional games, so that
                        all kinds of opening shapes are
                         It is easy to agree with the authors,
                        who advise, 'If you have to find the
                        same kind of move in similar patterns
                        over and over again, spotting that move
                        in a game will become second
                         Richard Bozulich is a 5-dan amateur
                        and editor of Go World. Rob van Zeijst
                        is the legendary Dutchman who has
                        beaten 6- and 7-dan Korean pros.</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="501_OpeningProbs_2"></a>
                        Five Hundred and One Opening
                         By Richard Bozulich<br>
                         in collaboration with Rob van Zeijst
                         Reviewed by Barney Cohen, IGS

                        <p>"The fool doth think he is wise, but
                        the wise man knows himself to be a
                         fool." Touchstone, As You Like It, Act
                        5, Scene 1.</p>

                        <p>In "Lessons in the Fundamentals of
                        Go," Kageyama Toshiro advises us to
                         practice the fundamentals if we want
                        to get stronger. In the same way
                         that ceaseless practice enables
                        professional baseball players to
                         ground balls effortlessly, go players
                        should practice Go fundamentals
                         until it becomes second nature for
                        them to spot certain key moves,
                         punish their opponents' overplays, and
                        instantly kill commonly occurring
                         corner patterns. Practice, practice,
                        and more practice. And in go, that
                         means spending time doing mental
                        gymnastics, working one's way
                         problem books of all descriptions.</p>

                        <p>For Kyu-level players like myself,
                        Richard Bozulich's new series:
                         "Mastering the Basics," is
                        indispensable. The second book in the
                         "Volume I: Five Hundred and One
                        Opening Problems has just been
                         published." (Volume II: One Thousand
                        and One Life and Death Problems
                         was released earlier this year and was
                        reviewed in the August 19th issue
                         of the E-Journal). The current book is
                        designed to develop your
                         intuition and feel for the opening,
                        consisting of little more than page
                         after page of opening problems. In a
                        brief introduction, co-author Rob
                         van Zeijst explains the importance of
                        playing urgent moves before big
                         moves. He also suggests how to
                        properly evaluate opening moves
                        that either strengthen your own stones or
                        weaken your opponent's. These basic
                         ideas are illustrated and reinforced
                        over 250 pages of problems compiled
                         by Richard Bozulich based on positions
                        he's collected from professional
                         and high-level amateur games.</p>

                        <p>The book's central thesis is that by
                        correctly applying a rudimentary
                         set of basic go principles one can
                        fairly easily identify the most
                         important point to play in the
                        opening, which later will tilt the
                         in your favor once the serious
                        fighting begins. Many players simply
                         to fight and the temptation for us is
                        to launch full-steam ahead into
                         premature invasions or other such
                        maneuvers just to initiate>
                         confrontation. This superb book
                        encourages us to practice careful
                         consideration and calm, qualities that
                        all strong players certainly

                        <p>Consistent with an emphasis on the
                        simple and powerful, the book's
                         layout is elegantly straightforward,
                        with four new problems on each
                         right-sided page and the solutions on
                        the back of that page, which means
                         you never have to go hunting in the
                        back of the book for a solution.
                         There's also a helpful hint beneath
                        each problem; I suppose the authors
                         must have grappled with where to place
                        these hints - either underneath
                         the problems or in the solutions. My
                        personal preference would have
                         been to have them under the solutions
                        and my strong recommendation is
                         that the reader cover up the hint when
                        attempting a problem the first

                        <p>None of the problems are devoted to
                        the first dozen or so moves in the
                         game, so if you're looking for basic
                        opening lessons check out Janice
                         Kim's books or "Get Strong at Go
                        Volume 1: Get Strong At The
                         before delving into this book.</p>

                        <p>While the positions that arise in my
                        own games rarely resemble anything
                         remotely like the positions that show
                        up in professional games, this
                         book does a terrific job of hammering
                        away at some very fundamental
                         concepts of opening strategy that will
                        definitely serve kyu-level
                         players well as they look for the
                        right move in their own games. I am
                         sure Kageyama Toshiro would
                         - available at

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="GalacticGoVol1"></a></b>
                        <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><b>Galactic
                        Go, Vol. 1<br>
                         by Sangit Chatterjee and Yang
                         Published by Yutopian<br>
                         Reviewed by Steve Fawthrop<br>
                         Feburary 04, 2003<br></b></font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">The aim
                        of Galactic Go isn't clear. The title
                        certainly gives no indication -- what
                        exactly is "Galactic Go"?</font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">From my
                        reading, it appears that Galactic Go is
                        an effort to explain middle game
                        fighting in 3-stone handicap games. The
                        chapters, however, are organized
                        according to the opening joseki moves,
                        and not according to middle game
                        principles. Since it also contains long
                        sections on obscure joseki which would
                        be more at home in a joseki dictionary,
                        perhaps the intent is to explain the
                        choice of joseki in a 3-stone game. I
                        couldn't tell.</font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">But
                        that's not the biggest problem.
                        Galactic Go is rife with errors.
                        Diagrams are missing stones and labels,
                        text sometimes does not correspond to
                        the diagram, and, at times, the
                        explanatory text is simply

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">For
                        example, one diagram declares failure
                        for black because a ladder does not
                        work when, if fact, black gets a good
                        position by a simple geta capture. In
                        one chapter, the diagrams switch back
                        and forth between a joseki and its
                        mirror image, making the sequence hard
                        to follow. In another, the text
                        alternates between two different
                        threads without explanation or

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Diagram
                        explanations are sometimes far too
                        spartan. There are long series of
                        diagrams in which the text essentially
                        adds no more than "Black did this.
                        White did .that. What should Black do
                        next?" It makes for dry reading.
                        Moreover, several interesting moves are
                        passed over completely.</font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">When
                        moves are examined in the text, the
                        level of detail varies so widely that
                        it is hard to know what level the book
                        is aiming for -- I would guess about 7
                        kyu to 2 dan.</font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">I was
                        left with the impression that Galactic
                        Go was put together quickly without
                        much planning and analysis. The
                        mistakes I found make it hard to trust
                        the remainder and so call into question
                        the validity of the book as a

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">The
                        authors say there will be three more
                        volumes in the series. I hope that more
                        effort is put into the remaining
                        three.</font><font color="#993300" face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><br>
                        <br></font> <a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="GetStrongAtAttacking"></a> Get Strong
                        at Attacking<br>
                         Published by Kiseido<br>
                         Reviewed by Peter Shotwell</b></p>

                        <p>At first glance, Kiseido's 'Get Strong' series looks like other problem
                        books that are based around simple principles. For example, Vol. 10, 'Get
                        Strong at Attacking,' shows how one theme, 'Attack from Strength,' is
                        usually used in the middle game, but in a handicap game, it is correct for
                        Black to attack early on. Another principle is that to attack by capping
                        or using knight's moves should mean 'Do Not Try to Kill.'<br>
                         The series is unique, however, because after doing some of the problems, one
                        begins to feel there is a reason for the order they are presented in, and
                        trying to figure this out seems to lead to a deeper and more-lasting level of
                        personal understanding. Is this perhaps because the Right-Brain -- the original source of Go's appeal -- is more used since there are few words to explain
                        that order until you supply them?</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="get_strong_at_invading"></a> Get
                        Strong at Invading<br>
                         by Richard Bozulich<br>
                         Kiseido Publishing Company, $15 US.
                         Recommended: 20k-2d interested in a
                        random assortment of invasion
                         Reviewed by: Paul Thibodeau</b></p>

                        <p>"Get Strong at Invading" is one of
                        the early volumes ('95) in the 'Get
                        Strong at Go Series', and it shows.</p>

                        <p>The back cover 'guarantees' it will
                        increase a weak kyu's invading ability
                        by as much as 6 stones, but will also
                        'fill in the gaps' for a 'strong dan'.
                        It is divided into three sections,
                        Invasions on the Side (65 problems
                        mainly covering 3 and 4 point
                        extensions between two stones, Invading
                        Corner Enclosures (84 problems), and
                        Invading Large Territories (not
                        actually about invading large
                        territories, but reducing large
                        frameworks (moyos).</p>

                        <p>The last section is the best,
                        running 46 pages for 22 problems. The
                        first two sections have a variety of
                        useful patterns, but generally the
                        treatment is poorly organized and
                        scant, and this is where the book
                        really suffers. A kyu player will learn
                        more, and learn it properly, by
                        studying "Attack and Defense" by Ishida
                        and Davies, while a dan player can't do
                        better than "Enclosure Josekis" by
                        Takemiya and "Reducing Territorial
                        Frameworks" by Fujisawa.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>
            </tbody></table> <p>&nbsp;</p>

            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="get_strong_at_tesuji"></a> Get Strong
                        at Tesuji<br>
                         Richard Bozulich, $15, Kiseido.<br>
                         Reviewed by David Goldberg, 7k</b></p>

                        <p>The next best thing to having a
                        personal teacher is a problem book.
                        After I try a problem, I can flip to
                        the answer and get immediate feedback.
                        As a relative beginner there are a
                        couple "theory" books that have helped
                        my game (Lessons in the Fundamentals of
                        Go, Opening Theory Made Easy), but it
                        is mainly the drill of problem books
                        that have raised the level of my

                        <p>"Graded Go Problems for Beginners"
                        were my favorite problem books when I
                        first started playing. I could find a
                        volume that was hard enough so that I
                        learned something, but not so hard as
                        to be frustrating. If, like me, you
                        found those books useful, I strongly
                        recommend "Get Strong at Tesuji".
                        Similar to the Graded series, it's
                        simply a list of 534 problems and their solutions. If you
                        are comfortable with problems at the
                        level of Graded Volume III then you
                        should find Get Strong at Tesuji
                        useful, too.</p>

                        <p>Unlike Graded, it has some problems
                        that simply ask for the best move, and
                        don't tell you what you're supposed to
                        do (kill stones, live, connect two
                        groups, etc). I found this to be an
                        especially nice feature. It also rates
                        the difficulty of each problem,
                        although I didn't make much use of the
                        ratings. If you like drilling yourself
                        with problems, I highly recommend Get
                        Strong at Tesuji.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>
            </tbody></table> <p>&nbsp;</p>

            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="GetStrongAtTheEndgame"></a> Get Strong
                        at the Endgame<br>
                         by Richard Bozulich<br>
                         Kiseido Publishing Company, 1997, 200
                        pp., $15 U.S.<br>
                         Reviewed by Paul Thibodeau</b></p>

                         Get Strong at the Endgame is one of
                        the best books in the 'Get Strong
                        At' series. It contains a total of 291
                        endgame problems, followed by an
                        appendix comparing a 3d amateur's and a 6D
                        professional's playing of the same
                         full-board endgame position against a
                        pro 7-dan. The amateur loses by one
                         point, the pro wins by 7, a pretty big
                        swing of eight points. 
                         The book begins with 42 problems to
                        test your endgame skill, thirty-six
                         11x11 and six on 9x9, almost all from
                        Kano Yoshinori's 'Endgame
                         The author recommends writing down the
                        moves and final score of each
                         without looking at the solution,
                        proceeding directly to the tesuji
                         calculation problems, and then
                        returning and redoing the test to
                        compare your answers. While this method will
                        show you what a big improvement the
                         book makes in your endgame, most may
                        simply want to work through the
                         solutions the first time, without
                        losing any advantage.
                         The 120 tesuji problems illustrate
                        various local situations where you
                         reduce the opponent's territory
                        anywhere from one point to total
                         compared with ordinary looking endgame
                        moves. The 101 calculation problems
                         give you practice in knowing how many
                        points an endgame move is worth, in
                         sente or gote. The final section
                        contains twenty-eight 11x11
                         endgame problems', again composed by
                        Kano. These help put all the skills
                         together in complicated endgame
                         This book is nicely crafted and well
                        thought out, with good
                         suffering only a little from the
                        series' general problem of a lack
                         instructional material. It does a good
                        job of noting the different value
                         sente and gote moves, for example, but
                        one could still miss the forest for
                         the trees without caveats like that
                        from Ogawa and Davies: 'A player
                         could not count at all, but understood
                        the difference between sente and
                         gote, would have the advantage over an
                        opponent suffering from the reverse
                         Nevertheless, 'Get Strong at the
                        Endgame' is well done enough as a
                         book that in my opinion it would be
                        fine as a challenging first endgame
                         for players stronger than 4 kyu.
                        Players at the low dan level will find
                         just about right. Players less than 5
                        kyu will probably get more from
                         and Davies' excellent Elementary Go
                        Series book: 'The Endgame'. Learn
                         skills, and you will be amazed at how
                        many times you find yourself coming
                         from behind and winning the game.</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to
            </tbody></table> <p>&nbsp;</p>

            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="GirlPlayedGo"></a></b>
                        <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><b>The
                        Girl Who Played Go<br>
                         by Shan Sa<br>
                         translated from the French by Adriana
                         280 pp.<br>
                         published by Chatto and Windus of
                        London, a division of Random House<br>
                         Reviewed by Roy Laird<br>
                         July 15, 2003<br></b></font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">In The
                        Square of The Thousand Winds, a Chinese
                        girl plays go. Serious go, toppling
                        opponent after opponent. The time is
                        the early 1930's and the Japanese are
                        invading. Hearing that "terrorists"
                        from the Chinese Resistance meet at the
                        Square to plot their next moves, a
                        Japanese soldier visits the square in
                        disguise, to spy on them. Instead he
                        falls into a game with the girl who
                        plays go. They meet at the square day
                        after day to continue this strangely
                        compelling game. Meanwhile, we watch
                        their lives converge toward a startling

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">The
                        award-winning author seems to know her
                        Asian history and literature, and even
                        fills us in with footnotes when the
                        characters participate in major
                        historical events, or discuss history.
                        Attention to detail is so "granular"
                        that the Chinese girl depicted on the
                        cover is even holding authentic Chinese
                        stones! (Chinese stones are flat on one
                        side.) The writing is sprinkled with
                        thoughtful little gems, but seems
                        mostly halting and disjointed, and the
                        occasional intrusion in the translation
                        of Britishisms like "chivvying" is a
                        bit jarring. Most of the chapters are
                        only a few paragraphs long -- just when
                        we're beginning to immerse ourselves in
                        a scene, it's over. Nonetheless, as
                        often happens with good books, I am
                        left with vivid memories and images,
                        and thoughtful questions about the
                        meaning of war. You have to admire the
                        author's ambition. Through these
                        gradually intertwining lives, one
                        Chinese, one Japanese, she seeks to
                        illuminate a dark era of occupation,
                        torture and violent death, and to some
                        degree she succeeds.</font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">As a go
                        player, I was happy to see the game
                        presented as in a compelling, dramatic
                        way. The Japanese lieutenant goes to
                        the Square on a mission for his country
                        and the Emperor, but finds himself
                        hopelessly seduced by go. He confesses
                        to his Captain, who shows his
                        understanding by quoting the Chinese
                        philosopher Zhuang Zi: "When you lose a
                        horse, you never know whether it is a
                        good thing or a bad thing." In the end,
                        the game becomes the means by which two
                        minds meet in a profound, life-altering

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">This
                        novel takes its place in a growing
                        lexicon of "go stories". The ongoing,
                        periodically adjourned game that
                        progresses through most of the book
                        invites comparison with Kawabata's "The
                        Master of Go," which won the Nobel
                        Prize for Literature in 1968. After the
                        degrading portrayal of women in
                        Sung-hwa Hong's tough, dark "First
                        Kyu", it's nice to see a woman who is
                        not just the central character, but
                        clearly the master of a her fate -- and
                        a strong go player to boot!</font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Most of
                        all, "The Girl Who Played Go" brings to
                        mind the classic film "The Go Masters",
                        a historic Chinese-Japanese film that
                        has been called "an Asian 'Gone With
                        the Wind.' " Unfortunately, "The Go
                        Masters" is not commercially available
                        at the present time, but if you go to
                        with a high-speed modem, you can
                        download a 300 MB .avi file and view
                        this incredible masterpiece</font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">I
                        ordered my copy of "The Girl Who Played
                        Go" from amazon.com at for about $20,
                        it makes a good read, and a great
                        gift.</font><font color="#993300" face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><br></font></p> 

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to
            </tbody></table> <p>&nbsp;</p>

            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="GoAsCommunication"></a></b>
                              <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">
                        <b>Go as Communication<br>
                         by Yasuda Yasutoshi 9-dan<br>
                         Slate &amp; Shell<br>
                         Reviewed by Simon Goss<br>
                         March 31, 2003</b></font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">"Am I
                        the only one who feels that people,
                        children and adults alike, look tired?"
                        So writes Yasuda Yasutoshi 9-dan in the
                        preface to Go as Communication.
                        Yasuda's attention had been caught by a
                        news report of the suicide of a bullied
                        school child, and he had become "...
                        obsessed by the notion that I had to do
                        something about the social problem in
                        addition to simply popularizing Go."
                        The first part of Go as Communication
                        describes Yasuda's visits to
                        kindergartens, schools, homes for the
                        mentally disabled, day care centres for
                        the elderly and a school for the deaf.
                        Almost all those he writes about have
                        some kind of difficulty communicating
                        with others. Many are, to a greater or
                        lesser extent, socially excluded as a
                        result. In the second part of the book,
                        Yasuda gives advice on how to teach go
                        to children of different ages in large
                        groups, and how to teach it in the
                        other kinds of institution he has
                        visited. Part three gives a brief
                        account of similar work that has been
                        done in the Netherlands, Romania, the
                        Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and the
                        USA. Yasuda is well known as the
                        inventor of Capture Go, and what he
                        says about it came as a bit of a
                        surprise to me at first. I had always
                        been led to believe that Yasuda's main
                        aim was to popularise go, and that
                        beginning with Capture Go was basically
                        a technique to lead people to it
                        gently. Nothing could be further from
                        the truth. "Popularizing Go" is a
                        phrase that is used occasionally in the
                        book, but it isn't the objective.
                        Yasuda states his objective in terms
                        such as "help change society" and "do
                        something about the social problem". He
                        teaches Capture Go as a game in its own
                        right. He recognizes that a few people
                        will move on to regular go, but doesn't
                        get excited about it. If most people
                        stick with Capture Go and enjoy it,
                        that's fine with him. Indeed, he
                        explains that some of the mentally
                        handicapped people he meets will
                        probably never understand even the
                        capture rule, but will anyway enjoy and
                        benefit from the even simpler game of
                        just placing go stones on
                        intersections, and that's just fine
                        too. Will this book do anything for
                        you? Well, if you want to improve at
                        tesuji or joseki, definitely not. It
                        contains a basic explanation of the
                        capture rule, but if you're any
                        stronger than 36-kyu it will teach you
                        nothing at all about the game. If you
                        want to teach go to bright people who
                        are able and willing to give you ten
                        minutes of their attention, it may not
                        help you much either. If you want to
                        teach go to large groups of people with
                        low or mixed abilities and/or
                        motivation, then it will certainly give
                        you food for thought and may even help
                        you. But the people I'd really like to
                        see reading this book aren't go players
                        at all, but school teachers and care
                        workers. If you can think of a person
                        like that to whom you could give a copy
                        of this book, I think you'd be doing
                        them, and go, a huge service. (A longer
                        version of this review originally
                        appeared in the British Go Journal,
                        #129, Winter 2002)<br></font><br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>
            </tbody></table> <p>&nbsp;</p>

            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="go_elementary_training_atkins"></a> Go
                        Elementary Training &amp; Dan Level
                         A CD-ROM edited by Yu Bin and produced
                        by Jiang Jujo<br>
                         People's Posts &amp;
                        Telecommunications Publishing House<br>
                         Reviewed by Lon Atkins, 14K

                        <p>Interactive learning produces
                        superior results when compared with
                        static (i.e. "book") learning. If you
                        don't have a teacher, or even if you
                        do, this CD may hasten your acquisition
                        of go skill. The problems range from
                        the 17 kyu level to amateur 5 dan

                        <p>The user interface of this program
                        is annoyingly amateurish, but the
                        organization of material is excellent.
                        The program offers two formats.</p>

                        <p>"Promotion" consists of 150 steps of
                        20 problems each. You get ten tactical
                        problems, five corner pattern (joseki)
                        problems, and five whole board
                        problems. 90 points (18 correct
                        answers) are required to advance from
                        one step to the next.</p>

                        <p>It's possible to cheat yourself with
                        brute force iterations until the
                        solution is found. Not good. But if you
                        play straight through and fail to reach
                        90points, you start over from scratch.
                        This kind of iteration is good. It
                        drums the patterns into your brain.</p>

                        <p>"Test Your Level" lets you declare
                        your strength (Beginner, Middle or
                        High) and then choose from the three
                        problem categories provided in

                        <p>Go Elementary Training &amp; Dan
                        Level Testing is a terrific tool that
                        can be played a bit every day. Working
                        an interactive element into your study
                        regimen will pay off in many ways.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="go_elementary_training_dinhofer"></a>
                        Go Elementary Training and Dan Level
                         by Yu Bin 9 dan and Jiang Jujo 9
                         Reviewed by David Dinhofer

                        <p>It has been hard for me to find a
                        book or program that fits my particular
                        style of learning go. I particularly
                        enjoyed the books by Phil Straus and
                        Yi-lun Yang. I have liked the books by
                        Jim Davies but I found that even with
                        these excellent texts I have not moved
                        ahead very much in the tournament

                        <p>Then I saw "Elementary Go" listed on
                        the Samarkand web site and immediately
                        liked the idea of a program that could
                        both rate and teach me. Of course, I
                        was also attracted to the "Up to 5 Dan"
                        in theadvertisement. The price was also

                        <p>I had no trouble installing it into
                        my Toshiba (4005CDT) laptop, a
                        refurbished Satellite running Windows98
                        on a K6-2 processor at 350 MHz with 32
                        Megs of RAM and an active matrix
                        display. I had tried to install it into
                        my CTX desktop computer but there was a
                        conflict with the video drivers that I
                        was unable to fix without changing the
                        settings on my display which I didn't
                        want to do. So my Toshiba became my
                        default computer for "Elementary Go,"
                        which came in particularly handy
                        because when I first got the program, I
                        was traveling a lot on business.</p>

                        <p>I first tested myself and found "Go
                        Elementary Training" to be extremely
                        accurate, ranking me between 3k and 1D,
                        which mimics my tournament play. The
                        program breaks down teaching and
                        testing into three sections; life and
                        death problems, joseki problems, and
                        whole board problems. Your score is
                        based on 5 points per problem with
                        partial scores given on the whole board

                        <p>There are a few glitches.
                        Occasionally, if there are two
                        solutions because of miai, the program
                        will only allow one solution. It
                        occasionally locks up or doesn't allow
                        a move. Fortunately, only the current
                        session is lost. You also have to put
                        up with a annoying voice telling you,
                        "Better luck next time," when you screw
                        up and the usual, "Congratulations,"
                        when you pass the next level.</p>

                        <p>Each time you finish a promotion
                        level, you must log in again. This is
                        time-consuming and tedious.</p>

                        <p>Recently, I installed WindowMe on my
                        portable computer and found that there
                        is a problem installing Go Elementary
                        Training into WindowsMe. I was able to
                        run the program fine on my Toshiba
                        Satellite with both Windows98 and
                        Windows98 Second Edition. When I
                        brought this to Janice Kim's attention
                        (I had purchased this product from
                        Samarkand), she was extremely helpful
                        and checked into it. She found that it
                        could be loaded if it was run directly
                        from the disc. Of course, this has but
                        a big damper on my usage since I have
                        no intention of reloading the old
                        system software onto my portable again.
                        Janice has since come up with a patch
                        for WindowsMe.</p>

                        <p>The good news is that if you can get
                        it up and running on your computer, you
                        are likely to see a big difference in
                        your play. I have moved up on IGS from
                        7k to 6k with a solid winning streak
                        continuing. Some of this is very likely
                        due to the cumulative effects of all of
                        my efforts but nothing else has made as
                        big a difference.</p>

                        <p>This program is clearly not for
                        everyone. There is no commentary but it
                        is easy to go through large numbers of
                        problems in a relatively short period
                        of time. I would call it the generic
                        version of go teaching. All in all,
                        Elementary Go is an excellent way to
                        examine and learn lots of materials
                        with little fanfare. I am hoping that
                        Jujo will come out with an updated
                        version in the near future.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="go_for_beginners"></a>
                        Go for Beginners<br>
                         by Kaoru Iwamoto<br>
                         Published by Pantheon Books, 1977
                         Reviewed by Matthew Burke, 15k</b></p>

                        <p>I taught myself and several of my
                        friends how to play Go from this book,
                        and I suspect many other people can say
                        the same. The book's clarity and
                        thoroughness indicate why Iwamoto was
                        so successful at promoting Go in the

                        <p>Go for Beginners is divided into two
                        parts. The first part explains the
                        rules of go. Rather than simply listing
                        the rules and giving examples, Iwamoto
                        walks us through a 9x9 game, presenting
                        rules as necessary. I remember finding
                        this to be a most compelling way of
                        drawing me into the game. After leading
                        the reader through playing and scoring,
                        Iwamoto steps back and fleshes out the
                        details of liberties, ko, seki, and
                        other important concepts in the second

                        <p>The second part of the book presents
                        an overview of techniques including
                        life and death, ladders, and
                        extensions. The book ends with good
                        advice on how to improve and two
                        example professional games.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="go_players_almanac"></a>
                        The Go Player's Almanac<br>
                         edited by Richard Bozulich<br>
                         Published by Ishi Press; $30<br>
                         Reviewed by Steven Robert Allen,

                        <p>People are attracted to go for many
                        reasons. It's fun. It's excellent
                        mental aerobics. It's also an ideal
                        springboard for philosophical
                        speculation about life and the
                         A particularly seductive aspect of the
                        game is its extraordinary culture and
                        past. One of the most exciting things
                        about go is that its millennia-long
                        history is filled with colorful stories
                        and equally colorful personalities.</p>

                        <p>The Go Player's Almanac, unique
                        among go books in English, provides a
                        detailed look at the game's culture and
                        history. The book contains no lessons,
                        no theory, no advice for improving
                        go-playing skills. What it does provide
                        are well-written essays and reference
                        sections covering the history,
                        philosophy, culture and personalities
                        which make go so fascinating to so many

                        <p>The book covers go history from
                        ancient times to the present. It also
                        contains biographies of all the most
                        significant players, living and dead.
                        One of the book's finest features is
                        its extensive glossary of go terms.
                        Another nice feature is its survey of
                        go equipment, the collection of which
                        is a fetishized pastime in itself. If
                        that isn't enough, The Go Player's
                        Almanac also describes: the manner in
                        which players become professionals, the
                        tournament system in different
                        countries, the various rule sets, why
                        go computer programs are so difficult
                        to create, and more.</p>

                        <p>Every serious go player will
                        eventually want to have this book.
                        Though The Go Player's Almanac is
                        currently out of print, it's available
                        at several Internet vendors of go
                        equipment. An updated edition is
                        rumored to be in the works.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="go_players_almanac_2001"></a> The Go
                        Player's Almanac, 2001 edition<br>
                         Kiseido, Edited by Richard
                         June 2001, $30, Paperback 378pp<br>
                         Reviewed by Robert Jasiek</b></p>

                        <p>Everybody calling himself a serious
                        player should already have this
                        reference work so the following
                        discusses only the differences to the
                        1992 edition. The chapter on
                        Mathematical Go is omitted, otherwise
                        prior chapters have either tiny changes
                        or considerable updates.</p>

                        <p>Noteworthy revisions concern:</p>

                            <li>A Brief History of Modern Go: A
                            short summary of the recent
                            international development has been
                            added. There are also a few black
                            and white pictures of famous

                            <li>Who's Who in the World of Go:
                            Sincere extensions for China and
                            Korea and a list for Taiwan are

                            <li>Tournament Go: Considerable
                            amendments concern international,
                            Korean, and Chinese go. European
                            and American tournaments are

                            <li>Go Records now include some
                            entertaining komi and rules-related

                            <li>A Dictionary of Go Terms: some
                            new entries of Japanese and a few
                            English terms including - not for
                            completeness but more for fun -
                            molasses ko.</li>

                        <p>The book includes some new

                            <li>Go in the Classics: A
                            discussion of the difficulty of
                            pursuing the origin of go seems to
                            kill the myth of a 3000 or 4000
                            year-old game, states rather secure
                            sources, and partly can't resist
                            the temptation of minor

                            <li>Some Senryu of Go: Some popular

                            <li>Go in Europe in the 17th
                            Century, Go in the West in the 18th
                            Century, Speculations on the
                            Origins of Go: These three chapters
                            are quite interesting, although
                            older versions previously appeared
                            in GoWorld.</li>

                            <li>Go and Art: Besides a few
                            colored pictures the text should be
                            the more important part.</li>

                            <li>The Last Problem is a tiny

                        <p>What is missing? Obviously, this
                        work is broad rather than deep so one
                        cannot reasonably expect extensive
                        details. However, some omissions are
                        noteworthy: Western go, Korean and
                        Chinese go terms, the actual life of a
                        professional, teaching, and scientific
                        go. Also it is hard to understand why
                        some prior parts have been omitted.</p>

                        <p>Nevertheless, the new chapters and
                        the revisions make the new edition
                        useful for players who felt the earlier
                        one was incomplete. The new edition of
                        the Almanac is not flawless but it's
                        certainly an improvement.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="GoPlayersAlmanac2001_2"></a> The Go
                        Player's Almanac (2001)<br>
                         Kiseido, Edited by Richard
                         June 2001, $30, Paperback 378pp<br>
                         Reviewed by Peter Shotwell</b></p>

                        <p>Despite its $30 price, every Go
                        player should have the 2001 edition of
                        "The Go Player's Almanac" This most
                        extraordinary compendium of Go
                        information is largely unavailable
                        elsewhere in English.<br>
                         John Power tells the stories behind
                        the explosions of modern Chinese
                        and Korean Go and the Who's Who and
                        tournament sections record these
                        recent changes. Julie Lamont has a long,
                        intriguing and profusely illustrated
                        overview of the role of go in the Eastern arts.
                        In addition, there are major revisions
                        and lengthenings of several old Go
                        World articles - by myself on the
                        origins of Go in China, and by Jaap
                        Blom on descriptions and the consequent
                        intellectual influences of go in Europe
                        in the 17th and 18th centuries. Some of
                        the best articles from the original
                        Almanac, published in 1992, are also
                        included and the only flaw is that the
                        treatise on computer Go could not be
                        updated before press time.</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to



            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="go_world_magazine"></a>
                        Go World (the magazine)<br>
                         Published quarterly by Kiseido ($28
                        for 5 issues)<br>
                         Reviewed by Lon Atkins, 15K</b></p>

                        <p>Imagine the excitement of unearthing
                        buried treasure - gold doubloons,
                        jeweled goblets, silver daggers. I've
                        discovered buried Go treasure; not
                        precious metals but a wealth of wisdom
                        in every issue of the magazine Go

                        <p>Go World (subscriptions available at
                        www.kiseido.com) is truly a hoard of
                        goodies. Number 91, hot off the press,
                        features an article on Takemiya ("A
                        Player with Heart"), a column by
                        Michael Redmond on the opening,
                        annotated games from current title
                        matches - complete with reports on the
                        players, four special sections for kyu
                        players, and an article on Go in the
                        West in the 81th Century.</p>

                        <p>The buried treasure is found in back
                        issues, many of which are in stock. At
                        the Kiseido site I marvel at the cover
                        graphics. The covers are historical art
                        involving Go. All are interesting and
                        some are of striking beauty.</p>

                        <p>Back issues of Go World contain an
                        informal course of study for kyu
                        players seeking to improve. The 5x5
                        endgame studies, for example, are ideal
                        for demonstrating specific techniques.
                        In the back numbers I also found the
                        best illustrations of sabaki I've run
                        across, problem solutions that tell you
                        how to refute moves that most books
                        leave to the student, little quizzes on
                        joseki and endgame counting, a
                        compilation of the favorite tsume-go
                        problems of Japanese pros, and many
                        other jewels. Of course, the annotated
                        games are superb; the background
                        material invaluable. No matter what
                        your rank, you'll find good things in
                        Go World.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="gogod_database"></a>
                        Gogod Database<br>
                         Reviewed by Charles Matthews</b></p>

                        <p>Game collections aren't really a
                        novelty. Student pros in Japan used to
                        be sent away to play through the games
                        of Shusaku, the dead master taking the
                        weight off the shoulders of the

                        <p>In the PC era, you can collect up
                        game files in the standard SGF format,
                        click through them, or even get a
                        screensaver to do that work for you.
                        Going further and applying the
                        computer's power as research assistant
                        is the object of the Gogod Database
                        bundle under review. It comprises
                        around 12,000 games from the whole
                        historic and geographical range of
                        high-level go, including a high
                        proportion of the most interesting and
                        significant records around. It also
                        comes with a number of software tools
                        on the CD-ROM.</p>

                        <p>I have spent the most time using Go
                        Library, which is a versatile program
                        for searching the collection to match
                        data or positions. This would afford
                        practical help with study for any dan

                        <p>There is also John Fairbairn's
                        massive index to names of players from
                        all eras, providing fascinating
                        historical background to the games, and
                        a special tool for finding instantly
                        variations in the avalanche opening. I
                        have spent most time using Go Library,
                        which is a versatile program for
                        searching the collection to match data
                        or positions. This would afford
                        practical help with study for any dan
                        player. It's a tidy single screen,
                        written in Delphi, with all commands
                        self-explanatory icons or buttons. One
                        can enter a pattern stone by stone on
                        one board, have the machine match all
                        occurrences in a period of years (say
                        1980-1989), and in a range of moves
                        (say the first 50 of a game) and then
                        play through the corresponding games on
                        a second board. This allows easy
                        tracking of full scale opening
                        patterns. To look at corner openings in
                        context, one uses the very useful
                        'rotations' facility: enter a pattern
                        once, and the search will apply the
                        16-pass examination of games to check
                        for its occurrence in all symmetric
                        places, and with either colour.
                        Searches may be saved for later use. I
                        have applied this tool for studies of
                        fuseki, joseki and middlegame
                        techniques around corner enclosures, as
                        well as to select games of particular

                        <p>Ordering: the database is currently
                        available exclusively from Gogod.</p>

                        <p>tmark@gogod.demon.co.uk, dollar
                        price $55 including charges.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="golden_opportunities"></a> Golden
                         by Rin Kaiho (1/29/01)<br>
                         (Yutopian, 1996)<br>
                         Reviewed by Lon Atkins, 15K</b></p>

                        <p>Life, like go, presents many
                        opportunities for success, yet all too
                        often our eyes fail to see the gold. In
                        "Golden Opportunities," Rin Kaiho, 9
                        dan and raconteur, serves up a
                        fascinating stew of go tactics and
                        historical anecdotes. Rin doesn't
                        lecture; he dramatizes in stories that
                        provide a setting in which to envision
                        go positions as theatre. The stories
                        draw from both east and west. They aid
                        the student's memory. A basic principle
                        in each story foreshadows the correct
                        go action. Aimed at the mid-kyu player
                        in need of fresh perspective to advance
                        but sure to be a joy for players of any
                        strength, this book has great practical
                        value. It mixes well with dry problem
                        collections and joseki texts. It
                        illustrates obvious moves that are
                        really failed tries, develops the
                        cognitive collisions that lead to
                        enlightenment, and examines all the key
                        variations. Get "Golden Opportunities"
                        for fun and profit.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="graded_go_problems_for_beginners"></a>
                        Graded Go Problems for Beginners (Vols
                         Nihon Kiin, 1990<br>
                         Reviewed by Jean G. DeMaiffe,

                        <p>Graded Go Problems for Beginners is
                        a four-volume set of books that takes
                        the reader from an absolute novice to
                        "Advanced" play (defined as 15-kyu or
                        stronger). The books are compilations
                        of go problems, divided up by level of
                        difficulty and by subject matter. For
                        instance, Volume One has lots of
                        problems on how to capture one or more
                        stones and how to avoid being captured.
                        The "Level Two" problems in Volume One
                        include ladders, snapbacks, ko, and how
                        to play in the opening and in endgame.
                        Each succeeding volume continues to
                        explore these main themes. Some of the
                        problems in the third and fourth
                        volumes will challenge American players
                        stronger than 15-kyu (myself included),
                        probably because, unlike Asian go
                        students, our study of go has been
                        almost entirely self-directed and
                        without any structure. This four-volume
                        set provides a excellent grounding in
                        the basics of go at an early stage and
                        can't help but prove helpful to any
                        double-digit (and at least one
                        single-digit) player willing to take
                        the time to study them. They are also
                        excellent teaching tools for go
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="graded_go_problems for beginners2"></a>
                        Graded Go Problems For Beginners: Vols.
                         Kano Yoshinori Pro 9d<br>
                         Kiseido Publishing<br>
                         Reviewed by Marc Willhite, 10k</b></p>

                        <p>One often hears a more experienced
                        player telling newer and
                        intermediate level players that there are "leaks in
                        their game." This could refer to
                        the opening, middle game, ending, tesuji,
                        invasions, or any other area of Go
                         play. What they mean is that there are
                        fundamental concepts that these
                        less experienced players have not yet fully
                        grasped, and until they do, it will
                         be a long and difficult road to
                         Any regular Go player knows the game
                        can be very bewildering when you first
                        discover it and attempt to learn. As
                        you gain experience and your game
                        improves, especially when the "trial
                        and error" approach is taken, studying
                        Go problems becomes an amazing way to
                        plug the leaks in your game and leap to
                        new heights of understanding.<br>
                         I consider "Graded Go Problems For
                        Beginners" essential to every Go
                         player's library because the books
                        will indeed help plug these leaks.
                        Volume I is aimed at those who have
                        just learned the rules of Go. Large
                        diagrams with simple positions help the
                        beginner learn the techniques of
                        capturing and defending stones,
                        connecting and separating stones, life
                        and death, basic opening problems, and
                         As you make your way into the more
                        challenging concepts presented in the
                        later volumes, you will see a
                        noticeable improvement in your play.
                        The life and death problems alone
                        should keep any persistent reader busy
                        and, at times, frustrated. Probably the
                        most rewarding thing about working your
                        way through the problems is going back
                        to an easier volume only to find the
                        material is now a permanent part of
                        your Go vocabulary. The claim that
                        these books will "thoroughly drill the
                        reader in the fundamentals of the
                        game . . . thus laying a solid
                         foundation for his future progress"
                        could not be more exact.<br>
                         "Graded Go Problems For Beginners"
                        will benefit all kyu-level players. Get
                        these books and start solving!<br>
                         $15 each plus s/h at

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="great_joseki_debates"></a> The Great
                        Joseki Debates<br>
                         by Honda Kunihisa, 9-Dan<br>
                         Translated by Jim Davies and David
                        Thayer; Ishi Press, 1992<br>
                         Reviewed by David Dinhofer</b></p>

                        <p>It is hard to find joseki books that
                        aren't dry and mechanical. The
                        sheer number of variations on the subject
                        make it difficult to make it
                        interesting. Honda Kunihisa has managed
                        to make the joseki interesting and
                        lighthearted with his style and

                        <p>In this reprint of several articles
                        from Go World, Honda Kunihisa,
                        approaches each joseki problem as if
                        there are three scholars presenting a
                        different strategy and makes us think
                        about which we would chose. He does
                        this in a comical way as if the each of
                        the scholars feels he has the only
                        answer. Then he goes on to explain why
                        one of the three is the best choice
                        based on the whole board outlook.</p>

                        <p>Kunihisa reiterates the same warning
                        in each discussion: "Since josekis work
                        effectively in a certain direction, it
                        is necessary to examine the positions
                        along the adjacent sides and in the
                        adjacent corners when choosing a joseki
                        for a particular opening." I'm sure he
                        repeated this warning to emphasize its
                        importance. This is one of the things
                        that I found so helpful in the two
                        joseki books by Yi-lun Yang and Phil
                        Straus. Honda Kunihisa gives only as
                        much follow up as is necessary for even
                        mid level players.</p>

                        <p>I found this book easy to read and
                        wound up wanting even more problems. I
                        expect that even low Dan level players
                        will find this an interesting review as
                        well as kyu level players.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="HandbookStarPoint"></a></b>
                              <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">
                        <b>Handbook of Star Point Joseki<br>
                         Edited by the Nihon Kiin<br>
                         Yutopian Enterprises<br>
                         Reviewed by Lon Atkins, 12k<br>
                         May 19, 2003</b></font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">A
                        wonderful resource for any player, this
                        very thorough dictionary of star point
                        joseki is invaluable for the beginner
                        starting to think beyond the simple
                        handicap joseki we first learn.
                        Aggressive and tricky tries by White
                        are analyzed to reveal White's goals
                        and Black's best responses. A generous
                        helping of diagrams shows the
                        underlying reasons for plays, without
                        confusing the reader with too many
                        moves. For one to improve at go,
                        understanding the 'why" is more
                        important than memorizing the "what."
                        Two aspects of the book are especially
                        good. The many double approaches
                        against the star point (when black
                        plays elsewhere) are systematically
                        discussed, and a section called
                        "supplemental joseki" provides other
                        perspectives into each major division
                        of joseki. Kudos to Yutopian for
                        publishing this gem, and to Craig
                        Hutchinson (editor and layout master)
                        and Robert Terry

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="HowPlayHandicapGo"></a></b>
                              <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">
                        <b>How to Play Handicap Go<br>
                         by Yuan Zhou<br>
                         Slate &amp; Shell<br>
                         Reviewed by Bob Barber, 1k<br>
                         April 28, 2003</b></font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">The main
                        thrust of this book is teaching how to
                        play White in a handicap game, but the
                        analysis is so thorough (60 diagrams
                        per game!) that Black learns as well.
                        Beautifully designed, with two diagrams
                        per page, some show only one move,
                        allowing clear explanation. Think AGA 5
                        dans are pretty savvy? Here we see them
                        lose their way taking three stones.
                        Often, the reader gets a chance to play
                        like an 8 dan and find the next move.
                        Eight of the games show Yuan Zhou
                        giving from three to seven stones as he
                        exposes the mistakes of dan-level
                        players (though 3d Haskell Small wins
                        praise for "a good job of keeping White
                        busy.") The final game, by two hapless
                        kyu players, is fine example of how NOT
                        to play as White. I am pleased to
                        report that in a recent rematch, after
                        reading this book, White was not

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="in_the_beginning"></a>
                        In the Beginning<br>
                         by Ikuro Ishigure<br>
                         Kiseido, 151 pp.<br>
                         Reviewed by Jason Baghboudarian,

                        <p>As in many creation stories, we have
                        darkness, and then light. So it is from
                        the very first stone of a game of go.
                        Ishigure takes us on an exploration of
                        these beginnings, my favorite time of
                        the game.</p>

                        <p>Because of its open and abstract
                        qualities, the opening is by its very
                        nature difficult to teach with
                        authority, simply because there is
                        none. There are many approaches to the
                        opening, the basic structure and
                        strategies of which have evolved over
                        time. I find it fascinating, and a
                        tribute to the flexibility of the game
                        itself, that for as many thousands of
                        years as go has been played, there have
                        been significant new developments in
                        opening style in just the past hundred
                        years alone.</p>

                        <p>In addressing the opening, Ishigure
                        is giving us a philospohy of the game
                        as a whole. He handles the subject
                        matter with skill. He shows us how to
                        build solid bases from which to attack
                        and pincer. We see different shimari
                        and kakari, but instead of an emphasis
                        on joseki, Ishigure stays true to the
                        nature of this time in the game by
                        focusing on a broader context. We are
                        shown the values of different areas,
                        relative to position. There are
                        problems throughout the text, and in
                        their own section as well.. All of this
                        leads us through nine concepts which
                        will help guide us through developing
                        our own style of opening. These are
                        principles of balance, on which every
                        rank of player needs to act.</p>

                        <p>Reading this book has given me more
                        insight into the state of mind required
                        to play go well. This of course brings
                        more appreciation of the game; and also
                        of the cultures which have embraced
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="intermediate_level_power_builder"></a>
                        Intermediate Level Power Builder, Vol.
                         By Wang RuNan<br>
                         Published by Yutopian Enterprises,
                         Reviewed by Barry C. Willey, 12k

                        <p>Aimed at the mid kyu player, this
                        book does a wonderful job at covering
                        basic concepts, strategies and
                        techniques. The first volume of this
                        series in progress covers basic joseki
                        and fuseki in openings, but in a method
                        that integrates a global view. The
                        author also spends a chapter discussing
                        "oba" or big points and how they arise
                        in openings.<br>
                         Starting with a survey of common
                        openings, such as the Chinese, three
                        and four point openings, various
                        strategy and tactics are discussed in
                        the context of these openings. Next the
                        author spends several chapters on the
                        best ways to invade them.</p>

                        <p>One of the best aspects of this book
                        is the method of presentation. The
                        author uses a lesson format in which he
                        asks a question and the students give
                        their answers. The best solution is
                        explained and then the weak point in
                        the student's answer is examined. I
                        found that very helpful when comparing
                        my thoughts with the explanations in
                        the book. It should also be noted that
                        many of the games on which comments are
                        made are taken from various
                        professional games. I hope that
                        Yutopian plans on publishing the next
                        installment in this series soon.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="intermediate_level_power_builder2"></a></b>
                        <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><b>Intermediate
                        Level Power Builder, Vol. 1<br>
                         by Wang RuNan, 8 dan<br>
                         Reviewed by Ethan Baldridge<br>
                         September 22, 2003</b></font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">This
                        slender volume from Yutopian
                        Enterprises is aimed at 19-13th kyu<br>
                         players. It mainly teaches about
                        opening and fuseki issues, and how
                        to use and deal with a moyo built on star
                        points. The problems are
                         enjoyable to solve and presented in an
                        interesting style where three
                         imaginary students make suggestions
                        and comments on the likely courses
                         of action. I thought this was an
                        interesting way to teach, although
                         not sure whether it affected my
                        retention at all.<br>
                         The last chapters of the book deal
                        with invading, and the final
                         is dedicated entirely to joseki from a
                        3-3 point invasion where a 4-4
                         stone has already been placed. I felt
                        this was a great help as it showed
                         me how to play for side influence when
                        the corner isn't as important.<br>
                         I would recommend this book for any
                        mid-level kyu player who wants a
                         quick strengthening of their

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="IntrotoGo"></a> An
                        Introduction to Go; Rules and
                        Strategies for the Ancient Oriental
                         By James Davies &amp; Richard
                         The Ishi Press, Inc. Tokyo, 1989<br>
                         Reviewed by Phommasone Christopher

                        <p>This small hand-guide is what
                        started it all for me. Or rather, I
                        should say a small little manga series from
                        Japan is what got me into Go.
                        However, it was this book that really taught me
                        how to play. I enjoyed reading this
                         book very much, and as a beginner, it
                        appealed to me very much.
                         The greatest thing about this book is
                        that it's geared towards beginners
                         and amateurs alike. It teaches many
                        'Go'-only terms, as well as giving
                        examples of every rule and aspect of
                        Go. Not only that, it also has several
                        example games that demonstrate these
                        elements as well as a section on the
                        'you'll probably never see these'
                        special-shape rules. As a beginner, I
                        didn't really need to look at it, but
                        I'm sure it will come in handy later
                         Another great thing about this book is
                        the size. It is very small, and fits in
                        pockets, purses, jackets, etc. It's the
                        best pocket-guide Go book I have come
                        across and I used this almost all the
                        time as I was getting down the
                         The book's only drawback is that is
                        does not go very deeply into much of
                        anything. It shows just enough of a
                        rule or aspect to let you know what it
                        is, gives a few examples, and moves on.
                        It makes up for this drawback by
                        putting in a few example games which
                        are quite nice to observe and try out
                        on your own, however. You can learn Go
                        with this book, but do not expect to
                        learn a plethora of different shapes and
                        possible moves.<br>
                         This is a book for beginners and
                        novices, small enough to fit your
                        pocket and carry around for your
                        all-purpose Go needs. I especially
                        recommend it if you need a pocket guide
                        to refer to while on the move.</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="invincible"></a>
                        Invincible: The Games of Shusaku<br>
                         Compiled, edited and translated by
                        John Power<br>
                         Kiseido Publishing Company, 442 pp;
                         Reviewed by Steve Dowell, 6k</b></p>

                        <p>"Invincible" is a massive book with
                        about 120 games. 80 are full
                        commentaries with detailed analysis.
                        The games here are magnificent
                        struggles with large scale fighting
                        being the norm. However Shusaku
                        demonstrates his mastery of the
                        positional features of the game and in
                        every game he demonstrates his superb
                        positional judgment.</p>

                        <p>The book contains thousands of
                        lessons and is a great way to see the
                        3-4 point in action. These games are
                        timeless and playing through them is
                        like listening to great classical music
                        or seeing a great artist in action
                        before your very eyes. Invincible's
                        lessons are supplemented by the history
                        it presents along with every game and
                        with a well-written introductory
                        chapter (about 25 pages) documenting
                        the history leading up to and including
                        Shusaku's career.</p>

                        <p>If you love great games you will
                        love this book. This book is well
                        suited to anyone who is able to learn
                        from professional games, although
                        weaker players may find this book a
                        struggle. Invincible is great at
                        teaching through exciting struggles but
                        its real strength is teaching and
                        fostering a love for go and its

                        <p>Order from Samarkand at
                        www.samarkand.net or Kiseido at
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="jungsuk_in_our_time"></a> Jungsuk In
                        Our Time: Somok (3-4 point Jungsuk)<br>
                         Seo Bong-Soo (9P) &amp; Jung Dong-Sik
                         Translated by Nam Chuhyunk (1P)<br>
                         Published by Hankuk Kiwon ,Korean
                        Baduk Association. 351 pp.<br>
                         Reviewed by Michael Turk, 10k</b></p>

                        <p>Jungsuk is the Korean word for
                        joseki. This book provides a
                        well-commented treatment of 3-4 joseki
                        in a form that is readable by middle
                        strength and stronger kyus. The book is
                        rich in information and I expect that
                        it will also provide useful information
                        for stronger players. All conference
                        attendees at the recent 1st
                        International Baduk Conference (Baduk
                        is the Korean word for Go) received a
                        copy from Chiyung Nam when they visited
                        the Hankuk Kiwon. Until recently the
                        English-language go literature has been
                        dominated by translations of Japanese
                        works, but recently works of Chinese
                        and Korean authors have become
                        available, a welcome trend that I hope

                        <p>Jungsuk claims to be the first
                        Korean book on baduk translated into
                        English, but I believe that Jeong
                        Soo-Hyun's and Janice Kim's superb
                        "Learn to Play Go" series lays true
                        claim to that honour.</p>

                        <p>The book is structured around 113
                        "Primary Patterns". These represent the
                        major variations of the commonly used
                        3-4 joseki as practiced in Korea today.
                        Many of these are presented within a
                        'whole board' context and the emphasis
                        is on current or modern variations.
                        Secondary sequences related to these
                        primary patterns are used to explore
                        well-commented interesting variations.
                        Most variations are extended into
                        'after joseki' and 'unreasonable play',
                        'modern play' and 'old variations are

                        <p>The authors encourage their readers
                        to "learn ... and then forget" their
                        joseki and to consider joseki choices
                        within the game context. They use
                        korean terms sparingly (sunsoo for
                        sente etc) and provide a glossary at
                        the back for terms that Western readers
                        may not be familiar with. The book is
                        beautifully bound with a high quality
                        cover, it is well printed and well laid
                        out with very readable diagrams and
                        clear explanations.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="kages_secret_chronicles"></a> Kage's
                        Secret Chronicles of Handicap Go<br>
                         T. Kageyama, 7-dan<br>
                         Translated by James Davies<br>
                         Ishi Press<br>
                         Reviewed by Terry Fung, 1k

                        <p>What can one learn from studying
                        low-handicap games between two
                        professionals and a professional
                        against a strong amateur? The list
                        could be pretty long, including corner
                        joseki, whole board fuseki, direction
                        of play, middle game technique, sente
                        and gote, honte moves and overplays.
                        But the most important thing that I
                        learned from this book is how
                        professionals deal with over-aggressive
                        moves and unreasonable challenges. This
                        book helps weak players like me to
                        build up confidence when playing
                        against stronger players. It should be
                        a great book for players between AGA 9k
                        to 2d.</p>

                        <p>The book includes nine
                        fully-commented real handicap games
                        from 2 to 5 stones. While the two
                        professionals were playing against each
                        other, they engaged in lively and
                        entertaining conversations. When one
                        professional plays against an amateur,
                        both professionals comment after the
                        actual game and they often have
                        different ideas about an identical
                        position. Last but not least, this book
                        has a feature that I enjoyed very much:
                        there are about 7 to 8 questions per
                        game to test your strength, and you can
                        only find the answers after flipping to
                        the next page.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="Kanzufu"></a>
                         Published in Japan under the auspices
                        of Maeda, 9p<br>
                         Reviewed by Douglas M. Auclair</b></p>

                        <p>The Kan-zufu is a classic Chinese
                        book of life and death problems used to
                        school Go students seeking professional
                        rank. It has the original Chinese
                        introductory text and a translation
                        into Japanese. Following that are the
                        problems: two to a page with hints in
                        Japanese, and the answers to those
                        problems immediately on the reverse
                         Of all my problem books, this is the
                        one I turn to most often. Sometimes I
                        get the solution in a flash, sometimes
                        it takes weeks of struggle to find the
                        answer. I never turn the page, though,
                        until I'm sure I'm correct. Nothing
                        beats the feeling of my solution being
                        vindicated. However, on rare occasions,
                        I receive a shock that my solution was
                        wrong; obviously wrong as the answer
                        shows (usually my attempt reversed the
                        order of correct play, giving the
                        opponent the vital point). At any rate,
                        when I study the problems, I feel a
                        sense of wonder and gravity, as if I'm
                        participating with the Go sages in
                        their study.<br>
                         As the Kan-zufu text is in Japanese,
                        some readers may be put off. I found,
                        on the other hand, the hints a little
                        too helpful exposing the theme of the
                        problem at hand. Readers of the
                        American Go Journal may recall an
                        article by Janice Kim, 1P, which
                        mentioned an encounter over this book
                        on her daily commute, how she would
                        study a problem, sometimes for days.
                        This echoes the story in The Treasure
                        Chest Enigma by Nakayama Noriyuki, 7p,
                        of Suzuki's sensei scolding an insei:
                        "Don't get a stone from the bowl until
                        you know where to play!" I've found
                        studying the Kan-zufu has given me an
                        edge killing or saving a group against
                        my peers on the go board.<br>
                         Although not currently listed by any
                        of the vendors, I've found that they
                        are often willing to find ways to
                        procure a copy of rare books.</p>


                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="learn_to_play_go"></a>
                        Learn to Play Go (four volumes)<br>
                         by Janice Kim and Jeong Soo-Hyun<br>
                         Published by Good Move Press; $17.95
                        (vol. 1); $14.95 (vol.2-4)<br>
                         Reviewed by Steven Robert Allen,

                        <p>Experienced go players sometimes
                        deride this series, suggesting it's
                        overly simple. With go books, though,
                        as with go itself, simplicity is very
                        often a virtue. Containing large
                        diagrams, witty asides, and plenty of
                        interesting go history and trivia, this
                        series is perfect for those who are new
                        to the game. Later volumes contain
                        information that even mid-level players
                        will find useful.</p>

                        <p>The first volume starts at the very
                        beginning by explaining the rules and
                        outlining some rudimentary strategies.
                        In the back, a paper board with stones
                        is included. (This is somewhat
                        difficult to play with because the
                        pieces are so small.)</p>

                        <p>The second volume, "The Way of the
                        Moving Horse," goes a couple steps
                        beyond the most basic strategies. The
                        third volume, "Dragon Style," contains
                        some go aphorisms and a few analyzed
                        sample games. The fourth volume,
                        "Battle Strategies," contains more
                        "advanced" strategies.</p>

                        <p>Of all the books out there, these
                        seem to me to be the very best for
                        introducing beginners to go. Volume
                        one, in particular, makes a perfect
                        gift for someone approaching the game
                        for the first time. The series will
                        eventually include nine volumes. The
                        fifth volume, The Palace of Memory, is
                        expected shortly.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="LearntoPlayGoVol1"></a>
                        Learn to Play Go, Vol. I (2nd ed.)<br>
                         A Master's Guide to the Ultimate
                         by Janice Kim 1P and Jeong Soo-hyun
                         Good Move Press, 176 pages $17.95<br>
                         Reviewed by Steven E. Polley</b></p>

                        <p>This book, part of a four part
                        series is a nearly perfect book for the
                        new player of go. Written in a simple,
                        straight-forward manner, with
                        illustrations for almost every concept
                        discussed, the book allows the student
                        to learn at his on pace, and is ideal
                        for a quick review of any rule or
                        concept. Regardless of the facet of the
                        game being presented, the authors first
                        give the simplest examples, and then
                        build each chapter with increasingly
                        advanced ideas- so that each aspect of
                        go is completely discussed in an easy
                        to understand, step by step

                        <p>The book is divided into two parts,
                        covering fundamentals and basic
                        techniques. Part I consists of eight
                        chapters dealing with topics such as
                        capturing, connecting, life and death,
                        and ko. Part I also contains, in
                        chapter 8, the score of an actual 19x19
                        game that the reader can follow, with
                        excellent annotations, move by move.
                        After the reader has learned "the
                        basics," Part II, in six chapters,
                        cleverly builds on that foundation with
                        topics such as: capturing techniques,
                        connecting techniques, capturing races,
                        and ko fighting.</p>

                        <p>In addition to this excellent
                        introduction to Go, Learn to Play Go,
                        Vol. I also has two extra features that
                        make it an outstanding book for the
                        novice player. The first is that each
                        chapter is followed by a section called
                        "Try it Yourself" which amounts to a
                        section of problems that test the ideas
                        presented in the preceding chapter. The
                        second is ten "extra sections", with
                        from one to three pages, that are
                        dispersed throughout the text, and give
                        the reader more of a "feel" for the
                        game. For example, one section explains
                        go etiquette, another go strength, i.e.
                        the rating system. One gives
                        information about go on the Internet,
                        and still another introduces the reader
                        to some of the more famous players of
                        the game. Another unique feature of
                        this volume is that each copy comes
                        complete with a reversible 19x19, 13x13
                        and 9x9 board, so that the reader can
                        start playing immediately. The 'stones"
                        are paper and can be difficult to use,
                        but still a nice addition to the book,
                        which is highly recommended for anyone
                        from 30 to roughly 25 kyu.</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="BattleStratagies"></a></b>
                              <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">
                        <b>Learn to Play Go, Volume IV: Battle
                        By Janice Kim and Soo-Hyun Jeong,<br>
                        Published by Samarkand<br>
                        Reviewed by Lawrence Ku, 11k<br>
                        May 26, 2003</b></font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">This was
                        the first English go book my parents
                        bought for me, so I have a special
                        feeling for it. In comparison with
                        other go books, "Learn to Play" uses
                        large pictures to demonstrate many
                        variations and provides explanations of
                        many go terms that will be very useful
                        for a beginner. When I received this
                        book, I was 21 kyu and it gave me a
                        systematic view of attacking
                        techniques, helping me a lot in my own
                        attacking skills even though I could
                        not fully understand all of the
                        material in part 1, which covers middle
                        game techniques such as invasion and
                        reduction, battle strategies, how to
                        attack, and how to take care of your
                        stones or how to make good shape. While
                        the second part of the book, which
                        covers life and death and ko fighting,
                        was a bit too easy for me I recently
                        re-read "Learn to Play" and found Part
                        1 still very useful.</font></p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="LeatherGoSet"></a>
                        Leather Go Set<br>
                         Viking Trader, $55-$75<br>
                         Reviewed by Andy Kelly<br>
                        <br></b> While reading The Master of Go
                        by Yasunari Kawabata last summer, I
                        became interested in the game and
                        started looking for an affordable
                        entry-level set. I ended up buying a
                        leather one from Viking Trader, which I
                        got for less than retail on eBay.<br>
                         The board is made of soft suede
                        leather that is about 20"X 20" (the
                        edges are rounded and irregular), and
                        the playing grid, burned into the
                        surface, is 13.5"X 13.5". The stones
                        are black and white glass roughly 2 cm
                        in diameter. It comes with two leather
                        pouches for the stones and a larger
                        leather bag that can hold the set.<br>
                         Although these are not the traditional
                        materials for a Go set, this one
                        captures the idea that textures are
                        important. The contrast between the
                        warmth of the leather and the cold
                        smoothness of the glass makes playing
                        on this board a much richer experience
                        than using the wooden boards and
                        plastic pieces of other low-end sets.
                        The pieces are also heavy enough so
                        that removing captured stones doesn't
                        scatter the remaining ones. It's
                        marketed as a Pente set for the SCA and
                        Ren Faire folk, but for me, all of this
                        leather gives it an appealing
                        cowboyishness, a Wild West meets Far
                        East feel (think Shanghai Noon or Red
                        Sun, but better).<br>
                         My only complaint is that the hoshi
                        (handicap) points aren't on the board.
                        I was surprised to see how much I had
                        come to depend on them for orientation,
                        even though I had only been playing for
                        a short time. I ended up drawing them
                        on with a brown Sharpie.<br>
                         Despite the one drawback, I have been
                        extremely happy with the set and
                        recommend it to anyone who is just
                        starting out or looking to upgrade
                        without dropping hundreds or thousands
                        of dollars.<br>
                         Available at

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="lessons_in_the_fundamentals_of_go"></a>
                        Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go<br>
                         by Toshiro Kageyama, 7P<br>
                         Translated by James Davies, 1978<br>
                         Published by Kiseido, 1996 [$15]<br>
                         Reviewed by Tom Boone, 9K</b></p>

                        <p>Anyone 12k or stronger can benefit
                        from this book. Kageyama, a
                        professional teacher and lecturer on
                        Japanese television, observed four
                        levels, starting around 12K, where his
                        amateur students seemed to hit
                        roadblocks. His book prescribes the
                        same remedy at each level. Review the
                        fundamental principles until practice
                        and experience give you the confidence
                        to make sound moves without hesitating.
                        Repeat as needed.</p>

                        <p>For example, you'll have a much
                        easier time finding the best move if
                        you know at a glance whether or not the
                        ladder works. You won't have to look
                        for alternatives to an obvious move,
                        even though it seems wholly uninspired,
                        if you can see how effectively it
                        settles an urgent area. "Lessons" holds
                        up well under repeated browsing. It
                        comes in particularly handy when you're
                        looking for something to help you warm
                        up for the next tournament.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="LifeDeathElementryVol4"></a></b>
                        <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><b>Life
                        and Death, Elementary Go Series Vol.
                         By James Davies,<br>
                         Published by Kiseido Publishing
                         157 pages, $13.00<br>
                         Reviewed by Lawrence Ku, AGA

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">This
                        book is one of the Elementary Go series
                        published by Kiseido. I don't know why
                        this book is Vol. 4, as I think it
                        should be Vol. 2 since I'd prefer to
                        read it right after Vol. 1 'In the
                        Beginning'. If you want to study life
                        and death, this book is a great one to
                        start with. It begins with the simplest
                        'three-space' shapes and gradually
                        moves to four-space, five-space, and
                        more complicated shape such as, L+1, J
                        and carpenter's square. Not only does
                        the book discuss the life and death of
                        those different shapes, but also
                        teaches you how to make eyes, what are
                        false eyes, how to attack, defend, and
                        throw-in. Divided into 36 sections,
                        there are a few problems to help you
                        practice the new techniques at the end
                        of each section. I read this book when
                        I was 16k and found that while
                        two-thirds of the material was easy,
                        the rest was very challenging. "Life
                        and Death" is excellent for both
                        beginner and mid-level kyu

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="Fund_of_Go"></a> Lessons
                        in the Fundamentals of Go</b><br>
                         <b>by Toshiro Kageyama</b><br>
                         <b>Kiseido K28</b><br>
                         <b>Reviewed by Rodrigo Alonso
                         The Japanese word for "fundamentals"
                        is kiso. Luckily for go trivia, part of
                        the kanji for kiso is a slight
                        variation of the character for igo,
                        with the particle ishi (stone) added at
                        the bottom.&nbsp; This "founding stone"
                        reflects nicely the idea of
                        fundamentals in any activity; from
                        karate to cooking and from baseball to
                        Go. A fundamental is a basic rule for
                        performance, distilled from the
                        experience of generations, whose
                        dismissal leads to poor results.
                        Kageyama's book follows the
                        fundamentals of good exposition; full
                        of witty remarks about life and the
                        competitive go scene, it stays focused
                        on its basic purpose: To convince
                        readers of ANY rank that faithfulness
                        to Go fundamentals can only enhance
                        their enjoyment of the game. Instead of
                        endless sequences of joseki, Kageyama
                        teaches how to profit from correct
                        joseki study. He clarifies the essence
                        of thickness, sente and good shape and
                        finds time to enlighten us with wisdom
                        regarding tesuji, life and death
                        problems and yose guidelines. As a
                        final gift, he explains how to beat a
                        Meijin.&nbsp; I can only make mine the
                        author's advice: "If you want to get
                        stronger, read this book."</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="LifeandDeathInterLevelProblems"></a>
                        Life and Death: Intermediate Level
                         by Maeda Nobuaki, 9 Dan.<br>
                         Reviewed by James Bonomo<br>
                         Slate &amp; Shell; $14.00<br>
                         <a href="http://www.slateandshell.com/">http://www.slateandshell.com/</a></b></p>

                         As the back of this little book says,
                        Maeda was known as "the god of life and
                        death Go problems". These problems,
                        like many of Slate &amp; Shell's
                        offerings, were originally published in
                        Go Review, the first serious Go
                        magazine in English. It's good to have
                        them widely available again.<br>
                         The book follows the format of the
                        magazine articles, which is both a
                        strength and a weakness. Each of the
                        magazine articles presented ten life
                        and death problems of increasing
                        difficulty. In a magazine, this allowed
                        most players to cruise through the
                        problems until they reached their
                        level. And indeed, a wide range of
                        readers would find challenging problems
                        in the book. There is a problem in
                        simply reproducing these cycles of ten,
                        though. A reader might quickly run
                        through the start of each cycle, but
                        then become stuck on a hard problem.
                        Repeating this cycle eleven times, for
                        the 110 problems here, could become
                         The problems in each cycle cover a
                        reasonable range of difficulty. I'm an
                        AGA 1 kyu who enjoys life and death
                        problems. The first five or so in each
                        set seemed very easy to me, often being
                        obvious; but, by the last one or two, I
                        had to think longer than would have
                        been reasonable in a game. The book
                        claims a range from about 7 kyu to 2
                        dan, which doesn't seem far off except
                        for the very easiest problems.<br>
                         Physically, the soft-cover book is
                        small and perfect-bound. It is well
                        edited. I only found two noticeable
                        mistakes: Problem 19 should say White ,
                        not Black, to play and kill, but few
                        would be confused; Problem 41 more
                        seriously omits the edge of the board
                        on the right hand side, which may
                        confuse some. The book is small enough
                        to be carried in my briefcase or a
                        large pocket, providing a source of
                        short problems to read in my odd free
                        minutes. While certainly not my
                        favorite life and death book, I will
                        reread it several times.</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="LiveorDie"></a>
                        LiveOrDie Software<br>
                         By Lyu Shuzhi</b><br>
                         <b>Review by Bull Hudson</b></p>

                        <p>I just received my first Go Journal,
                        the Fall 2001/Winter 2002 issue and
                        find it well put together, very much
                        informative and enjoyable reading.
                        Having recently started playing Go,
                        anything and everything I can find to
                        help my game is welcome.<br>
                         From the start, the term "Life and
                        Death" stood out. Each Go book I read
                        would stress the need to master Life
                        and Death problems. In the first couple
                        months at our local Go club the murmur
                        through the onlookers was, "You need to
                        learn Life and Death." Yes, I said, I
                        will do that, and went on the search
                        for solving this Life and Death
                         In the months that followed it seemed
                        that solving this problem of making
                        Life was eluding me. I was though
                        making lots of Death, and it was mostly
                        my own. Playing on the Internet I could
                        feel the kibitzers running from their
                        monitors screaming, "He doesn't know Life and
                        Death!" At this point the best thing
                        I thought I could do would be to travel
                        to some remote place on this
                        planet,dig a deep pit and bury my game.<br>
                         But now perhaps not all was lost, as
                        in hand I had my new American Go
                        Journal and I was off to read it
                        poolside in hopes of finding some bits
                        of wisdom. The front cover read, "PRO
                        SLAYER" in bold red letters with a
                        picture of Jie Li 7 dan. Wow, to be
                        that good.<br>
                         Poolside I read, reclining in a lounge
                        chair, basking in the Arizona sun. I
                        thumbed through it looking at the game
                        review with mouth-watering
                         anticipation. Then I came to Go
                        Review, Resources for Go players. Here
                        I find DieOrLive software. I read the review
                        and almost jumped out of my lounge
                        chair to run inside to buy it. Had I finally
                        found the solution to my Life and Death
                         I was re-reading the review when I
                        noticed the wasp. It's on my lounge
                        chair with its angry-looking wasp eyes.
                        It's big. It's yellow. And it's looking
                        at me.<br>
                         Interesting how the small things in
                        life can bring such fear. I think to
                        myself, "I'll move and you can have the
                        lounge chair." Bad escape move on my
                        part. The wasp tries to attach. I do a
                        knights move, Go Journal in hand
                        extending. The swish of pages in the
                        air. The wasp moves and gets good aji
                        but I leap from my lounge chair with a
                        tesuji and build a bigger moyo.<br>
                         "Swoosh, swoosh" the Go Journal cuts
                        the air. The wasp hanes but the Go
                         Journal cuts the air again. Then
                        suddenly "Yose." The wasp now does a
                        little zig-zag in front of me, really pissed,
                        then goes for a kikashi. I answer,
                        but with one of those plays that you think
                        will be the end of you. "Swoosh"
                        goes the Journal and it slips from my hand,
                        64 pages whirling through the air
                        at high speed right at the wasp. What
                        would happen now, with my only
                        defense gone? Luckily, my move turned out to
                        be the death-dealing tesuji.<br>
                         The Journal's journey through air and
                        across the pool deck left it torn and
                        tattered. Figuring this must be a Life
                        and Death lesson, I went in to buy the
                        DieOrLive software. It is everything
                        Garlock promised, and I can feel I'm
                        getting stronger at reading these
                        problems. This is the solution to the
                        aliment that I was having, and I would
                        recommend it to anyone wanting to learn
                        about Life and Death.<br>
                         Thanks, American Go Journal for your
                        saving pages. In more ways than

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="magnetic_go_set"></a>
                        Magnetic Go Set (Kiseido MG25)<br>
                         Retailed by Kiseido
                         $130 (MG20 is $100)<br>
                         Reviewed by Lon Atkins, 15 K</b></p>

                        <p>At 36 x 34 cm, this magnetic set is
                        large enough to play a comfortable game
                        on, yet still small enough to use for
                        study. The metal of the board wraps
                        around at the center seam. It's
                        possible to gently fold the board
                        closed and have stones on the tenth
                        line maintain their grip when I put the
                        board away on a shelf (standing upright
                        on its 1.9 cm edge). The designer knew
                        that games and study are sometimes
                        interrupted while the table is put to a
                        more pragmatic use, like dinner.</p>

                        <p>The playing surface features a
                        wood-grain print in light yellow-tan,
                        like Katsura. My first reaction as the
                        set was opened: "How can magnets stick
                        to wood?"<br>
                         The plastic stones measure 1.7 cm in
                        diameter. Their magnets are glued
                        snugly into a recess in the base, so
                        that nothing but smooth plastic ever
                        touches the board's surface. Unlike
                        with my first magnetic set (a rather
                        small artifact), the surface of MG25
                        remains unscratched.</p>

                        <p>The bowls are black plastic. They're
                        shallow and broad, which makes them a
                        bit unwieldy to screw open and closed.
                        Getting the knack of it took me a few

                        <p>The set has a nice carrying case,
                        and the bowls are wide so they pack
                        well into the case, which must reflect
                        the dimensions of the folded board. (I
                        made a cork template to hold the bowls
                        more firmly during travel. Otherwise
                        they bump around.)</p>

                        <p>This high-quality set is worth the
                        expense for its combination of utility
                        and elegance. Kiseido also offers MG20
                        (32 x 30 cm), which I am guessing is
                        the MG25's little brother. I'm sure
                        they'll be glad to tell you if you
                        contact them.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="MasterGo"></a> MasterGo
                         Distributed by Slate &amp; Shell<br>
                         $100 from
                         Reviewed by Chris Garlock</b></p>

                        <p>Every so often something comes along
                        that changes everything. The internal
                        combustion engine. The personal
                        computer. The 4-slice toaster.<br>
                         The arrival of MasterGo fuseki
                        software is a huge breakthrough in Go
                        technology: properly used, it could
                        single-handedly raise the level of
                        amateur Go-playing throughout the
                         MasterGo is a deceptively simple piece
                        of software, basically a database of
                        professional Go games. But what a
                        database! The current release has over
                        12,000 games, with plans to add
                        thousands more each month.<br>
                         The games span the breadth of Go
                        history from Shusaku's famous Castle
                        Games to the post-war New Fuseki on up
                        to recent modern masters. If MasterGo
                        simply made such a broad collection
                        easily available it would be useful.
                        But the genius of the software,
                        developed by Chuck Robbins, is that the
                        entire game database is instantly
                        searchable using a powerful search
                        engine created by Peter
                         What this means is that you can now
                        have a professional Go player in your
                        computer. Instead of wondering where
                        move 16 should have been, you can
                        instantly find out where a professional
                        would play. When you search the
                        position in MasterGo, you'll not only
                        see where most professionals would
                        play, but you can then look at the
                        actual pro games in which the position
                        occurred and see how the play
                        developed. You can search by player and
                        color and date, enabling you to find,
                        say, all of Rin Kaiho's games on White
                        against Kato Masao.<br>
                         The implications are staggering.
                        Little wonder that pro 9-dan Michael
                        Redmond has endorsed MasterGo, saying
                        that he uses it to prepare for
                        tournaments. I have already used
                        MasterGo to explore my favorite
                        openings in greater depth and plan to
                        import my own collection of amateur
                        tournament games so that I can prepare
                        for common patterns.<br>
                         While the speed and depth of MasterGo
                        are dazzling, the user interface could
                        still use some tweaking. A great deal
                        of effort has obviously been expended
                        to simplify a huge, complex program,
                        but navigating through MasterGo is not
                        yet effortlessly intuitive. The brief
                        manual is worth a quick read, providing
                        helpful guidance on optimal use of
                        MasterGo's powerful features, or go to
                        http://www.mastergo.org and check out
                        the FAQ section.<br>
                         Also included in MasterGo is a joseki
                        dictionary, which, in conjunction with
                        the fuseki search abilities, makes it
                        possible to evaluate josekis based on
                        real-game positions. The only thing
                        missing is a similarly extensive and
                        powerful life-and-death utility and
                        then MasterGo could truly claim to be
                        the Go world's killer app.</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="Monkey_Jump_Workshop"></a> Monkey Jump
                         by Richard Hunter<br>
                         Slate &amp; Shell<br>
                         Reviewed by Lon Atkins, 12K</b></p>

                        <p>We all recall our first encounter
                        with the monkey jump. An overplay!
                        Well, an annoyance. Errr, looks like
                        big trouble. How the blue blazes can he
                        get away with a move like that?<br>
                         So, in some book or on some Web site,
                        we find a short piece on the Monkey
                        Jump. Armed with our new-found
                        knowledge we await our nemesis and make
                        The Magic Reply. As our opponent's
                        stone slips through the defense and
                        ravages our territory, we make a note
                        to revisit the mystery. It seems the
                        Monkey Jump must be handled differently
                        in different contexts.<br>
                         Richard Hunter has produced a
                        masterful text on the Monkey Jump, its
                        variations, its point valuations, its
                        sente/gote considerations - and even
                        such things as when the one-point jump
                        may be superior or when the Monkey Jump
                        can be safely ignored. This book
                        contains a ton of MJ problems and 19
                        game records illustrating the MJ in
                        real life. Get it. Arm yourself with
                        knowledge. Don't be made a monkey of in
                        the future!<br>
                         Available at:

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="nihonkiinvol4_1"></a></b>
                              <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">
                        <b>The Nihon Ki-in Handbook Volume 4,
                        Handicap Go<br>
                         Nihon Kiin Editor Fujisawa Kazunari,
                        Translated by Robert J. Terry<br>
                         Published by Yutopian<br>
                         Reviewed by Michael Turk, Australian
                         March 17, 2003</b></font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">What a
                        find for us weak/middle kyu players! If
                        you are weaker than 9 kyu and you play
                        in a club dominated by strong kyu
                        players and dan-level players, you
                        probably spend most of your time
                        playing handicap games. If this is so,
                        this book will be very useful for you.
                        Although it is called a "Dictionary" it
                        does not provide simply brief catalogue
                        of handicap joseki and tesuji like many
                        of the other dictionaries - it actually
                        explains fundamental principles of
                        handicap play in terms that weaker
                        players can understand. The book is
                        written from Black's perspective. Each
                        handicap level - from nine stones down
                        to two is covered. Most diagrams have
                        only seven or eight moves. Each diagram
                        has comments on the key concepts
                        illustrated. The nice thing is that one
                        can actually develop an instinct for
                        the shape of the stones and how they
                        move. The book is designed for you to
                        see what moves are possible and the
                        reasons for their choice - with a
                        consistent strategy in mind. It not
                        only shows the 'good' variations, it
                        also shows some 'weaker' variations and
                        explains the difference. I suspect that
                        the book is written for players in the
                        15-10k AGA range. I am sure that study
                        and application of the principles
                        within the book, (with the view of
                        understanding rather than memorization)
                        will result in you becoming a stronger

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="NihonKiinVol4_2"></a>
                        The Nihon Ki-in Handbook Series, Volume
                        4: Handicap Go Nihon Ki-in Editor:
                        Fujisawa Kazunari<br>
                         Translated by Robert Terry&nbsp;<br>
                         Edited by Craig Hutchinson&nbsp;<br>
                         Yutopian Enterprises, 2001&nbsp;<br>
                         Reviewed by Bob Felice<br>
                        <br></b> Handicap Go analyzes typical
                        White openings in 3 to 9 stone handicap
                        go. The book shows Black's best
                        responses, but there is much here for
                        White, too. Many of the patterns
                        covered were new to me, and I will want
                        to try them when I give stones in a
                        handicap game. Each handicap is
                        accorded a full chapter, which begins
                        with a series of diagrams showing the
                        principal patterns the chapter will
                        cover. I hope future editions of the
                        book will add a cross-reference to the
                        diagrams, so the reader can jump
                        directly to the proper page to study a
                        particular pattern. Each chapter starts
                        with an overview entitled "Guidelines
                        for x Stone Games." These overviews
                        summarize the key concepts for this
                        type of handicap game. The overviews
                        are brief, averaging only about half a
                        page, and leave me hungry for more. I
                        feel the overviews are one of the
                        book's strengths, since this material
                        is accessible to players of all levels.
                        Handicap Go is not a book for
                        beginners. Single digit Kyus and Dans
                        will find many patterns to study. But
                        some of the presented sequences are
                        long, or complicated (or both!) Weaker
                        players will occasionally find
                        themselves lost after reading the
                        chapter overview.</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="palm_many_faces"></a>
                        Palm OS Edition of the Many Faces of Go
                        Joseki Dictionary<br>
                         Version 1.04<br>
                         Joseki Library by David Fotland<br>
                         Palm Programming by Bob Felice<br>
                         Reviewed by Kirby Huget, 8K</b></p>

                        <p>PDAs have become popular among Go
                        enthusiasts to record and review games.
                        A new application can now put an
                        extensive joseki dictionary in the palm
                        of your hand.<br>
                         The Palm OS Edition of the Many Faces
                        of Go Joseki Dictionary contains a
                        library with more than 50,000 moves in
                        standard corner sequences. Moves can be
                        played in any corner. Joseki and trick
                        plays are displayed along with
                        responses to bad moves. It is ideal for
                        study at all levels. A single stylus
                        stroke allows pass and retraction for
                        easy navigation through the library
                        while a "tutor" mode hides hints to
                        test the user. This is a wonderful tool
                        that can be carried and used almost
                        anywhere. Developers Fotland and Felice
                        are quick to point out that their
                        program is a study aid, not a cheating
                        device. They have included a "beep"
                        accompanying each move to remind users
                        to disable the program during
                        tournament play.</p>

                        <p>The program can be used on any
                        handheld device running Palm OS 2.0 or
                        greater (Palm, IBM Workpad, Handspring,
                        Sony CLIE) and is approximately 79k
                        bytes. There are a couple of
                        limitations worth noting. Once a corner
                        is chosen, all subsequent plays are
                        made in that corner. Additionally, if
                        the first move is a pass, only the top
                        left corner joseki are displayed.</p>

                        <p>A free trial version can be
                        downloaded at www.smart-games.com. The
                        trail version enables only 5-5 joseki
                        and disables some navigation features.
                        Registration is $20.00 and well worth
                        the investment. Registration unlocks
                        all dictionary functions and entitles
                        the user to free future maintenance
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="MagisterLudi"></a>
                        Magister Ludi, The Glass Bead Game<br>
                         by Herman Hesse<br>
                         Published 1943 (Nobel Prize for
                        Literature in 1946)<br>
                         Reviewed by Bill Phillips</b></p>

                        <p>Go players are quick to see patterns
                        on the board and then to explore how
                        those patterns are similar to and
                        different from other patterns. In his
                        novel "Magister Ludi: The Glass Bead
                        Game", Herman Hesse tells the history
                        of a future culture which has created a
                        refined and isolated academic community
                        of game players. Their calling in life
                        is to explore the patterns in every art
                        and science. The parallel and
                        harmonious patterns in mathematical
                        proofs, Bach Fugues, historical
                        weavings and every other human endeavor
                        are then linked, documented and
                        annotated in a set of Mega-patterns -
                        The Glass Bead Games.<br>
                         Isolated in their monastery like
                        academic communities the players have
                        been elevated to a high cultural
                        status. The novel is the "historical"
                        story of one of the foremost
                        practitioners of the Game. After
                        exploring his young life where he
                        becomes one of the masters of the game,
                        it follows his career as one of the
                        leaders of the community the Magister
                        Ludi and finally with his struggle
                        regarding the separation of the
                        community from the world and the
                        separation rest of the world from the
                        joys and beauty of the Game.<br>
                         Although there is no direct evidence
                        that Hesse played Go, he did have a
                        familiarity with Japan so it seems
                        likely he was aware of the game. The
                        Glass Bead Game can be considered an
                        extension of the path that Haskell
                        Small took when he showed us a way to
                        combine the visual beauty of the game
                        with the audio beauty of a piano
                         While this book is not about Go per se
                        it is about that larger quest that we
                        all share when we strive to find common
                        patterns in the world. Enjoy!</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="MakingGoodShape"></a></b>
                              <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">
                        <b>Making Good Shape<br>
                         By Rob van Zeijst and Richard
                         Kiseido Publishing Company<br>
                         Reviewed by Lon Atkins, 12k<br>
                         March 24, 2003</b></font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">This new
                        book is the missing piece of the
                        puzzle. Yes, empty triangles are bad
                        and dumplings are horrible, and never
                        get split apart - but isn't all that
                        rather obvious? After reading endless
                        game comments stating that "Black makes
                        good shape" or "White has bad shape,"
                        but never why, finally I am given rules
                        and many examples concerning
                        shape-thought. Following the section on
                        theory and practice come 245 problems
                        to pound the concepts into one's skull.
                        Reasons and alternatives are provided
                        with the answers. This is real
                        teaching. The problems are a delight to
                        work out. I set them up on a board and
                        try various lines until I understand
                        how to handle the situation. Many of
                        the problems were encountered in other
                        books, but never were explanations so
                        lucid and valuable. The final section
                        contains two games buttressed with very
                        thorough commentary. Again, the "whys"
                        are emphasized. This is terrific study
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="master_of_go"></a> The
                        Master of Go<br>
                         by Yasunari Kawabata<br>
                         Published by Vintage Books; $12<br>
                         Reviewed by Steven Robert Allen,

                        <p>A game of go is much like a story.
                        It has tension, drama and conflict. If
                        you win, the story has a happy ending,
                        if you lose, a sad one. This inherent
                        drama is one reason the prize-winning
                        novelist Yasunari Kawabata was able to
                        take a particularly momentous game of
                        go and transform it into one of the
                        greatest Japanese novels of the 20th

                        <p>"The Master of Go" is a fictional
                        account of fact. As a budding writer,
                        Kawabata was commissioned by a
                        newspaper to report on the 1938
                        retirement match between Shusai (the
                        last hereditary Honinbo) and Kitani
                        Minoru (given the fictitious name
                        Otak&#8218; in the novel). Because of
                        Shusai's failing health, the game
                        extended over six months, and was
                        played in over a dozen different
                        sessions at various locations around
                        Japan. After the war, Kawabata
                        transformed his newspaper accounts into
                        this extraordinary novel, eventually
                        winning the Nobel Prize for Literature
                        in 1968.</p>

                        <p>The game itself plays a central role
                        in the book. Game records are sprinkled
                        throughout along with detailed analyses
                        of the match. Yet this novel is much
                        more than just an elaborate game
                        record. The Master of Go, like much
                        post-war Japanese literature, maps the
                        rough and difficult terrain between
                        traditional Japanese society,
                        represented by the Master (Shusai), and
                        contemporary westernized society,
                        represented by Otak&#8218;. As such,
                        the book is as much about Japan's
                        defeat in World War II and the waning
                        of traditional Japanese culture and
                        values as it is about the match. It's a
                        sad but intensely beautiful story,
                        filled from start to finish with
                        tragedy and pathos.</p>

                        <p>The Master of Go holds a special
                        place in the hearts of go players not
                        only because it focuses on the game we
                        love, but because it incorporates that
                        game into a work of the highest
                        literary art. Every go player should
                        read this book. Most, if they are
                        serious about the game, will read it
                        many times.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="1001LifeDeathProb"></a>
                        One Thousand and One Life-and-Death
                         Mastering the Basics Series, Volume
                         Compiled and Edited by Richard
                         Kiseido Publishing Company, $15<br>
                         Reviewed by Patrick Bridges</b></p>

                        <p>Kiseido's first published book in
                        the new "Mastering the Basics" is a
                         book of life and death problems,
                        consisting of 1001 life and death
                         problems, primarily taken from the
                        Nihon-Kiin's book"1,2,3 de Tokeru<br>
                         Tsume-go 1000 Dai".<br>
                         The book is divided into three
                        sections, the first containing 400
                        "one-move problems" evenly split
                        between black to play and black to
                        kill. The second and third sections are
                        300 three-move problems and 301
                        five-move problems, again split evenly
                        between black to play and black to
                        kill, with the extra (1001st) problem
                        being a five-move black to kill
                        problem. Problems range in difficulty
                         simple nakade shapes to moderately
                        difficult shapes. The book is laid out
                        like the "Get Strong At Tesuji", with
                        the odd pages containing 8 or 9 life
                        and death problems and the overleaf
                        even-number page containing the correct
                        answers. Refutations of incorrect
                        answers are generally not given and
                        figuring out the refutation of your
                        incorrect answers can be good exercise
                        all by itself.<br>
                         I'm really enjoying this book.
                        Life-and-death, reading, and
                        concentration are areas I've been
                        trying to improve lately, and this book
                        seems to be helping. The problems are
                        mixed up nicely, with easier and more
                        challenging problems scattered
                        throughout. Even some of the one-move
                        problems can be relatively challenging.
                        While the correct answer is indeed one
                        move with a relatively simple
                         continuation, the challenge can come
                        in seeing the 5-move sequence that
                        refutes the incorrect answer which
                        leapt to mind.<br>
                         The book is most useful for low-kyu
                        and dan level players who want more
                        practice with life-and-death and
                        reading, for example after having
                        completed at least the first three of
                        the Graded Go Problems for Beginners
                        series. For less experienced players,
                        the graded Go problem books would
                        probably be a better time investment,
                        though this book would still be

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to

            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="Opening _Theory_Made_Easy"></a>
                        Opening Theory Made Easy<br>
                         by Otake Hideo 9P<br>
                         Ishi Press; $12 U.S.<br>
                         Reviewed by Marc Willhite</b></p>

                        <p>I traded chess for go in May of this
                        year. I played in my first tournament
                        here in Colorado the first weekend of
                        November and managed to score three out
                        of four points, which put me in the
                        10-12 kyu range.<br>
                         Although this elementary masterpiece
                        is "officially" out-of-print, I was
                        able to track down a copy from the
                        British Go Association website

                         Presented in three loosely assembled
                        sections with the headings, "Fuseki
                        Fundamentals," "Good Shape," and
                        "Strategy," Otake brings his twenty
                        principles to life with very basic,
                        easy-to-read diagrams and commentary
                        that is clear and understandable for
                        the beginner. His discussions on
                        extensions and pincers as well as
                        dealing with invasions gave me insights
                        I'd been searching for since I started
                        playing the game. He not only explains
                        which moves are fundamentally sound,
                        but why.<br>
                         You'll be introduced to concepts such
                        as "family feuds," "pushing the cart
                        from behind," and also shown the power
                        of a ponnuki and building "box-like"
                        moyos. Otake's main objective is for
                        the reader to commit these principles
                        to memory like proverbs so they become
                        second nature and are ready to use when
                        you encounter similar situations in
                        your own games.<br>
                         What's more, there is a sharp wit
                        lurking deep in many passages which
                        makes the book a real pleasure to
                         If your experience with this book is
                        anything like mine, you'll be playing
                        the opening with a new sense of
                        understanding and confidence, keys to
                        playing a better game of go.</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="PalmSGF"></a></b>
                        <b>Palm SGF<br>
                         Reviewed by Zeke Tamayo<br></b><br>
                         The sole reason I purchased this
                        program was because it is fully SGF
                        based and is the only reader I've found
                        with that ability. I've also used
                        PilotGOne, Pilot Go, and AIGO. Palm
                        SGF's major advantage is that it can
                        read SGF files from my SD memory card
                        rather than from the "Notepad"
                        application. The drawback is that a 3rd
                        party utility is required to copy SGF
                        files to the SD card, as the basic
                        "hotsync" application refuses to copy
                        SGF files to my Tungsten|T. However,
                        this is a minor issue compared with cut
                        and pasting the entire SGF file to
                        notepad on the palm desktop in order to
                        put the file onto my palm pilot.</p>

                        <p>There are a few issues with the
                        interface on Palm SGF. The graphics
                        allow you to change the board color,
                        stone color, and blink speed but the
                        comments field is unruly. You cannot
                        view the whole field at once, and the
                        only way to scroll the field is to
                        click a small arrow with your stylus.
                        The website says "jog dial" support can
                        move the comment field, but this is on
                        the Sony Clie and there isn't any
                        equivalent on the Tungsten.</p>

                        <p>The file chooser is fairly good.
                        There are no problems getting to a
                        file, and you can see basic info about
                        the file (event, filename, date, and
                        players). The only thing I think could
                        be improved is a way to sort the files.
                        They don't really seem to have any
                        sorting at all and folders are as
                        likely to appear at the top of the list
                        as they are somewhere in the middle of
                        the list.</p>

                        <p>By far, the best function has been
                        the "play through" one. If you load an
                        SGF file (a pro game or tsume go set
                        perhaps) you can play the next move. In
                        other words, if black to play, you can
                        search around until you make the
                        correct choice and white's next move
                        will be shown. This is wonderful for
                        Tsume go!</p>

                        <p>Overall, Palm SGF is a significant
                        improvement on older PDF go programs
                        and has become my primary reviewing

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="Positional_Judgement"></a> Positional
                        Judgment: High-Speed Game
                         <b>by Cho Chikun</b><br>
                         <b>Ishi Press, 1989, 179 pp</b>.<br>
                         <b>Reviewed by Paul Thibodeau</b></p>

                        <p>"Game analysis is the process of
                        estimating fairly accurately the
                        relative territorial prospects of each
                        player at key stages throughout the
                        game, including a correct
                        interpretation of the weak and strong
                        positions," says Cho Chikun, pretty
                        much summing up the theme of this
                         The book's first section covers how to
                        count definite territory, moyos, and
                        thickness, followed by six practice
                        problems. Here the reader develops a
                        good sense of how to accurately judge
                        territorial prospects, "based on the
                        minimum area that cannot be further
                        reduced". These are visually outlined
                        with x's throughout the book, a great
                        aid to learning these skills. The
                        second section applies them.<br>
                         Chapter 3 contains ten diverse
                        illustrations of how an accurate whole
                        board judgment leads to a correct
                        winning strategy, followed by eight
                        multiple-choice problems that clearly
                        exemplify the direct role of
                        territorial estimation in forming
                        strategy. The final chapter contains
                        two of Cho's games illustrating his
                        analysis. The first I found to be a
                        particularly good example.<br>
                         This book doesn't have the smooth and
                        polished feel of Cho's "The 3-3 Point:
                        Modern Opening Theory." More a
                        collection of study material, I had to
                        put the book down frequently and come
                        back to it, but half the problem may
                        have been false expectations. Except
                        for one paragraph on pp. 113-114
                        suggesting comparing territories
                        directly to quickly assess who is
                        ahead, (this territory is about double
                        that, those two are about the same, so
                        I am ahead), one will search in vain
                        for any mention of 'high-speed'
                        analysis, the main reason I got the
                         This method is actually given better
                        coverage in the first chapter
                        'Territory and Power' of Davies' and
                        Akira's Elementary Go Series book:
                        'Attack and Defense'. If one comes to
                        the book expecting it to be an
                        extension of that discussion, (even
                        better, reading that section first
                        before beginning the book), he or she
                        will probably get settled in much more
                         That said, estimating territory is so
                        fundamental to sound analysis that this
                        book will significantly increase the
                        strength of almost any player who
                        doesn't already incorporate estimations
                        in their analysis.<br>
                         Most of the examples are at the
                        amateur dan level, so stronger players
                        -- 1 kyu or above -- will get the most
                        out of it. Players less than 4 kyu may
                        benefit more from 'Attack and
                         Available from Kiseido Publishing
                        Company, $15;

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="pro_pro_handicap_go"></a> Pro-Pro
                        Handicap Go, edited by the Nihon Ki-in
                         (Yutopian, 1997)<br>
                         Reviewed by Lon Atkins, 15K</b></p>

                        <p>How does a strong professional play
                        if given three, four or five stones by
                        another pro and asked to demonstrate
                        victory with clear, straightforward
                        moves? How much could you learn given
                        access to the pros' thoughts as their
                        game unfolded?</p>

                        <p>Three complete and deeply annotated
                        games are the heart of Pro-Pro Handicap
                        Go. Eight additional games carry
                        through to about move 50. The book is
                        visually striking. The main diagrams
                        take up most of the 7" by 8" pages, and
                        no diagram gives more than a few

                        <p>If you're like me and take handis
                        more often than you give them, or if
                        you want to glimpse professional
                        thinking on the white side - this text
                        is great. Unless you're stronger than
                        9-dans like Ishida Yoshio, Takemiya
                        Masaki and Cho Chikun, you'll learn
                        something. The book has many bonuses.
                        Try forecasting key moves. Learn
                        skillful plays from the pros in sidebar
                        diagrams. Enjoy photographs of 22
                        well-known professionals. Get
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><a name="PurpleHeartBoard"></a>
                        <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><b>Purpleheart
                        Go Board<br>
                         Made by Carol Dufour<br>
                         Reviewed by David Bogie<br>
                         October 20, 2003</b></font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">I
                              first noticed Carol Dufour's
                              woodworking on eBay about six
                              months ago because his go boards
                              kept showing up in my searches.
                              They were unusual, made of oak
                              and butternut. When he offered a
                              truly unique go board made of
                              purpleheart, I ordered it
                              immediately for $200, including
                              protective packaging and shipping
                              from Canada. Purpleheart,
                              Leguminosae Peltogyne, grows in
                              South America and is not
                              endangered. The wood is
                              incredibly dense and is difficult
                              to work, quickly dulling edged
                              tools. The breathtaking purple
                              calls to the wood artist. You
                              have seen it in wood sculptures,
                              pool cues, marquetry, flooring,
                              and in custom tools for the
                              discriminating woodworker. Carol
                              is an expert cabinetmaker; his
                              knowledge and skill are evident.
                              Eleven sticks were machined and
                              planed, carefully aligned and
                              matched for color and grain, and
                              pressure-clamped to form the
                              slab. As the wood ages, movement
                              will be balanced by the opposing
                              orientation of the grain. The
                              grid looks silk-screened but was
                              hand-applied using a gabarit, or
                              drawing gauge. Several undercoats
                              of varnish ensured the ink could
                              not bleed. The lines are a bit
                              thick but laser-straight. My
                              board is 1-5/8" thick, the feet
                              make it a nice 2-1/2", and it
                              weighs a hefty 30 pounds. The
                              board plays beautifully with a
                              pleasant sound and plenty of eye
                              appeal. The striking purple color
                              contrasts sharply with warm shell
                              while complimenting cold slate
                              creating a unique visual

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Visit
                              Carol Dufour's site at

                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="restless"></a> Movie:
                        "Restless" DIRECTED BY Jule Gilfillian
                         Arrow Features; 98 minutes<br>
                         Reviewed by Roy Laird</b></p>

                        <p>Leah is adrift, restless. Landing in
                        Beijing after a string of flights from
                        failed romances, she falls in with
                        other expatriates. A chance encounter
                        with a young weiqi master she saw on TV
                        leads to . . . well, let's stop there
                        and not spoil it. Let's just say that a
                        few twists and subplots later, we learn
                        what Dorothy . . . er, Leah is really
                        looking for. (Hint: There's no place
                        like it.)</p>

                        <p>Along the way, we see weiqi on TV,
                        on the street, in a club, at home. On
                        TV, Master Sun (played by Asian Jimmy
                        Smits clone Geng Li) teaches how to
                        "attack from a distance." With an
                        inevitability that Sidney Sheldon would
                        love, the insight Leah gains enables
                        her to turn the tables on the cad who
                        jilted her, and jilt him right back.
                        Catherine Kellner plays Leah with Sarah
                        Jessica Parker-like insouciance.</p>

                        <p>Restless is the first
                        English-language film made in modern
                        Beijing, and the first US-China
                        cooperative filmmaking venture. Don't
                        look for any scathing indictments here,
                        just a basically lighthearted look at
                        some young people falling in and out of
                        love in China while trying to "find"
                        themselves. Watch for a nice subplot
                        about Leah's Asian-American friend, a
                        hunky bimbo delivering his
                        grandfather's ashes who gets more than
                        he bargained for in return.</p>

                        <p>It's a pleasure to see weiqi in an
                        attractive setting, even without so
                        much as a brief reference to the actual
                        nature of the game. (An uninformed
                        viewer could leave with the impression
                        that weiqi is a "variation of chess,"
                        as The New York Times mistakenly
                        reported.) Pi, the recent cult hit in
                        which the monomaniacal main man
                        discovers the secret of the universe on
                        the go board, gave the game a lot of
                        visibility, but didn't leave people
                        wanting to learn more about it.
                        Restless, on the other hand, is a film
                        you can recommend to your friends on
                        its merits, and after they see it they
                        may well ask you some interesting
                        questions about weiqi.</p>

                        <p>If you're looking for a truly great
                        film about weiqi, turn to The Go
                        Masters, the first (and thus far only)
                        joint venture between the Japanese and
                        Chinese film industries. If you can
                        find this out-of-print 1982 sprawling
                        saga of World War II and the Japanese
                        invasion of China, you are in for a
                        once-in-a lifetime treat. Think of it
                        as Go With the Wind. If you find a
                        copy, let me know.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="Sabaki_Weak_Stones_1"></a></b>
                        <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><b>Sabaki:
                        How to Manage Weak Stones<br>
                         Yang Yi-Lun<br>
                         Compiled and Edited by John C.
                         Reviewed by Barney Cohen, 4k*

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">This
                        slim little book is based on material
                        presented by Mr. Yang during a recent
                        "Yang workshop" in New Jersey. It is
                        available via the Wings Across Calm
                        Water Go Club web site. The book
                        consists of two parts, the first
                        illustrating important concepts and
                        techniques necessary for creating
                        sabaki (a flexible, light position) and
                        the second a review of essential sabaki
                        guidelines followed by sample problems
                        and solutions.</font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">This is
                        an extremely slim volume for such a
                        huge subject. Nevertheless, it should
                        prove a useful addition to many
                        player's go library. With so many books
                        on various aspects of go now available,
                        it is truly astonishing that this is
                        the first book ever to be devoted
                        solely to the subject of making sabaki
                        (at least in English). Not only does
                        this book provide the reader with a
                        clear analytical framework for
                        assessing sabaki situations, it
                        introduces a number of important
                        concepts not well discussed elsewhere.
                        Even with this book, there is still a
                        huge hole in the literature for one of
                        the major publishers of go books to
                        develop a much larger treatment on the
                        topic with many more examples and
                        practice problems. In the meantime,
                        this seminal volume should enjoy a wide
                        readership. The last time that John
                        Stephenson transcribed material from
                        one of Mr. Yang's lectures, (How to
                        Destroy and Preserve, 2000), it rapidly
                        disappeared from print. This book is
                        even better and more useful than the
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="Sabaki_Weak_Stones2"></a></b>
                        <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><b>Sabaki,
                        How to Manage Weak Stones<br>
                         By Yi-Lun Yang, 7P<br>
                         Lecture notes compiled and edited by
                        John C. Stephenson<br>
                         Published by Wings Across Calm Water
                        Go Club<br>
                         Reviewed by Kenneth Berg<br>
                         July 28, 2003</b></font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">A
                        prolific teacher, author, and regular
                        attendee of the US Go Congress, Mr.
                        Yang is well known to the American go
                        scene. &#8220;Sabaki&#8221; is based on
                        lectures given by Mr. Yang during one
                        of the annual 4-day intensive workshops
                        held each June by the Wings Across Calm
                        Water Go Club. For those familiar with
                        Mr. Yang&#8217;s other excellent works
                        (such as the Whole Board Thinking in
                        Joseki series and his Ingenious Life
                        and Death Puzzle series), this little
                        tome will get right to the heart of the
                        topic. In section 1, Mr. Yang begins by
                        discussing the importance of managing
                        weak stones. He presents the reader
                        with a series of questions to help
                        evaluate weak stones and decide which
                        course of action is appropriate. The
                        following 78 diagrams and explanations
                        illustrate the principles of sabaki in
                        real-game context, with examples of
                        good, bad, and
                        &#8220;insufficient&#8221; play to show
                        when to run, live quickly, or
                        sacrifice. The remainder of the book
                        covers practice problems, beginning
                        with six sabaki guidelines, followed by
                        12 &#8220;black to play&#8221;
                        half-board problems. While sabaki is
                        important to all levels, this material
                        presented will be most accessible to
                        mid-kyu through dan level players.
                        Higher kyu players can benefit if they
                        approach the book as a tool to help
                        improve their overall judgment relative
                        to handling of weak stones, rather than
                        getting bogged down in some of the more
                        intricate sequences.
                        &#8220;Sabaki&#8221; is available as a
                        limited numbered first printing for
                        $12.75 per copy plus $2.25 per order.
                        Orders can be placed online using
                        PayPal / creditcard from the Wings
                        Across Calm Water Go Club website at:
                        http://www.wingsgoclub.org/ , by going
                        to the section on books. Checks can
                        also be sent directly to John C.
                        Stephenson, 446 Lincoln Ave., Wyckoff,
                        NJ, 07481.<br></font></p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="SegoeTesuji"></a> Segoe
                        Tesuji Dictionary<br>
                         reviewed by Dr. Fumitaka
                         Although more and more
                        English-language go books are published
                        each year, the numbers of English
                        language go texts still pale in
                        comparison to the numbers of such texts
                        in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese.<br>
                         One classic text which is not
                        available in English is the Segoe
                        Tesuji Dictionary. Written by Segoe
                        Kensaku, and co-written by Go Seigen
                        (who was a student of Segoe at the
                        beginning of his career), it is
                        currently published in three volumes.
                        The Segoe Tesuji Dictionary is arranged
                        like a tsumego collection. There are 25
                        sections spread over the three volumes,
                        each dealing with a particular type of
                        tesuji (such as hane, oki, oiotoshi,
                        etc.) that is critical in the solution
                        of the problems presented. Each problem
                        is accompanied by a short text (in
                        Japanese of course) that briefly
                        describes the problem and a hint about
                        the correct solution. Each diagram
                        shows the problem arranged on one-half
                        of a go board. The correct solutions
                        are located in the second half of each
                        book, and again each solution is
                        accompanied by a short paragraph of
                        explanation. The problems are
                        categorized as 'A', 'B', or 'C',
                        denoting the difficulty of the problem.
                        'A' problems often have solutions that
                        span multiple diagrams. To facilitate
                        reading the questions and the answers,
                        the book has not only one, but two
                        bookmark ribbons that are frequently
                        bound into the spine of Japanese

                        <p>My own Japanese reading ability is
                        limited, but I have no problem
                        deciphering the meaning of much of the
                        text. The format of this book is such
                        that it is possible to learn from the
                        problems themselves without necessarily
                        being able to read the text. A few
                        minutes of browsing should familiarize
                        the reader with the kanji for 'white
                        first' and 'black first'. Each section
                        face page includes two diagrams
                        demonstrating the type of tesuji
                        highlighted in the section, so you
                        don't have to know how to read Japanese
                        to know the contents of each section.
                        These factors make the Segoe Tesuji
                        Dictionary somewhat more useful to
                        non-Japanese readers compared to
                        another standard Japanese tesuji
                        reference, the Fujisawa Tesuji
                        Dictionary. In the Fusijsawa
                        Dictionary, much of the content is in
                        the form of explanatory text
                        accompanying the diagrams. Not
                        understanding the text seems to me to
                        lose more of the content of the
                        Fujisawa work compared to the Segoe
                         I highly recommend the Segoe Tesuji
                        Dictionary, even if you do not read any
                        Japanese. ISBN numbers: Vol.1
                        4-416-70300-7; Vol.2 4-416-70301-5;
                        Vol.3 4-416-70302-3</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="SplitThePlay"></a>
                         A play by Michael Weller<br>
                         Reviewed by Beverly Leffers</b></p>

                        <p>The ads for the play "Split" promise
                        that "The breakup of the 'perfect
                        couple' stuns and unsettles their
                        immediate circle of friends. Toss in
                        one overly complicated Japanese game, a
                        couple of married swingers and a few
                        obscure frog references and what you
                        have is a serious comedy about life's
                         As it turns out, this play was
                        originally presented 20 years ago as
                        two separate one-act plays, which are
                        now being shown together. One play,
                        which has become Act I, involves the
                        repercussions of the breakup on the
                        circle of friends. The other, which is now Act
                        II, is a two-person play showing the
                        married couple and their relationship
                        shortly before the breakup.<br>
                         Unfortunately, the two segments are
                        insufficiently tied together.
                        Furthermore, there seems to be little
                        purpose in the reverse chronology. Act
                        II, before the breakup, is by far the
                        stronger of the two; perhaps it comes
                        second so that the audience leaves
                         Go plays a small part in the
                        production. In Act I, a friend of the
                        splitting couple says, with a roll of
                        her eyes, that her husband is learning
                        how to play Go. Sure enough, the
                        husband later tries to recruit someone
                        else to the game by showing a position
                        and quoting a Go aphorism which may or
                        may not have been a real one. The other
                        couple turns out to be the promised
                        "married swingers" and Go reappears in
                        the story when the couple, in a private
                        discussion in their home, over a Go
                        game, they get into an argument about
                        the swinging. The argument ends when
                        the woman actually sits on the game, an
                        act that, in my experience, would
                        inflame an argument, not end it. All in
                        all, the play is amusing but not
                         "Split" appears through 10/20 at New
                        York City's Lion Theatre in the new
                        Theatre Row Studios at 410- 412 W. 42nd
                        Street. (btw.9th and 10th)<br>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="tesuji_and_anti_suji_of_go"></a>
                        Tesuji and Anti-Suji of Go<br>
                         By Sakata Eio<br>
                         Published by Yutopian; $17.50<br>
                         Reviewed by Mike LePore e-mail:

                        <p>Weaker players often think of tesuji
                        as the killing moves stronger players
                        make against them. Yet often tesuji
                        (strongest local moves) result in no
                        killing at all and can have profound
                        whole-board relevance. Sakata Eio's
                        book, while loaded with death, shows
                        that implementing a tesuji can also
                        mean getting to live in sente, or
                        giving up stones in return for
                        unconquerable influence, or turning an
                        awful situation into a slightly less
                        awful situation.</p>

                        <p>There are three reasons this book is
                        a valuable learning tool. First, each
                        of the more than 60 problems is
                        accompanied by not only the correct
                        solution but also by the incorrect
                        solutions (anti-suji), as well as
                        detailed explanations. Second, some
                        problems arise from joseki or
                        deviations from joseki and, where
                        applicable, Sakata shows how the
                        problem developed. Third, in many cases
                        the problems build off each other. A
                        certain problem may be almost identical
                        to a prior problem with, say, an extra
                        stone. Sakata shows how such subtle
                        differences on the board can
                        dramatically affect one's ability to
                        employ a tesuji.</p>

                        <p>The presentation style of the book
                        gives the reader more than just an
                        ability to recognize a tesuji in a
                        contrived example. One learns to
                        recognize the rationale behind the
                        tesuji and not simply the tesuji
                        itself; a rationale that can be applied
                        to much more than just the 60 examples
                        in Sakata's great book.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="tesuj_Elem_Vol3"></a></b>
                              <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">
                        <b>Tesuji, Elementary Go Series Vol.
                         by James Davies,<br>
                         Published by Kiseido<br>
                         Reviewed by Lawrence Ku, 11k<br>
                         June 6, 2003</b><br></font></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">One of
                        the Kiseido's "Elementary Go" series,
                        "Tesuji" is divided into 16 chapters,
                        each consisting of several sections
                        focusing on one tesuji or technique. At
                        the end of each section, there are
                        several questions to answer and at the
                        end of each chapter there are review
                        questions on the whole. The final
                        chapter poses a series of challenging
                        problems, all with answers and some
                        with more than one variation. The book
                        is very easy to follow, with clear
                        diagrams covering more than 50 tesuji.
                        While some are fairly easy, some are
                        very challenging. I read this book when
                        I was 14k, and there are chapters where
                        I can answer all of their questions,
                        but there are a few chapters where I
                        only can answer half of the questions.
                        "Tesuji" will improve your strength by
                        at least one to two stones if you are a
                        low or middle kyu player, although
                        players of all strengths will benefit
                        from reading it. Available at

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="tesuji_made_easy_cd"></a> Tesuji Made
                        Easy CD<br>
                         Copyright 2000, Jiang Han, distributed
                        by Yutopian Enterprises; $50<br>
                         Minimum Requirements: 486 or higher,
                        Windows 3.1 or higher, approx. 5 Meg HD
                         Reviewed by Paul Thibodeau</b></p>

                        <p>Tesuji Made Easy is computer
                        software with a huge collection of go
                        problems (2440), illustrating a diverse
                        range of technique in subcategories
                        such as ko, shape, sacrifice, reducing
                        or extending liberties, and sabaki,
                        under six main themes: Life (425),
                        Death (618), Attack (259), Defense
                        (325), Capturing Races (217), and
                        Endgame (596).</p>

                        <p>About 30-40% of the problems are
                        from classic texts, mainly
                        "Guan-Zhi-Pu". They are graded from 1
                        to 5 stars in difficulty, with most
                        between 3 and 5 stars, too difficult
                        for low kyu players. You set the number
                        of guesses you allow yourself for a
                        problem, and your rank is then adjusted
                        depending on whether or not you solve
                        it. The quantity and quality of
                        illustrated variations vary greatly.
                        For some problems there are few or

                        <p>The shortcomings of the program
                        itself are extensive. By far the most
                        serious is the inability to place
                        stones to explore variations. No
                        analysis is possible, if the move is
                        not in the database a 'Lost!' dialog
                        box appears and the problem resets. You
                        can't take back or undo a move, or
                        reset a problem. You need to switch to
                        another problem and come back.</p>

                        <p>The program is slow, taking several
                        seconds to switch between problems on a
                        486-100 with Windows 98. If you change
                        problems while the program is
                        illustrating a variation it will hang.
                        A distracting red square appears on the
                        star-point to allow cursor key entry,
                        and almost always covers one of the
                        stones in the problem. It can be moved
                        but not taken off the board altogether.
                        The 'number of guesses' option is off
                        by one (if you put 2, you will get

                        <p>The grading feature doesn't function
                        properly. After solving only one or two
                        problems the software will promote you.
                        It keeps promoting you for resolving
                        the same problem, which you may easily
                        find yourself doing if you look at
                        problems more than once. If you want to
                        restart the ranking you need to edit
                        the score file, which causes runtime
                        errors. Each problem is identified by
                        either 'have solved', 'not solved', or
                        'wrong answer', but are misidentified
                        even when the program is first
                        installed. A DOS-era style program
                        window that won't fit at 640x480
                        resolution and won't fill to 800x600, a
                        unique Pokemon-like picture associated
                        with each rank that can't be removed,
                        and corny sound events round out the
                        amateurish presentation. There are also
                        some errors in the variations. In a
                        subvariation of Problem 1, 'Capturing
                        Stones/Destroy Opponent's Eye Shape',
                        Black puts his whole group into atari
                        instead of starting a ko, while in
                        Problem 5 of 'Endgame Moves/Invade',
                        White appears to needlessly connect
                        after blocking the monkey jump.</p>

                        <p>The bottom line is that this program
                        really seems to still be in beta.
                        Nevertheless, if all you want is for it
                        to display a Go problem and the correct
                        solution, you will probably be happy,
                        anything else and it will be
                        disappointing. Beginners less than 10
                        kyu will definitely want to give this
                        one a wide berth, picking up books like
                        Tesuji, Life and Death, Attack and
                        Defense, and Endgame from the
                        Elementary Go Series to cover the same
                        ground at a challenging level for about
                        the same price. High kyu and dan
                        players may be willing to tolerate the
                        program's shortcomings to have access
                        to such a large number of classic
                        problems, but will have to resign
                        themselves to setting up many problems
                        on the board.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="36stratagems"></a>
                        <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">The
                        Thirty-six Stratagems Applied to Go<br>
                        Ma Xiaochun, 9P<br>
                        Yutopian Enterprises, $16<br>
                        Reviewed by Andrew Cseh<br>
                        January 20, 2003</font></b></p>

                        <p><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Ma's
                        interesting book explores the
                        resemblance between warfare and go
                        tactics and strategies, based on the
                        ancient Sanshiliu Ji [The Thirty-six
                        Stratagems]. The stratagems, structured
                        in six sets of six schemes each, are
                        illustrated in the same number of
                        brilliantly selected and commented
                        games. Briefly explaining the meaning
                        of the military stratagem, Ma continues
                        by presenting a selected game that
                        illustrates a similar go tactic,
                        accompanied of course by thorough
                        strategic and tactical analysis and
                        explanation. Although the traditional
                        maxims of go cover the tactics and
                        strategies of the game, this book
                        succeeds in bringing a completely
                        unique and new approach that might be
                        closer to our thinking and is one of
                        the most entertaining go books I have
                        read. In addition to learning a lot,
                        it's also a real pleasure to

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="tournament_go_1992"></a>
                        Tournament Go 1992<br>
                         compiled and translated by John
                         Power Publications<br>
                         Reviewed by Danny Dowell, 10k</b></p>

                        <p>This book stunningly presents 50
                        games from top Japanese title matches
                        and top international competition. All
                        the analysis and variations in these
                        books are by top professionals.</p>

                        <p>Unlike the dry commentary sometimes
                        found in other books, "Tournament Go"
                        book brings the games to life with
                        descriptions by both the players and
                        high-ranking observers. This book
                        spreads out the game and includes many
                        variations, doing full justice to the

                        <p>Matches include: Cho Chikun's
                        incredible fight-back for a three game
                        deficit, Kobayashi Koichi and Otake's
                        struggle in the Meijin, and a fierce
                        clash between Shuko and Kobayashi
                        Koichi in the Oza. "Tournament Go" also
                        contains Lee Chang-ho's defeat of Rin
                        Kaiho to become the first teenage world
                        champion. All players above beginner
                        will find this book useful but stronger
                        players will find more even "gems" in
                        this magnificent book.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="treasure_chest_enigma"></a> The
                        Treasure Chest Enigma<br>
                         by Nakayama Noriyuki, privately
                        published by Nakayama Noriyuki, Japan,
                        1984. (ASIN 487 187 1029)<br>
                         by Bob McGuigan (4-dan)</b></p>

                        <p>This classic is a treasure chest of
                        stories, game commentaries and problems
                        by the well-known Japanese pro (5-Dan
                        at the time of publication, now 6-Dan),
                        prolific writer of go books for himself
                        and for many famous professionals, and
                        peripatetic teacher.</p>

                        <p>John Power and Richard Dolen
                        translated the material in this book
                        from the original Japanese. There are
                        seven essays regaling us with stories
                        of historic episodes in Japanese go,
                        tidbits of go culture, and the life of
                        Japanese professional players. For
                        example, there is the story of a
                        life-and-death problem that perplexed
                        strong professionals but was easily
                        solved by an amateur 9-kyu player. Then
                        there is the essay on how one can
                        become stronger by learning how to
                        resign at the right time. The book is
                        graced by the inclusion of haiku poems
                        which Mr. Nakayama's father, a noted
                        haiku poet, wrote when shown the

                        <p>There are also three very detailed
                        commentaries on fascinating
                        professional games, in which we can
                        share the atmosphere in which the game
                        took place as well as the character of
                        the players. Finally, the book
                        concludes with 20 wonderful whole-board
                        problems with solutions, including
                        several of Mr. Nakayama's trademark
                        long ladder problems and finishing with
                        one by the great Dosaku (or perhaps his
                        disciple Inseki, Meijin) in which Black
                        captures 72 stones but can't make two
                        eyes. This is not an instructional
                        book, but you will probably read it
                        more times than any other go book in
                        your library. Reading and savoring it
                        will immensely increase your pleasure
                        in playing go. Many of us thank our
                        lucky stars that we could buy a copy
                        from Mr. Nakayama himself at a go
                        congress, or from Ishi Press, which
                        sold them for a while.</p>

                        <p>Currently, availability is limited,
                        since the book is out of print.
                        Yutopian www.yutopian.com advertises
                        copies for sale at $60.00. The website
                        lists a copy for sale autographed by
                        the author, for $50.00 (look under the
                        heading Japanalia 5: Books about Japan
                        (in English)). Finally, Amazon.com will
                        look for a used copy, quoting a price
                        estimate of $27.50. Speaking for
                        myself, the book is cheap at twice
                        these prices.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="understanding_how_to_play_go_atkins"></a>
                        Understanding How to Play Go<br>
                         by Yuan Zhou<br>
                         Slate &amp; Shell<br>
                         Reviewed by Lon Atkins, 13K

                        <p>Often I play over a recorded game
                        between strong players, but the
                        thoughts of the masters are not
                        terribly accessible to a go apprentice
                        like me. I want one of the players to
                        magically appear and explain some of
                        the mysteries to me.</p>

                        <p>The folks at Slate &amp; Shell must
                        understand my dream. A main goal of
                        theirs is publishing good material to
                        help kyu level players improve. Yuan
                        Zhou's excellent book is subtitled "an
                        AGA 7-dan explains some of his games."
                        His annotations of the seven games in
                        this book are both copious and

                        <p>Zhou describes the thoughts behind
                        both strategy and tactics. He tells why
                        the big points are big points. He
                        points out the trick moves. He makes it
                        clear when and why he varies from
                        conventional lines of play. Really nice
                        are the many sidebar diagrams that show
                        alternative ways of playing or the
                        consequences of blindly following
                        reflex moves.</p>

                        <p>Playing through these games has
                        helped me a lot. Even if I knew a
                        concept, the author's clear manner of
                        expression reinforced the lesson. I
                        imagine the revelation of Zhou's
                        thought processes would be interesting
                        to dan as well as kyu players.<br>
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="UtilizingOutwardInfluence"></a>Utilizing
                        Outward Influence<br>
                         by Jin Jiang and Zhao Zheng</b><br>
                         <b>Yutopian Enterprises</b><br>
                         <b>Reviewed by Lon Atkins, 13K</b></p>

                        <p>The first time I approached this
                        book, I knocked at the gate of learning
                        and was turned away. A year later,
                        after reading a column called "A Taste
                        for Thicknesss" in some old Go Worlds,
                        I realized how painfully sketchy was my
                        understanding of this fundamental way
                        of thinking. Returning to Utilizing
                        Outward Influence was a logical
                         This time the book, which admittedly
                        is not written in as lucid a style as I
                        might wish, began to slowly yield its
                        secrets. Chapter 1 is entitled "The
                        Basic Concept of Outward Influence." It
                        sort of plows the ground. The problems
                        in Chapter 2 plant the seeds of
                        understanding. They show the fruit of
                        contrasting approaches to specific
                        situations where outward influence can
                        be developed or exploited. See the
                        right way, then the wrong ways, and let
                        the differences sink in. I am not yet
                        ready for the advanced problems, which
                        claim to be dan level. The elementary
                        problems are hard enough for me.<br>
                         Chapter 3 says that good players seize
                        control of the center. It deals with
                        whole board thinking in the use of
                        influence. By beating my head
                        repeatedly against the examples, I am
                        gaining a bit of happy knowledge. If
                        you too are happy after struggling hard
                        to gain new knowledge, then this may be
                        a good book for you.<br>
                         Available at yutopian.com for $14.00 +
                        $1.50 s/h.</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="way_of_play_for_the_21st_century"></a>
                        A Way of Play for the 21st Century<br>
                         by Go Siegen<br>
                         Whole Board Press<br>
                         Reviewed by Lon Atkins, 13k</b></p>

                        <p>Diagrams -- large, clear,
                        easy-to-read diagrams -- occupy
                        two-thirds of the page surface within
                        this book. The text is also clear and
                        easily read. With too many go books I
                        find myself paging back and forth,
                        wading through digressions embedded
                        within a discussion of technique, and
                        left with cryptic evaluations of
                        alternative lines of play. Go Siegen
                        (and the translator and the layout
                        artist) have done an excellent job of
                        avoiding these traps.</p>

                        <p>The material comes from Go Siegen's
                        study group over the years 1994-1997.
                        The master takes as his starting point
                        standard joseki, then he infuses them
                        with new ideas and best play as he sees
                        it for both sides. He examines
                        everything from the whole board
                        perspective (so you see at least four
                        joseki unfolding). This way of thinking
                        is absolutely vital to his analysis. As
                        a beginner, I am hungry for teaching
                        that relates the whole board to the
                        lesson at hand. Go Siegen provides that

                        <p>Perhaps most valuable are the many
                        diagrams detailing alternative lines of
                        play. The author not only shows the
                        plays, he talks about their rationale
                        and why white or black rejected them.
                        Learning from mistakes is as old a
                        school as exists. Comparing in diagram
                        form the right way and the wrong way(s)
                        is highly educational.</p>

                        <p>A Way of Play for the 21st Century
                        repays careful study with many fresh
                         <a href="#top">[Return to Top]</a></p>


            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">
                        <p><b><a name="WordFreak"></a> Word
                         By Stefan Fatsis<br>
                         Reviewed by Chris Garlock</b></p>

                        <p>"If you put too much stress on
                        winning and losing you won't last.
                        You'll burn out. You can only make the
                        best play you can make at any time.
                        That's all you can control."<br>
                         It's not a big surprise that one of
                        the best books ever written about a
                        board game is written by a sports
                        writer. The surprise is that the board
                        game is Scrabble and that Go players
                        may find a lot to learn about their
                        fascination with their own game in
                        "Word Freak" by Stefan Fatsis, now out
                        in paperback.<br>
                         Competitive Scrabble bears about as
                        much resemblance to the game played in
                        millions of American living rooms as
                        Othello goes to Go. For one thing, like
                        Go, competitive Scrabble is strictly a
                        one-on-one game. For another, unlike
                        most casual "living room" games of
                        Scrabble, tournament play involves
                        extensive word knowledge and a grasp of
                        both tactics and strategy.<br>
                         When Wall Street Journal sports writer
                        Stefan Fatsis set out to become a
                        competitive Scrabble player, he had no
                        idea he was about to enter an arcane,
                        obsessive subculture, much like those
                        of us who innocently picked up a Go
                        stone for some now-forgotten reason and
                        who can now be found puzzling over
                        obscure variations in the Avalanche
                         Fatsis starts out playing for fun in
                        New York City's Washington Square Park,
                        but soon moves onto the local club
                        scene and from there it's a short but
                        irreversible step to the tournament
                        scene. Intending to write a book from
                        the start, Fatsis finds his
                        journalistic objectivity quickly
                        overwhelmed, first by his competitive
                        desire to graduate from the "blue-hair"
                        division, and then by his growing
                        appreciation for a challenging and
                        captivating game.<br>
                         Anyone who's studied josekis will nod
                        in grim recognition as Fatsis grapples
                        with memorizing the "twos, threes and
                        fours," -- the thousands of two-, three
                        and four-letter words that all serious
                        Scrabble players know cold, only to
                        realize that the fives, sixes and
                        sevens -- like 30-move josekis -- are a
                        key to improving.<br>
                         A terrific writer and spellbinding
                        storyteller, Fatsis' tale of his
                        journey into the "heartbreak, triumph,
                        genius and obsession in the world of
                        competitive Scrabble players" is
                        impossible to put down as we follow his
                        ups and downs, learn the fascinating
                        history of a truly American game
                        (invented during the Depression by an
                        out-of-work New York City architect)
                        and meet the bizarre but lovable
                        characters who inhabit a strange but
                        compelling world that Go players will
                        find all-too-familiar.<br>
                         "Word Freak" won't make you want to
                        switch board games, but it may help you
                        find inspiration on those days when,
                        like Stefan Fatsis, frustrated with yet
                        another tough day on the board, you ask
                        yourself "What was I trying to
                         - published by Houghton Mifflin,
                        available at bookstores everywhere.</p>

                        <p><a href="#top">[Return to

Copyright © 2004 American Go Association
Email the AGA at aga@usgo.org
Email the Journal Team at journal@usgo.org
Last updated on October 5, 2004