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Subject: Another thread about Go books rss

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Jeff B
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Okay, so now I've got a decent Go board and some nice stones, and would like to get a few more books. I've browsed through some of the forums on book recommendations, but I thought I would start another one, more specific to what might be most useful to me.

I don't know what my official rating would be, but I consider myself a beginner who has a fairly solid grasp on the basics of the game. I've read through Janice Kim's "Learn to Play Go Vol. I" and also have Vol. II. These are great books, but I guess I'd like something a little more in-depth. I also have the first to volumes of the "Graded Go Problems for Beginners," which I find very useful, as well as entertaining.

So, where should I go from here for something a little deep, but not too complicated? I had the following books in mind:

From the Elementary Go Series - "Life and Death" and "In the Beginning."

I'm particularly interested in studying life and death problems, as well as learning some opening theory. I've seen many recommend "Opening Theory Made Easy." I've also seen many recommend "The Second Book of Go."

I'm thinking of at least picking up "Life and Death" and "Opening Theory Made Easy." These seem like more specifically focused books, but I'm wondering if either the "Second Book of Go" or "In The Beginning" are good books for overall strategy and tactics, that are a little more in-depth than the Learn to Play Go series.

Which would you consider essential reading? Thanks!
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Martins Livens
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Essential in Go is playing and problem solving, not reading books.
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Andrew
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"Attack and Defense" and "Get Strong at Tesuji" were great; "Direction of Play" is supposedly very good when you become more advanced.

I recommend checking out a Go-specific site.
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Mark Schlatter
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I have found this to be highly dependent on what concepts you understand best at the time. I found both books that emphasize the opening (Opening Theory Made Easy and In The Beginning) somewhat easy to understand when I first read them. However, the first time I read James Davies' Tesuji, I was completely confused. The second time worked much better.

My suggestion is that you identify a weakness in your game and pick a book that will help with that. My experience is that almost any study is helpful --- trying to find the "best path" can be counterproductive.
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Charlie Sheppard
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This is the best resource I've found for organizing my study:

http://www.gobooks.info/bib-difficulty.html

More specific recommendations based on your posts I would say:

Opening Theory Made Easy
Elementary Go Series: Life and Death, Tesuji, then maybe Attack and Defense

Also consider Graded Go Problems for Beginners: vols 1-4
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James Ludlow
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One thing to know about the Elementary series is that those books start easy in chapter 1 and progressively get much harder. You'll end up having to play a lot and then come back to the books many times.
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Ned Leffingwell
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I would get "Graded Go Problems for Beginners". I am working on Volume ! right now and it is a big help.
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The Graded Go Problems for Beginners books are the absolute best. The others that I found helpful were Opening Theory Made Easy, Second Book of Go (has good info on handicap play), and especially Kageyama's Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go (good coverage of pushing and weird ladders, and it's also very funny).
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Guillaume G.
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Hmmm... The Elementary Go Serie is not that elementary.

Good second books in English I'd recommend (and I wasn't the only one):
Graded Go Problems for Beginners vol. 2 and 3.
Learn to Play Go (the full serie)
Opening Theory Made Easy
A Scientific Introduction to Go (this book is very nice - as an example: I could never get confused about false eyes once I read the "fishbone" story)

I've read some nice french books but I guess it won't be of much interest for most people here.

In the Elementary Go Serie, I would start with:
1/ Tesuji - it's hard but enlightning (especially the 1st chapter which explains you what reading truly is) - don't worry if everything doesn't stick, it's a book to be read many times. I've just gone through it for the second time before Xmas. I realized I understood much more the second time (and got some more games under my belt from my initial reading). I plan on reading it again soon.

2/ Attack & Defense - Easier to read but very rich. My teachers says you can read it and re-read it until you're 5d. It's high on my "re-reading list".

I haven't gone through the full Life & Death book yet (and I'm currently about 3k KGS). I also want to have it read soon but tsumego books are a second priority for me behind Tesuji-related books.
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Actorios wrote:
Hmmm... The Elementary Go Serie is not that elementary.


Agree.
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James Ludlow
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I still haven't made it past chapter 1 of "The Endgame." Mainly due to laziness, and partly due to that book being crazy difficult compared to the others in the series.

I come back to Life & Death often. 2-space notchers are a blind spot for me, so after I screw one up in a game I return to the books for review.

 
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Robert Stuart
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Iwamoto's "Go for Beginners" is a fantastic book. I highly recommend it.

Once you've finished his book (actually, you won't really 'finish' it -- you'll find yourself returning to it often, until you reach a strength of, say, 7 kyu) -- or, while you're reading it -- I recommend you pick up "In the Beginning" -- a sophisticated book, as pointed out by another person on this site -- and "38 Basic Joseki".



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David Boeren
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sbszine wrote:
and especially Kageyama's Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go (good coverage of pushing and weird ladders, and it's also very funny).


This is what I was just coming to post. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Not only is it a good instructional book, but it's by far the most ENJOYABLE Go book I've ever read. And when studying is fun, you actually do it and pay attention.
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stratomaster wrote:
Okay, so now I've got a decent Go board and some nice stones, and would like to get a few more books. I've browsed through some of the forums on book recommendations, but I thought I would start another one, more specific to what might be most useful to me.

I don't know what my official rating would be, but I consider myself a beginner who has a fairly solid grasp on the basics of the game. I've read through Janice Kim's "Learn to Play Go Vol. I" and also have Vol. II. These are great books, but I guess I'd like something a little more in-depth.


Continue with that series through the end. Play 100 games. Then ask for 'better' books.
stratomaster wrote:

I also have the first to volumes of the "Graded Go Problems for Beginners," which I find very useful, as well as entertaining.


There are 4(?) volumes. Practice solving those continually. Play 100 games. Then seek out more complex Life and Death problems.
stratomaster wrote:

So, where should I go from here for something a little deep, but not too complicated? I had the following books in mind:

From the Elementary Go Series - "Life and Death" and "In the Beginning."


This will teach you how to play various life and death situations and how to handle them. A good book.
stratomaster wrote:

I'm particularly interested in studying life and death problems, as well as learning some opening theory. I've seen many recommend "Opening Theory Made Easy." I've also seen many recommend "The Second Book of Go."

I'm thinking of at least picking up "Life and Death" and "Opening Theory Made Easy." These seem like more specifically focused books, but I'm wondering if either the "Second Book of Go" or "In The Beginning" are good books for overall strategy and tactics, that are a little more in-depth than the Learn to Play Go series.

Which would you consider essential reading? Thanks!


Tesuji is something you'll want to study once you get 'better' after your 100 games. Also, I'd look at this list of Go books:

KGS English Go Books

I'd first find out where you are as a player, then explore that list for interesting topics.

Good Luck!
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Jeff B
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Thanks for some great recommendations, everyone. I went ahead and bought a few of the suggested books. I picked up a copy of "Opening Theory Made Easy," "The Second Book of Go," and "Life and Death," from the Elementary Go Series.

I also ordered volumes III and IV from the Learn to Play Go series, by Janice Kim. I really think the first two are excellent, and read very quickly and easily. This series seems to be very good at introducting most topics that are covered more in-depth in other books. I think I will finish reading these books before I really get into the The Second Book of Go or Life and Death.

I will probably eventually get the other two volumes (3 and 4) of the Graded Go Problems, but I think I have enough reading to keep me busy for a little while.
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Todd Redden
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Since opening theory is nowhere near as much analyzed as in chess, and most important in understanding go is regional tactics and strategy, I would think the most useful go books to pour over would be "life and death puzzles" books.

I would check out the Essential Life & Death series and the Level Up series at Yellow Mountain Imports: www.ymimports.com under Go/Books - Beginner and Int.


 
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Joel Gabelman
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Elementary Go Series is good.

I'm about 4k on KGS, and I really like the Get Strong series. I bought almost all of them.

Life & Death is very important. Learning when you have sente, and when you need to play another stone is big.

Fuseki, more than joseki is important.

Frankly, any studying is good. The biggest mistake I see all levels (myself included) is not always playing the BIGGEST point on the board.

Best of luck!

Oh - www.goproblems.com is nice too to pass the time and practice.
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James Ludlow
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elmsley4 wrote:
I'm about 4k on KGS, and I really like the Get Strong series. I bought almost all of them.

I'm in the same boat. 5-kyu on KGS and the Get Strong series is finally starting to sink in.

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Not to hijack this thread, but I thought it might be kinda repetitive to start another.

I'm about a 8k player on KGS, and I'm looking for recommendations of books that are gonna be worth rereading over and over for quite some time (I can't stand buying a book and it having zero reread value, I might as well use the library). Looking at reviews for several of the books on this list, it seems like they stop being useful at around my current level. So what of the suggested books will I be able to return to as I get stronger? I'm currently looking at the James Davies Elementary Go Books and Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go. Thanks.
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James Ludlow
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What kind of book are you looking for? "Invincible" has massive re-read value, but most of it is over my head. "Fundamental Principles of Go" (Yang) is probably my favorite single book for reading multiple times. However, even something like "Tesuji" is worth rereading.
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Joel Gabelman
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3k - 4k on KGS.

I'll mention again the Get Strong series.

Also, if you call up Kiseido and ask if there are any sales, they sometimes will take 10% off.

Even after reading these books, I find re-reading them, it's helpful to go over the problems again as these books build. For example, problem 1 might have an answer to black's best play and you'll think: "But what if white plays at "x" next?". Problem 5 (there are 4 problems per page, so problem 5 is on the next group of problems so you don't see the answer on the 1st page) shows white playing at "x", and asks how black should respond now.

Invincible is very re-readable, although some note it's outdated as komi has changed. So to have josekis, but there's gold there if you spend the time. Another well respected book is the 1971 Honibo (if you can find it in print - I'm not getting rid of my copy!). It's a story as well as commentary during the Honibo tournament in 1971.

Also, I believe Kiseido? is coming out with GO books for the ipad. Rather than playing moves on yoru board, you can hit the "PLAY" button and you can see the moves played out on the screen. Cool stuff and worth looking into if you have an ipad.

Best,

JRG
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James Ludlow
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elmsley4 wrote:
Another well respected book is the 1971 Honibo (if you can find it in print - I'm not getting rid of my copy!). It's a story as well as commentary during the Honibo tournament in 1971.

It's been reprinted. Currently available from Kiseido.

Quote:
Also, I believe Kiseido? is coming out with GO books for the ipad. Rather than playing moves on yoru board, you can hit the "PLAY" button and you can see the moves played out on the screen. Cool stuff and worth looking into if you have an ipad.

SmartGo Books has some Kiseido titles now.
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Guillaume G.
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mccann51 wrote:
Not to hijack this thread, but I thought it might be kinda repetitive to start another.

I'm about a 8k player on KGS, and I'm looking for recommendations of books that are gonna be worth rereading over and over for quite some time (I can't stand buying a book and it having zero reread value, I might as well use the library). Looking at reviews for several of the books on this list, it seems like they stop being useful at around my current level. So what of the suggested books will I be able to return to as I get stronger? I'm currently looking at the James Davies Elementary Go Books and Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go. Thanks.


On the desert island principle, if I had only 2 books to study for the rest of my dedicated go time, I'll choose Tesuji and Attack & Defense (both from the Elementary Go Serie).
My teacher (6d EGF) says that you can read A&D again and again and still learn from it until you're 5d.
I was also recommend not to read Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go as it was above my level (and I'm 3k KGS). According to my teacher, it could be read for the fun of it but wouldn't bring much value for the time being.

I started to read it in the past but didn't fell in love with me (but English is not my native language and I may be missing the entertaining part). Attack & Defense and Tesuji amazed me from first reading.
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Shevek
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To answer the first question, I'm looking for something that I can read and benefit from now, but also read years down the road and still be able to benefit from.

Is this the same Invinsible as "Invincible: The Games of Shusaku"?

It looks like Kiseido has that and the Honibo tournament and the Get Strong series. I will try calling the company and seeing about any discounts.

Neither of you mentioned Elementary Go Series or Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go, would you not recommend them as highly for what I'm looking for?
 
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Guillaume G.
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mccann51 wrote:
To answer the first question, I'm looking for something that I can read and benefit from now, but also read years down the road and still be able to benefit from.

Is this the same Invinsible as "Invincible: The Games of Shusaku"?



For sure, that's the same.

mccann51 wrote:

Neither of you mentioned Elementary Go Series or Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go, would you not recommend them as highly for what I'm looking for?


Overall, this is a very nice serie which I still didn't go through entirely.
Let's take them 1 by 1:
* In the Beginning - I've read it a couple of time. For sure, I don't master it but I didn't feel I got so much out of it. I may need to reread it but maybe "Opening Theory Made Easy" is a better book to start working on fuseki (at least, it's easier to read). It also has great re-reading value. 3/5
* 38 Joseki - I didn't go through it as joseki study is not recommended until you're strong (or better said, you shouldn't try to remember them but learn good shapes out of them). It's supposed to be "dated" (the whole serie is from the 70s). If you want a Joseki book, there are a couple of joseki dictionary from Kiseido which are up-to-date vs. what is played in tournament. Still a nice book to look at when you misunderstood something. 3/5
* Tesuji - Great book. I already mentioned it. The "reading" chapter teaches you something really important. The rest will find immediate application in your games. It has great re-readability value. 5/5
* Life & Death - It's a bit boring to read but it's very complete. You won't remember all of it but it will serve a lot. I'm not focusing on L&D at the moment but that's a book you probably need in your library. 4/5.
* Attack & Defense - Excellent. Good principle, practical advice - really nice and accessible (and still worth reading and reading again). 5/5
* The Endgame - I tried to read it recently but it's very dry. You need motivation. Still, this is probably the only book in english available on the subject. If you really want to tackle the subject in detail, you'll need to read it. 3/5

Obviously the ranking above only reflect my personal preference and how much I got out of the games (or expect to get). They are all books written by professional go players and full of good knowledge.

Generally, all go books even the simplest have excellent value for money as they are all worth reading again. Elementary Go Series books have been a reference for years and deserve to owned if you want to build a go library.

Does this answer your question?
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