Is there a perfect go book? I haven't found one yet, but so far I learn a little bit from each one, and In the Beginning
covers a lot of fundamentals relating to the beginning of the game: how to play in the corners, with follow-up moves (shimari and kakari), then some discussion of extending along the sides, into the center, invasions, and pincer attacks. Then, a list of nine concepts for improving your opening game:
- Make Your Stones Work Together
- Play Away from Strength
- Thickness and Walls
- Open at the Bottom
- The Third Line and the Fourth
- Reverse Strategy
- Light and Heavy
- Attack and Defense
Most go books seem to present some sort of list like this, with examples to illustrate the concept. They all make perfect sense to me — I am at the level where I can understand everything the author says (at least for these low-kyu-level books). It's so obvious once he points it out! Then I go play a game, and somehow none of these lessons seem to materialize in my own game.
Ishigure ends the book with ten opening set-ups in which the reader is asked where black or white should play next. Turn the page, and Ishigure has rated a variety of possible points to play, from 5 (reasonable choice, but not very good) to 10 (the best play). I usually got somewhere in the area of Ishigure's best choice, though I rarely chose the exact best spot.In the Beginning
is definitely a book I will have to revisit; like Kageyama's Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go
, there is too much for a beginner to take in the first time around.
This is definitely a book a beginning player should read. But man, go books are expensive — it's a tiny little volume for the price. I guess that's because most of the best go books are translated imports. Whenever I go to Barnes & Noble or any other bookstore, I can find a couple shelves full of chess books, but I have yet to find a single go book. :(