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Amadan na Briona

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In the Beginning

In the Beginning - Ikuro Ishigure 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:

  1. Make Your Stones Work Together
  2. Efficiency
  3. Play Away from Strength
  4. Thickness and Walls
  5. Open at the Bottom
  6. The Third Line and the Fourth
  7. Reverse Strategy
  8. Light and Heavy
  9. 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. :(