Each problem demonstrates a basic principle of opening play.
The constant repetition of these principles will develop the reader's intuition
to instantly spot the appropriate move in the opening of their games.
The problems in this book focus on technique and reading, not on
standard corner positions. The explanations are minimal and limited to either illustrating a fundamental principle or a tesuji. The reader is expected to make the effort to verify that the answer to each problem is indeed the best and most profitable move, and to prove to himself that any other move fails to achieve the stated objective. This effort is also part of the practice that these problems provide. It is not an easy task: it requires mental discipline. But doing it will not only improve your go, it will also improve your mental powers.
The problems are not hard; they range from very easy to moderately difficult. However, there are some rather tricky ones strewn throughout. A dan player should be able to solve most of them within a minute, sometimes on sight, but it may take a bit longer for kyu-level players. But even if you are a dan player, solving these problem will keep your go sharp and give you the competive edge that you need to win your games.
This book makes an ideal companion to Get Strong at Tesuji in Kiseido's "Get Strong at Go Series".
Good shape is a subject that has received scant attention in Japanese go
literature. Although references to shape are made in most books, there is no
one book devoted exclusively to this subject. However, understanding and
recognizing good shape is important for becoming a strong player and developing
the intuition that will instantly guide you to finding the strongest moves in
middle-game fighting. This book is intended to fill this gap.
The first chapter begins with an extensive theoretical introduction to shape, beginning with the efficient placement of stones. It then goes on to discuss thickness -- how to use it and how to counter it, and how, if used improperly, can result in the overconcentration of stones. It continues by contrasting the concept of thick stones with that of thin stones, and finally what are heavy stones and what are light stones, and how these relate to the important concept of sabaki, which is essentially a method of making good shape.
The second chapter gives examples of the standard shapes, both good and bad, such as ponnuki, empty triangles and pyramid shapes, the center of three stones, the head of two and three stones, etc.
The final chapter consists of 245 problems to give the readers the practice needed to hone their ability in finding the shape move in their games.
Tesujis are skillful moves that accomplish some clear tactical objective, such as capturing stones or a group, rescuing one of your own groups linking up your stones, separating your opponent's stones, making good shape, etc.
There are two approaches to presenting tesujis problems. One approach is to collect problems according to the objective that tesujis accomplish. The other is to collect problems according to the kind of tesuji used. In this book the emphasis is on the latter.
There are about 45 different kinds of moves that make up tesujis. Each of them is described by a Japanese term. Some of these tesujis occur quite frequently in games, while others are seldom seen. In this book, I have attempted to present examples of every kind of tesuji. The more common ones occur in numerous problems, but even the less common ones will be represented a number of times. Every tesuji presented in this book can be found among the first 50 problems.
All of these different tesujis are scattered throughout the book. Just as in a game, one never knows what kind of tesuji will appear. It may be easy to find it, but often it is hard; it might be a quite common tesuji, but it could be one of those that rarely occur. Going through the 501 tesujis in this book will be like getting a tesuji experience in 501 games. However, in a game, many tesujis will go by unnoticed; in this book, each problem will be a learning experience.
Many of the problems are easy, but many are hard. It is recommended that you make an effort to solve each problem before looking at the answer, but don't spend too much time on them. The important thing is to expose yourself to the tesuji. As you work your way through this book, you will find that the tesujis that solve the problems will appear to you more and more quickly. Once you have reached this level, the same thing will start happening in your games.
Aji, kikashi (forcing moves), and sabaki are the most important concepts of go. They imbue the game with strategic subtleties unmatched in any other game. Without an understanding of these concepts, no go player can hope to attain a high level of skill. Besides these concepts, it is also necessary to understand the shape and distribution of stones and how they influence other parts of the board, determining which stones are important and which stones can be sacrificed, and which stones must be strengthened before playing large-scale strategic moves.
The aim of this book is to bring together these ideas and to show the reader how they interact. Many of the examples and problems are taken from professional games so that the reader can see how the top pros deal with and utilize these concepts.
This book is divided into two parts. The first part is expository, and
the second part consists of 101 problems. These problems will expose the
the reader to various techniques and ways to think about certain kinds of positions.
The reader is urged to approach them as positions that might occur in their own games,
decide how they would play, and then look at the answers to compare their own thinking
to that of a professional.
Ko is the most intriguing aspect of go. When a ko fight arises, the calculations and considerations become quite complex. You have to be able to calculate how much the ko is worth, looking at it from Blackfs perspective, then from Whitefs. Next, you have to look at the number of ko threats each side has, calculate the value of each, then determine whether or not these threats are big enough to induce you or your opponent to answer. Even if your ko threat isnft big enough to get your opponent to respond, is it big enough to win the game? Clearly, when fighting a ko, thinking globally is of paramount importance, since positions throughout the whole board are involved. Ko is the most difficult part of the game to master, but, without an understanding of its intricacies, you can never become a truly strong go player.
Although ko is a difficult subject, All About Ko simplifies it by breaking it down into 19 short and easily digestible chapters. Each of these chapters concentrates on one particular aspect of ko, with ample examples, so that the reader fully understands the concept being studied. The first two chapters show the reader how to evaluate a ko, and Chapter Three shows what the value of a ko threat should be. Throughout these and the remaining chapters, example games are given which show how professionals handle various kinds of ko situations. Many small-board games are also provided so as to strip away irrelevant local positions, thereby enabling the reader to concentrate on the topic being discussed. The book ends with 122 problems designed to hammer home the concepts introduced in the first part of this book. They include kos that arise in josekis and common life-and-death positions. The first problems are easy, but they become progressively more difficult. In the final problems you are asked to find moves in positions that confronted professionals in their games.
All About Ko is a comprehensive textbook on ko. A thorough study of it will lay a solid foundation for your progress on the road to mastering ko. It will also give you an appreciation of the profundity of go and the awesome strength of professional go players.
Knowing the basic principles of go is the key to being able to find the best move
in the opening and the middle game. The way to internalize these principles is by
seeing how they are applied by pros in their games and by contemplating a large
number of problems in which these principles are used.
Kiai is a concept that has received scant systematic attention in the go literature,
even though it is often referred to in game commentaries. Most westerners are familiar
with kiai mainly in relation to the martial arts where it is translated as fighting spirit,
a phrase that conjures up a feeling of aggression. In go, however, kiai means coming up with
innovative and creative moves. Such moves not only have a global perspective, they
also take into account local situations and they need to be backed up by deep and
accurate reading. Ideally, they perfectly meld the tactical and the strategic elements
of a position; they are moves that cause other pros sit up and take notice.
If you need more information, Kiseido may be contacted at the following address:
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