Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Thank you for being a tough teacher, Kageyama-sensei

I've only browsed through the first chapter of Toshiro Kageyama's Lessons In The Fundamentals of Go which I borrowed from the library. I already found a useful piece of advice which worked to my advantage in my last game.

In a nutshell, Kageyama-sensei said, "Don't be lazy in the simple matters."

It's obvious that Kageyama will not suffer the indolence of any Go student. Here's an excerpt from his first chapter on ladders (shicho).

Ladders should be the school that teaches you to read patiently, move by move - black, white, black, white, black, white - which is the only way.

Some will say, "Phooey, that much I know already; it's just that it's too much bother actually to do it." Others will say, "Look, I'm still weak at the game; I can't do anything difficult like reading." So much for these lazy students, let them do as they please. They are not going to get anywhere. They need to be grabbed by the scruff of the neck and have some sense knocked into them.


Well, here's the result.

I read through my ladder and saw that the white stone in K3 would not interfere. My opponent did not and he resigned when he realized his mistake. The game was my 30k versus his 27k with a 2-stone handicap, making it a 29k match.

It's an important lesson for all of us beginners.

Kageyama-sensei reminds me a bit of my former kendo instructor, Charlie Tanaka - who has since become the president of the All US Kendo Federation. I think I'm going to add this book to my library and hopefully do a Kyu Review on it.


At 11:27 AM, August 23, 2005, Blogger frankiii said...

You were black and he resigned? Why didn't he just play O8?

At 11:37 AM, August 23, 2005, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

LOL! I guess Kageyama-sensei would have slapped me around as well. Yes, that would have killed my ladder but I can only assume that we both didn't see it.

At 1:25 PM, August 24, 2005, Anonymous Alan said...

I think some of the author's condemnations are slightly tongue in cheek (though not entirely!) and he is also very down to earth in a disarming way. I think his writing style is quite refreshing compared to your average go book prose.

I am about half way through it now and I'm encountering material which is pretty difficult for me. I think this is a good book for beginners in the sense that you can see how much you have improved by noting how many pages you've read without getting lost compared to the last time you read it. (If that sort of thing appeals to you, it does to me.) I think it also has some really interesting general insights into the game and players' psychology which, while they may not immediately help a beginner win more games, certainly give one something to chew on.

That said, I think this book is mainly aimed at people who are not really beginners. He is constantly chiding the reader for having forgotten or neglected the fundamentals. For the most part a beginner like me has not even had the opportunity to forget them yet. ;)

At 4:09 PM, August 24, 2005, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

I would certainly agree that, to an extent, Kageyama's tough talk is tongue-in-cheek. But he's really just telling it like it is. Becoming strong at Go takes work.

The book didn't impress me as being an introductory text. I had read reviews where this book was recommended AFTER reading volumes I-IV of Janice Kim's Learn to Play Go series.

At 4:58 PM, August 24, 2005, Anonymous Alan said...

Well, by "beginner" I didn't really mean "introductory". This book would be useless as an introduction to Go. But based on the reviews I read, my overall impression was that it would be somewhat lower-level than I think it really is. The book quite often discusses errors common to dan level players, for instance. Perhaps someone who had studied Kim's books assiduously would find this book highly useful, but by then they'd probably be around 15 kyu, I'd guess.


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