Core Library Materials and Supplements
It's now been a year since I started taking this game seriously and I've learned quite a bit since June of 2005 when I started reading Janice Kim's Learn To Play Go, Vol.1 while my family was on vacation in Las Vegas.
I'm obviously the sort of Go player who learns from both books and actual play. I have collected quite a few over this year and I've decided to name the best of the best; the books that I would have wanted someone to have recommend to me a year ago.
I've divided the books into two categories and selected only those that are in-print.
- Core Library - These are the books that you should have at the appropriate level. For this post, they are highlighted with a blue background.
- Supplements - These are books that you don't need, but are very good and could infuse you with more ideas for faster development.
Serious Introductory Stage: Core Library
If you want just a quick introduction to the game that will get you to, technically, about 35-kyu, then you just need to use the online site The Interactive Way To Go. To achieve about 28 to 26 kyu strength on KGS, these books are recommended.
- Learn To Play Go, Vol. 1 (by Janice Kim) or Go for Beginners (by Kaoru Iwamoto) - The former is, in my humble opinion, the easiest and most convenient introductory book to start with (it also comes with cardstock boards and pieces) and may work best for some younger players. The latter is a more robust introductory book with more content.
- Graded Go Problems for Beginners, Vol.1
Serious Introductory Stage: Supplements
These are books that you might want to turn to for a few more ideas that could power-up your game. None of them perfectly address all the needs of advancing beginners, but all three are very good. Any would probably serve you well through your teen-kyus. If possible, try to browse all three to see which might best cover the areas you would like to improve upon.
- The Second Book of Go (by Richard Bozulich) - A people's choice book. It's very popular among beginners although some senior players feel that it touches too lightly upon its subjects. The book is meant to be seminal; not comprehensive.
- Basic Techniques of Go (by Isamu Haruyama and Yoshiaki Nagahara) - This is my preference because it reminds me of a textbook curriculum. I like its broader coverage of handicap Go. Some of its material may be a little difficult for beginners.
- The Fundamental Prinicples of Go (by Yilung Yang) - The most difficult of these three recommendations, it is still a good book which offers more coverage of invasions and reductions (used in the middle game) as well as fundamental strategies.
Beginner Stage: Core Library
These books are good to get at about 26 kyu on KGS but the first two will probably serve you well until you have become a single-digit kyu.
- Opening Theory Made Easy (by Otake Hideo) - I have yet to hear one Go player say anything to suggest that this book is non-essential. It provides key ideas that will power-up your opening and lay the strategic foundation for more successful matches.
- Cho Hun-Hyeon's Lectures on Go Techniques, Vol.1 (by Cho Hun-Hyeon) - In addition to strategy, one must develop tactical skill. This is a book that you will want to turn to after you have lost a few games because of inefficient moves. While it may seem a little dry at the start, it is actually very good material for showing the why's behind efficient moves, good shape, and elementary joseki.
- Graded Go Problems for Beginners, Vol.2
Beginner Stage: Supplements
I very much enjoy these two books and I get a lot of ideas out of them. At this stage, both are at the borderline pf being core library materials.
- Proverbs: The Nihon Ki-in Small Encyclopedia Series, Vol.1 - This book is great for down-time reading that can still improve your game.
- Fuseki: The Nihon Ki-in Small Encyclopedia Series, Vol.2 - Explains the strategies behind the popular openings and gives a basic introduction as to how they should be played - and how they should be countered.
Intermediate Starter: Core Library
For many Go players, these are the holy trinity of intermediate Go books. DrStraw (AGA 5D) considers them to be absolutely essential and the ones he would recommend if he were limited to only three books. There are those who attest that these will truly lay the foundation for achieving shodan.
Make no mistake, the material in these will be difficult even in one's teen-kyus and you will not absorb everything quickly. They are meant to be read and re-read to get their full benefits.
- Tesuji (by James Davies)
- Life And Death (by James Davies)
- Lessons in The Fundamentals of Go (by Toshiro Kageyama)
More information relating to book selections can be found on GoDiscussion.com's Books section and its Go Product Database.
Fuseki Quiz 8/20
Scoring of Last Weekend's Fuseki Quiz 7/20
- A = 6
- B = 4
- C = 10, Because the black positions on the lower right and left are strong, the invasion at Black 1 is just the move. If White jumps to L5, Black keeps up the pressure by jumping to J5. If Black fails to make this invasion, White will play H4.
- D = 2
- E = 8