Dieter cites the author who calls himself the leading go theorist. Peter is extremely fond of the book, the described overall theory of go, the use of examples to explain theory, and the excellent advice on how to teach. When I was German 4d I got a look into the book but after 20 minutes I lost interest. The author does use his experience from programming in the book and presents more principles than the average book. However, I was very disappointed about the book. Is this because a) I am too strong for the contents, b) I might be a more profound theorist, or c) I use theory for teaching in my books as well but more extensively? Whatever, I have little clues on the following:
- What characterizes a leading go theorist if the EZGo author were the leading one?
- How does EZGo describe overall go theory?
- What is so particularly good about theories described in EZGo?
- What is the use of examples to explain theory? Is this just the same as introducing theory first and then showing examples for that it can be applied? Are examples used to introduce theory that is then described in prose and can thereafter be applied to further examples?
- What is the excellent advice on how to teach?
BillSpight: I have not read any of Wilcox's books, but I was around when he published the first EZGo articles in the American Go Journal in the '70s.
My impression is that EZGo is great for beginners. I think some of it is just wrong. E. g., counting 1 stone as 6 points of territory. At the same time, I think that some of his heuristics are quite helpful.
In particular I like the idea of sector lines and the importance of cutting them. You can add to that the idea that cutting shorter sector lines is generally more severe than cutting longer ones. (I learned that from a Japanese book long before EZGo came along. It did not talk about sector lines, of course.) Cutting sector lines fits with the idea of kurai, which is more general, probably more important, but also vaguer and harder to explain. Sector lines are concrete, and therefore helpful to beginners. Using sector lines to define keshi and the idea that the best place to play keshi is at the center of a sector line is much more problematic. (I do not know if that idea is Wilcox's, though.)
Discussion moved to five liberties comments.
RobertJasiek: What is kurai?:) - Every computer program developer should be able to invent sector lines and a concept of shorter sector lines cutting longer ones, even if it is not used in a program. - I am a strong tactician (though a slow reader), so I am not impressed by liberty or territory rules of thumb. - To summarize: I remain unimpressed:( Bill, thx for your attempt anyway.
Hdouble: This is a quirky book, but potentially a good one for the same general audience as TheSecondBookofGo -- players who understand the rules of the game and are now seeking some guidance in strategy and tactics.
EZGO starts with a 30-40 page fundamentals section that explains the rules of the game as well as a basic discussion of links, shape, and tactics. The authors give permission for this whole section to be photocopied and distributed, and I think it could make a great handout for demos and potential go converts. In fact, this first section is probably one of my favorite parts of the book, and did a lot to move me out of the fumbling beginner stage when I was fairly new to go.
In terms of presentation, this book is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the goofy illustrations and chatty digressions make this a fun book to pick up and browse. The flip side is that this book is not very well organized, and most of the chapter titles are catchy rather than descriptive - "The Wolf Pack", "Buy Wholesale, Sell Retail", etc. The metaphors and analogies used ARE potentially useful, but this structure makes it difficult to locate points in the text to revisit. And although there is a decent 2-page glossary of Japanese go terms in the back, I wish these had been used more liberally in the body of the text -- it would give the EZGO student an easier time moving on to other books and resources.