Fuseki - the book
Fuseki is volume two of The Nihon Ki-in Handbook Series published Yutopian. It is a translation of the Nihon Ki-in's Small Fuseki Dictionary (see dictionaries page). The copyright date on this book is 2000.
As a 8k player I find this book tremendously enjoyable. There are many fuseki patterns that I like to play. Very quickly, I get to the point where I am unsure of the next move. This book tells me what the next "normal" move is in those situations. I was also suprised to find that all the fuseki patterns that come up over and over again in my games could be found in a single book.
Another nice thing about this book is that the explanations are very simple and easy to understand. Yet another nice thing is that the patterns are well organized so that the reader can quickly look up a fuseki that they have just played in a game.
It seems to me that this book would be enjoyable and useful for any player in the 2-15k range. In other words, this is an intermediate level book. It is neither a book for beginners nor an advanced level book. Otake's 1992 book "Opening Theory Made Easy" is my favorite book for beginners on this subject. Not being an advanced player, I am not familiar with the advanced literature.
This book has large diagrams AND a large number of diagrams. The layout is like a "picture" book. The explanations are short. And, each diagram only goes a few moves deep into the fuseki. The diagrams never include more than one joseki. This makes the book ideal for light reading.
In most cases, a basic fuseki pattern is given with only four, five, or six moves. Then there follows several pages of follow-on moves and variations on the basic pattern. This makes the book ideal for study with a go board. It is easy to set up a fuseki pattern that interests you. Then try out several follow-on moves and variations of you own to see how it fits with your personal style of play.
The joseki patterns given are the commonly occuring joseki patterns with which evey 8k palyer needs to be familiar. Like most 8ks, I am not as familiar with these patterns as I need to be. So this is another benefit of this book: it helps you get familiar with some of the most common joseki patterns.
Even the joseki that do appear are not treated in full. Only the variation that appears most often in intermediate level games is given. And they appear as natural components of a whole board fuseki diagram. This makes even the josekis light reading.
This book has many examples from professional games that show a natural follow-on to the basic pattern under discussion. The pro game examples are only given a few moves deeper than the basic patterns, just enough to give you the flavor of one natural development from a basic pattern. This makes even the examples from the pro game are light reading.
A final advantage of this book is that it encourages you to think for yourself. From this view point, it is similar to Kageyama's 1978 book, "Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go." A difference between Kage's book is that Kage's book is deep; this one is light. Still, like this book, most of Kage's book is a good read, even without working out the examples on a go board.
It is one thing to get familiar with the basic principles of opening play - Otake's 1992 book is my favorite for this - and quite another thing to get an introduction to the classic and modern fuseki patterns.
A good way to get introduced to modern fuseki patterns is to work though Go Seigen's wonderful 1999 fuseki book "A Way of Play for the 21st Century." Go Seigen's book is not light reading like this book is, and it is necessary to set up several of Go's diagrams on a board to really understand them, but the two books complement each other very well.
I read Go's book before this one, and I am glad I did. My plan is to read Go's book a second time after I get 80% of what I can out of this book.
Post Script: This book along with Go Seigen's 1999 book and Takeo Kajiwara's 1979 book "The Direction of Play," complement each other very well. This triad gives a well balanced introduction to Fuseki for the intermetiate level player. Especially important in Kaji's book are the basic concepts found in Chapter 3, "Move Two Lost the Game." My first read of Kaji's book was a very long time ago - shortly after it first came out.
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