Get Strong At Life And Death

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Get Strong at the Life and Death
Part 1 of the series: Get Strong at Go Series
By: Richard Bozulich
Publisher: Kiseido, August 1997
ISBN10 4-906574-58-0
187 pp.

Get Strong at Life and Death is volume 8 of the Get Strong at Go Series by Richard Bozulich published by Kiseido.

The book is divided into three sections entitled: The Basics of Life and Death, Life and Death Positions Arising from Joseki, and Miscellaneous Problems -- 101 Problems. Many of the problem answer diagrams contain both the correct answer and one or more incorrect choices with their refutation.

The Basics of Life and Death comprises 9 themes. Each section contains some explanatory material and problems involving the material. The 9 sections are: Eye Spaces (live and dead shapes), Bent Four in the Corner, Reducing Your Opponent's Eye Space, Expanding Your Own Eye Space, Creating False Eyes, Exploiting a Shortage of Liberties, Ten-Thousand Year Ko, The Comb Formation, and The Carpenter's Square. In total, this section contains 88 problems, some of which are dan level.

Life and Death Positions Arising from Joseki consists of 76 problems. One is called upon to exercise the techniques of the first section without hints or prompting as to which technique might prove useful. A varying number of problems, from 4 to 12, are presented at one time followed immediately by the answer diagrams, and a diagram of the joseki that gives rise to the problem, on the overleaf (the following even numbered or left hand page). The uneven number of problems presented at once appears to be due to page layout and the number of answer diagrams. Rather than present the same number of problems in each set, the number of problems presented at one time is the number that will complete an odd numbered page (a right hand side page).

The last section: Miscellaneous Problems -- 101 Problems consists of 101 problems.

There are times for people of various grades completing this book at the Problem Book Grades page.



David Carlton has a [ext] review of this book.

ilan: This is a good book, because it gives a wide range of consistent problems, in the sense that it will help you learn the basic corner patterns. Other problem books seem more random in their choices. In other words, this is more like a textbook presented as a problem book.

However, I'm having a hard time with this book because it seems that in 50% of the cases, the solutions I find are not given as answers. This is a little frustrating, because I believe that problem books should be rigourous in their solutions. Now I find that there is a problem which doesn't seem to have the correct answer at all, and this is somewhat frustrating, because it looks like I spent a lot of effort trying to find a solution which didn't exist. Normally, I find books with errors more interesting, because one can be a little more aggressive in finding flaws, but here, maybe I'm not strong enough yet to feel this way. It seems that incorrect statements tend more to encourage me to distrust my reading, and go over the same lines over and over.

Anyway, the problem in question is number 76 on page 57, see Get Strong at Life and Death/Errata.

xela: I agree entirely with these comments. I think this book contains some very useful material, but I would like to see more detailed solutions. There are many things that don't seem quite right to me, although I'm not strong enough to be confident that they're actually wrong.

I've been thinking for some time of starting a "workshop" section of SL, to go through this book and other similar things (I'm thinking especially of Get Strong at the Endgame and 501 Opening Problems) and fill in some of the missing details. My natural inertia means that it will take a long time for me to actually write down my thoughts, but I might get more enthusiastic if other people show an interest too!

Sounds like a very good idea. Yet there may well be a copyright issue in copying the problems into Sensei's Library. Selected problems can be copied, particularly in the context of a book review, but reproducing the entire collection is clearly an issue. Please note that the several classic collections are out of copyright (if copyright ever applied) and therefore not affected by these considerations.

BramGo: There are 2 ways to solve go problems. 1)The first way is to look and just pick the answer based on feeling. That kind of solving is more from a point of view of: "I think I know what the answer is". 2)The second way of solving problems is to read out all possible moves and think of alternatives till you have found an answer.

To all go problem solvers: the second way is the correct way, the first way is the wrong way. Sorry for those who still do it the first way, but sooner or later you will discover that feeling is something that should be eliminated and replaced with reading in order to become stronger and stronger. After all feeling is just something we can use to fill the gaps when we are not able to find the correct moves in our game. Feelings should not control you, you should control your feelings!

Why am I saying all this: when I go through Get Strong at Life and Death I sometimes get the feeling that author expects the reader just to KNOW the answers (the first way). I get this feeling because hard dan level problems are mixed with easier 10 kyu level problems. When you see the comments on the dan level problems they just show the main line though. I think that corresponds also with what ilan is saying.

I have worked my way several times through the 3 Life and Death dictionaries of Cho Chikun but some problems in Get Strong at Life and Death are much harder just because they involve a lot more variations. This leaves the reader with the message to remember answers rather than to exercise reading-power.

I sometimes get the impression that they tried to put the problems sorted by theme, which mixes the grades of the problems. In my opinion that would have been a good idea for a book if it had more explanations and a better structure behind it.

Recently I have read the first chapters of Elementary Go Series - Life and Death. And I can only say that this book has left a totally different impression. It handles the problems topic by topic giving a lot more information. It is really helping me a bit to fill the gaps.

What also should be said about Get Strong at Life And Death, is that it is maybe better to try a reverse way of doing the problems: in the answers is included how the position arose. Perhaps it would be good to study those diagrams as a guide to learning basic invasion techniques.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Some Important Terms and Concepts
  • Part One: The Basics of Life and Death
    1. Eye Spaces
    2. Bent-Four-in-the-Corner
    3. Reducing the Opponent's Eye Space
    4. Expanding Your Own Eye Space
    5. Creating False Eyes
    6. Exploiting Shortage of Liberties
    7. Ten-Thousand-Year Ko
    8. The Comb Formation
    9. The Carpenter's Square
  • Part Two: Life-and-Death Problems Arising from Joseki
  • Part Three: Miscellaneous Problems - 101 Problems

Sample Problems

to be added

Get Strong At Life And Death last edited by on June 19, 2009 - 01:56
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