Vital Points and Skillful Finesse for Sabaki
A few pages of the book are available from Slate and Shell.
American Go Association eJournal Volume 7, #110: December 29, 2006, review by Bob Barber:
This is a good book for those who, like me, are always being told that they play too tightly. Especially when surrounded by enemy stones, it's necessary to be flexible and light: in a word, sabaki. This is in essence a problem book. Seventy-eight problems, each presented in a nice clear diagram. The reader is asked to select between two or three given choices. In the following two to six pages, the correct answer is shown, with a full explanation of why it is right, and the other choices wrong. I'm an AGA 1k, playing and studying for 25 years, and I can tell you I did NOT get them all right. I think this is a fine book to add to your library. It brings together many ideas I have seen discussed over the years, and will help to broaden your understanding of sabaki. I guarantee that if you follow these principles, you will win more games.
Andy Pierce: This is an excellent book, better than most, and should be must-reading for single-digit kyu players. Though not written as such, this book is a logical successor to and in the style of Cho Hun-hyeon's Lectures on Go Techniques, which makes a good prequel for double-digit kyus. Every problem is presented in its whole-board context, and the whole-board context is important for deciding each solution. This whole-board approach I have found to be typically underemphasized in most english go literature. In each case the background to the problem is presented and then two or three reasonable-looking candidate moves are suggested. Each of the candidate moves is discussed in good detail with concrete explanations for why the correct move is superior to the others. In some cases two or three problems are grouped together as extensions of each other, for example from the same game but 10 moves later on. This contributes nicely to the flow of the problems. For me, I've been losing games without knowing why. After reading this book, now I know why. I have noticed an immediate increase in playing strength. A nice follow-up book to be read *after* this one is Fujisawa Shuko's Reducing Territorial Frameworks.
Layout comments: The translation from Japanese is literalistic, as shown by the title. This is somewhat jarring at first, but you get used to it. I hope the translator will continue to bring important works like this one into the English-speaking world. The book is comfortably laid out. Each problem is on a right-side page, meaning that the solutions are all overleaf, which is a nice touch. There is the odd typo and one misplaced stone which will doubtless be corrected in the next printing.
Charles While the book is quite useful, some of the diagrams are not. There are errata in problem diagrams 21, 32, 41, 42, 48, 50, 57, 58, 59. I found these by comparing with the Japanese original. Some of these are serious.
Thad Charles may I ask what the sequence in Diagram 6 of page 168 in the English version is? Since both 15 and 16 are W, I must presume the sequence is wrong or B passed on move 15.5 .
Blake: Besides the copious errata, the quality of the publishing of this book is dubious at best. My copy has come badly unglued. While Perceiving the Direction of Play didn't have this problem, the translation and production quality have made me reluctant to buy any of the other Hinoki Press books.
Chaz: The material presented in this book is excellent. Sabaki is a difficult and nuanced concept, and the author approaches it in a way that makes it accessible to single-digit kyu players and deep enough that dan players can benefit from mastering the material presented. The author covers difficult scenarios in a casual problem-based format that challenges you to make the critical decisions that control the outcome of the game. Each problem covers advanced variations regarding reduction and invasion of various frameworks and extensions. A close study of all aspects of the 78 problems is sure to significantly improve your game.
I haven't had a problem with my copy becoming unglued, and while there are errors in about 1% of the diagrams, that isn't enough to keep me from recommending the 99% that is of fine quality.
- Introduction: How to Think About Sabaki
- Chapter 1: Fundamental Skillful Finesse for Sabaki
- Chapter 2: Judgement of Sabaki
- Chapter 3: Real Game Skillful Finesse for Sabaki
to be added