Charles Matthews

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I'm a BGA 3 dan in Cambridge UK. I have written extensively on go for magazines, and on the Web (most of those articles are now on the Gobase site [ext] I also write books, one of which is published.

My email address is charles.r.matthews at

Author of Teach Yourself Go.

I spend more time at Wikipedia these days. I have just started Wikipedia WikiProject Go, for which see [ext] I'm also going to make a page here about it,

New web series of articles

At [ext] there is a PDF file posted of the first article I wrote in an AGJ series.

Online posting of my book Shape Up!

The whole Kim-Matthews book is now posted. (There is also a FAQ for this at

It was written with Seong-june Kim?.

23 October 2003

Second problem set posted.

8 October 2003

Chapter 9 posted at Gobase.

24 September 2003

Chapter 8 is posted today at Gobase. See


for all of the ten parts now published.

Older comments:

Rich: Thanks again, Charles; this is definitely set to be a classic go book. Section 7.3 especially was like a gift from above. Great stuff.

Stefan: Looks interesting. When will the book publish?

JG: I would also like to buy it.

Charles: I'll let you know when I know. It isn't so easy to get published.

saccade: Any word on this? The parts you put online have been really useful. I'd be willing to pay for a mailed printout if you can't manage to publish it.

Charles: As I say, I'll let people know.

Is it true you're changing the title to Waiting for Godot? ~ian~

Charles: No. But the interest level of trying to break into go authorship is well up to Sam Beckett's standards.

phenomene : I have just downloaded the chapter four. Congratulations Charles! You are a brilliant teacher and I will recommend Shape Up! to all the players in my go club.

saccade: Thanks a lot -- so far this book has been brilliant!

Enough: What program are you using to create those PDFs? I can get it down to 290K with Acrobat 6. Even all the other chapters online I can get about 50% size reduction.

Charles I export from Pagemaker 6.5.

Enough: Ahh. Have you tried InDesign 2? It's much better IMHO. They have a realatively cheap upgrade for Pagemaker users. We use it at work for online and print magazines. Switched from QuarkXpress and Pagemaker.

Vlad: It is a very interesting and good book! Thanks!

I have a question about one diagram: on the first page of chapter 8, the sequence leading to a ko when white cuts through the attach-and-extend joseki. Aren't moves B6 and B8 better kept as ko threats? I remember seeing this in another book, but can't remember which one.

Charles You can find slightly different versions of this 'joseki' in various books, I know.

Pimenta You can always publish it as an e-book, if everything else fails. Congratulations on this excellent piece of Go teaching.

(Hicham): Well done, i really find your book well writen and I am studying it now. One small question, is there a way for interested people to read the last chapters? Can you put 'em online somewhere or mail them . Probably you have a reason for not doing it, but know that people enjoy your work out there.

Uganda, June 2003

To Uganda on 6 July, to coach.

9 July: At Kampala YMCA teaching a daily go class.

19 July: After ten four-hour classes in 11 days, the first ever Go tournament in Uganda, a 16-player knockout on 13x13 boards, won by Moses Lukwago, whom I grade as 20 kyu. Also, two mentions in the sports section of The New Vision, the government-owned national daily newspaper.

21 July: I fly home, with another mention in The New Vision.

Photos now posted at [ext] .

And in 2006: I shall be in the same place 2-15 June.

  • 5 June Lesson 1 : Take the corners
  • 6 June Lesson 2: Don't play too close!
  • 7 June ''Life and Death'

My online articles are at [ext] . I have also started to contribute to NRich, which is a mathematics teaching enrichment site. The pieces at


may be of interest to anyone coming to go with a strongly mathematical background. Most 'rules' discussion in go has (in my opinion) little to do with effective teaching of the game. Those articles are the beginnings of a bridge.

June 2003: further article


has been posted.

I have added quite a large number of short pages with very brief biographies of pro players. My reference for this has been John Fairbairn's comprehensive Names Dictionary. We live in a very interesting time for the internationalisation of go.

Minor editing

Copy-editing is hardly "radical, anarchic" stuff. But there seems to be enough interesting discussion here on SL that house-styling the technical matter is worthwhile, and increases its legibility. I've been: making Black and White the nouns and black, white the adjectives; making references to lettered points a, b and so on; expanding abbreviations. See also SL Conventions.

Now, quite a few months later, the SL mark-up has taken some major steps forward. The site in general has still to catch up with

  • the little-stones mark-up, B1 and so on
  • formatting of diagram titles includes text and link features
  • hyperlinks out of diagram marked points
  • hyperlinks to footnote markers [1], as anchors.

In editing, I've come to some conclusions about upper case:

  • I systematically remove CamelCase (in almost all cases)
  • diagram titles to start (only) with upper case, no full stop
  • page titles mostly to start (only) with upper case (some exceptions for headline purposes, such as Recent Changes).

I edit out most smileys: if they are really needed to prevent misunderstanding, that's as a prop for weak or suspect writing that might need to go, too.

The position on Japanese terms is that many remain (e.g semeai) even in cases where there are good equivalents. Without being fanatical, I'm changing many as I come across them. The standardisation of names for joseki, enclosures, extensions , jumps and so on seems not to have raised many hackles. I think the main concentrations of Japanese usage are now in older pages, which on principle need some edits to bring them into line with current best practice. Quite a number of pages have had the Japanese term moved to alias status.


Someone else added that I'm author of "Teach Yourself Go"; which I can't deny.

nuance: Why would you want to? It was the first book that actually managed to get me to understand the first thing about go beyond the utter basics.

Charles Opinions on my books seem divided. I don't do bland, so perhaps it's not surprising. My reticence is mostly because SL isn't the place for commercial promotion.

jgannon: I agree with nuance. I have a copy of TY Go and it's been exceptionally helpful learning Go.

se: More agreement. There's a blurb on the TYG book page saying that it's useful even for single digit kyu players. As a weak SDK, I can confirm that -- I'm learning a lot of basic techniques that I hadn't yet picked up, or that I had grasped only incompletely. I can feel myself improving as the gaps in my basic knowledge are filled. Much better than the book I started out with! Nice work, & thanks.

Pattern language(s) in go

Meatball Wiki is a different place from here, with experts on wikis contributing.

Jan: I was intrigued by your remarks there on a Pattern Language for Go. My only experience with the whole pattern business comes from my programming background, so I wonder how those ideas can be applied to Go. Is it something like the catalogue of shapes in Basic Instinct (which looks a bit like the famous Gang of Four book), or am I missing your point entirely?

Charles No, not entirely. It's a bit premature/pretentious to identify the pattern language 'syntax' (this problem in this context, therefore do this) with a high-level approach to go via patterns (suji/haengma/joseki/shape) where knowing the patterns is relatively easy but explaining their correct application is much harder. But there is some common ground there, certainly. And it's part of the standard Japanese approach to anything through kata, so it doesn't feel artificial to a go player. The point would be to try to explain this in an interesting way.


For my contributions to [ext] wikipedia see [ext] I'm not posting much about go.

While we're on the subject, people might like to read this: [ext] .

We aren't Wikipedia at SL: it would be nice to think of SL as a wiki.Charles Matthews

Yoon Jinhoon (Jin) was in Cambridge a little while ago.

I have identified this game from Falkener's book.

Yamamoto Samutsu Ikegami Kiyoshi Akiyama Tamigoro Higuchi Tetsuzo

AJP: Charles, you mention "Comment by Seong-june Kim 6d, from the unpublished book 'Fighting Fit'." on the sacrifice a single stone on the second line pages. Did this book ever get published? What happened to it?

eversonyoshi: Excuse me. My name is Éverson. I am brazilian. And I am 15k? in KGS. Since I learned Go, I was fascinated by Tengen Opening. I am playing the first move in Tengen as Black and as White for 1 year. Unfortunately, I am stop in 15k? and I don't know what to do to "evolute"... Do you know some site or pdf that teachs some "Tengen Skills" to help me? Thanks and sorry to write here without ask early... ^^' Ah, I was forgotting... my e-mail is, thanks! =)

Phelan: Charles, I'd like to thank you for your spelling and grammar edits lately(at least I assume it was you), but could you please mark them as minor?

Charles Actually it was strategic, in a sense. Typos on a page usually means it is neglected. Churning neglected pages onto Recent Changes is a good thing, within limits. It's about time SL did some basic housework on this, I did expect some comment.

Charles Matthews last edited by on January 29, 2015 - 00:05
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