Classical Go Problem books

The following are classical problem collections from China and Japan. Several of them are completely available on Sensei's Library. Such collections sometimes share part of their problems, so you may encounter duplicates.

Four Major Classics are in bold.

Year Title Author/Editor # and Type of Problems Origin Other Names Online source (English)
c. 1100 Wangyou Qingle Ji
Li Yimin 34, Mixed China ENG: Carefree & Innocent Pastime Collection
JPN: Bouyuu Seirakushuu
[ext] OGS
1347 Xuanxuan Qijing
Yan Defu, Yan Tianzhang 347, Mixed China ENG: Gateway to All Marvels
JPN: Gengen Gokyo (玄玄碁経)
KOR: Hyeon Hyeon Gi Gyeong (현현기경)
SL and [ext] Tsumego Hero
1629 Xian Ji Wu Ku
Lu Xuanyu and his son 419, L&D China ENG: Arsenal of Immortal Devices

SL (Partial)

1634 Wanhui Xianji
(万汇仙机 (潞藩辑纂万汇仙机棋谱))
Zhuchang Fang 490 China ENG:
1660 Guanzi Pu
Guo Bailing, Tao Shiyu 1473, Mixed China ENG: Endgame Collection
JPN: Kanzufu (官子譜)
KOR: Gwan Ja Bo (관자보)

[ext] OGS and [ext] Tsumego Hero (both partial).
See the main article for full electronic versions)

1708 Yoshin Teiki
Inoue Dosetsu Inseki 135 (that survives) Japan CHN:
ENG: Principles to Follow at Important Points
1710 Yi Kuo
Huang Longshi 361 China ENG:
[ext] Tsumego Hero
1713 Igo Hatsuyoron
(囲碁 発陽論)
Inoue Dosetsu Inseki 183, L&D Japan CHN: Fayanglun (发阳论)
ENG: Analysis of Generating Yang
KOR: Wiki Balyangron (위기발양론)
1812 Gokyo Shumyo
Hayashi Genbi 520, Mixed (classified by type) Japan CHN: Qijing Zhongmiao (棋经众妙)
ENG: Brilliancies from Go Classics
KOR: Ki Kyeung Joong Myo (기경중묘)
SL and [ext] Tsumego Hero
1833 Genran
Akaboshi Intetsu 69, L&D Japan CHN: Xuanlan (玄览)
ENG: Mysterious Vision

[ext] OGS

1835 Gokyo Seimyo
Hayashi Genbi 247, Mixed, including Endgame Japan CHN: Qijing Jingmiao (棋经精妙)
ENG: Best of the Go Classics
KOR: Ki Kyeung Jeung Myo (기경정묘)
SL (Partial)
1848 Katsugo Shinpyo
Kishimoto Saichiro 130, Tesuji Japan CHN:
1910 Shikatsu Myoki
Honinbo Shusai 168, L&D Japan CHN: (围棋死活妙机)
ENG: New Life & Death Brilliant Stratagems

External Links

See Also


[ext] Overview of the better known "Classic" works, list compiled by Harry Fearnley and John Fairbairn

Bill: 適情録 (Shiqing-lu) by 林応竜 (Lin Yinlong), 1525

This book came in 20 volumes. It contains some problems, as well as some opening positions. It contains 384 diagrams by a Japanese monk, Kyochu. The openings suggest that there was an initial position where, aside from the Black and White stones on diagonally opposite 4-4 points, Black had a stone on tengen. (See Sunjang Baduk for a different prescribed opening setup.)

John F. Without being wrong, this statement needs to be treated with care, especially as regards tengen. The Shiqing-lu of 1525 by Lin Yinlong is notorious for adding stones on tengen and/or reversing colours in games that are known from earlier texts. Lin was a very weak player and was mocked accordingly. This was a time when go polemics were in fashion and writers slagged each other off. As the famous Wang Shizhen said around this time, "Even if a person has made a name in expositions, poems or essays on go, it does not necessarily mean this is a proof of the writer's go ability." Lin was mocked because he was weak but also because of the title of his book. Shiqing is a made-up word. He indicated he plucked the two characters from a poem by Wang Anshi, but as Wang Anshi was known as one of the great weakies in go history, Lin's peers took the title to mean it was a collection of trivia (and in some senses it is - at times it belongs more to astrology than go). Lin defended himself by pointing out that the bulk of the content (8 of the 20 volumes) was by the Japanese monk Xuzhong, resident in Hangzhou and perhaps the most esteemed player of the early Ming. But Lin had lost many papers of Xuzhong's original works and reconstructed them from memory for Shiqinglu - we do not know how reliably.

The title can perhaps be best rendered as "Records of doing as the heart pleases". It is believed the poem by Wang that inspired it runs (in part): "When I play go I am in the mood to forget the hardships of travelling on horseback round the garrison forts of far-off regions, and I end up rushing about eagerly trying to catch the beautiful butterflies I saw in my dreams." Rather nice!

Maybe Lin can be said to have had the last laugh, as his book, errors and all, is now considered one of the most important documents for go history.

Bill: Thanks, John. :-) That Lin was a weak player makes sense. My impression of a number of the openings shown on the site is that the play is weak and the style is generally heavy.

Anonymous: Could some players please list the suggested strength for the problem collection listed here. This would be very great. Thank you very much in advance.

John F. I had no part in compiling this list as it happens. I only answered a few queries from Harry, But I can tell you that generally the problems in the above list range from hard to very hard (5-dan plus), and in the case of Hatsuyoron to very, very, very, very hard (i.e. tough for pros). But every now and then a very easy problem will be found in some cases, which can create a misleading impression.

The easiest is the Gokyo Shumyo. The above makes it look like a Chinese book, but it's Japanese, and it's the book that goes by the name of Kanazawa Tesuji Series elsewhere on SL. The Guanzipu problems are mostly a kind of endgame problem (a type I call encroachment problems - the task is to encroach as much as possible into the enemy territory. In each case you need to exercise great care in getting a version that is correct in terms of both starting position and solutions. In the main, Internet versions have many defects, partly because the originals are also defective. An edited modern printed version is much the best bet.

There are quite a lot of other classic collections. If you tackle Gokyo Shumyo first you might find it sensible to move onto Gokyo Seimyo. Shikatsu Myoki and then Hatsuyoron you should leave until you are studying to be a pro.

Imagist: Some of these problem sets can be found [ext] here.

Classical Go Problem books last edited by on August 22, 2023 - 11:20
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