Endgame 1 Fundamentals Review By Evgeni


Good afternoon dear Go community. My name is Evgeni, I am currently 2 kyu on KGS. I would like to present to you a review of the book by Robert Jasiek "Endgame 1 - Fundamentals". I was given a copy of the book in exchange for a review and a mini-study on improving the quality my game. About my impression of the book and about its effect on my game, please, read on.

Yose (the end of the game, the endgame) at the current moment is my favorite part of the game. It seems that my mathematical education and love for precise calculations have some impact on that. As for today, Iíve read "The Endgame" (Davies, Ogawa) and "Get Strong at the Endgame" (Bozulich). I like both to calculate the value of the move and to determine the most effective (in terms of points) sequence of moves considering the whole board. But none of these topics are considered in Robertís book :) . The reason is written in the very first paragraph of the book: "While Volume 2 will study such advanced aspects of the endgame, this Volume 1 is different: the reader learns without needing to consider calculating values." At first I was a bit puzzled, but then everything became clear. The main subject and the manner of presentation of the book "Endgame 1 - Fundamentals" are basic principles that are supported by examples.

According to the material, I would divide the content of the book into two large, quite equal, parts:

  • The first part tells about how to earn and not lose points. It describes not so much the endgame phase, but the right mindset during the game. It deals with issues of the direction of play, the effectiveness of stones, attack and defense, etc.. This allows adequately disclose the subject about earning points during the game. As already mentioned, all the material is given in the form of principles, but (due to the generality of questions raised) they seem to be fairly obvious and even useless at first glance. For example: "Make the best choice in the global context", "Choose the locally best endgame" But every general principle is supported by examples and sometimes the principles of "smaller scale" (i.e. "Choose the wider gap" in the opening) that allows, as much as possible, to talk about the large topics in short.
  • The second part is more usual for a book about yose. It describes the techniques that are applicable during the endgame phase. The topics covered are ko, yose-tesuji, sente-gote, etc..

All chapters of the book are structurally almost identical. At the beginning the main topic of the chapter is announced, one "big" principle is given. After that there is an explanation of the material from the standpoint of theory (principles of "smaller scale") and practice (examples). At the end there is always a set of problems with solutions to consolidate the knowledge. The volume of this set is approximately proportional to the volume of given material. While reading this book, I couldnít shake the thought that I was reading some school textbook, so similar structure they have :) . Regarding the problems, I would like to make a small remark. The thing is that the subject of the part of the problems is the selection of correct direction of play and strategic planning in general. Decisions of this kind always have some playerís style issues. Apparently, because of the very large field of options, solutions of some problems from the book were not very convincing for me. I thought that there must be some other solution that would be more appropriate to my style. But even if I did find it, I was in doubt about its optimality (after all, I'm just learning :) ). I think these kinds of questions are eternal to Go, because even professionals often estimate the position differently because of their style preferences.

The impact of this book on my game. As already is written above, yose is my favorite subject in Go right now, so I try to study it thoroughly. Since the book "Endgame 1 - Fundamentals" is about the basics of the subject, it seems to me that I didnít learn very much of new, unknown material. What actually gave me the reading of this book is the structuring of my knowledge (at this feature Robertís books are the role model in the industry of Go books for me). I knew most of the principles, but after the reading I tried to consciously apply them in my games. In my opinion, exactly this gave a small, but improvement of my game, as well as more possibility to teach other people the basics of the game.

I would like to say the following to the future readers of this book. Do not expect to gain "secret knowledge" after reading it. Some knowledge is available from public sources (such as yose-tesuji et.al.), and some is fairly straightforward and is gained through a lot of games played and reviewed. Nevertheless, I highly recommend reading the book by Robert Jasiek "Endgame 1 - Fundamentals" to all players who havenít reached the level of 1 dan. The book contains material which will take a lot of time to gain from many other sources and it is presented in the form of a nice textbook. If one studies seriously and tries to consciously apply presented knowledge in practice, then this book is excellent in teaching the basics of how to properly and effectively earn points during the game.

Endgame 1 Fundamentals Review By Evgeni last edited by on October 23, 2015 - 20:17
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