Endgame Problems 1
Endgame Problems 1 is a book by Robert Jasiek and volume 1 of a planned series with endgame problems.
Table of contents |
Description
The author and publisher of Endgame Problems 1 is Robert Jasiek. The book is of A5 size, has 252 pages, has 5 diagrams per page on average, is written for players from 8 kyu to 3 dan and has the suggested price € 26.5 (book) or € 13.25 (PDF).
Availability
The book is available directly from the publisher or from European retailers.
Table of Contents
The table of contents is available at the author’s site.
Sample Material
A Sample is available.
Reviews
Review by Arnaud Boucherie
Preface
Merry Christmas everyone,
it’s been over 4 months since I posted my review of Endgame 3. I want to apologize to Robert for being so long. I am somewhat surprised nobody else picked up his offer to receive and review one of his endgame books. That or people have been even slower than me :cry: .
I am Arnaud Boucherie. As I am typing this review I am ranked 1 or 2 dan EGF but 2019 has not been an active year. I received a physical copy of the book in exchange for the review.
What’s in the book
As the title says, it is a problem book. The book contains 150 problems, 130 of which are about getting the correct evaluation of a local endgame (sente/gote, count and move value). The first 20 problems are about getting the correct endgame on a 11x11 board. They are about spotting tesuji and reading life and death correctly and not much about calculation.
Even if it is a problem book, there are many pages about the theory. It is obviously much shorter than what you get in Engame 2 and 3 but it is enough to get you going if you are a good learner, and a great reminder if you have already read Endgame 2 and 3. The topics dealt are :
- counting gote and sente endgames
- distinguishing gote and sente positions
- kos
- theory of long sequences (should you play the sequence in one go or should play be interrupted)
Each problem comes with a detailled solution.
How did it go ?
As I mentioned in my previous review, I actually started the book in June before reading Endgame 3. I made some mistakes in the first 20 problems from reading too fast, but most of them went fine. In my opinion all of them are doable for players at least 5k. The main lesson is that at some point you need to grab your sente moves before it’s too late.
I then did the first 25 calculation problems. I got « only » 4 of them wrong but I was very slow at the time.
At that point I switched to Endgame 3, learned some more theory, got a bit better at calculation from doing the examples and exercises. I was faster during my second trial.
Here are the results, problems are seperated the way they are in the book :
- Problems 21~59 (basic problems) : [I made 6 mistakes] but I remember being much faster the second time
- Problems 60~67 (not as basic) : I made 1 mistake
- Problems 68~79 (ko) : I made 3 mistakes
- Problems 80~99 (mixed problems) : I made 1 mistake
- Problems 100~118 (some more mixed problems) : I made 7 mistakes
- Problems 119~150 (problems for long sequences) : I made 7 mistakes. Those are also about indentifying long sequences worth playing, which I have not done (yet). I focused on getting the correct counts and move values.
My mistakes were of various types. Sometimes I didn’t count points correctly. Sometimes I overlooked a move was sente. Sometimes I overlooked a move tactically. Sometimes I didn’t understand the problem correctly, usually when it was in the center. [Usually] mistakes came in groups, which suggests that there has been days where I was sharp and days where I was off.
What did I learn ?
Obviously I didn’t learn anything about theory, as the other books already covered it. Still, reading about long sequences the second time was easier. I lack the courage and confidence to do the related problems, but the examples were completly clear. Practice makes perfect. My speed has increased a lot over the last 6 months. Calculations to check if a move is sente or gote became second nature. In that regard, the book helped a lot.
I still cannot do the problems mentally, unless the position is very easy. I tried when I picked up the book the second time, but I soon gave up. I use pen and paper to keep track of values. I wonder how well I could do without it in a real game.
Would I recommend it ?
Yes ! I have not read Anti Tormanen’s Rational Endgame so I can’t compare. If you already know a bit about miai counting, Endgame problems 1 is a very good stand alone book. A year ago, in my review of Endgame 2, I complained about the first 50 pages being hard to follow, in my opinion. This time there are not many theory pages, but they are very clear and to the point. It is hard to judge if it is enough for most new readers, as I have already read about the theory before. If you started with Endgame problems 1 I would like to read your opinion. Anyways, if you are considering getting only one of Endgame 2/Endgame 3/Endgame problems 1 this is the one I would recommend.
Lastly, I was very impressed by the proof reading of the book. Whenever I disagreed with the solution, I always identified the mistake on my side, and it was never an issue because there is a lot of detail.
Since I learned go in 2004, 2019 is by far the year I played the least. Hopefully that will change in 2020. I will update my post next year to tell how it goes in real games and do a longer review of problems about long sequences. If you have any question about Endgame 2 & 3 or Endgame problems 1, don’t be afraid to ask. I will happily answer.
Review by the Author
General Specification
- Title: Endgame Problems 1
- Author: Robert Jasiek
- Publisher: Robert Jasiek
- Edition: 2019
- Language: English
- Price: EUR 26.50 (book), EUR 13.25 (PDF)
- Contents: endgame
- ISBN: none
- Printing: good
- Layout: good
- Editing: good
- Pages: 252
- Size: 148mm x 210mm
- Diagrams per Page on Average: 5
- Method of Teaching: principles, methods, examples
- Read when EGF: 8 kyu - 3 dan
- Subjective Rank Improvement: +
- Subjective Topic Coverage: o
- Subjective Aims' Achievement: ++
Preface
The book contains 150 endgame problems and introduces the theory necessary for their solution. There are 20 new tactical problems on the 11x11 board and 130 evaluation problems studying modern endgame theory under territory scoring.
For problems of endgame evaluation, the book achieves a revolutionary concept: correctness of the answers. For this purpose, I have studied endgame theory for 2.5 years before creating the book and spent as much time on proofreading as on writing it.
Tactical Problems
The 20 whole board problems have the task "Black to play and achieve the maximum count". We practise playing all our sente moves, tactical reading, life and death, and tesujis.
At first glance, these problems appear to be for 10 kyus. However, most of them can be demanding for dans. The reader does not know in advance whether a tie with the count 0 is good enough or he can achieve a win with the count 1, whether he should play sente or kill, and what tesujis must be deployed.
The hidden difficulty serves two purposes: improving presumes solving problems above one's current level; after overcoming the hurdle at the beginning of the book, the evaluation problems appear relatively easier so that we can better learn evaluation. The answers to the whole board problems show every relevant variation and decision.
Theory
Since endgame evaluation requires application of theory, the necessary theory is summarised on 35 pages. Therefore, this book can be read independently, although readers of the first half of Endgame 2 - Values and a representative selection of the basic theory in Endgame 3 - Accurate Local Evaluation are prepared better.
Explanation of theory is distributed to several chapters and explained before its first use. Furthermore, references enable a choice of reading a whole theory chapter or swapping between its sections and related sections of subsequent problem chapters.
The basic theory of gote versus sente, counts (the local positional values) and move values is explained twice using different approaches. Furthermore, footnotes on the pages with answers to the problems, an appendix explaining conventions of diagrams, variables and calculations, and an index assist the reader. For example, if he forgets what a 'gote count' is, several tools explain him its calculation as an average. Similarly, he can recall easily the different calculations of Black's versus White's 'gains' (which express how much a player's move shifts counts in his favour).
The theory explains the basic concepts and values of modern endgame theory. In particular, we learn the ordinary types 'local gote' versus 'local sente' (one player has a sente sequence) of local endgame positions. Furthermore, there are the hybrid type 'ambiguous' and ordinary kos. A local endgame with long 'traversal' sequences (with at least 3 moves worth playing successively) can be a 'long gote' or 'long sente'. We distinguish the types of local endgames to calculate their appropriate values. Furthermore, value conditions verify that we calculate the right values. For long types, we also determine for how long local play should proceed before playing elsewhere. We also consider whether ko threats can be preserved.
Endgame Problems 1 emphasises the basic theory and skips advanced theory. Therefore, local gote is distinguished from local sente by the most popular kinds of conditions, which compare a move value of the initial position to a follow-up move value of a follow-up position ('follower'). This book does not study alternative value conditions, options and sophisticated methods of fast evaluation, which Endgame 3 - Accurate Local Evaluation explains but whose practice is postponed for Endgame Problems 2.
Evaluation Problems
The 130 evaluation problems with relatively large diagrams have realistic, basic shapes. They vary from the most basic to intermediate difficulty. The non-standard shapes and evaluation in the answers of all problems are new.
The problems study every basic kind of local endgame: without follow-up, simple gote with gote follow-ups of one or both players, simple gote with iterative gote follow-ups, simple gote with sente follow-ups, simple sente with gote or sente follow-ups, long gote, long sente, with basic endgame kos, ordinary kos, ambiguous local endgames and mixed shapes. Complex kos, which require advanced theory, are the only noteworthy omission.
Whenever necessary, the answers are very detailed. They analyse move by move and position by position. Calculation proceeds backwards: we calculate the counts and move values of the follow-up positions before we derive the values of the initial local endgame. At every step, we use a value condition to verify that we calculate the right gote or sente values. For long sequences, we also determine their lengths and calculate the gains of their moves. The detailed calculations including verifications enable the reader to understand their correctness. Some advanced problems have short naive answers and detailed accurate answers so that we see when they agree or the naive answers are wrong.
Values are 'tentative' until they are confirmed. Tentative values are denoted gently in the text and by a different font for letters of variables. The reader can ignore this aspect or read the text more deeply by raising his awareness.
The variables C and M denote counts and move values, respectively. If several values are calculated, suffixes refer to the numbers of diagrams or moves.
Except for introductory examples, the book omits trivial text. For every diagram with a settled position, the caption simply states its count. The reader is expected to verify it by adding Black's and subtracting White's points of the marked intersections. Every stone with the label 'A' is worth 1 point for its captor. The label 'H' denotes half a point or minus half a point. When a gain is calculated from the previously determined counts before and after a move, the reader should look up the related diagrams without explicit reference. Instead of repeating the obvious every time, such conventions are declared once in the appendix. The footnotes contribute to keeping the text clean.
As a consequence, it can concentrate on the important values and calculations. From the introduction of theory, we know that negative counts favour White. Here is a sample, in which the footnotes are unshown:
"The initial local endgame with the black follower's count B = 1 in Dia. 26.1 and white follower's count W = -3 in Dia. 26.2 has the gote count
C = (B + W) / 2 = (1 + (-3)) / 2 = -1
and gote move value
M = (B - W) / 2 = (1 - (-3)) / 2 = 2."
Every important calculation appears in its own row to ease its reading. After the declaration of the calculated value, the formula is stated, the actual numbers are inserted and transformed.
Conclusion
We improve finding sente plays, tesujis and our tactical reading. Endgame Problems 1 teaches the relevant theory. Provided we embrace the effort necessary for calculations and their notation, we learn correct evaluation of every basic type of local endgame and its follow-ups. We calculate and verify counts, move values and gains.