Go Basics -- Concepts And Strategies for New Players
An introductory book by Peter Shotwell, published by Tuttle. This book explains the game not by the usual method of stating the rules first, but by taking players through a professional 9x9 game with very detailed (approx 100 pages) annotations. The book also includes the AGA Starter CD-rom with igowin, software and some HTML pages among other itmes.
xela: I saw a copy in a local bookshop (an amazing thing--go books in a mainstream bookshop!) I found the approach intriguing, and it may even be interesting for more experienced players to see some commented professional 9x9 games (I was tempted to buy a copy, but not tempted enough), but I'd worry that it would be mystifying to a complete beginner. The rules of the game aren't clearly stated all together in one place, so a newcomer would have to read almost the whole book before actually being able to play a complete game of go. Also, it bothers me that the players of the 9x9 games featured in the book aren't (as far as I could tell) named anywhere. On the other hand, it's refreshing to see an approach that's so different from any of the other beginner books I know of, and there's a lot of interesting material here.
VanEvery: As refreshing as it is to find something that analyzes these small 9x9 games, the book itself leaves much to be desired. The topics explained within it are explained well enough, but the problems occurs with the terrible use of diagrams in the book. The marked stones often don't match the diagrams at all and I've found no less than four places in this book where one player inexplicably takes two consecutive moves in stages of the game where no sane player would ever have passed. The worst of these is a section on sacrificing in which one diagram ends with and the continuation diagram begins with . It seems that the players keep dozing off in the midst of their games to be cheated by their opponent.
Peter Shotwell: In response to these comments on my book, the problem with critical reviews by beginners is that they often misinterpret things that they do not understand.
A complete game is demonstrated in the introduction of "Go Basics" and there are only two substantial rules in go that need to be known. The first, the rule of capture, is clearly explained in Chapter One and the second that no position can be repeated (ko)is explained later on, when the reader is able to fully understand it. The rest of the book deals not with rules but with basic go knowledge that is essential for a player’s improvement on any size board. All this is on page 109.
I am a bit suspicious of the second review since, from what I have been able to determine, he wrote it after playing go for about a month. He is very vague in his criticism but in the one concrete example he cites, he missed that the explanatory text starts out not once, but twice with the word "If". . . Nor did he seem to know that commentaries on variations from the game always start out with 1 in order not to confuse the reader about what really happened. Then the diagrams and text go back to the game. All this is on page 109.
Following this logic, I suspect that the "four times" players got "two moves" were demonstrations that a group was dead and one side did not have to reply to any moves that were made by the other side to save them. Also, if he reads this, could he please be explicit about where the marked stones-text "problems" are? No one else has complained about any of this in the four years "Go Basics" has been out. However, maybe there are some mistakes--a go book is rarely written without some and we writers would always like know about them in order to correct them in later editions! This was done, for example, in the second printing of my first book, "Go! More Than a Game," where a mistake in the first printing about the final score of a game was a left-over from a deleted game that slipped by me and quite a few editors.
FlyingAxe?: I have a question (not really related to the contents of the book). Where does the picture at the bottom of the cover come from? My wife and I saw the book in the store and were trying to figure out what’s going on in that picture.
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