How not to Play Go

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How not to Play Go
By: Yuan Zhou
Publisher: Slate and Shell, November 2009
32 pp.


Review - Allen Saunders (antinoun)

This is a very short book. It consists almost exclusively of game reviews, three in total.

Both its brevity and its content (just game reviews?) made it a little disappointing for me, at least at first. Such a cool title, I expected something different I guess.

The good news is, the game reviews are excellent, some of the best I've seen. By best, I mean it's quite readable and understandable to me, a 10 kyu.

So, if you go into it knowing what to expect, it can be a good book.

In total it's only 32 numbered pages. Again, brief book. Check TOC below to see you how short the non-game review stuff is -- it's literally a few paragraphs.

But, if you are a kyu player and want some good, understandable game reviews, I highly recommend it!


I have enjoyed Yuan Zhou's other books (The Style of... series) immensely: these are informative, clear and full of insights. But unfortunately, this book disappoints. The games selected for commentary are bad (which is of course why they were chosen) but that has the result that the game commentaries generally "pushes at open doors", with statements of the obvious for the most part. I don't think any SDK player would learn much from this slim volume. This is a pity, because a really good book on classic mistakes and bad habits is long overdue in the Western go literature.


The game reviews are good. And Yuan Zhou clearly gets his points across. The mistakes are important to fix, but stronger SDK players have probably (begun to) come to terms with them already. I appreciate the emphasis though.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction (1)
  • Chapter One: Common Misunderstandings (3)
  • Chapter Two: An 8 kyu game (5)
  • Chapter Three: A 4 kyu game (18)
  • Chapter Four: A 1 kyu vs, 2 kyu game (25)


[ext] There is an ebook version for the iPad.

Sample Material

[ext] Sample pages from the publishers, Slate and Shell

How not to Play Go last edited by DaveSigaty on April 24, 2019 - 15:00
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