So you want to play Go Level 2

  Difficulty: Intermediate   Keywords: Books & Publications

So You Want to Play Go? Level 2
series: So You Want to Play Go?
By: Jonathan Hop
252 pp.

The second installment of the "So You Want to Play Go?" series is aimed at 19 kyu to 10 kyu players. It goes over topics like the opening, the middle game, and tries to lay a good foundation for someone aiming to reach the ranks of the single digit kyus.


Table of Contents:

  • Chapter 1: The Empty Board: Opening Fundamentals
  • Chapter 2: Life and Death
  • Chapter 3: Basic Technique and Tesuji
  • Chapter 4: Basics of the Middle Game
  • Chapter 5: Opening Fundamentals Part 2
  • Chapter 6: Common Mistakes
  • Chapter 7: A 9 stone game
  • Chapter 8: Joseki
  • Chapter 9: The Golden Land


Jonathan Hop's, "So You Want to Play Go? Level 2" strikes just the right balance of humor and education for not only double digit kyu players, but also for those more experienced at the game. While the entire book was superb, I found the "Basics of the Middle Game" to be particularly enlightening. Jonathan lays out easy-to-understand guidelines for play during the middle game, all the while continuing to stress the importance of reading.

A number of the guidelines mentioned, such as "Using thickness to attack", are common phrases that I've heard time and time again as a go player. For the first time in my experience, though, Jonathan makes these sayings not only easy to understand through real professional game examples, but he also lays out ways to think about the go stones that I had never thought of.

One simple example of this is his creative comparison of territory in go to "farmland". While quite basic in nature, this fundamental analogy can provide insights into the game of go that even somebody new to the game can easily understand. The same analogy is extended to ideas such as keeping groups strong, jumping into the center of the board, and more. Furthermore, Jonathan's basic examples are, while easy to understand for the beginning player, perhaps even more useful to the experienced player, since the shapes can be applied to more complex ones. Remembering a basic, yet fundamental shape is easy. But only after reading Jonathan's book was I able to consider these fundamentals and their application to more complex shapes and board positions.

Everyone always recommends Kageyama's "Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go" because of Kageyama's stress on the importance of the fundamentals of the game. Jonathan's work in "So You Want to Play Go? Level 2" not only provides such fundamentals, but he does it in a way that anybody can understand, even if they've never played the game! If you're looking for a book to teach you the fundamentals thoroughly, while entertaining you along the way, this is it!


So you want to play Go Level 2 last edited by Kirby on August 27, 2009 - 01:47
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