ABC's of Attack and Defense

ABC's of Attack and Defense
By: Michael Redmond
Publisher: Slate and Shell, 2002,2005
ISBN10 1-932001-00-X
222 pp.

Table of contents

The ABC's of Attack are:

  1. Separate your opponent: If your opponent's stones become connected and form terrority, further attacks often have little effect.
  2. Seal your opponent in: If a group of stones without eyes gets isolated, most likely it will run towards the center. If you can block the escape paths and seal in your opponent's stones before they get out, the attack will have succeeded.

The ABC's of Defense are:

  1. Connect your stones: Your stones become stronger when they are connected. What's more you can create territory by connecting on the third or fourth line.
  2. Move out into the center: If your connections to the sides are cut off then a struggle to get into the center will ensue. Whichever side can get even one step ahead of the other will have an advantage.

This book is a translation of an NHK Lecture Series book.

See the [ext] publisher's blurb & [ext] sample pages.


Tamsin Jones and David Carlton's [ext] reviews.
crux's review.

Table of Contents

Glossary of Japanese Go Terms


Chapter 1: To start an attack, first separate

           How to think about attacking - 1
           How to think about attacking - 2
           Fighting in the Center
           Sealing the opponent in
           Avoiding being sealed in

Chapter 2: Handling the double approach

           Handling the double approach
           First poke your head out
           Sealing in and taking the initiative

Chapter 3: Using pincers to fight

           An enterprising pincer
           Aiming for the weak points
           Speed is important
           Looking at the whole board
           The power of the cap
           First, seal in
           Seal in, then build a moyo (large framework) - 1
           Seal in, then build a moyo - 2

Chapter 4: Miai (points of equal value) and exchanges

           The correct direction to block
           Learning approach moves
           Playing against a 3-4 point play
           Let your opponent surround territory
           Cutting and being cut
           Finding miai
           Responding to 4-5 and 3-5 point plays: It's easy!

Original Title

The title of the japanese original book is "マイケル・レドモンドの攻め・守りの基本 (NHK囲碁シリーズ)", which translates to "Michael Redmond's Attack and Defense Basics (NHK Go Series)". That book was published in 2001; see its [ext] cover image.


Velobici: Throughout the first chapters of Michael Redmond's ABC's of Attack and Defense, he uses the initial moves of 4-stone handicap games to illustrate his basic prinicples of attack and defense. His examples are well chosen to bring out these principles in actual play which center around single and double approaches to corner handicap stone. The last chapters focus on 3-stone handicap games and emphasize the concept of miai.

The book is rich in diagrams that flow naturally from on to the other. Each diagram demostrates an application of one or more of the ABC's...the principle being used is explicitly stated and reiterated.

Each time an alternative line of play is introduced, a diagram showing the lead up to the alternative is reproduced...reducing the amount of page-flipping and firmly setting the stage for introducing the variation.

A single reading of the first half of the book resulted in a significant improvement in the severity of my play.

Grauniad: The book should really be called The AB's of Attack and Defense. :-) But I agree that it's a good book.

Tamsin: Interestingly, principles 3 and 4 are the reverse sides of 1 and 2, respectively. This should appeal to those with a philosophical cast of mind (yin and yang and so on).

Michael Redmond provides very well chosen examples to show you how to apply these fundamentals. In one example in the opening chapter, for instance, he shows you how to choose most effectively between three plausible moves (namely, ikken tobi, iron pillar, and diagonal play), bearing in mind the ABCs listed above.

This book contains other very valuable material, especially towards the back, in which you will find simple but effective ways to counter those awkward plays on the 5-3 and 5-4 points.

mdm: This book is based on a japanese television series. Does anybody know if there is a DVD of that series?

ABC's of Attack and Defense last edited by crux on May 26, 2011 - 19:33
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