Weiqi Life and Death Drills

Weiqi Life and Death Drills
By: Shao Zhenzhong and Ding Bo, Liu Qingqing?
Publisher: Chengdu Shidai Publishing, August 2003

Weiqi Life and Death Drills 围棋死活训练 (Weiqi Sihuo Xunlian), written by Shao Zhenzhong 9p, Ding Bo 5p and Liu Qingqing?, is a three volume set of life and death and tesuji problem books; one each for beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Suggested ranks run from 10k to 5d. Problems on one side and Answers on the other side of each page. The set was first published in August 2003. The books are easily portable at 141mm by 203mm[1]. There is a note beside each problem that serves as a hint to the solution.


Beginner Level (初级篇), about 860 problems, 226 pages, ISBN: 7-80548-844-4

  • Capturing Stones
  • Life & Death
  • Various Tesuji

Intermediate Level (中级篇), about 850 problems, 230 pages, ISBN: 7-80548-852-5

  • Life & Death
  • Various Tesuji
  • Endgame Tesuji

Advanced Level (高级篇), about 170 problems, 232 pages, ISBN: 7-80548-853-3

  • Killing
  • Making Life


Beginner Level, Problems 1-4, Black to play and capture.  

The targeted stones are indicated for the first 28 problems and some additional problems after that. The last time the targeted stones are shown is on page 23 of 226 pages.

Intermediate Level, Problems 1-4, Black to play and kill.  

Note: in the bottom right, Black to play and make ko.

Advanced level, Problem 1, Black to play.  


Logan? I find this series to be much more difficult than other life & death series. In particular, the "Beginner" book is often much more difficult than other beginner books that I have done. Here are a few examples to hopefully help illustrate this belief.

Beginner Page 41 Problem A2  

In Bozulich's "1001 Life and Death Problems," the problems range from 1-move solutions (the easiest) to 5-move problems (the most difficult); however, in the "Beginner" book of this series the problems begin with at least three move solutions and I have encountered up to around fifteen move solutions. The solutions are given as single diagrams that usually only list up to 11-moves, thus one is often faced with trying to fill in the remaining resistance by the opposing color--which can often contain additional tesujis or exact play. Problem A2 on page 41 is a good example.

Beginner Page 41 Problem C1  

Problem solutions often contain tactics, tesujis, and concepts that other series take up to a few volumes or sections to build up towards. Problem C1 on page 41 is a good example, as the concepts needed are a particular kind of eye destroying sequence (that Yi Ch'ang-ho's Life and Death series take over a volume to build towards), and a knowledge of ko and internal sacrifice shapes around the 1-2 point.

Beginner Page 137 Problem C1  

Problems sometimes have larger width than a beginner could reasonably be expected to have. The purpose of tsumego is to help narrow the possible widths, increasing reading depth, and increase speed. Without a sufficient enough prior experience in these areas, some of these problems can quickly seem to move into the range of 'impossible' or 'too hard' for such people. Problem C1 on page 137 and several problems on page 127 are good examples.

I think that this series is best for someone who fulfills at least two possible requirements: 1. Be at least 3-kyu 2. Have completed at least three other medium~large size tsumego books. Preferably two life and death and one tesuji book, with those books containing a good introduction to ko corner patterns.

This series is great for those wanting to take their fundamentals up to the next level. One will often be faced with many resistances by the opposing stones, and in order to truly 'level-up' one will have to reflect on why a certain move conceptually eliminates these resistances better than others.

(If you would like visual diagrams as a potential buyer for some of the examples that I reference, then please let me know.)

Anonymous: I would second Logan's opinion that even the first volume in this series is fairly advanced. I first tried going through it at about 6 kyu and found that at a certain point the problems got too difficult for me. Some of the problems in the first volume seem to be dan-level.

melgo?: I'd say vol 1 is for 1 dan level, vol 2 is for 4 dans, and vol 3 for 8 dans.


[1] Adrian Ghioc: 850mm x 1168mm are not the dimensions of the book. 1000 mm = 1 meter! :) Here is an update. I just bought the volume no. 3 and the dimensions are 141mm x 203mm

Weiqi Life and Death Drills last edited by DuEm6 on July 7, 2021 - 21:07
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