What Is Your Favorite Go Book

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Fando: I just picked up a curious book called The Theory and Practice of Go. It claims to be a classic and was written by one Oscar Korschelt. I haven't seen his work referenced here or on Carlton's site, so I thought I'd bring it up. The most interesting thing in this book is a description of a game between professionals on a 21x21 goban constructed by Korschelt himself. I discuss this in Large Boards.

SAS: David Carlton does have a review of it: [ext] http://www.gobooks.info/korschelt.html

Fando: Aha, thanks. He pooed the book though. :(

Dave Sigaty: My favorite Go book is The 1971 Honinbo Tournament by Iwamoto Kaoru. It is the first Go book that I ever saw. I picked it up by mistake one day in a San Francisco book store thinking it was a chess book. Clearly I was wrong but immediately I liked the story. I ended up buying it and read it just for the drama - the young hero conquers all. The next day I went back and bought Go For Beginners to find out what it was all about.

FCS: My favorite Go book at the moment is Kageyama's Lessons In the Fundamentals of Go.

Alberto Rezza: My favorite book by far is The Breakthrough to Shodan by Miyamoto. Don't mistake it for a book about handicap Go: it's mainly about fuseki strategy, so it applies to even games too. From (perhaps) 10k to 3d, you can treat it as light reading and the concepts will still sink in. It shares with Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go the best ever "improvement for effort spent" ratio. There are books from which you can learn more, but only if you put in a lot of hard work - classic example: Strategic Concepts of Go.

My favorite book is "Stones" by Andreas Fecke -- it's a book with comic strips. The heros are the cute graphics you see in the upper left. As for "real" Go books: more or less all the classics like "Attack and Defense - the book", "The Direction of Play", "1971 Honinbo Tournament", "Shusaku", and "1992 Tournament Year Book". -- Arno Hollosi

Morten Pahle: The book which I found the best to read, from a purely entertaiment value, and which I could not put down, was First Kyu (The Novel), by Sung-Hwa Hong. Apart from that, the book which has probably taught me the most, and still has the most to teach me is Attack and Defense, by Ishida Akira and James Davies. And, I really like Whole Board Thinking in Joseki, by Yi-Lun Yang with Phil Straus.

Matt Noonan: Count me in on Attack and Defense, Direction of Play and Invincible: The Games of Shusaku. Another good book which doesn't seem very widespread yet is A Way of Play for the 21st Century by Go Seigen. It's the only book of his that I've ever read, but he has a nice conversational style and many examples. It's vaguely a book on opening and early middle-game thought.

Dieter Verhofstadt: If I have beaten my opponents of equal fighting strength in the endgame, it is thanks to Ogawa's The Endgame. If I force myself to count my games and evaluate the position regularly, it is due to Cho Chikun's Positional Judgment. I still think one can become shodan reading only Tesuji and Life and Death by James Davies. I join in with most of the ones already listed, The 1971 Honinbo Tournament by Iwamoto Kaoru book being the favourite.
Bedtime reading: First kyu, The Treasure Chest Enigma (!)

Stefan Verstraeten: It's a bit like wine - there are so many good ones that it's not really fair to all the others to call one your favourite... I enjoyed all of the above, but a book that in my opinion cannot be left out is Tesuji and Anti-suji of Go by Sakata Eio. When you know somebody who's in a bit of a slump, give or lend them this book. Chances are the many surprising and exciting sequences in this book will whet their appetite again.

Andre Engels: A vote for Lessons In the Fundamentals of Go from me. I'll have to find a new one now, but I still think it's the book that helped me most through my Go career. I read it as a 10k and found it interesting. I read it as a 1k and still found it useful. Not a book to teach you sequences, but one that really tries to help you improve the way you think about Go. Plus it is by far the Go book that makes best bedtime reading, having a nice, humoristic style.

Peter Merel: I'm extremely fond of EzGo by Bruce Wilcox who goes a long way toward describing an overall theory of Go. What seems most excellent about the book is its use of examples to explain theory, rather than the other way around. Wilcox also gives excellent advice on how to go about teaching the game. Be warned, however: there are no other Go books with a dustjacket as luridly hideous as that of EzGo. If ever there was a book to not judge by its cover ...

Tamsin: My favourite book is Kageyama's Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go. It is jam-packed with crucial concepts and Kage's witty style drives home the vital importance of doing the simple things well above all others. Also great is James Davies's Tesuji. I copied out many of his examples by hand and found myself about two stones stronger around a month later.

Bill Spight: For my birthday after I had been playing Go for almost a year, my friend I played with once or twice a week gave me Vol. 5 of "Modern Famous Games" (Gendai no Meikyoku), the early games of Go Seigen. Even though there are many wonderful Go books, that and its companion volume remain my favorites. Go Seigen's games are both instructive and inspirational.

TakeNGive (10k): So many good Go books, so little time...
I'm still working on Lessons in the Fundamentals and 38 Basic Joseki; and i really liked Tesuji by Davies. First Kyu was lots of fun too. There are many more i expect to enjoy when i get hold of them (Invincible, Attack and Kill, Kido, A Way to Play...,); but meanwhile, my favorite is Appreciating Famous Games by Ohira Shuzo 9-dan. I like the historical anecdotes, and the games themselves are fascinating.

Robert Jasiek: My judgements are in the [ext] ISBN Rating List. Having read hundreds of books, although there are a few good ones, I must say that I am very disappointed about the generally low quality. So I cannot really call any single book my favourite. Instead I will raise the level as an author.

Jan De Wit: I recently bought the Second Book Of Go by Richard Bozulich and I think it is the best book I've read so far. It's more on my level and less abstract than Ishigure's In the Beginning and offers more variation than Kano's Graded Go Problems for Beginners (only read volume 2 though :-)

The chapters on shape and ko fights are too short (e.g. some text on how to compute the value Of a Ko threat would have been helpful), and the chapter on life and death is too easy for me. If only the author would have approached these subjects as thoroughly as Counting Liberties...

Peter Zandveld of Schaak en Gowinkel het Paard helped me pick it, so I guess it must be a good choice (he said that Lessons in the Fundamentals was his best-selling Go book, by the way). Oh yeah, I bought a real GoBan too!! Definitely worth a return trip to get Lessons and Tesuji and Life and Death and ...

Jan: (a year after the previous comments): My new favourite is Attack and Defense - the book, closely followed by Tesuji. Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go comes in at third place. I'm still fond of the Second Book of Go though, and for short reads the Graded Go Problems for Beginners volumes 3 and 4 are hard to beat: I usually lug one or both around wherever I go.

Neal: I have found Life and Death to be the most useful book, and First Kyu to be the most interesting. Kage's Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go is interesting and enlightening. Plus, the commentary in his game against Rin Kaiho is excellent and entertaining.

nuance: After having learned the rules, I tried and failed to read The Theory and Practice of Go, and Go for Beginners. The book that finally managed to make sense to me was Charles Matthews's Teach Yourself Go, which I lent to many people in an attempt to acquire friends that I could play with.

TimBrent - My favourites are Appreciating Famous Games, and the one I currently read the most. Kiseido's Get Strong at Life and Death. I like Lasker's book, but then it was my first Go book.

Bob McGuigan My favorite books in English are Invincible and the 1971 Honinbo Tournament. I like game collections best because I think I'll always find something new to learn in these books no matter how strong I get. In Japanese I'm fond of the three volume history of Japanese go Igo Hyaku Nen, and two volumes from Nihon Igo Taikei, volume 3, games of Dosaku commented by Go Seigen and volume 17, games of Shuei commented by Takagawa. The resonance of the player and the commentator in these books is special.

I have to put in a good word for Basic Techniques of Go, by Haruyama and Nagahara, an early Ishi Press book, now available from Kiseido. It is often put down for its dense writing, but it was the first book I looked at after learning how to play from Arthur Smith's book. I learned an awful lot from it and even now, after reading over 100 books, I think it had a great influence on me, opening my eyes to the potential of the game.

Barthoze Graded Go Problems for Beginners is a must have. Short, clean, efficient. Need I say more ?

Hicham: The book I like the most and that helped me get stronger is 'Attack and Defence'. I think it raised my strength by 2 or three stones, when I first read it (and reread it immediately). It gives you a basic way of thinking for the middle game. Openeing and joseki are all very important, but it is relatively easy to learn some fundamentals for the opening. Most kyu players endgame is horrible, but as most of the time the endgame mistakes cancels each other out, I would say the middlegame is where kyu games are won (and lost). This book gave me an idea of what was important in the middlegame and learned me some basic techniques, like how to invade a three space extension, how to cut a knights move,... Honorable mension:Cho Hun-hyeon's Lectures on go techniques(20-13k?)

George Caplan My favorite go book is impossible to name but I did want to echo the honorable mention above. Yutopian's Lectures on Go Techniques is a terrific book. I disagree with placing it in the 13k to 20k range. I think it is far more useful than that. The problems are real board situation based and the presence of 3 wrong answer diagrams is extemely useful. When I read it I was dan level, and the problems were pretty easy for me, and I got them all right, HOWEVER I did not always get them right for the correct reason, and I learned a lot from the wrong answer diagrams on better punishment of mistakes. Very handy and practical book.

Christian Mascher? I'm only 8k and I really like Lectures on go techniques. I would buy a follow-up (it says volume 1 on the cover) anytime.

Jhyn I think Get Strong at the Endgame is the best go book I read. Of course it's a specific subject, and you can't really compare problem books with "concept" books. But this book taught me how to count and it is a great reading exercice different from tsumego.

No page is wasted is useless explanations (you have to figure out some things by yourself). It does not forget the counting exercices and the 9x9 and 11x11 problems are great. A good variety of problems with no spike in difficulty. Just an excellent book all around.

Nox Mortem: I started Go recently and took a glimpse at various double digit Kyu books and the highest quality one, with the best structure and where i could take the most skill with me was also: Kageyama's Lessons In the Fundamentals of Go.

I also bought the Level 1 and Level 2 books of Jonathan Hop's So You Want To Play Go?, which is a series available for Amazon?'s Kindle ebook reader and is structured in 4 levels with:

Level 1: For People who know absolutely NOTHING about Go. I had already played several games and read parts of Lessons In The Fundamentals and could not get much information out of it, but at least at the end there were several Go Problems which really improved some situations, but there is nothing you could not get out of Lessons In The Fundamentals.

Level 2: Although the writing style of Jonathan Hop is really poor and he tries to be funny all the time, I do like the series because it is available for kindle, quite cheap and it really manages to struture the Go Problems from 30 Kyu to 20 Kyu, 20 Kyu to 10 Kyu ,10 Kyu to Shodan and the final book is for low level Dan players. This was the first book in the series where I started really learning to read specific positions.

What Is Your Favorite Go Book last edited by Dieter on November 30, 2023 - 16:47
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