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Go Basics: Concepts & Strategies for New Players Paperback – November 15, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
Most fundamentals-oriented books teach by using isolated 19x19 board examples. Such an approach may adequately demonstrate a concept but it often fails to provide the new player with an appreciation of the relationship of the concept to the entire game. "GO Basics" uses a total of 7 professional 9x9 games to teach the reader everything found in a complete game of Go.
The first game is half the book. It covers the opening game, including captures, ladders, nets, and tesuji; and the middle game with life & death, eyes, territorial play, running fights, sente, gote, ko, and seki. The end game is taught with another unique approach. First the beginner's play is reviewed by showing the reader what not to do. This is followed by a review of the professional's play in the endgame, which of course, is the right way to play. The last six games cover advanced concepts such as sacrifice, big kos, cross-cuts, hunting big groups, invasions and thinking territorially.
Finally, the makings of a 9x9 go set and the American Go Association CD-ROM's treasure trove of materials with its interactive playing program cements "GO Basics" position as a complete primer for beginners, young and old alike.
This is the second book I've read by Peter Shotwell, and the second time that I've been disappointed. Let me start by saying that I don't have any doubt that Peter Shotwell is a great Go player. But as a teacher of Go through a book, he's horrible.
I bought this book at the same time that I bought Beginning Go by Shotwell / Long, and Learn To Play Go - Volume 1 by Janice Kim / Jeong Soo-hyun. At the time I didn't notice that two of the books I had selected were by Shotwell. Without a doubt and by a mile, Learn to Play Go: A Master's Guide to the Ultimate Game (Volume I) (Learn to Play Go Series) is THE best beginning Go book that I've read. It makes the basics of the game understandable, and it presents them in a clear and concise manner that smoothly progresses at a gradual rate. It builds the game one brick at a time, and it doesn't leave you wondering by making too big of a leap forward, and the diagrams and excercises are easy to follow.
In Go Basics, I frequently found mistakes in the diagrams, or the diagrams were out of order, or the stones weren't numbered properly. I'm not sure if these errors are the fault of Shotwell or Tuttle Publishing, but in any case, shouldn't somebody be doing some proof reading? Especially in a Go book for beginners, if you don't understand the game to begin with, how can one be expected to decipher erroneous diagrams?
I was usually able to figure out the ideas that were trying to be presented, but it usually took a good amount of deciphering.Read more ›
It's necessary to have a board or two on hand to work out the exercises in the book, though if you're not willing to work out the problems without skipping to the answers, then why are you taking up Go? It'll take multiple read-throughs to grasp the book. I certainly haven't gotten a handle on all of it, but I regard that as a plus. It also comes with a nifty CD packed with goodies that's worth the price of the book alone.
As for drawbacks, there are certain small errors in the book a little more careful editing could have fixed, and despite Shotwell's assertion that the lessons contained therein are easily extendable to the 19x19 game, a little more hand-holding from the 9x9 game to the larger board would be good for rank beginners like myself, since it's somewhat difficult and time consuming to completely master the 9x9 lessons before engaging more seasoned players who prefer the full board. All in all, a definite recommendation.
Four and a half stars out of five
I have not tried the disc that comes with this book, so I cannot comment on it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
admirable except that on kindle the diagrams are too small to read. Get it in hard copy.Published 14 months ago by JolyonKay
This book helps you learn the game of go, and it keeps it simple and to the point. Highly recommend this book for the novice or the advanced player.Published on March 31, 2013 by Jeffrey A. Harrell
I have actually been playing Go for a number of years. However, having reached something of a plateau in my skill, I thought it might be helpful to get a good 'Basic Go' book so... Read morePublished on February 28, 2013 by Brendan Winter
This is an excellent go book for the novice player. It explains all you need to know for basic play, and the cd rom is a great bonus. Read morePublished on May 22, 2009 by Kaodake
Quite helpful as a beginner. If you are in advanced stage - it helps to refresh your memory.Published on March 7, 2009 by Guqin Fan