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Go Basics: Concepts & Strategies for New Players Paperback – November 15, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter Shotwell is an internationally known expert on the relationship of Go to Eastern and Western philosophy, literature, and history. He has been writing about Go for nearly twenty years and has lived in China, Tibet, and Japan while researching the origins and background of the game. Mr. Shotwell is also the author of Go! More Than a Game.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; Paperback with disc edition (November 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804836884
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804836883
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Vincent S on August 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
"GO Basics" is the sophomore effort from the prolific Go writer Peter Shotwell. Following his comprehensive first book, "Go! More Than a Game", could not have been easy, but "GO Basics" delivers on its subtitle premise of "Concepts & Strategies for New Players". Of course, there are many Go primers available, but this book stands out due to the unique approach it takes to teaching the fundamentals of Go.

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.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jason R. Carpenter on February 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
Is this book horrible because of Peter Shotwell? Is it horrible because of Tuttle Publishing? Or just a combination of both?

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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Spike Gomes on March 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
An excellent book for beginners to intermediates at Go. It focuses on the 9x9 board under the assumption that learning tactics, ideas and strategies on a smaller board will help kill bad habits before they start. It's very densely written, and I have to say that after the first few chapters I was lost, though that has more to do with the fact I'm an absolute beginner than anything else.

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
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The Kenosha Kid on November 5, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The information in this book seems to be sound enough for the new player like myself (I am about half-way through), but it could stand some re-working and careful editing, mainly in the department of tying the text to the diagrams. The diagrams are unlabelled with figure numbers, which makes it sometimes confusing to know which diagram the author is referring to. In at least one case, there is a diagram that the author never refers to at all and appears to be irrelevant to the text (pg. 61 in the middle of the page, in case the author reads this. I use this example simply because I happened to open up to this page). The effect overall is to make it very hard for the novice to follow what is important in the diagrams, since it is hard to even tell which diagram you are supposed to be looking at. Try "Go for Beginners" by Kaoru Iwamoto. It may be a little difficult for the novice to follow at times, but that is the fault of go, not the book.

I have not tried the disc that comes with this book, so I cannot comment on it.
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