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Go for Beginners Paperback – March 12, 1977


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Go for Beginners + Single Convex Melamine Go Stones with Wild Jujube Bowls + Bamboo - 0.8" Go Reversible Board - 19x19 / 13x13
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; American ed edition (March 12, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394733312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394733319
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Go, an ancient, subtly beautiful game of territory, is the oldest game in the world still played in its original form. This book contains its rules, techniques, a glossary of terms, and a list of international and American Go organizations.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 47 customer reviews
If you want just one book to start learning to play go, Go for Beginners would be a good choice.
David
Many, too many things are in my opinion just viewed, not explained, so it's difficult to understand why (the worst question!)
Antonio Frecentese
This book does an excellent job of making it very easy to understand how to play and provides visual examples.
Debra L. Bowen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

164 of 170 people found the following review helpful By "starryeyedmike" on July 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
This was my first book on go. There's no question that it has all the information anyone could ever need to get started playing what I consider the greatest game in the world. However, for most Westerners, the material is very difficult to digest. I believe there are a couple of reasons for this: first, remember that this is one of the top players of the last century, writing a book for beginners. He's lost some of the appreciation for the hefty learning curve the game imposes on the uninitiated. It can be discouraging when he tells you how "easy" some of this stuff is (which, of course, is true once you understand it, but not at first). Second, as some have noted, the book is "concise." I might go a step further and call it "dense." I like this quality in books I read now (as a better player), but as a beginner, it was tough. Third, Iwamoto takes a bottom-up approach, which probably works for some, but left me missing the forest for the trees. A section typically begins with an example (board diagram), and says "In this situation, White needs to play at X, or Black will capture three stones at Y." The principles behind the examples tend to be glossed over, and without a background in the game, I had no idea how to generalize.
Eventually, I did in fact absorb all this material, even without a mentor to help my play along. With the benefit of hindsight, however, I find Janice Kim's "Learn To Play Go" series much, much easier to digest at the beginner level. True, Iwamoto covers in one book what Kim covers in four, but the first two suffice to get you rolling without banging your head against the wall (important if we're going to spread the GOspel throughout the West).
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Alex on April 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
I am only a beginning Go player, but I have ransacked the bookstore shelves for a solid introduction to the game, and this work is by far the best.
Part I provides an amazingly clear explanation of the rules. Part II explains the basic strategy and tactics necessary to play an opponent and understand what you are doing. The only serious alternative, Janice Kim's series of volumes, moves at a snail's pace ideal for people unused to playing other strategy games (for example, chess). Although Kaoru Iwamoto wrote this book in the 1970's, it has the look and feel of a work written in the 1990's. You will be captivated and inspired to pursue the game further.
Incidentally, beginners in search of Go opponents should take advantage of the free real-time services on the Internet. You can watch games between world-class players or challenge any of hundreds of ranked opponents. Along with buying this book, I recommend visiting IGS Panda Net, registering yourself, and downloading gGo and GNU Go.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By B. Bronczyk on July 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Since learning the essentials of Go in 1978, I've read two exceptional books for beginners: this one by Iwamoto, and "Go: A Guide to the Game" by D.B. Pritchard (an out-of-print book published by Stackpole Books in 1973). Both books give the neophyte a glimpse into the game's unmatched strategic and tactical subtlety - far greater than that of chess - and its storied past, and both build a solid foundation for developing true mastery. Iwamoto's scheme of organization is excellent, and the sequencing of the basic elements is very logical. I needed several readings in order to digest all the densely packed concepts and examples, but I persisted, reminding myself that it would be unrealistic to expect easy and early prowess in such a deceptively simple "children's" game. I would recommend that a would-be Go player read this book while playing (i.e., freely experimenting and improvising) with computer Go - David Fotland's "The Many Faces of Go" is an outstanding and user-friendly software package.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
Although there are much better introductions to this arguably greatest of all games now available (e.g., Janice Kim's books and, especially, Cho Chikun's _The Magic of Go_), these later works would probably not have existed if Iwamoto's classic (along with the works of Korschelt, Lasker, and Fairburne(sp)) had not generated enough interest in the West to justify their publication.
If you can tough-out this work, you are probably Shodan material, but, if it proves too daunting, fall-back to Kim or Chikun. Then, after it all makes sense to you, revisit Iwamoto; the insights of a 9-Dan are invaluable to any player.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By philalethes on December 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
At present, there are numerous introductory go books available in the english language. Older titles occasionally go out of print, so it is sometimes necessary to create new ones to accomodate the next generation of players. Fortunately, Iwamoto's classic book has been continually available since its publication in the early 1970's. It follows an older style of writing and presentation characterized by concise exposition and the abundant use of Japanese terminology. The author seems to be writing primarily for a mature audience with a sincere interest in learning the basic rules of the game. Therefore, it may be unsuited to younger readers accustomed to the more contemporary manuals written in a casual and conversational style. 'Go For Beginners' was one of the first books about Go written in the english language and it still remains one of the finest. I give it the highest recommendation.
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