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In the Beginning (Beginner and Elementary Go Books) Paperback – September 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Beginner and Elementary Go Books
  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Kiseido Publishing Company; 3rd edition (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4906574106
  • ISBN-13: 978-4906574100
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.1 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #224,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
Very good information about the first few moves of the Go game. Principles are gone through one by one and are enligtened by analysis of example games. At the end of the book is ten problems in format where is not only sole right answer, but indication of how good 20 or so best choices as the problem answer are on scale up to 10 points. This book is fast to read unlike many other books in this serie. Only down side was the fact that this book doesn't make the reader comprehend the early game presicely, but that is more due the nature of the early game than fault of this book.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By "tesuji3" on March 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
As in many creation stories, we have darknees, and then light. So it is from the very first stone of a game of Go. Ishigure takes us on an exploration of these beginnings, my favorite time of the game, Because of it's open and abstract qualities, it is by it's very nature difficult to teach with authority, simply because there is none. There are very many approaches to the opening game, the basic structure and strategies of which have evolved over time. I find it fascinating, and a tribute to the flexibility of the game itself, that for as many thousands of years as Go has been played, there have been significant new developments in opening style in just the past hundred years alone.
In addressing the Beginning, Ishigure is giving us a philospohy of the game as a whole. He handles the subject matter with skill. He shows us how to build solid bases from which to attack and pincer. We see different shimari and kakari, but instead of an emphasis on joseki, Ishigure stays true to the nature of this time in the game by focusing on a broader context. We are shown the values of diferent areas, relative to position. There are problems throughout the text, and in their own section as well.. All of this leads us through nine Concepts which will help guide us through developing our own style of opening. These are principles of balance, on which every rank of player needs to act.
Reading this book has given me more insight into the state of mind required to play Go well. This of course brings more appreciation of the game; and also of the cultures which have embraced it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. Singer on September 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
After deciding to learn to play Go, I read just the first few pages of this book (available via the "Click to look inside!" link on the product page; thanks Amazon!) on a recommendation from a much more experienced friend. Just those first few pages opened my eyes about how the game in general is played. It is an amazingly concise and deep exploration of not just the beginning of the game, but also the concepts that permeate the rest of the game.

My one complaint is that it's fairly difficult to digest the first time I read it. Very often I found the author hiding very important sentences in the middle of a paragraph. It wasn't until I read the book two or three times that I started to realize that he was spelling out the important ideas like "Play away from strength" or "Don't touch what you're attacking", and I just had to find them. In fact, I started reading the book with a pencil at hand so I could underline and highlight particular sentences/sections. Another complaint is one I've had with most Go books, and that is the examples are sometimes very difficult to understand. An author will say "Black goes here, so of course White must respond here." The "of course" part is not at all obvious to a beginner, but one starts to understand things like this the more one goes over the examples. Learning by osmosis, I suppose.

Despite those complaints, this book has been invaluable in my development as a Go player. Should be read _multiple_ times by every beginner. Don't worry that it's a little obtuse at first, if you look for the important sentences, your game will improve dramatically.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By The Otaku on August 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is great! The author explains every section of the opening. I was unsure of good vs. bad moves, and now I open stronger. You are presented with situations and several alternatives, along with the consequences. The book is small, but packed with useful information. It's well worth the price tag.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Stormy Night on November 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
After learning Go I could only really enjoy the tiny boards because I didn't grasp how to start a big game off right. This book cuts the opening down into little parts and shows you the ideas you need to begin to form a strong opening game.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Fabio Berardi on August 31, 2005
Format: Paperback
Reading this book I had improved my go rank to about 3 stones in a week. You will learn basic concept that will impact on first moves choices and will change (in a better way) your positional presence on the board for the whole game.

10 useful fullboard problems ask "where you should play?" and give a value (from 1 to 10) to various interesting points, so you can learn why one is better than others. You can return on same problems in future to verify your fuseki (opening) reading capability.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David on May 14, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Is there a perfect go book? I haven't found one yet, but so far I learn a little bit from each one, and In the Beginning covers a lot of fundamentals relating to the beginning of the game: how to play in the corners, with follow-up moves (shimari and kakari), then some discussion of extending along the sides, into the center, invasions, and pincer attacks. Then, a list of nine concepts for improving your opening game:

* Make Your Stones Work Together
* Efficiency
* Play Away from Strength
* Thickness and Walls
* Open at the Bottom
* The Third Line and the Fourth
* Reverse Strategy
* Light and Heavy
* Attack and Defense

Most go books seem to present some sort of list like this, with examples to illustrate the concept. They all make perfect sense to me -- I am at the level where I can understand everything the author says (at least for these low-kyu-level books). It's so obvious once he points it out! Then I go play a game, and somehow none of these lessons seem to materialize in my own game.

Ishigure ends the book with ten opening set-ups in which the reader is asked where black or white should play next. Turn the page, and Ishigure has rated a variety of possible points to play, from 5 (reasonable choice, but not very good) to 10 (the best play). I usually got somewhere in the area of Ishigure's best choice, though I rarely chose the exact best spot.

In the Beginning is definitely a book I will have to revisit; like Kageyama's "Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go", there is too much for a beginner to take in the first time around.

This is definitely a book a beginning player should read. But man, go books are expensive -- it's a tiny little volume for the price. I guess that's because most of the best go books are translated imports. Whenever I go to a bookstore, I can find a couple shelves full of chess books, but I have yet to find a single go book. :(
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