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Learn to Play Go, Vol. 4: Battle Strategies Paperback – September, 1997


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Good Move Press; 1st edition (September 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964479648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964479647
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,481,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

[Learn to Play Go is] by far the clearest English-language introduction yet published. --Games Magazine

About the Author

Janice Kim was born in Illinois in 1969. She became the first female student at the Korean Go Academy in 1983 and entered the professional dan ranks in Korea in 1987, the first Westerner ever to do so. She won the Fuji Women's Championship in 1984, took second place in the World Youth Championship in 1985, and third place in the EBS Cup in 1994. In 1998 she represented the US in the Bohae Cup. She was promoted to 3 dan in 2003. After graduating from New York University, Ms. Kim authored the five books of the Learn to Play Go series and founded the online Go company Samarkand. In 2008, in an effort to explore similarities in strategy games, she played in the World Poker Tour's Women's Championship in Las Vegas and placed fourth. She currently resides in the San Francisco bay area with her husband and two children.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 30, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is currently the last of four books written by Janice Kim and Jeong Soo-hyun. The first two volumes are designed to take a newcomer to the game of Go and help them achieve a modest but significant level of competence. The third volume is best suited to the player who has achieved some comfort with hand-to-hand combat and is ready to approach the more complex tactical and strategic levels of the game. This volume focuses on the middle game, where territory is truly lost or gained. A player must walk a tightrope between strategy and tactics in this phase while balancing attack and defense.
There is so much going on the board during the middle game that it is genuinely difficult to write a book that teaches more than a single facet of playing the middle game. This can make studying frustrating. What Kim and Soo-hyun have done is written an introduction to the middle game that, while it does not dig deep into the layers of complexity, provides a framework whereby the student can determine where best to focus. In doing so, they have achieved something unique.
The first half of the book focuses on the middle game itself. It opens with a section on invasion and reduction, followed by further material on battle strategies, attack, and defense. The second half discusses life and death. This includes the making of living shapes, the art of killing groups of stones, and handling capturing races. There is also a very good discussion on Ko fighting which goes into surprising detail. As is true of the entire series, the discussion is easy to understand, and examples are plentiful.
I should point out that the apparent organization of the book is a bit deceptive. The nature of the material is such that some serendipity is inevitable.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael Anuzis on April 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
The most attractive quality of this book is its ease of understanding. It introduces important strategic concepts of go such as reducing Vs. invading in a way even the most recent beginner can understand.

The pitfall is limited depth. In contrast to books from the Elementary Go Series (In the Beginning, Tesuji, Life and Death, etc.), Kim's Vol. IV - Battle Strategies gives the reader markedly less learning potential.

In my case, after the first reading the ideas had been acquired and there was little worth referring back to. I haven't picked it up since I read it. Whereas, books from the Elementary Go Series continue to challenge me and improve my game even after the 3rd\4th readings, and I expect they will continue to for months to come.

I might recommend Kim's book to the recent beginner looking for a light read. It's also well suited for young players who would have difficulty concentrating on the more dense books of the Elementary Go Series.

Overall, an enjoyable read, a breeze to understand, but lacking in depth when compared to other books available with the same price and topic. In my case, it left something to be desired.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Y. Rhee on April 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
I don't know why there are the below negative reviews, but I am currently (April 19, 2009) a 13kyu player and this book had everything I needed to advance my playing level.

Granted, they are not too much in depth, but each chapter provides key examples of the concepts they provide.

The very first chapter, for example, is invasion vs reduction - and it shows you when to invade and when to reduce, and how exactly you accomplish it using a shoulder hit or a cap stone, using examples.

The book is a very light read - which I enjoy very much because it's easier to digest, and the explanations are very clear.

For me, as with the previous 3 books, an easy 5/5 stars.

If you're a mid kyu go player, I think you should really invest in this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mjf10025 on August 11, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a beginner, I am grateful for the wonderfully clear graphic design of this series, the warmth & wit of the author, and the clarity of her ideas. But a certain minimum amount of information is required to get a handle on any topic, and, most of the time, I'm not finding that forthcoming in this series. Instead of being shown a few examples of games where one player reduces or invades another's territory, for example, I'd have found it much more useful to get a basic overview of how to imagine territorial boundaries, which to pick as targets of attack, when to attack, where to play, how to respond, etc. I found the discussion of capturing races and the viability of eye space to be outstanding, but these were exceptions rather than the rule. By contrast, Bruce Wilcox has a two part computer tutorial ("Contact Fights" & "Sector Fights") that's amazingly practical and meaty; I can't recommend it highly enough; my advice to fellow beginners is to start with Janice Kim's volumes I & II, but then switch to Wilcox's "Sector Fights" followed by his "Contact Fights." In parallel, I'm finding it very helpful to work through books of problems; a great first book is Kano Yohinori's "Graded Go Problems for Beginners."
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Conceptually the game of Go has fascinated me for years. The rules and game play are simple - you can learn them in an hour or less. The strategy is so complex that it can obviously take a lifetime to master. Enter the "Learn to Play Go" series. It is a good idea to follow the Red Queen's advice, and "Begin at the beginning and continue on until you reach the end." Start with Volume One and continue from there. You will learn elementary strategies and techniques and continue to more advanced concepts. Excellent!
I have to add a plug - on of the things that was waiting for was a competent Go program, since you can't find opponents on a park bench. "iGo Sensei" for the Mac does just that, and it has a lot of teaching elements. If you use Windows you've got a problem.
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