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In the Beginning (Beginner and Elementary Go Books) Paperback – September 1, 1998
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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.
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.
* Make Your Stones Work Together
* 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. :(
Most Recent Customer Reviews
i am very happy with my book and it helps me with the game alot
great book for new player that never played be for
Good book. It is detailed and isn't afraid to go beyond just the surface of what it's explaining. History, aesthetic, culture. Read morePublished 3 months ago by The Iron Marx
As everyone mentioned this book was well-organized. However, it was rather difficult to digest. Sometimes I did not comprehend the prior concepts from previous chapters before I... Read morePublished 10 months ago by cyn
Need more play at Go, but this has helped understand how to start.Published 12 months ago by timmothy k smith
I will illustrate how well this book explains things by describing my experience with it.
I am a complete beginner who learned the rules two months ago and have only... Read more
As a beginner, this book is a bit overwhelming. The sequences are well explained is clear English, but are difficult to remember. Read morePublished on January 22, 2014 by BobJ
Very useful book even for moderately strong players, yet accessible for new players also. Teaches the fundamental concepts necessary for a strong early game strategy. Read morePublished on October 25, 2010 by Daniel W
great book for those who are fairly new to the game and need some help to get better.Published on September 8, 2009 by Thorsten Baldus