- Paperback: 184 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 3rd edition (July 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1453632891
- ISBN-13: 978-1453632895
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 67 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Learn to Play Go: A Master's Guide to the Ultimate Game (Volume I) (Learn to Play Go Series) 3rd Edition
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By far the clearest introduction yet published in English. --Games Magazine
About the Author
Janice Kim was born in Illinois in 1969. She became the first female student at the Korean Go Academy 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.
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This book is the first volume to a 5 volume set by Janice Kim and Jeong Soo-hyun, both masters of the game. It is written as an introduction to the game and is intended to enable a player to play at the most basic levels of the game Go. It succeeds very well. I do not feel ready to go out and play tournaments, but I could play simple games.
The Game of Go has very simple rules. But the strategy and tactics are extremely complicated. While computers can beat the world champion chess players, they can only play the very elementary levels of Go.
The book has been carefully formatted with very many board examples of the game. The writing is clear and easy to understand. The levels of complexity have been kept to a minimum, with more to come in the remaining four volumes of the series. And while deep study is needed to master the game, this book enables the English speaking American to at least start to play.
After reviewing several other books on Go, I decided to try this series by Janice Kim. I am glad I chose Kim's books. This is an excellent introduction to the Game of Go. I look forward to reading and working my way through the rest of the series.
The book consists of two parts, with the first one focusing on Fundamentals and the second one on Basic Techniques. In the Fundamentals, the authors do a very nice job in explaining the basics of the game. This is why I am recommending this for people that don't even know about the rules, since here they will get a step by step explanation on the objective of the game, how play works, capturing, illegal moves, the rule about ko and counting territory at the end of a game. They use diagrams generously and even beginners won't need to grab a board in order to follow the explanations. They also do a very good job with terminology, which can be overwhelming. Thus, they use the English name for many of the terms and only in important cases revert back to the Korean or Japanese names, with a clear explanation of what they mean of course.
Compared to the book by Iwamoto mentioned above, the examples here are much simpler. When explaining connecting and cutting the authors focus on the basics and stop there. At least in the Fundamentals part, when they move over to Basic Techniques there is a little deeper examination of capturing (ladders, snapbacks, throw-ins, etc.), connecting, life and death, capturing races, ko fights, and endgame. In the book by Iwamoto, the examples are much deeper and require the reader to have some experience with reading (being able to mentally calculate a sequence of moves) in order to understand some of these.
I particularly liked the test questions at the end of each chapter, since these allow the reader to check and see if she understood properly the concepts that were presented. There are special sections throughout the book with additional information, such as where to play on the internet, how go rankings are defined, and many others.
Those people that are brand new to the game can seriously benefit from reading this book, but those that have already some experienced will likely find it too basic and will be better served to look at the options mentioned above.
For those who do play Go, or want to start, this is where you start. Even if you're like 12th Kyu or 8th Kyu on PandaNet, start here. This book parses fast, so you'll spend an hour or three on it; review material maybe, but it gave me a lot of insight and I've played Go against GnuGo long enough to beat it on occasion.
Learn to Play Go is a very, very shallow book. It enters each topic and explains it in minimal detail. It throws random facts at you, leading you along to very simple conclusions. It's enough for you to sit down with a friend, both read it, and then play interesting games for a couple weeks.
That's exactly what you should do: read this book; get some basic understanding of Go concepts, shapes, and minimal tactics; and play for a few weeks to solidify that base. After that, The Way of the Moving Horse opens up your game a little more by expanding on these base concepts, building strategies on top of them. Each book in this series works the same way, polishing up your foundation on all sides so that you continue to gain a larger, more complete self-supporting structure rather than winding up with two walls and a roof that wants to topple over before you get a third wall up.
This book was written by a Korean. I dislike the Korean terminology and prefer Japanese terminology; however, the author favors Korean terminology because, again, she is Korean. She does cover the Japanese terminology though.