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Learn to Play Go, Vol. 3: The Dragon Style Paperback – 1998

4.0 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
Book 3 of 5 in the Learn to play go Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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

A book of great beauty and wit. --The American Go Journal

A book of great beauty and wit. --The American Go Journal

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 Womens'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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Good Move Press; 2nd edition (1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 096447963X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964479630
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Kent on June 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
I learned(?) how to play Go 45 years ago. I've read all the beginners' books available in English, many in Japanese, and most of the advanced books in English. There is nothing better for learning than a good teacher -- the subtleties are "impossible" to discover by yourself. This series is as close as you can get to having an expert teacher right there with you. This is the book (series) I loan (or give) to friends who are interested in learning Go. Nothing is left out. The style of this series is intended to not be overwhelming to anyone interested. I think that the "Dummy" and "Complere Idiot" books are not really intended for dummies!!! - rather they are intended for people who don't yet have enough relevant background to appreciate books meant for "serious" students. With that understanding, this set of books really fills the bill. Plus lots of stuff to help the serious student understand this very interesting game -- easier to learn than chess, but harder to get good at.
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Format: Paperback
Learn to play go series is good for beginner like me who doesn't know GO at all. Very easy to read and a real step by step book. Vol 1 teaches you the rule, Vol 2 teaches you basic skill and Vol 3 explain actual game and little tricks. I didn't read vol 4. The only thing that stop me from giving this series 5 star is: It will cost you more than $40 to buy all three books and you only need to spend arround $15 on other good beginner books such as "Lessons in Fundamentals of Go" and "The Magic of GO". If money is not a problem, it is a good choice.
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Having worked through the first two volumes of this series, the enterprising young player is anxious to start playing Go and stop reading about it. In addition, for some time and many players, that is sufficient. Certainly one has learned enough to live happily in the moment of conflict and capture, more than many players do. With concentration, comes a fair share of the victories and steady improvement.
Alas, this is not a perfect world. Go is a vast game, and few ever completely understand it. If a player is to improve, a time will come when he or she must study the game itself if they are to develop. Subtle bad habits of play become self destructive when facing stronger players. These latter also seem to have a magical ability to pull victory out of despair even under handicapping.
Now is the time to address the third volume 'The Dragon Style.' Despite the magical title, the purpose of this volume is to make a player aware if good and bad habits, and to begin to teach the fundamentals of strategy. To learn now one must begin to read. Read positions, read the games of others, sometimes even try to read minds. The majority of this book walks a play through several games in detail, carefully explaining the purposes of each move.
Really, this isn't hard work. With enough information to understand what each player is trying to do much can be learned from this study, It is, after all, far easier to see the whole game when it isn't the one you are playing right now. The problem, of course, is finding a source of games that are annotated intelligibly and enjoyably. Janice Kim and Jeong Soo-hyun provide some good examples. These will provide the basis for studying others.
There is nothing especially draconic about the 'dragon style.
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I've been playing Go for two years, and I used to have weekly lessons from a high-ranking amateur. I read the first two books of Janice Kim's series when I was just beginning, and that was the right time.

I should've read this one at that time too. It's very basic. I agree with the reviewer who complained that the content was pretty slim. That's the point of view of a player with a bit of experience. If you're a beginner with a few extra bucks, this should be helpful for you. But if you're clever, or if you have some experience on the 19x19 board, I recommend skipping this one and moving on to "Basic Techniques of Go" or "The Second Book of Go." Those two books cover the same information, plus a lot more.

I read this book in one day, without a board, and there are only about two things I want to review later.

Tonight I'll start volume four...
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Format: Paperback
After reading Kageyama's "Fundamentals..." I was a little disappointed with this series. I read volumes II and III and was surprised at how little substance there was: big pictures, big text, and lots of distracting doodles. Volume III talks about 7 deadly sins of go, yet I couldn't find them. Most of the book was devoted to reviewing a few games that took place between high-level players. Although this series might be great for the extreme novice, I'm disappointed that they stretched this material out into so many volumes.
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Format: Paperback
The first part of this book is actually quite useful. In "seven dangers" and "eight secrets" the authors communicate some useful princibles of Go to the reader. There could have been much more tough.
After that the reader is treated to three different Go Plays, sketched out move for move and commentated upon by the authors. In princible this might be a very good idea since this could offer you a valuable insight into the minds of more experienced players. Actually tough, the comments leave much to be desired, sometimes leaving the reader puzzled as to why this particular move was good or bad. And sometimes the authors even ask the reader: "do you see why move X was neccessary?" If one can work it out, good. If not, well, the authors certainly didn't bother to tell.

At the end of this book is a self-test section. Various Situations on the Go board are presented and the reader has to work out the one right move. ... right. Well, after studying this book and the two that came before it in this series i once again wished the authors had done a better job in communicating the underlying foundations and princibles of Go playing to the reader. (The first book did actually quite good in explaining some tools and formations to the reader). Often the "correct" solutions are not thoroughly explained, reducing the learning effect close to zero.

I was left with thinking that the underlying ideas behind the book might have been quite sound and that the graphical representations were very good but that there was little substance.
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