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Learn to Play Go, Vol. 4: Battle Strategies Paperback – September, 1997
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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.Read more ›
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.
Before jumping into the tactical section of this book, we are presented with an explanation of the important difference between invasion and reduction. This is crucial, since invading when you should reduce provides your opponent not only the opportunity to profit from killing, but also it makes your opponent strong which he can use to help other sectors of the board. Likewise, if you reduce when you should invade, you are going easy on your opponent.
Then we jump right into the battle strategies. There are a broad selection of key ideas and elements presented to the reader. These are helpful and are illustrated with nice examples. It is true, the treatment of the topics is not very deep, but it does provide a very good basis to help the beginner with getting stronger. Players stronger 5 kyu will not find any beneficial information here. I am currently 7 kyu and even though I knew most of the concepts I found some sections that helped with my understanding.
Attacking, defending and life and death are some of the key chapters here. All have clearly presented information that is valuable to the reader. I did like the chapter on ko, since it gives us clear guidance on how to approach these fights. At my level I have been guilty of avoiding ko when I am ahead in a game and ended up losing as a result.Read more ›
Battle Strategies is a basic tutorial in invasion and reduction, attacking, and making life. Most of the scenarios are middle-game sorts of situations. There is a lot of discussion of ko fighting and capturing races, including an introduction to the more mathematical aspects of go (counting liberties can become more complicated than appears at first glance).
I found this to be a valuable book. I am still not sure how far this series has gotten me; theoretically (according to Many Faces of Go) I am now 14 kyu, but sometimes I still make dumb beginner mistakes. I am starting to see the big picture, a teeny tiny bit, and recognizing patterns and playing blindly less often, but I know a real player will still slaughter me.
I wish this book had covered openings more, which is where I am still playing a bit wildly, and also a little more help with the big picture instead of focusing exclusively on small-scale battles. (This book is really more about tactics than strategy, in my opinion.)
Definitely a worthy investment for a beginning player, but there are certainly some topics for which you'll need to look elsewhere.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
After reading this fourth installment in the Learn to Play Go series, I was reminded of that old joke where the washing machine goes on the fritz, and the guy calls the repairman... Read morePublished on May 9, 2011 by dfranklin
This book is rather useful, nothing earthshaking but it is still a useful book for beginners to enhance their understanding of the game.Published on June 30, 2009 by N. Koerner
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. Read morePublished on April 19, 2009 by Y. Rhee
I will post this to the first four books of the series, which I bought all at once.
I was hoping this series, as popular as it seems to be, would be the Go equivalent of... Read more
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. Read morePublished on August 20, 2007 by David Rosenblum