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Life and Death (Elementary Go (Kiseido)) Paperback – August, 1996

4.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
Book 4 of 7 in the Elementary go Series

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Product Details

  • Series: Elementary Go (Kiseido) (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 159 pages
  • Publisher: Kiseido Publishing Co; 2 edition (August 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4906574130
  • ISBN-13: 978-4906574131
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
One of the first mountains a beginning Go player has to climb is deciding when a group of pieces has a living shape and what do to get a group into shape. Until this is mastered one is playing 'accidental' Go. In other words, lacking a tactical target, issues of life and death are settled without a clear picture of the desired effect. Which is why early play at the Go board often feels like someone just pulled the rug out from under you.
No surprise then that there are many books on tactical play and analysis. James Davies' "Life and Death" is a very neat volume that organizes itself around shape and provides the basic proverbs that will help a player get a good start. Only experience will completely demystify life and death, but this book provides the kind of lessons that help a players bootstrap themselves up to a respectable game.
Each chapter is short and to the point, with several examples and a number of carefully thought out problems and status analyses. Since the focus of the book is not to test the player's IQ but to provide information in digestible pieces the material is easily accessible, which is not always the case with Go books. Lots of additional review problems are also provided.
The advantage to this entire series is not only the transparency of the lessons, but the author's careful adherence to a size and format that makes this a truly portable book. Go, especially in it's most minimalist form (a small magnetic set, for example) is every bit as backpack friendly as checkers and is much more fascinating. "Life and Death" is an excellent companion for the serendipitous traveler.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are a Go beginner, I recommend studying (as I did) the book of Go problems for 30-25 Kyu before this one.

But after that and Richard Bozulich's book, this is certainly the next book to turn to.

I'm currently studying this book, "Life and Death," and another book in this series by the same author, "Tesuji."

"Life and Death" is a step easier than "Tesuji," although counter-intuitively they are volumes 4 and 3 in the series. Although the techniques used to kill or save groups come from "Tesuji," the positions in "Life and Death" are simpler, more basic and far, far more common. The problems are a bit easier. So I recommend studying this one first.
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Format: Paperback
This book contains Go life and death analysis from easier to more complex shapes. Of each shape the basic vital points are explained for both players. Special cases of each shape are presented as problems. Much of the problems are in form of 'what is status?', but also 'white to kill', 'black to live', 'white to make ko' kind of problems appear. Reading this book takes quite a time, but as result gives some stones in Go strength. I strongly recomend to have in addition some lighter (like: In the Begining) Go reading to relax with if cracking problems taxes too much.
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Format: Paperback
Introduction:

Life and death is one of the critical elements in the/a game of go, but what exactly is it? It is simply whether a player's stones are captured or prevented from being captured (though I won't go into a deeper explanation here). It's simple, yet very important. To become a strong player, an important fundamental is to be strong in life and death, and if you ask any go player (amatuer or professional) how, the answer will be "Solve lots of life and death problems."

Solving problems helps strengthen a go player's reading ability, and with repetition, the shapes in the problems will be more familiar to the player when they appear in his games (reading is when a player mentally forsees how the game will continue, thinking about different continuations, and to the find the best result possible for both sides). These fundamental shapes also appear in life and death.

The Book:

Content:

Normally, books about life and death are simply "problem books," which simply contain life and death problems. Life and Death (the book) is a bit different, and is mainly concerned about the fundamental shapes that appear.

The book begins with a small introduction about life and death, and defines some common terms that the reader will need to know. Moving along, each chapter is devoted to a specific shape, or theme. A chapter is begun by introducing the reader to the shape and showing them some of the common continuations that can occur. On the next page, the reader is put to the test, and is given some problems to solve.

Difficulty:

N.B.: The content in this book is aimed at stronger players who are at least in the single digit kyu range (9k up), and will not be suitable for beginners.
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This book is perfect for advanced beginners who are ready to continue disciplining their game. The slow building of complexity, the ordering of patterns, and the perfectly framed problems make this book hugely useful. Less experienced players be warned, however; Davies often boldly pronounces many statements that would be self-evident to more advanced players, but which may be more cryptic for starting players. Consider the perfunctory "Since each half of the white group touches both of the internal liberties, White is alive" (page 17). Having studied the problem, laid it out on the board, and worked through variations, I am pleased to say I NOW understand precisely what Davies means (and I'm a far better player for it, given the ubiquity of this arrangement). But without a board and stones nearby and some patience, this statement would have required more textual explanation for someone at my level (maybe 13 kyu?). In other words, prepare to GET TO WORK to improve your game.
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