[book] Go for Beginners

Cover of Go for Beginners
Simple, and straightforward… and points for not being titled “Go for dummies”

I recently purchased Go for Beginners by Kaoru Iwamoto, mostly because I was looking to improve my basic skills at baduk. Honestly, I really wish it wasn’t referred to as go… at the very least, if there is preference for the Japanese word, then call it igo; it just would make googling information on it a lot more straightforward. Anyway, so I got the book and I really like it. It’s fairly thin, but there is a lot of information there. Most of the stuff in the first part you can find online as well, on various introductory websites; I started going through The Interactive Way To Go when I got back to playing baduk, and I as a result I kinda flew through the first part. I think an argument can be made that a lot of the material in this book, and I assume in a lot of other introductory books, is just for those not being able to access the internet nowadays. Still the information is very well explained, and I grasped a more in depth understanding of some of the basics; this might also be because I read printed information better than on a computer screen, somehow. The second part of the book, which I am reading right now, is quite helpful. While of course a lot of it is also to be found online nowadays, it is good to have it nicely structured. It goes over some general strategy, very basic jungsuk (aka joseki), and give example games with commentary.

What I thought was funny is that at one point the author states that one would go from 35k to 10k within a few months, which part of me hopes is right, but I’m somewhat skeptical about. Of course, considering the year it was written (1972) the ranking system might be somewhat differently somehow, as nowadays 30k is the bottom rank. The style of writing is clear, and at points opinionated; he gives clear indications of what he considers bad etiquette and behaviour when it comes to playing a game, calling things vulgar and boorish at times. The only minor issue I found with this book is the fact that some of the diagrams are out of place in terms of the text: they appear sometimes above, sometimes below, sometimes on another page all together from the point where they are mentioned. Though overall, I found this little gem very helpful; the question remains, however, how will I fare coming Tuesday?


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