Cover of "Volume II: the Way of the Moving Horse"

[book] Learn to Play Go Volume II: The Way of the Moving Horse

Cover of "Volume II: the Way of the Moving Horse"
So, Janice Kim went to the Korean Baduk Academy, and co-writes a book with a Korean 9 dan pro… and still it is titled ‘Learn to Play Go??”

I bought this book a few days ago, and went through it in one sitting over a glass of wine. The Learn to Play Go series by Janice Kim (3p) and Jeong Soo-hyun [정수현] (9p) is often recommended for beginners and comprises of five volumes. I decided to skip Volume I: A Master’s Guide to the Ultimate Game because I had already read Go for Beginners by Iwamoto Kaoru [岩本 薫] (9p); from other people’s comments I concluded that the first book in the series would be a waste of time and money considering the material that is apparently covered in it, though it still is recommended for absolute beginners. There is some overlap with Go for Beginners, but overall it was a great second book to read actually.

The main asset is that it just tackles one specific thing, or collection of things; basically it deals with haengma [행마] which literally means “moving horse”; hence the title, I assume. I’m not going to attempt a definition of haengma, and potentially start some sort of nerdy baduk-related flame war in the comment sections here, but to give a summary the things covered here are: relationship between stones, extensions, approaches, capturing races, ko fights, and a few tactics for contact fighting. The book doesn’t go in deep into these things, it basically explains it and gives a few examples and moves on; the result of this is that it makes for light reading, aided by a very open layout, resulting in me going through it in a matter of hours and still feeling I’ve learned something here.

I guess you could find a more cost-effective format for the information contained in Volumes I & II of this series, but I love the fact that it is easy to read, and easy to retain information because of it, making it a nice investment for a beginner. If you’re farther ahead, you probably won’t get too much out of it though.


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