Basic Techniques of Go cover

[book] Basic Techniques of Go

Basic Techniques of Go cover
If you look clearly at the cover, black has played 24 stones… and white 29… Call me pedantic but had a little “dafuq?” moment there…

So I bought this book from the stock of the Cape Town Go Club for 70 rands (which is about 6.34 USD as of today), actually I paid 80 for it because they didn’t have change; so left a 10 rand donation – about enough to buy a cold drink for one person at the next committee meeting. Basically I got a signed copy dirt cheap; at the Kiseido online bookshop it’s listed as US$18 – €16 – ¥1,800, that being about 198.71 rands. Also it is signed, I just want to mention that again.

The book is by two professional players: Haruyama Isamu [春山勇] (9p) and Nagahara Yoshiaki  [長原芳明] (6p); they didn’t bother to update the cover when they reprinted after Haruyama’s promotion from 8p, though did in fact update the information inside, which is kinda weird. There are quite a few good reviews of this book online already, but I just wanted to contribute my thoughts to the discussion because I like hearing myself type; but you can find the other reviews here, here, and here. The edition I have is the third edition, so the general complaints about the overuse of Japanese terminology isn’t an issue; I would have loved them to simply replace it with Korean terminology instead of English, but hey… can’t have everything in life.

Overall, there are mixed feelings it seems about this book: some say it is too dense, not clear enough; others feel it has a breath of information. My opinion is that it is a great book, and while some recommend it for the intermediate to advanced player, I would disagree; I think it is a great second or third book to read. Granted, it might take some rereading, but I found it very helpful as a beginner (currently a lowly 23k); especially the sections on handicap games. The thing is that other beginner books don’t deal with this, so you read through how to make approaches and how to make openings, but in actual games you don’t end up using that knowledge; instead you are faced with 9 stones on the star points, and no clue what to do with them… most basic jeongseok [joseki] that you get introduced to in introductory books deal with the 3-3 point or the 3-4 point with scant attention to the star point. Having a book that goes through the 9 stone handicap down with explanations of basic plays to do and how to handle the aggressive play that white inevitably has to engage in I found truly helpful.

I think the main issue here is that people are used to books such as those in the Learn to Play Go series, which doesn’t have much breath… They are great books, but they are essentially written for a generation that clearly reads differently I think. Basic Techniques of Go is written densely, packing as much information on a limited amount of pages, leading to the need to often reread sections to really comprehend them… Also playing the diagrams out on a board sometimes is necessary to grasp them. Sure, if you read through it once you won’t understand half of it, but this is a study book in essence and requires study, not just cursory reading. I would really recommend this book for beginners, after reading a few books in the Learn to Play Go series, or other introductory books.

Also… my copy is signed… for just 70 rands! The unsigned copy they had on sale was only 60 rands…


2 thoughts on “[book] Basic Techniques of Go”

  1. First, I just wanted to welcome you to the community of go bloggers! There aren’t too many of us at the moment, so it’s really great to see others join in on the ranks.

    In regards to your review, thanks for offering a different perspective! Looking back on some of my reviews, I do think I was a bit harsh in terms of my perspective on it. Sometimes I get so caught up in accessibility of information that it takes charge of the direction of the review. I will be sure to revisit it again in the future!

    Otherwise, I’m looking forward to following your blog and reading up on your other posts! Hope we can meet across the board one day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, thank you for the comment! I also read your review, which has more “meat” to it than mine ^_^ I love reading your blog as well.

      Perhaps one day we can meet across the board, but most likely it will be a digital one… Since I’m in South Africa.


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