[book] Learn To Play Go Volume III: The Dragon Style

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As opposed to the… what? the soup kitchen style?

First of all, I don’t get the title… Really, I read the book through and have no idea what this “Dragon Style” is that they are referring to here, apart from the fact that they wanted something that had an exotic Asian ring to it… Anyway, now that is out of the way, to the content we go!

This volume, the second I read after Vol II: The Way of the Horse, is very different in what it tries to instil. I found that is isn’t as “practical” as the previous volume, rather focusing on more general concepts that are important to remember. It basically outlines seven dangers and eight secrets, and then has a section with a few analysed games. I must admit that when I first read through it I found it not very valuable, I knew a lot of what it tried to explain already through experience (at least to a certain extent); however, when I read through it again, I felt that it was useful how it was laid out before me and explained with examples. What I did felt was that, while being useful to see things laid out, it was hard to see how to put it into practice. In many ways what the book presents is an attitude, rather than any practical lessons on strategy and tactics; thus putting them into practice is about forcing you to remember the seven dangers and eight secrets at all times during a game, which really is a lot harder than it already sounds.

I think this is a useful book, for sure, but it could use some more content… The analysed games in the second section felt really like filler, more than anything else; it was not linked to the content one is presented earlier. It would have been great to see each move (or at least a few of them) thoroughly linked and analysed in the context of the dangers and secrets presented earlier. Rather, they are simply analysed games with comments on the moves and a few alternative sequences.

Overall, I think it is a good book, but it could have been a lot better if the different sections were brought together more. However, maybe if I reread it a few more times (as is good advice with any baduk related book) I’ll have a different opinion. Again, as with the previous volume, the amount of actual content vs the price is more expensive as with other books I’ve gone through; which is indicative of a general trend in publishing: lots of white space on pages, leading to a larger book with less in it.

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3 thoughts on “[book] Learn To Play Go Volume III: The Dragon Style”

  1. I was actually about to buy this when I started playing. I don’t remember why I didn’t. I think it was because I looked at the table of content and thought it wasn’t as “top the point” as I wanted, listing these dangers and so. I guess it is a lot like a proverb book, right? Like, basic principles of what to do and not to do?

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    1. It actually is exactly like a proverb book, with a few analysed games attached. It you are looking for that it is an okay book, but I’d say there are others that probably be more worthwhile

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