This book starts with 42 endgame problems on an 11x11 board, has 120 endgame tesuji problems, 101 endgame calculation problems, and then 28 more 11x11 problems. There's also an appendix showing the same endgame being played by a professional against an amateur and by a professional against a professional.

They want you to do the first 42 problems but not look at the answers; then, come back to them after you've done the tesuji and calculation problems and see how much your game has improved. I was a little bit dubious of that when I read it, but I tried it anyways and kept copies of my results both times, and the results were impressive: I got eight of the problems correct both times, I got 15 of them wrong the first time and right the second time, I got 10 of them equally wrong both times, I got eight of them wrong both times but less wrong the second time, and I got one of them wrong both times but less wrong the first time. So on 23 of the 42 problems I did better the second time, I did equally well both times on 18 of them, and on one of them I did better the first time. I did spend somewhat more time thinking the second time through, but not enough more time to make that kind of difference. (By the way, I recommend that you xerox the problem pages twice when doing this so you'll have something to write down your answers on both times.)

On the whole, this book is really quite nice. The theory of endgame play seems straightforward, but you really need to go through a book like this to understand how it works in practice. The final set of 11x11 problems is much more realistic than the earlier set, and I didn't actually manage to make it through all of them; it will take a while practicing these techniques in real games and going through this book again before I'm really up to speed with the endgame. But I think that this book is already started paying off in my real games, getting me to spend more time counting various situations on the board and occasionally spotting a tesuji that I might not have spotted otherwise. So I wholeheartedly recommend it.

This book doesn't explain the theory to you (though some of that does appear in the solutions to some of the 11x11 problems); for that, they refer you to The Endgame, by Ogawa and Davies, which is the only other book on the endgame that has been published in English. I would definitely recommend reading it before reading this one, though you certainly don't have to have mastered its contents to be able to get a lot out of this book. I wish that another publisher would put out a more advanced theoretical endgame book, but in the mean time you can get a long way by going through those two books.

The 11x11 problems were taken from Kano Yoshinori's Yose Jiten (with a few exceptions).

Georg Snatzke (IGS 4k*, European 1d) says:

I have only worked through about half of the book, but that really intensively. There is no doubt that one gets stronger by working through Get strong at the Endgame. You learn better reading and a better spotting of tesujis as well. But in my eyes there is a really big flaw in this book, bigger than in any other go-book I know: A lot of (yes, not just some) the solutions in the Bozulich-part of the book seem to be simply wrong. Either that or they are far too difficult for me to grasp. And the bad feeling that I can never trust the given answers slows me down and diminishes many of the positive aspects of the book.

david carlton <carlton@bactrian.org>

Last modified: Sun Aug 10 20:54:54 PDT 2003