This book contains 501 opening problems. Each page contains four problems; each problem gives a position in the opening, paired with a relevant proverb, such as "Expand your territory while attacking your opponent!". Each problem gets a single solution diagram.

The format of the problems worked remarkably well for me. Each problem is really two problems in one: if you're not very confident in your abilities in the opening, you can just read the hints for each problem. But if you want a more challenging test, you can cover up the hints, and do the problems that way. (Keep a piece of paper with the book to cover up the hints; your hand won't be good enough.) As an AGA 1 kyu who isn't very good at the opening, I adopted an intermediate approach: I tried to solve each problem without looking at the hint, but once I'd come up with what I thought was the solution, I looked at the hint. If the hint wasn't consistent with my solution, I tried to solve the problem a second time, keeping the hint in mind. Because of these hints, I suspect that this book would be valuable for a wide range of strengths, perhaps AGA 10k-5d.

But I found the hints valuable even aside from how they made the
problems more accessible: their presence helped me characterize
the situations mentally. After seeing several problems that
give the hint "Invade your opponent's overextended position!",
you start looking for that. Then, after doing still more
problems where you look for that but where it turns out
*not* to be the right answer, your feel for when a
position is overextended approves. So, once I was partway
through the book, I could look at a problem and say "Invade your
opponent's overextended position!" might apply there, and "Rob
your opponent's stones of their base! might apply there, but
both of those are a little iffy, whereas it's a clear case of
"Push back the border of your opponent's moyo while expanding
your own!" So the small amount of theory provided by those
hints made reading the book a much richer experience for me than
a problem book without such systematic hints would have been.

I recommend this book highly.

david carlton <carlton@bactrian.org>

Last modified: Sun Aug 10 20:55:16 PDT 2003