The Vital Points of Go, by Takagawa Kaku. Nihon Kiin; 1958.

This book was, I believe, the first non-introductory go book published in English. It has five chapters: The Vital Points of Fuseki, The Essentials of Attack and Defense, How to Diminish Large Enemy Territories, The Analysis of the Relative Values of Plays, and The Development of Intuition. It doesn't have much in the way of general theory: rather, it's largely analysis of positions. The analysis doesn't go into huge amounts of depth, so you don't feel as swamped as you do when reading, say, Sakata's The Middle Game of Go; instead, it covers more positions at a more reasonable depth.

I think that it was probably a good choice for the first non-introductory go book to be published in English; I expect that you could get a lot out of it by studying it over and over again. I would think that it would initially be pretty mystifying to read if you don't know much theory; fortunately, the second non-introductory book published in English, Segoe's Go Proverbs Illustrated, redresses that lack to some extent. Still, I'm glad that by the time I learned how to play go there were more books out there; in particular, the more I see books like this the more glad I am that the Elementary Go Series exists. Given the books that are available today, there's not much point in seeking out this book, but we should all be glad that it existed.

For some comments about this book from somebody who read it when it first came out, see my entry for Takagawa's How to Play Go.

This book was bound with a flexicoil backbone, so it can lie flat but it's vulnerable to losing pages. It's out of print; however, it was reprinted in 1982 by Sabaki together with Takagawa's How to Play Go in a single volume under the title Go!.

david carlton <>

Last modified: Sun Aug 10 20:58:54 PDT 2003