This is an introductory book. It starts off with the rules, so it could conceivably be the first go book that you read, but if it is the first go book that you read then it'll probably by the last one that you read because it will convince you to take up another hobby. It's more plausible as a second go book that you read, since most of the lessons are spent introducing elementary tactics and strategy. I wasn't that thrilled with the presentation, though; there's lots of stuff in here, but I don't think that it would be too accessible to anybody who was just starting. (In that respect, it reminded me of Basic Techniques of Go, though the books aren't particularly similar in style. They're just both too hard.)
Click here to see Yutopian's blurb about the book.
John Rae says:
You comment negatively if this is the first go book one reads. I've only been playing 5 months and it was the first go book I read (after 2 months) so I can give you direct feedback on this. Previously I'd played a bit at Yahoo, knew the basic rules, and I'd scoured the net for helpful comments.)
The very introductory chapters did cover the basic rules but there were strange oddities throughout, particularly in the exercises to test you'd learnt things. Some totally trivial things would appear amongst appropriately stretching examples. I felt that the authors had not been able to get into the head of a complete beginner and couldn't really judge what was elementary and what was not.
I agree there is lots of content and I think it did certainly help my play. I suppose I have to agree that it introduced elementary tactics and strategy but I felt an awful lot in these areas was missed out. To be fair I didn't spend nearly as much studying time playing out the moves as I ought to have done so this may be my fault.
However the last chapters just did not fit with an introductory book. The commented games in the final chapter had substantial passages which were a simple recitation of the moves made. I often found myself wanting to know why these moves were so "obvious". It left me feeling that having got the basics the idea was to leave it all for a long while and come back to the book in 20+ years when my play had improved to low kyu level.
Overall I think it tried to cover too big a range from beginner to serious player. I'm quite satisfied to have purchased the book and expect to get a lot more from it at a later date, but I hope there are better books for the absolute beginner. However it's not as off-putting as you fear - I stuck with it and am still enjoying learning the game.
Last modified: Sun Aug 10 20:59:07 PDT 2003