Recommended Go Books for Beginners

Here are the go books for beginners that I recommend the most. I'm starting with the gentlest and proceeding on to hardest and most extensive: so if you want more bang for the buck, look at the end of the list, but if you want more hand-holding, start at the beginning. They're all quite good books.

Learn to Play Go, by Jeong Soo-hyun and Janice Kim.
This is a series, currently four books long. It's well-written, clear, attractive, and the first volume even comes with a cardboard go set. The down side is that the first volume covers less material than any of the other books mentioned here, and is more expensive.
Go: A Complete Introduction to the Game, by Cho Chikun.
This book has the virtue that, as well as teaching you how to play go, it also tells you a bit about the history of the game and facts surrounding it. It's probably not easy to find outside of specialty game stores (or internet bookstores).
Go for Beginners, by Kaoru Iwamoto.
This is my old favorite. Lots of people have learned to play go from this, and it's very good. Don't be discouraged if you can't solve all of the problems in this book the first time you read it.
Teach Yourself Go, by Charles Matthews.
This is the most comprehensive of the books mentioned here, so it will carry you a ways into your study of the game, as well as provide supporting cultural material. It's probably the most widely available of these books.

You should not get Smith's The Game of Go, Korschelt's The Theory and Practice of Go, Pecorini and Shu's The Game of Wei-Chi, or Lasker's Go and Go-Moku. They were good for their time, but their time was almost a century ago.

For more guidance on what to read after you've read a beginner's book, or for more details on the above, you can look at the English Language Go Bibliography at

david carlton <>
Last modified: Fri Nov 6 20:06:40 GMT 1998