The Direction of Play, by Kajiwara Takeo. Ishi G26/Kiseido K26; 1979.

This is a book about the direction of play, which means telling which direction your stones want to extend from, or more generally how the stones already on the board affect the desirability of playing in various areas on the board. For example, star points "want" to have extensions made from them to about halfway up the sides; or if an area is "open on the bottom" then it is less desirable to play there. As such, this is largely a book on the opening (though not an introduction to opening theory), though it does extend into the early middle game as well.

This book covers the same sorts of ideas as The Great Joseki Debates, by Honda, and Whole Board Thinking in Joseki, by Yang/Strauss. This book is much more general, however, and could be seen as providing a theoretical foundation to help you solve the problems in the latter two books. Each chapter presents the opening of a game between two players, and after every move or joseki, Kajiwara discusses how good that move was in relation to the direction of play and how it affects the direction of play. He provides pages of alternate diagrams for each move, so you can see what all of the different possible sequences are and how they look in relation to the rest of the board. This can be a bit daunting if you're not familiar with the various joseki that pop up, but even if you don't know the possible joseki, you can still learn a lot from reading this book and apply it in your games. There's also an introductory chapter, a chapter of problems, and a chapter on "The Direction of Play for Fighting".

It's written in a very forceful style, and it's a lot of fun to read. He's certainly uncompromising with his opinions: for example, one of the chapters is called "Move Two Lost the Game". (That chapter goes over an amateur game; reading this book makes me think that most of the moves that amateurs play in the opening are game-losing moves.) It was out of print, but has just been reprinted by Kiseido, which makes me quite happy.

cover pic

david carlton <>

Last modified: Sun Aug 10 20:51:03 PDT 2003