This is a book for people who know the rules of go, have read an introductory book, and who want to know what to do next. It is broken up into two parts: the first, on Strategy, is about the opening, middle game, and handicap go; the second, tactics, is about tesuji, life and death, shape, the endgame, and ko fights.
It seems like a quite good book to me. I didn't read it at the appropriate time in my development, but I'm sure that it would have been very helpful. All of the chapters would serve as good introductions to their respective subjects, and many of them are gems (I was especially impressed by the endgame chapter).
There was a first edition of the book, Ishi G31. The second edition has the chapters in a different order, omits the chapters on Eyes and Living Groups and Capturing Races (on the grounds that that material is covered in beginners' books), but replaces them by chapters on Counting Liberties and How to Win Capturing Races, which were written by Richard Hunter. The new chapters are quite interesting, doing a thorough analysis of their topics; I don't really feel, however, that such a thorough analysis is appropriate for players at the level of this book. Instead, I would introduce players to the important ideas (counting liberties, filling outside liberties first, big eyes, etc.) as a means to allow them to read out the positions themselves, rather than as an introduction to formulas that allow them to calculate the results of the position. However, that's only a minor quibble, and I'm sure that there are those who would disagree with me.
Paul Brennan (BGA 5k) says:
I have no doubt that this book was instrumental in getting me to about 10 kyu. It also gave me the understanding required before tackling the Elementary Go Series. I would recommend it to anyone above 12 kyu or so. And while some of the pieces may seem obvious to them, it is good to read a book that tells you something that you have worked out yourself. I have read it about 5 times (maybe more!)
Last modified: Sun Aug 10 20:51:41 PDT 2003