Dictionary of Basic Shapes

Since I was 5k I have been desperately searching shape books and shape dictionaries in particular but in vain. Any Western go book dealer would show a most embarrassed expression and suggest me some tesuji book as if it were the same as a shape book. Nobody knew about any shape book anywhere. Finally, having become 5d even without reading some I have found one! What is more, it is a shape dictionary of a type I have considered to write because I could not find it.

The book is a dictionary indeed and lists only the most basic shapes around patterns of two stones of the same colour. These are nobi, kosumi, one-point jump, keima, and wider jumps. Altogether there are 197 standard shapes of which most are familiar to experienced players. Also the shapes in the supplementary diagrams are all well known.

Now why do I make such a big fuss about a book that covers only basics and only a small selection? It is the most useful to have all those basics at one place! Reassuring completeness of one's fundamental knowledge provides confidence. It is this type of knowledge professionals are so fond of, especially when giving us simultaneous lessons. This book is a good start for your chance to do likewise or to fight back on equal terms.

For each shape context explanatory diagrams discuss the reasons why it is good, the remaining weak points, refutations of similar, weaker shapes, correct shapes of nearby opposing stones, and development of correct subsequent moves. Learning all these datails lets you really understand every shape and therefore naturally remember and apply it more easily.

I suggest everybody to read this book even if your standard dealer does not dare to offer it. I do not recommend it because it is about nothing but basics but I do recommend it because it presents the basics systematically and thoroughly. Freely citing Kageyama again: What turned me into a professional was a really firm understanding of the fundamentals!

Robert Jasiek <jasiek@snafu.de>

Date: 2001-05-30