Get Strong at Joseki, by Richard Bozulich. Three volumes. Kiseido K52, K53, K54; 1995, 1996, 1996.

These volumes consist of joseki problems. Each volume starts of by presenting one or two basic variations of about 10 different joseki; the volumes then each have about 175 problems about those joseki. The problems are designed to show you other variations in the joseki or why certain moves aren't joseki. Each page has three problems on it, and long variations are broken up across multiple pages so that, for example, the middle problems on four consecutive pages might present successive stages in the same problem.

It seems like a well-designed series of books, and studying joseki by reading these books will doubtless help you much more than trying to memorize joseki. I tried to read volume 1 and didn't get much out of it, but I think that's more because I wasn't really paying attention than because of any flaw in the book. A book like this can be really mind-numbing after a while if you're not careful.

Volume 1 covers the 3-4 point; Volume 2 covers the 5-3 and 5-4 points; Volume 3 covers the 4-4 and 3-3 points. Volumes 2 and 3 were written with Furuyama Kazunari.

Tim Hunt (British 2 kyu) says:

Although Get Strong at Joseki is presented as a problem book you have to remember that 'solving' the problems by working out the next move from first principles is beyond most amateurs. Instead the aim must be to learn the joseki.

The way I use these books is as follows. I go through some of the problems, say the first 10-20, doing my best but not worrying too much if I can't find the right answer. I do, however, make sure that I understand the answer given. I then go back to the beginning and do the problems again and I keep doing this until I get (almost) all of them right. I may end up doing each problem 4 or 5 times, or maybe even more. Then I go on to the next batch of 10-20 until I can remember those. Eventually I go back over the first set of problems again and find I have forgotten some of it but it is surprising how much I can remember. Using the books this way I have managed to learn a lot of different variations.

What makes this approach work well is the the problems in the book are well selected. The problems focus on the key moves of the joseki so you concentrate on learning those. It also takes you through different variations where the positions look very similar but the correct moves are different. Finally, some of the problems which show how to punish mistakes have wonderfully crushing sequences as the answer.

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david carlton <>

Last modified: Sun Aug 10 20:54:38 PDT 2003