Get Strong at Tesuji, compiled by Richard Bozulich. Kiseido K56; 1996.

This book consists of 524 tesuji problems taken from Tesuji Kyoka Sho, by the Nihon Kiin. They're divided into four levels of difficulty (25-10 kyu, 10-5 kyu, 5-1 kyu, and dan-level); however, the problems in the fourth level only show up in the last hundred problems, and I think that there are only about 10 of them even there, so essentially all of the problems in the book are kyu-level.

I just finished reading this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm a 2 kyu, and as far as I could tell the claimed difficulty levels were accurate (though of course we each have kinds of problems that we're better at and kinds that we're worse at); even the dan-level problems weren't real killers. (Mind you, I got lots of them (and lots of the other problems) wrong, but there wasn't anything that I felt to be unreasonably difficult.) The problems were quite varied as to difficulty, so if you'd just worked through a page that seemed particularly hard, chances were that the problems on the next page would give you more of a break. And they weren't organized by theme: while similar problems would frequently appear near each other, there would also be lots of problems on different themes near them as well, so you didn't get bored by seeing the same tesuji over and over again.

Reading this book taught me about some of my weak spots that I wasn't aware of, and it was good practice at reading without being too strenuous. (It claims on the back that professionals say that what's important is the quantity of problems that you study, not the difficulty.) I'd recommend it to anybody who as at least a 10 kyu - once you're at that level, most of the problems should be suitable for you.

If you're looking for a life-and-death book along the same vein, try One Thousand and One Life-and-Death Problems.

David Goldberg (US 7kyu) says:

I found this book to be at about the same level as Vol 3 of Graded Go Problems for Beginners. One feature of Get Strong which I liked is that it has a lot of problems that simply ask for the best move rather than giving you a specific goal (e.g. capture stones, kill a group, etc.).

Randy Bradley (8k* IGS) says:

The problems in the book struck me as not "tesuji" per se, but rather as clever little life and death problems, mostly aimed at corner situations. Which is good, since being able to recognize and read them is certainly important. The text often reads something like "black to play and kill 4 white stones...". I often carry it with me and try to read a few out in my head when I have a few extra minutes, a good book for that.

cover pic

david carlton <>

Last modified: Sun Aug 10 20:54:48 PDT 2003