The World of Chinese Go, by Guo Juan. Kiseido K70; 2000.

This is, of course, a book about go in China. It consists of ten chapters, each about a different aspect of Chinese go; some are about individual players (e.g. Ma Xiaochun), some are about other aspects (e.g. "My Professional Go Team"). Each chapter consists of a couple of pages talking about the subject of the chapter, and then gives one or two relevant commented games.

It's not what I was expecting from the book. I expected something more along the lines of The Go Player's Almanac or personal reminiscences. And, indeed, every chapter starts out with that sort of material, and I enjoyed that part of the book. But that's only twenty or so pages of the book; the rest is game commentaries.

And if you're looking for game commentaries, I don't see any particular reason to recommend this book over any of the other sources. I actually can't claim to have read the book too thoroughly, for a simple reason: I usually read go books without a go board at hand (e.g. when riding the bus), and that's fine for most books; but it's not so great for game commentary books in general, and particularly bad for this one. The reason for that is that the figures with moves from the game contain too many stones: not only is it harder to find the next move that way, but the commentary and supporting diagrams for each figure last for several pages. So you're always flipping pages back and forth, and I often found it hard to visualize in the middle of the commentary exactly which stones in the figure had already been played and which were yet to be played.

Those of you who would read the book with a board at hand might like it more; the few game commentaries that I did concentrate on more seemed pretty decent. Even without that problem, though, I would personally prefer a more focused volume of game commentaries. Then again, those of you without stacks of old issues of Go World waiting to be read may appreciate every new book of game commentaries that comes along.

david carlton <>

Last modified: Sun Aug 10 20:55:13 PDT 2003