One Thousand and One Life-and-Death Problems, compiled and edited by Richard Bozulich. Kiseido K72; 2002.

This is, of course, 1001 life-and-death problems, almost all taken from 1, 2, 3 de Tokeru Tsume-go 1000 Dai. There are 400 one-move problems, 300 three-move problems, and 301 five-move problems. There are eight or nine problems on a page, and each problem only gets a single solution diagram.

This is an excellent book. I love the difficulty level of the problems: I'm an AGA 1k who's decent at life-and-death, and I never either got overwhelmed by the difficulty of the problems or bored by their easiness. I went through the book quite smoothly, going through each page fairly quickly, yet finding a few problems on each page that made me think for a bit even in the earliest problems. The problems, of course, got more difficult as I went from one-move problems to three-move problems to five-move problems, and by the end of the book I was doing the problems (and checking my solutions) in groups of 3 rather than groups of 9, but the difficulty never got to be too much for me. (Incidentally, I found the problems of the form "Black to live in n moves" to be more difficult than the problems of the form "Black to kill in n moves" for a given value of n; if I'm not the only one who feels that way, then perhaps it would be better to read the problems to kill before reading the problems to live, despite their order in the book.)

Problems with similar themes often occurred together. (Which sometimes meant that a few pages of the book were particularly difficult for me, if the theme was one that I had trouble with; in all such cases, though, once I persevered problems got easier again.) But there were never enough problems in a row with a given theme to bore me: just as I started to notice a theme in a few problems, it disappeared.

This book is a testimony to how wonderful a game go is. It consists of a thousand and one life and death problems within a fairly narrow difficulty range; you'd think that there wouldn't be enough variety of problems available to fill a book like that, or at the very least that doing that many problems would get dull or overwhelming. But it isn't: I very rarely had to push myself to keep on reading the book, and every time I did I was glad.

I suspect that this would be good reading for anybody who is a single-digit kyu or stronger; though people at the weak end of that range would find the problems challenging enough that they probably wouldn't have the stamina to make it through a whole lot of the book. Heck, a lot of people wouldn't have the stamina to make it through the whole thing: a thousand-and-one problems is a lot, no matter what. But it's all good stuff. If you liked Get Strong at Tesuji, give it a try.

Mats Nygren (Swedish 8k) says:

I agree that the "Black to kill in n moves" are easier than "Black to live in n moves". I'm a Swedish 8kyu and find approximately 200 of the first 800 problems a bit to difficult for comfort, but doable. The remaining 200 I havn't done yet.

david carlton <>

Last modified: Sun Aug 10 20:55:18 PDT 2003