The World of Ki, by John Goodell. Riverside Research Press; 1957.

This is a book about games in general and go in particular. It has the distinction of being possibly the least helpful introductory go book that I've ever seen, and that's no small feat. The author gives three different presentations of the rules, none of them clear. He presents you with a "wide variety of patterns", including "impasse situations" and "complex cyclic structures", and tells you to go off and think about them. (I admit to wondering if he knows what's going on in all of them himself: the first one is a dead bent-4 situation, and I wouldn't be surprised if he thought it were seki.) He gives a grand total of two diagrams that are parts of games: one of them is the first eight moves of the Honinbo Shusai-Go Seigen game where Go Seigen starts by playing on the 3-3, 4-4, and tengen points; and the other one is the first eighteen moves of a game that looks vaguely plausible but (to my extremely fallible 2-kyu eyes) seems to have a peculiar order of the moves. I used to think that Smith was the book to read if you wanted an introduction to the game of go written by somebody who didn't know how to play it, but this one definitely takes the cake.

It is, of course, out of print. I think that it was essentially self-published, but I don't know for sure. It is, fortunately, the last book of an era: Takagawa's How to Play Go, a much more useful beginners' book, was published the year before this one.

Doug Larson says:

I just thought I would add a little bit about this book, mainly because the first game of Go I ever played was against John Goodell, this was back in 1976, and he gave me a copy of his book that day (I still have it). The "River" in Riverside Research Press was the Mississippi, John lived in Minneapolis. And yes, it was self-published - Riverside Research Press was his private label.

If you are a 2-kyu (AGA), then you are stronger than John ever was in his whole life, although his son is a dan-ranked player and his daughter is a mid-kyu player. He was about 3-kyu.

He picked up the go bug in India, I believe in the mid-fifties; he learned from someone he met there, but they had no go board or pieces, so they went to the pharmacy, bought aspirin to use as "stones" and something to mark the black "stones" with (India ink, of course :-). He also told me that after he returned to this country he had imported and distributed over two tons of go stones here.

He gave me 9 stones that first game, and needless to say he clobbered me.

david carlton <>

Last modified: Sun Aug 10 20:55:50 PDT 2003