Improve Your Intuition, by Takagawa Kaku. Three volumes. Slate & Shell; 2001.

This is a series of pamphlets (around 40 pages each) based on material from Go Review (with a small amount of material from The Vital Points of Go in the last volume). The first volume is subtitled Intuition in the Opening; the second volume is Intuition in the Middle Game: Attack and Defense; the third volume is Intuition in the Middle Game: How to Reduce a Moyo. The titles (and subtitles) reflect the contents accurately: the first volume has sections on "How to Play a Splitting Invasion", "The Limits of Extensions", "The Meaning of Miai", "Balance Between High and Low Stones", "Useful Knowledge for Openings", "Consideration of the Edges", "The Width of a Pincer", and "Judgment in Defending"; the second volume has too many sections for me to want to type in their names; and the third volume has sections on seven different kinds of moyos plus some whole board practice tests (taken from The Vital Points of Go).

These books are basically a whole bunch of examples, with a reasonable amount of explanation for each example, but with comparatively little overarching theoretical explanations. The examples are typically grouped in bunches, which you can see in the above section titles: so, for example, in volume three, you see lots of slightly different moyo positions, and how the differences in the moyo positions affect the appropriate attacks.

I liked volume one, I didn't like volume two, and I liked volume three (but less than volume one). There are various explanations for this; here's one stab at it. I've been working on my opening a lot over the last few years, so lots of the examples in volume 1 were ones that I felt like I understood (and might even play correctly in my own games). I don't know if others would like it as much as I did, but it should be okay for most people. Volume two is the most disjointed of the three; it was hard for me to really get into it, and I suspect that the lack of organizing principles that lasted more than four (or fewer, sometimes one) pages in a row was the main culprit. Volume three is quite organized, which certainly helped: it's (almost) all variations on a single theme. Unlike volume one, I didn't really feel that I would play the right move in many of the situations in volume 2, but the examples held together well and were explained well. I can imagine using volume three as a reference book in the future: I'd look at it after my games to see what I should have done in a situation where my opponent had a moyo.

(August 2001)

david carlton <>

Last modified: Sun Aug 10 20:57:51 PDT 2003