Whole Board Thinking in Joseki, two volumes, by Yi-Lun Yang with Phil Straus. Fourth Line Press; 1996, 1997.

These books are designed to teach you how to choose your joseki with the whole board in mind. They consist entirely of problems; the problems are in groups such that there is one corner that is exactly the same in each problem in the group, while the other corners are different; you have to figure out how to play in that corner, keeping the rest of the board in mind.

These books are quite good. They are very useful in training you to think about the whole board during openings; even if you don't know the joseki involved (I certainly don't), if you think correctly you'll still be able to get most of the problems right and the answers should make sense. (I had more problem with joseki I didn't know when reading the second volume.)

The obvious book to compare these to is Honda's The Great Joseki Debates. The latter has more detailed explanations of the solutions; but the design of the problems of volumes makes such in-depth explanations less necessary, since you see multiple similar positions grouped together so it's easier to figure out for yourself what the differences are between the positions that lead to the different solutions. Also, these will end up covering more joseki in a somewhat more encyclopedic fashion. I wouldn't necessarily recommend either that book or these books more highly; take a look at both if you can. Also, if you want a more theoretical discussion of these issues, I highly recommend Kajiwara's The Direction of Play.

The first volume is on the low kakari against the 3-4 point, and the second volume is on the high kakari and far kakaris against the 3-4 point. At one point further volumes were planned, but they're on indefinite hold for now. The design of the book (by Julia Runk Jones) is gorgeous. The publisher doesn't have a web page, but you can get it from Slate & Shell.

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david carlton <carlton@bactrian.org>

Last modified: Thu Mar 18 21:08:56 PST 2004