Igo Hatsuyo-ron, by Inoue Dosetsu Inseki. Yutopian Y16; 1996.

This is a classical Japanese collection of life and death problems. It was written by Inoue Dosetsu Inseki and given to other members of the house of Inoue to study. They kept its contents a closely guarded secret; fortunately, a few copies were preserved and have been published in various editions.

The whole collection contains 183 problems; Yutopian has as of yet only published the first volume, containing 63 problems. The problems are quite hard, and you shouldn't treat it like a traditional life and death book. You should by all means try to solve the problems yourself, but don't get at all discouraged if you find that the problems are too difficult for you to solve by yourself. You are in good company: in fact, several of the problems had incorrect solutions published in earlier editions of this work. After you've tried as much as you want to solve each problem, you can go on to the solution. Each solution has several diagrams, often first showing a couple of incorrect solutions to the problem and then breaking up the correct solution into several stages and going through several variations of the solution. The solution then ends with a summary, telling what the result of the problem is and what the diagrams are, and gives you some "food for thought and lessons learned" which gives you something to think of about the problem.

I haven't yet read through this book; I've only looked at it a bit. I suspect that you have to be in the right sort of mood to read this book, but that if you pay attention to it then it will be rewarding. I'm certainly glad that Yutopian has published it: books like this help you realize that there is a history to this game and that it didn't start with the founding of Ishi Press. Like I said above, Yutopian is planning to publish the remaining two-thirds of this work; I hope that enough people buy it to encourage them to do so.

Click here to see Yutopian's blurb about the book.

cover pic

david carlton <carlton@bactrian.org>

Last modified: Sun Aug 10 20:59:21 PDT 2003