BGJ 143 Winter 2007
Reviewer: Ian Davis
The first time I saw a book on ko, I remember thinking to myself, why on earth devote a book to such a narrow topic as ko. By the time I read this book, I had probably realised that there is a lot more to ko than meets the eye. Overall, reading this book on the subject by the German resident professional, Youngsun Yoon, 5p, confirms that impression. The classic text, Conceited Proverbs for White, states ”White always wins the ko”. If you want to challenge that, you do need to become comfortable with fighting ko, is this the book to do it?
The worst thing in this book is probably the language, I am not counting the Korean vocabulary here, but rather the prose. The best that can be said is that the text is to the point. However, from a technical standpoint the book gives a broad coverage.
Problems guide you through using ko in life and death, joseki, yose, and then in actual games. These problems are often fiendish, I wonder how many will react as I did, when they turn over the page marked ”Advanced problems” and discover ”Dan problems” waiting. Playing through this book really gave my brain a good workout.
Perhaps from a beginner’s standpoint, more time could be spent discussing the mechanics of fighting ko. For example: How to generate more threats, how to choose threats, or even when to fight ko. This book just dives straight into examples.
In summary, I would describe this as more of a physical training regime than a theoretical appreciation. In my judgment, for players above 5kyu wanting some practice, this book will be beneficial, below that rank you may want to look elsewhere.