Modern Joseki and Fuseki

American e-Journal review, republished by permission of the American Go Association

Reviewer: Philip Waldron

My first impression of the two volumes of Modern Joseki and Fuseki is that it is a bad idea to publish a go book with the word modern in the title. Two of the first go books to be published in English by the old Ishi Press, they cover opening theory as it existed in the 1970s. The two volumes of the set are divided into parallel and diagonal fusekis, and the books contain an analysis of a different fuseki pattern in each of their seven chapters.

The teaching style of these books is one of exhaustion. An enormous number of joseki variations are shown at each branching point, requiring a great deal of attention from the reader.

As might be expected for books that are 30 years old, they are now showing some signs of age. The majority of diagrams show variations from arising from plays around the 3-4 point rather than the star point sequences that are common in “modern” go. This is not to say that the books contain nothing of value for a modern go player. Good go is good go, and the basic principles of the opening remain the same.

Indeed, with amateurs happily making twenty-point blunders in the middle game, studying the sharpest modern openings to eke out a marginal theoretical advantage may not be the optimal use of study time.

With these books being out of print, many go players will never have a chance to flip through the pages. My feeling is that this is not a big loss.

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