Book Review

21st Century Dictionary of Basic Joseki

BGJ 173 Autumn 2015, Reviewer: Roger Huyshe

by Takao Shinji

This is a 2010 update of the respected Ishida’s Dictionary of Basic Joseki (3 volumes).

There are two substantial volumes of nearly 300 pages each, the first of which addresses 3-4 point openings and the second deals with others. The book gives much more space than earlier ones to 4-4 point joseki in line with the increased frequency in the modern game. The books are well laid out with both a textual and a pictorial index.

The explanations are clear enough to be accessible to anyone from say 10kyu or stronger who wants a solid reference work.

Get Strong Series; Get Strong at Joseki

BGJ 173 Autumn 2015, Reviewer: Roger Huyshe

by Richard Bozulich

There are three volumes, each covering a different set of common joseki. The books are divided so that the problems explore three themes.

One is ‘choosing the right joseki’ in the context of the whole board. Second is ‘joseki variations’, which include both proper variations and non-standard moves from the opponent. And third is a group of problems titled ‘after joseki’, which focus on remaining aji or endgame opportunities.

All these are vitally important topics but it means that the books function essentially as problem books, rather than reference books.

Whole Board Thinking in Joseki

BGJ 173 Autumn 2015, Reviewer: Roger Huyshe

by Yilun Yang

This comes in two volumes, the first on 3-4 point low kakari and the second on 3-4 point high and far approaches. The cover beautifully illustrates the thinking behind the book. Problems come in a group of 2 or 3, each with the same corner position but with differing situations in the other corners. We are invited to choose the joseki continuation appropriate to each circumstance.

The concepts are accessible to most SDK, but getting the correct answer to a good number of problems requires significant joseki knowledge and probably dan-level strength.

Elementary Go Series; Vol 2 - 38 Basic Joseki

BGJ 173 Autumn 2015, Reviewer: Roger Huyshe

by James Davies

This book is an old favourite, first published in 1975 but showing its age with the omission of modern variations. That said, it is a useful introduction for kyu players, and short enough that one can attempt to treat this as a study book as well as a reference book. The main variations of each joseki are covered in a few pages and, importantly, the reasons for them.

4-4 Point Joseki - A Brief Introduction

BGJ 173 Autumn 2015, Reviewer: Roger Huyshe

by William Cobb

A slim book, 40 pages of A6, which provides a manageable start to the subject of joseki, aimed perhaps at 18- 12 kyu. The first half outlines common 4-4 joseki, important for both even and handicap games. There follow a number of simple problems to test your understanding of how to use these joseki in the context of their surroundings.

Vital Points and Skilful Finesse for Sabaki; Hinoki Press

BGJ 172 Summer 2015, Author: Roger Huyshe

by Yoda Norimoto

Only when you have understood the meaning of light and heavy formations, is it time to move on to the more subtle concept of sabaki. Sabaki is the result where weak or invading stones emerge with some eyeshape or a palatable position from an unpromising base line. It may be much easier to appreciate than to implement.

This is in essence a problem book. Seventy-eight problems, each presented in a nice clear diagram. The reader is asked to select between two or three given choices. In the following two to six pages, the correct answer is shown, with a full explanation of why it is right, and the other choices wrong.

The early problems are pitched at high SDK and they get harder through the book. Few of the problems relate directly to moyos, but many of them could have arisen from an invasion and counterattack by the opponent.

Get Strong Series; Vol 5 - Get Strong at Invading

BGJ 172 Summer 2015, Reviewer: Roger Huyshe

by Richard Bozulich

This is a volume consisting of 171 problems about invading. It’s divided up into sections on invasions on the side, invasions in the corner, and invading large territories, which is a lot to cover in a single volume. Complicated situations are often broken up into multiple problems on consecutive pages, so a systematic approach to study is needed. This 3 kyu found many of the problems quite difficult and would disagree with the statement in the preface that the first two parts are accessible to 20-kyu players. In fact dan players may well benefit.

[Review adapted from David Carlton’s bibliography]

Attacking and Defending Moyos; Kiseido

BGJ 172 Summer 2015, Reviewer: Roger Huyshe

by von Zeist and Bozulich

This is Volume 7 of the Mastering the Basics series and is further confirmation that the word ‘basics’ is not to be taken too literally. The book starts with an interesting discussion of general principles then gives examples from professional games which focus on the decisions on how to handle moyos. The bulk of the book is taken up with 151 problems in the usual Kiseido format.

These I found quite eye-opening in the variety of techniques and ideas discussed. We move beyond the simple binary choices of: invade — to live or run out; versus reduce – and build an outside position. Many problems address the messy situation where there are more than two areas of interest and the flow of moves needs careful evaluation. While the ideas would likely give 8-10 kyu players a greater awareness, most of the text and problems would be challenging to low SDK and probably low dan too.

Invasions AND Reductions; Slate and Shell

BGJ 172 Summer 2015, Reviewer: Roger Huyshe

by Iwamoto Kaoru

Published in 2014, these two books are a rewrite of a single earlier book on the same subjects. They are presented as an encyclopedia of some 20 common formations, typically based on a corner with one or more extending stones. This encyclopedia approach put me off initially, but on reading a bit further I saw certain key points and tesuji being repeated and began to see some useful learning points.

There is no full board discussion in either of these books, but alternative lines are discussed, both from the point of view of reading and in relation to nearby stones.

Reducing Territorial Frameworks; Kiseido

BGJ 172 Summer 2015, Reviewer: Roger Huyshe

by Shuko Fujisawa

There is more to this slim 1980 volume of 200 pages of A5 than meets the eye. The book starts with a section expounding and illustrating principles and side benefits of reduction. The middle half of the book goes systematically through a large number of middle-game joseki for reducing the side, the corner and the Chinese formation.

This may not be exciting reading but for those with the perseverance to examine these formations, it is possibly more useful than studying a similar number of corner joseki. And to be fair, the various formations are examined in the context of the surroundings. There follows examples from professional games and 30 fairly challenging problems, all of which address the choices in a full board context. The beginning is readable from 6 or 8 kyu, but there is also material to interest many dan players.