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 Post subject: Chinese Problem Books
Post #1 Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:12 am 
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Hi all,

Has anyone had any experience with these chinese problem books?

https://www.superbuy.com/en/page/buy?ur ... 5665951076

They're part of a larger series that starts at 25k, and goes through to 3 dan.

I'm going to make a big order soon, and also looking for recommendations.

I'm already looking at the weiqi life and death drills mentioned on senseis https://senseis.xmp.net/?WeiqiLifeAndDeathDrills (also mentioned in that "to get to 8d is not hard" post, the first two volumes but apparently start at a fairly high level)
and 1000 weiqi problems which is often recommended.

Also looking at;

https://www.superbuy.com/en/page/buy?ur ... 4049483190 (set of four life and death problems, by Zhang Jie. The 25 book Zhang Jie set mentioned below I've seen one positive review for, so figured these might be good as well) and

https://www.superbuy.com/en/page/buy?ur ... 3167384047
which I've heard starts at around 5k and works through tesuji, life and death etc. in sets of three books.

I've also seen this set mentioned somewhere here before, a set of 25 books by Zhang Jie;
https://www.superbuy.com/en/page/buy?ur ... 6963705377


I like the idea of buying a series that drills similar problems over and over and I tend to like problem books with a very gentle difficulty curve. I've got the Jump Level Up series on it's way to me already, and have high hopes for that as well.

Thanks all for any input, suggestions, experiences etc.


Last edited by zac on Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:39 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Post #2 Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:28 am 
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1000 weiqi problems which is often recommended.
:tmbup: :study:

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Post #3 Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:50 am 
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EdLee wrote:
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1000 weiqi problems which is often recommended.
:tmbup: :study:


What is it's difficulty like? I figure there must be a reason it's often recommended, what would you say makes it so good? I really like my L&D problems to look like positions that arise in games, rather than artificial problems designed only to push my reading.

I've got a few objectives in mind in ordering more problem books;
1. Lots of easy-ish problems to drill quickly (currently I use GGPfB vol 2, the one and three move problems from 1001 L&D, the first Lee Changho L&D book, and the two Lee Changho tesuji books that cover ladders and throw-ins, though the latter gets more difficult in the latter part. Even problems that are easier than those can be nice to drill sometimes)
2. Increase the number of problems that are a slight challenge at my level (currently the 5 move problems from 1001 L&D, some of GGPfB3 and 4. These kinds of problems take me anywhere from a minute to 5 mintues to solve)

I really like the look of these series that take a whole book to cover e.g. 15-10k, 10-5k, and are divided into seperate books for L&D, tesuji etc. I think I learn from problems best by drilling lots and lots of similar shapes, moves etc.

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Post #4 Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 2:10 am 
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Hi zac,

I'm very much under-qualified to evaluate.
But my impression is mid-kyu to low-dan levels.
Some problems may even be mid-dan, but I'm not certain.

It has a mixture of 'real-life' shapes and contrived shapes.
But I don't have a statistical analysis of the breakdown.

Its target audience is clearly children. ( It explicitly addresses "dear children" throughout! :) ) Children's learning curve is vastly different than adults'. My impression is it's part of the foundation, like grade school education.

My guess is the same probably holds true for all the other books on your shopping list. :) :study:

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Post #5 Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 4:06 am 
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EdLee wrote:
Hi zac,

I'm very much under-qualified to evaluate.
But my impression is mid-kyu to low-dan levels.
Some problems may even be mid-dan, but I'm not certain.

It has a mixture of 'real-life' shapes and contrived shapes.
But I don't have a statistical analysis of the breakdown.

Its target audience is clearly children. ( It explicitly addresses "dear children" throughout! :) ) Children's learning curve is vastly different than adults'. My impression is it's part of the foundation, like grade school education.

My guess is the same probably holds true for all the other books on your shopping list. :) :study:


Thanks Ed. I'm sure it's worth picking up, probably will fit in to my second category of challenging problems (to impossible, if they are up in the dan level). Will be a nice book to keep returning to. It seems like the weiqi life and death drill books will be similar.

I'm getting a feeling that if I'm going to keep improving at the game, that I need that grade school education. Guo Juan said something about western players lacking strong fundamentals, which means that many make it to around the 1 dan level, but they find it much harder to go beyond.

I'm sure that solving thousands of problems will improve most of the important skills. Although there are some really good english language problem books, there just doesn't seem to be a lot at any one level of difficulty. If I spend an hour a day doing problems, it doesn't take long to work through e.g. GGPfB or 1001 L&D, and once I have finished one of those books I might not be ready to take on the next level of difficulty. Hence looking for chinese language books; plenty of them at all difficulties, and cheap to boot.

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Post #6 Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 4:32 am 
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The weiqi life and death drills, even the first book of the 3 are dan level, but really good problems involving tesuji, but also just plain reading exercises to the find the good move.

1000 is good, i've done the l&d section. Not too hard but all at a consistent level low kyu would be good.

The lee changho l&d books i've done vol1-4. start of easy and 4 is doable for me 1kyu. vol5 gets a bit dan level.

i like the 800 rapid weiqi drills book, same level as ggpfb vol 3. a few easier a few harder.

I got the classic gokyo shumyo, genegn gokyo, guanzipu, a bit hard but really improve reading, mybe 1 dan start on the gokyo shumyo. not read them that much.

I did get the tesuj ones from:
https://www.superbuy.com/en/page/buy?ur ... 3167384047
good problems low kyu. but never studied them.

To be honest I made my own pdf + solution collection by scribing problems from weiqi101, the maeda problems are very good. It takes a lot of time to do, labour of love...

I was like you and got too many tsumego books thinking i would find the perfect book and have all these resources to get uber strong and now find myself just doing the one pdf book i made myself over and over. :D tsumego can be hard


Last edited by nasdaq on Thu Apr 26, 2018 4:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #7 Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 4:36 am 
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need that grade school education.
:tmbup: :study:

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Post #8 Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:00 am 
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The Chinese equivalent of the English series Speed Baduk (https://senseis.xmp.net/?SpeedBadukForBeginners) is quite nice.
https://tchan001.wordpress.com/2010/06/ ... qi-series/

Apologize that for the most part I haven't updated the pictures in the blog and many are still linked to photobucket.

You might search around my blog for other Chinese go book series that might interest you.

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Post #9 Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:24 pm 
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nasdaq wrote:
The weiqi life and death drills, even the first book of the 3 are dan level, but really good problems involving tesuji, but also just plain reading exercises to the find the good move.

1000 is good, i've done the l&d section. Not too hard but all at a consistent level low kyu would be good.

The lee changho l&d books i've done vol1-4. start of easy and 4 is doable for me 1kyu. vol5 gets a bit dan level.

i like the 800 rapid weiqi drills book, same level as ggpfb vol 3. a few easier a few harder.

I got the classic gokyo shumyo, genegn gokyo, guanzipu, a bit hard but really improve reading, mybe 1 dan start on the gokyo shumyo. not read them that much.

I did get the tesuj ones from:
https://www.superbuy.com/en/page/buy?ur ... 3167384047
good problems low kyu. but never studied them.

To be honest I made my own pdf + solution collection by scribing problems from weiqi101, the maeda problems are very good. It takes a lot of time to do, labour of love...

I was like you and got too many tsumego books thinking i would find the perfect book and have all these resources to get uber strong and now find myself just doing the one pdf book i made myself over and over. :D tsumego can be hard


Thanks nasdaq. I had heard that the life and death drills books were quite difficult. Picking them up along with everything else for a later day.
I'll throw in the 800 rapid weiqi drills book, sounds like it would be at a good level for me now, and it's cheap, so why not?

I also thought about making my own pdfs, but couldn't find an easy solution to do it. I do have the Lee Changho books in pdf, and like to print off a couple of pages to carry around for when I have a spare minute.

I do like owning books, too. I don't really have any illusions that any particular book will improve my strength in go, but I do believe that solving problems is a big part. I prefer to have a wide variety, rather than repeat the same problems too soon. I know that some problem sets can be poorly organised, or rely on explanatory text, or have poor printing quality, so that's why I'm looking for personal experiences/recommendations.

Thanks again

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Post #10 Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:28 pm 
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tchan001 wrote:
The Chinese equivalent of the English series Speed Baduk (https://senseis.xmp.net/?SpeedBadukForBeginners) is quite nice.
https://tchan001.wordpress.com/2010/06/ ... qi-series/

Apologize that for the most part I haven't updated the pictures in the blog and many are still linked to photobucket.

You might search around my blog for other Chinese go book series that might interest you.


Thanks tchan,

I had a bit of a look around your blog previously, I think I just missed those speed baduk books. Is the order you listed them in order of difficulty;
i.e. Intro, foundational, beginners, intermediate, advanced? Can you give an indication of the level of difficulty? I could only find some sample pages from the intro series, which showed very easy "black to connect" type problems against e.g. a peep at a tigers mouth, pushing through a bamboo joint etc. I think I mentioned that I have the Jump Level Up series arriving next week, I've heard that the two series (level up, speed baduk) are quite comparable.

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Post #11 Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:38 pm 
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I have tried to list them in the order of difficulty but unfortunately I don't know what the actual levels of the problems are as the books do not seem to provide ratings. I looked at some Chinese posts and apparently the whole series starts off at 30k and takes you to the dan levels.

You can check out my post for Top 1% to see what type of problems are contained within the Advanced series.
https://tchan001.wordpress.com/2011/06/ ... swer-book/

You can check out the sensei post for Train like a Pro series to see what people say about the first two books of the Dan series. https://senseis.xmp.net/?TrainLikeAPro

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Post #12 Posted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 5:13 pm 
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In general, what's the easiest way to order these books? Is it to go through a proxy service or is there a site which offers delivery directly, and automatically calculates postage and so on? I'd be interested in the 1000 weiqi problems.

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Post #13 Posted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 6:09 pm 
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Jujube wrote:
In general, what's the easiest way to order these books? Is it to go through a proxy service or is there a site which offers delivery directly, and automatically calculates postage and so on? I'd be interested in the 1000 weiqi problems.


I'm ordering through an agent (superbuy), so that I know that all the books will be there, and they will all arrive at once. I don't mind paying the service fees, bad exchange rates etc on a big order. I've heard people order direct from Taobao without issue though, for me it was marginally easier to just deal with one company to pack and ship everything. Unfortunately I won't know the shipping costs until they arrive at the superbuy warehouse, but have a rough estimate. For the 40 books in the order postage is likely to add 100-300% to the cost. Still, each book will be less than $10 delivered, which for me is a good deal.

The 1000 weiqi problems you are likely to be able to find on eBay or Amazon. I found it on the Australian Ebay by searching with the Chinese title, but it was significantly more expensive than buying direct, even if I was to order it by itself. Initially I was only going to order a couple of books, and just kind of go carried away. Once they all arrive I'll give a review of the books, and my experience ordering them.

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Post #14 Posted: Thu May 03, 2018 10:08 pm 
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I ended up ordering both the 12 book and 25 Zhang Jie sets, 1000 Weiqi problems, the 800 rapid drill problems, a set of three pocket sized L&D books with 100 problems each, and some blank kifu books to use at my club.
The total for the books was a bit over 500 Yuan. I was hoping to be able to send it by sea, which would have cost me around 3-400 yuan, but for some reason it wasn't available as an option (too big, maybe?), so I had to send it via EMS. The upside is that I'll receive the books in 5-10 business days (vs 20-30). The downside is that the postage cost me 1000 yuan. The package weighs a bit over 17kg. Still, it left me paying about $8 AUD per book. For comparison, I recently bought Graded Go Problems for beginners for about $35 with shipping. Getting Jump Level Up 1-5 cost me over $150 from the USA.

I've been pretty impressed with Superbuy's service. They take photo's of everything once it arrives from taobao/tmall to their warehouse, so that you can check to make sure everything is OK. It took about a week or so for everything to arrive to their warehouse- this was including some extra time because one of the sets had arrived to them without all the books- they contacted the seller and got them to send the missing ones. They have been very quick to respond to enquiries, and update my account once things arrive, photo's are taken, package is sent etc.

Once I receive everything, I'll have to take photos and do a bit of a review on the content. I'm pretty sure that all the books are primarily problems, although I've only seen a couple of sample pages of the 25 book set, so that actually might contain some lessons, explanations etc. as well. There has been a sudden influx of Chinese students in to our go (weiqi, maybe?) club, and they have promised to help me with my Chinese so long as I help them with their English :D As an aside; only a couple of the students actually know how to play the game. They travel from China to Australia to learn English, but end up learning a Chinese game using Japanese terminology!

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Post #15 Posted: Thu May 03, 2018 10:52 pm 
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Hi zac, is superbuy based in Australia, and is Australia the destination of the shipment of these books ?

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Post #16 Posted: Fri May 04, 2018 12:34 am 
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EdLee wrote:
Hi zac, is superbuy based in Australia, and is Australia the destination of the shipment of these books ?


I believe that superbuy is based in China, at least that is where the warehouses are, the support and customer service staff etc. Yes, they are being sent to Australia (Hobart, Tasmania). It seems like they will post pretty much anywhere in the world. I think having items sent direct from Taobao or tmall is possible, and from what I have heard the postage prices are more reasonable. But I was a bit nervous about any problems and my ability to deal with them directly. Perhaps if I make a smaller order I will be brave and order direct.

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Post #17 Posted: Tue May 08, 2018 6:39 am 
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Books all arrived today;
Took 5 days to arrive, including a weekend i.e. 3 business days from China to Australia. A few initial impression, will take photo's, and post more complete review later.
Packaging was OK, but not great. Some books suffered some slight damage to corners etc. They were all inside individual sealed plastic bags, some of the books were already shrinkwrapped (from the publisher), some had cardboard around them to protect them, but not all of them. I'm not too upset about the minor damage- I carry go books around in my jacket pockets, in my bag along with my board when going to the club- and I tend to go through problem books multiple times, so some minor damage before I get to damage them is OK by me.

Initial impressions of the individual books;

The 800 rapid drill problem book has very thin paper, so you can see the next page through. Doesn't really seem to be a big problem. Difficulty appears to start around the level of graded go problems for beginners 2, or the beginning of 1001 L&D. The book is quite small- smaller than e.g. GGPfB, which is nice.

1000 Weiqi problems has been written about a lot- the book is larger physically than I expected. Problems seem to range quite a bit in difficulty, as Ed Lee said- from around mid SDK through to possibly dan level, with no way of telling them apart. Still, seems like a decent source of problems.

https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=524 ... .N.62fe8ee
These three pocket books are a very nice size- will fit in to my jeans pocket. I've only really looked at the first book, labelled "Primary". Difficulty seems to range quite a bit, but seems to be rather on the difficult side. I would say many problems are tougher than the 5 move problems from 1001 L&D, some are about around about that level. So I'm not sure what "Primary" refers to, but I would say the other volumes are probably dan level or close to it. I will work through some of the problems and see how I go. A problem to note is that sometimes the problem and the solution appear on pages facing eachother. I think I'll use a playing card as a bookmark, and use that to cover the other page. But it's not ideal.

https://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?id=556963705377
The 25 book Zhang Jie set is nice enough. Almost entirely problems, most you can guess what the aim is without any knowledge of Mandarin. There seems to be books on Opening, Joseki, L&D, Tesuji and Endgame. Each has a book graded beginner to 10k, 10k to 5k, 5k to 1k, 1k to 1D, 1D to 3D. Around 800 problems in each book. Hard to say how accurate those ratings are, but them seem like a close enough description (can't say for the higher level ones, I will post some example problems at some point).
The opening and joseki books are tougher to understand without knowing Mandarin- there are even a few problems I can't quite understand the meaning of when looking at the answers- not because they are difficult, I'm just not sure what they are asking for.
The beginners to 10k start very, very basic- e.g. the endgame book has you counting points of territory within basic corner shapes, the tesuji book has you connecting against a peep, or connecting a bamboo joint that your opponent tries to push through. The life and death, tesuji and endgame books all seem good.
Seems to be some fairly novel problems- like making good shape, connection/cutting problems, questions that ask whether a result is good/bad shape etc. that don't seem to get much treatment in english go books.
The joseki book looks interesting, as it has many problems on correcting/punishing mistakes. The opening book might be hard to use, as it has explanations for many of the correct/incorrect diagrams. But I need to look further in to it, to see if I can learn something just through trying to understand why a certain variation is best. Or use google translate to try and make sense of the explanation.

https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=563 ... .N.1dc67be
This 12 book Zhang Jie set is very nice. I think it is divided in to 5k, 1k and 1D. Around 200-300 problems per book. There are several topics, I'm not sure what some of them are. There are L&D and tesuji books, then what appears to be capturing races, and connection/cutting problems. I will have to speak to one of my Chinese friends to get a clearer idea.
The rating seem a little bit soft. I've worked through about 100 of the 5k L&D problems today. Seems to me to be around the level of GGPfB vol 2, or maybe the beginning of 1001 L&D.
Largely seems like artificial problems, I can't really say if the problems are grouped by theme, none that I noticed anyway. It is divided in to sections though, and some problems with solutions with explanations are given at the beginning of each section, so maybe that gives some clues that I'm not picking up.
I've had a quick look at the other books in the series, and they all seem very good. The tesuji book reminds me quite a bit of the Lee Changho Tesuji books. The book with connection problems in it is nice, as I haven't seem much of that type of problem in English problem books. I had a quick look at the second life and death book- seems that it's around the level of the second Lee Changho life and death book- one of the problems was a direct copy of a problem from that book. Not sure of any other simularities, I just noticed that because I solved that problem yesterday.


Overall I'm quite happy that I took a chance on ordering books that I knew almost nothing about. I could have done without ordering the whole 25 book set- the beginner to 10k are essentially useless to me (will lend them to beginners at the club), and the joseki and opening books will likely have limited usefulness. The 12 book set I'm really happy with and my initial impression is that I would recommend them to others looking for L&D/Tesuji problems. The pocket books are OK- maybe a little bit hard for me now, but it will be nice to be able to carry around.
I was taking my inspiration from that "It's not hard to make 8D" post, which advocates buying lots of problem books, and solving them continously. I know it's a revolutionary idea that solving lots of problems will make you stronger! Having a large number of varied problems helps me to keep motivated and interested. I like having a large number of easy problems to quickly drill through, too. In the past I've found that if I repeat easy problems too often I can just memorise the answers. Before now I also had limited access to a large number/variety of tesuji problems around my level, or easy ones to review. These books have certainly fixed that.


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Post #18 Posted: Tue May 08, 2018 6:48 am 
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Thank you for the detailed review! When/if you have time, some pictures of sample pages would be welcome.

I already have the 800 and 1000 books and like them a lot (what I've done of them).

I actually jumped the gun and already ordered the 12 book set; based on your description, it seems like that wasn't a mistake.

I also ordered the Intermediate and Advanced trilogies from the Quick Success Weiqi (Speed Baduk equivalent) books that tchan001 linked to. I have like Train Like a Pro (which appears to be the equivalent of the next set after Advanced) but would like to have a running start when I reach it.

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Post #19 Posted: Tue May 08, 2018 7:23 am 
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dfan wrote:
Thank you for the detailed review! When/if you have time, some pictures of sample pages would be welcome.

I already have the 800 and 1000 books and like them a lot (what I've done of them).

I actually jumped the gun and already ordered the 12 book set; based on your description, it seems like that wasn't a mistake.

I also ordered the Intermediate and Advanced trilogies from the Quick Success Weiqi (Speed Baduk equivalent) books that tchan001 linked to. I have like Train Like a Pro (which appears to be the equivalent of the next set after Advanced) but would like to have a running start when I reach it.


I'll hopefully have some time tomorrow to post photos and some sample problems. I don't think you will be disappointed. The first books should be quite easy for you, the first 100 L&D problems I could solve under a minute, some almost on sight- I'm in the mid-SDK range. I like easy but not trivial problems, so it's great for me.

Let me know what you think about the speed baduk clones, I'm eyeing them off too. Not that I don't already have plenty of problem books!

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Post #20 Posted: Tue May 08, 2018 7:50 am 
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I like simple problems like you (I think it's more important to consistently see "easy" tactics correctly and quickly in a game than to solve brain-busters) so I'm expecting to like those books, especially since there are harder problems later too.

On that note, I see that you're (still?) expecting the Jump Level Up books too, which I think you will really like (drilling sets of similar problems, gentle difficulty curve). If I am right about that, it's probable that you will also enjoy the Essential Life and Death series (also from Baduktopia). There's some overlap, but Jump Level Up has a lot of tesuji and semeai problems while Essential Life and Death is purely about the life and death of single groups surrounded by strong enemy stones. I can solve almost of volume 1 on sight (which I don't mind taking an occasional half hour to do!) and volume 4 is supposedly dan level, to give an idea of the difficulty range.

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