Life In 19x19

New Book: Psychology
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Author:  RobertJasiek [ Mon Jan 25, 2021 5:53 am ]
Post subject:  New Book: Psychology

Psychology, which is my 18th go book, has 144 pages, is written for players from 15 kyu to 3 dan, and is available for €16 (printed book) or €8 (PDF file). While everybody is learning or teaching tactics, strategy and sometimes evaluation, psychology is often neglected. It is, however, an essential aspect of the game. By avoiding blunders, we can greatly improve our playing strength with comparatively little effort. The book helps us to recognise and overcome wishful thinking, carelessness, other psychological mistakes and their adverse strategic impact.

Sample pages:
Table of contents:


Review by the Author

General Specification

* Title: Psychology
* Author: Robert Jasiek
* Publisher: Robert Jasiek
* Edition: 2020
* Language: English
* Price: EUR 16 (book) or EUR 8 (PDF file)*
* Contents: psychology
* ISBN: none
* Printing: good
* Layout: good
* Editing: good
* Pages: 144
* Size: 148mm x 210mm
* Diagrams per Page on Average: 3
* Method of Teaching: principles, examples
* Read when EGF: 15 kyu - 3 dan
* Subjective Rank Improvement: ++
* Subjective Topic Coverage: o
* Subjective Aims' Achievement: ++


Besides strategy, tactics and evaluation, psychology is the fourth fundamental aspect of go. Although equally important, it is rarely taught. This book fills the gap.

Do you expect academic science, such as empirical field studies, or military wisdom? Neither aspect of psychology is relevant for practical playing. Instead, the book studies the very frequent types of unforced errors - the mistakes that we all make but we should never make. If only we become aware of them at all, we can find the simple, correct play and improve a few ranks quickly.

Psychological mistakes affect connection and cut, life and death, attack and defense, sente and other strategic concepts. We learn to avoid wishful thinking, carelessness, laziness and greed. Finally, the book teaches time management and how to win a won game.

The 180 examples of the most interesting psychological mistakes are taken from actual games of the previous five years. My opponents or I have made the mistakes so that the readers need not repeat them any more. The book uses an easy learning approach. Every example compares failure variations with the simple correct moves. Every chapter has a short, general introduction and one or two simple but powerful principles.

Controlling one's own psychology can be hard but this is the right guide to simplicity and awareness of the relevant aspects.


* = These are the endconsumer prices in EUR according to UStG §19 (small business exempted from VAT).

Author:  Knotwilg [ Mon Jan 25, 2021 9:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New Book: Psychology

Not the book you'd expect from the authority on endgame theory - so a welcome surprise.

I agree the mental aspect of playing Go is being overlooked and professionals are not only stronger in terms of technique, reading or positional judgment, they're also better at managing their emotions.

The most technical thing in the area of gamesmanship is time management, to which you have devoted a chapter. It's the elephant in most game reviews' room. You could have done this or that, but wait, you played all your moves within 3 seconds? Or the other side of the coin: being in the last overtime period after 10 moves.

Besides time management, fighting spirit and concentration are the main elements I've discussed in "Basic laws of gamesmanship".

Your book brings the psychological aspect into types of decision making. Very interesting approach!

Author:  gowan [ Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Book: Psychology

Pros do have emotional or psychological issues from time to time. There are plenty of examples of pros making blunders that turn a winning position into a losing position. A video has circulated of Nakano 9p, in a game with Ishida Yoshio, put a large group of his own stones into atari, and great players from the past, e.g. Fujisawa Hideyuki (Shuko), were famous for blunders. Otake Hideo 9p, winner several times of the Meijin title in Japan, made a move that he considered to be a mistake and resigned the game out of disgust with the move he played although he was still leading. That last example might be admired as an example of fighting spirit, striving to play the best possible moves.

Author:  RobertJasiek [ Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Book: Psychology

Knotwilg wrote:
[...]Very interesting approach!

Thank you for your kind words but...

the authority on endgame theory

...despite my related plans for more surprises, we should say that there is more than one authority on endgame theory. The low level maths (combinatorial game theory and such) might be split among countless mathematicians but when it comes to its first translation to go theory, conceptual pioneer for further research and first teacher, Bill Spight deserves that title. My contribution is a second translation further towards go theory and further research preferably using simple maths, as seen at school or during a first year at university. We must also not forget the practical side, where pure speed of calculation matters; I am sure that quite a few professionals are much faster (although maybe slightly inaccurate) there.

Author:  dust [ Tue Jan 26, 2021 3:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New Book: Psychology

The focus on psychology is an interesting and welcome development.

Psychological aspects of Go go beyond elimination of mistakes and time management etc and can meet and inform strategy.

For example, there's the psychological aspect of inducing mistakes from your opponent, sometimes seen in common strategies for winning 'lost' games:

- identifying a sente move that your oppponent must answer or lose a group or territory, and then starting a fight in an adjacent part of the board with the aim of springing a double threat using that sente move;

- encouraging your opponent to chase your weak stones into their moyo or territory to try to kill it.

- the deliberate 'overplay' or 'too deep' reduction move

- steering the game into tactical complexity that is beyond the reading ability of both players...

Author:  thirdfogie [ Tue Jan 26, 2021 4:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New Book: Psychology


I am in the UK and will probably order a printed copy of your book, if only because it has some of the
same aims as my personal "Catalogue of Calamities" also know as "Dictionary of Disasters" or
"Compendium of Cock-Ups". Your book is at a much higher level and covers more ground, of course.

My worry is that one of us may incur unexpected costs because of the new trading arrangements
following Brexit. (Brexit is another compendium of cock-ups in my opinion, but we won't go there.)
Do you know how delivery works for UK customers? Will it be printed here so as to escape the
new bureaucracy?

Author:  John Fairbairn [ Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New Book: Psychology

Psychology books are often better styled self-help or self-improvement books, and as such they fill arrays of shelves in airport bookshops. As a once frequent flyer I have even bought some. I have never found any of much use, nor have I ever heard from anyone else (except from an author's friends on the blurb pages) that they have any real effect. Or at least not the effect intended. They can perhaps work in more mysterious ways.

Training programmes in companies often follow a similar track, usually with an emphasis on PowerPoint graphics and acrostic lists, both death knells as far as I'm concerned. I much prefer the anecdotal style of self-help books, but that's because I treat them just as entertainment.

In go, the example I remember best, simply because it was probably the first book on go psychology, came out in 1974. It was one of the Go Super Books of beloved memory: Tanoshii Igo Shinrigaku (Go Psychology for Fun) by Mihori Sho, who was one of the main journalists covering Go Seigen's career. As evidence of how go psychology affects even pros, he mentioned the incident when Go Seigen put Kitani in a great tizzy by playing mimic go. There was a great deal of similar very entertaining stories, most ending with a granny's wisdom kind of advice: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

But the fact that I regard these books more as entertainment does not mean I despise them. In fact, one thing I am watching a lot of now, thanks to lockdown, is opera masterclasses. This has to be pure entertainment for me. I can't even sing in the shower, so I'm not looking for elf-improvement. And the part that entertains me the most is what might be considered the psychology of singing. All the best masters (who are usually "mistresses" actually, and that may be significant if we are in the realms of psychology :)) deal more with the mind than the voice. Usually this tends to degenerate into a discussion of how to interpret a particular role or piece of music, but one expert who goes beyond that and stands out to me most has been he mezzo Joyce DiDonato. She tries to get her students to focus on a deep mindset rather than a superficial interpretation ("Don't act!"). This is more like what I consider the core of psychology. And the benefits are instantly obvious and huge - she is, admittedly dealing with very talented students, but still... I'm in wow mode.

DiDonato's success, though, in a way highlights the relative failure of other teachers - and by extension of self-help books. I was very surprised to learn last night that the masterclass process in her case is nothing like what I expected. My expectations were based simply on what I have read or heard before. The most typical process seems to be: hold a competition for young singers, give the winners a single masterclass. But in DiDonato's case the process was very, very different. Instead of a singing competition, ambitious singers had to write an essay. DiDonato read these and chose those she wished to work with. Then, before the programme we got to see on YouTube, she held about three workshops with the students. So she was able to apply great focus on the individual and give tailor-made advice.

Other masterclasses, like self-help books, rely instead on a scatter-gun approach. A few pellets will hit a random bird. It will fall to the earth. A seed in its gullet may find itself in fertile earth and may one day blossom to maturity. All quite opaque to the marksman.

With books this blind randomness is built into the system. Every reader is a different personality and had different needs.

It is my own experience that you cannot expect to guarantee getting help from self-help books, but you cannot rule out a random, though usually single, chance effect. To give my own example, most of Mihori's book has long been vast blur to me, but there was one example that caught my eye. He told the story of another go journalist, Mitani Suihei, who tried playing go with his left hand rather than his favourite right hand. There is an echo of this today in the shape of Iyama Yuta, of course. As I recall the story, in Mitani's case he claimed playing corrie dukit made him one stone stronger because he had to pause a fraction longer before making his move, and so noticed more. But he seems to have shifted back to his right hand eventually.

I did copy Mitani for a while and found sinistrality too irritating. But some time later I did try, by chance, a variation of the technique. When I sat down to play a tournament game I would put a few stones in a mnemonic shape on the table just in front of me. For example, three stones in an empty triangle, to remind me to look for good/bad shape, or four stones in a square, to help me remember not to end up overconcentrated. I don't think that ever had the slightest effect on my shape or overconcentration performance. But what it did do, and what was very definitely beneficial, was to slow ne down. It was like playing left handed but without the irritation. But then I got bored with doing that...

And that's where self-help most often falls down. That's why most attempts at dieting fail. The real help we need is not with advice on becoming self-aware or trying something different. We need rather to be shown how to stick to whatever change we have made. For that we most probably need either a strong motivation (you will die if you ...) or other-help: a teacher/personal trainer/lifestyle coach/devoted friend, preferably with a whip.

Other-help as opposed to self-help has worked in pro go even at the highest levels. There is a very common syndrome affecting pros who repeatedly make it to a title match but never seem able to win an actual title. They do occasionally, but that's probably because their opponent was likewise from the same permanent-loser mould. The best (maybe only?) case I know of where a player was able to shift moulds was Kato Masao. Being Mr Loser was really getting him down, not least because his fellow pupils such as Cho Chikun, Otake, Takemiya and Kobayashi Koichi were all gobbling up titles. Finally, in desperation, he turned to these friends and solicited their advice. The result (which they perhaps regretted) was a swathe of titles for him. That story is often told. But what is never told is what advice they gave him!

So, the field of go psychology remains largely unknown. But for that reason it also remains utterly fascinating. For that reason in turn we can also dream that Robert's book might also make it one day to the airport bookshelves. And that's a dream not a complete fantasy. Recall Kasparov's book: How life imitates chess.

Author:  RobertJasiek [ Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New Book: Psychology

thirdfogie wrote:
My worry is that one of us may incur unexpected costs because of the new trading arrangements following Brexit. [...]
Do you know how delivery works for UK customers? Will it be printed here so as to escape the
new bureaucracy?

The book is not printed within the UK so needs to be imported.

The simplest import is to only buy the PDF file (customs officers do not control email attachments yet!).

However, ordering a printed copy should work without tariffs. Basically, the onus is on the seller.

I have not figured out all details but when the first order from the UK comes in, I will find out.

Obviously, basic declarations on the letter will be similar to letters to other non-EU countries: stating good, class of goods, weight, value, kind of letter, origin of good.

I presume, the UK now needs an extra declaration, in which I also declare that the good has been my property or something of that kind. Together with the declaration of origin (Germany) and my signature, this should then imply no tax / tariff / customs for you. If nevertheless it would turn out that some extra cost arises for you on receival, I will reimburse it to you and see it as a chance to learn more about that masterpiece called Brexit:)

Shipping should be by airmail, but I do not have experience how any delay at the UK customs office might be.

If you decide to order, send me an email please.

Author:  John Tilley [ Tue Jan 26, 2021 4:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Book: Psychology

There is an English translation (by Jim Davies) of one chapter of Mihori Sho's "Go Psychology for Fun" in Go Review Quarterly Winter 1975 - pages 22 to 28 - or 7 pages in all. The title is:

"People who Like to Play Atari and Kikashi".

The pro game example is Rin v Kajiwara, then a strong amateur game commented by Go SeiGen and two joseki - the taisha and the large avalanche.

Mihori Sho writes at the end: "The worse a painting, the more it is filled with unnecessary detail. In a good painting, much is left out". "The constant playing of atari and forcing the opponent to connect is the special talent of monkeys." "One must think of the go board as the canvas of a painting, and leave as many stones off it as possible."

There was a series in Go Review Monthly on "Go Philosophy" starting with February 1961 which might also be of interest.

Best Wishes

Author:  RobertJasiek [ Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Book: Psychology

thirdfogie wrote:
I am in the UK [...]
My worry is that one of us may incur unexpected costs because of the new trading arrangements
following Brexit. [...]
Do you know how delivery works for UK customers?

After having spent 8 hours on studying Brexit customs information, I have successfully sent books to the UK by including all the necessary customs declarations in the letters. Therefore, there are no custom fees, no tariffs and no taxes, even if a letter is inspected at UK customs. There is only a delay: airmail letters to the UK need circa 5 to 8 days while, for comparison, letters to France need circa 3 working days. (If the recipient is in Northern Ireland, in theory the delay might be smaller because, at the moment, letters are still sent like within the EU.)

Author:  lichigo [ Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New Book: Psychology

Great news, what it is your next book?

Author:  RobertJasiek [ Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New Book: Psychology

According to current plans, my two next books will be Endgame 4 - Global Move Order (If it is insufficient to only compare local move values, which is the correct global decision for the next move?) and Endgame 5 - Mathematics (146 theorems and their proofs establish most of the new endgame theory in Volumes 2 - 4 for the early and late endgame.).

Author:  lichigo [ Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New Book: Psychology

Ohhh endgame 4 is on my list ^^

Author:  dust [ Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New Book: Psychology

lichigo wrote:
Great news, what it is your next book?

It's an absurd flight of fantasy, but I'm picturing in due course:

Tactical Problems: the UK customs process post Brexit (Volume 1)

Method of Teaching: principles, decisions, examples, problems with increasing difficulty
Read when EGF: 9 kyu - 4 dan
Subjective Rank Improvement: o
Subjective Topic Coverage: +++
Subjective Aims' Achievement: ++

At over 100 pages, the book sets out the theory and principles underpinning new UK customs processes. This is reinforced by chapters explaining tactical processes to ensure Go books reach the UK and and the most frequent techniques to ensure speedy delivery at the lowest cost. Five chapters with problems and their detailed answers round off this volume.

The detailed annexes on the rules implications of the Protocol of Northern Ireland and the intricacies of Article 16 make this a groundbreaking work.

Author:  RobertJasiek [ Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New Book: Psychology

The UK customs and their regulations are the symptom of the semi-hard Brexit established at the last moment. As a first step of coexistence, a customs union (similar to Norway - EU but, for the sake of the current UK preferences, without their further cooperation) would have avoided the excesses.

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