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 Post subject: What are the consensus great game commentaries in English?
Post #1 Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:28 am 
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I see Invincible (Power) held in very high esteem. The more recent Relentless (GoGameGuru) received strong praise as far as I noticed. Occasionally I see The 1971 Honinbo Tournament (Iwamoto) mentioned.

Naturally, if you believe the publishers' descriptions every commentary book is a must-have. ;-)

With your help, I'd like to compile a list of really outstanding commentaries that have been published in English. Please include your reasoning rather than just tossing out titles. :bow:

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Post #2 Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:44 am 
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Now that I glance at my bookshelf, the books I want to re-read occasionally:

Commented Games by Lee Sedol I-III - This is a slightly exhausting set of commentaries, three games per book. I like the personal view and the-game-is-not-always-perfect humility.

John Fairbairn's Go Seigen jubango series: 9-dan Showdown, Final Summit and Kamakura - These books catch the intricacies of the 10 game matches at the time and the commentaries help to appreciate the high level of the games.

John Fairbairn's classic games series: Power/Brilliance, The Meijin's Retirement Game and Old Fuseki vs New Fuseki - Classic games with the full background story and very detailed commentary. I know these games by heart but still read through the pages every now and then.

Invisible - The Games of AlphaGo - Although the protagonist here is not human, the story is captivating and the games unique. The commentary is easy to read and the book is a valuable account on the AI breakthrough year.

The books above (and the three book already mentioned) mostly touch the topic I'm already interested in and give deeper impressions on the games and the surroundings. Other game commentary books might be fine, but they don't touch my heart.

Cheers,
Vesa


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 Post subject: Re: What are the consensus great game commentaries in Englis
Post #3 Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:17 am 
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I have always greatly enjoyed Yuan Zhou's Master Play series, especially the early books (Go Seigen, Takemiya Masaki and Lee Changho). They break down the game and work through it very slowly, avoiding going into tons of very complex variations. This makes them accessible and easy to understand. Furthermore, they include discussion between Yuan Zhou and three of his students at different levels, which further helps the accessibility of the books.

I don't know how appealing they would be to dan (especially high dan) players, but for the kyu ranks, especially DDK, I think they are great.


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 Post subject: Re: What are the consensus great game commentaries in Englis
Post #4 Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:35 am 
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There are none because the game commentaries are not great (from a great commentary, I expect to learn much or that I would have learnt much at a lower level). There are, however, so called game commentary books and the like that provide great entertainment: Treasure Chest Enigma, Invincible, Invisible (only for its sparse background information).

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Post #5 Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:30 am 
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I think you've gotten a good handle on good books available in English already. I highly recommend the Lee Sedol books.

Also not mentioned yet is Go World Archives which has a tremendous amount of good commentary for a low price.

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Post #6 Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:32 pm 
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Vesa wrote:
Invisible - The Games of AlphaGo - Although the protagonist here is not human, the story is captivating and the games unique. The commentary is easy to read and the book is a valuable account on the AI breakthrough year.


Does this book have published reviews anywhere? All I know is what was in the blurb from the AGA advertisement.

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Post #7 Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:22 pm 
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Drew wrote:
Does this book have published reviews anywhere?


Uhm, we are just reading it... In short: good (but also too generous) layout, good printing, many games, endgame game sequence diagrams too dense to enjoy, opening / middle game game sequence diagrams acceptable, only a very few commenting diagrams per game, only a few short text comments per game, a bit background information. Basically it condenses to the question whether you want to study AlphaGo Games on the computer or in book format. Do not buy the book for its commentaries, to see the author's first book or learn AlphaGo playing style / strategy / tactics; for these purposes, the book disappoints and pales to video commentaries on selected AlphaGo games. The book lives from the hype of being the first AlphaGo book in English. There are as many games in the book as could be packed into it at the cost of having as little space as possible for commentaries as you would fear. Although the very few commentary diagrams are well selected, necessarily most questions are left unanswered and most skillful strategic / tactical decisions treated as understatements or remain hidden to the reader. Any editor of AlphaGo games could have compiled some such book. It is more remarkable for Hebsacker Verlag showing good softcover printing than it would be for Antti Törmänen showing skill as a go book author. This is an editor's book rather than a go book author's book. As an editor, he did a good job. As a go book author, we should rather wait for his real skill in later books. He writes that writing the book made himself stronger significantly but he does not convey to the reader how to learn + improve much from studying AlphaGo. Learning from its games remains first of all browsing their moves. (Yes, with the exception of a few josekis and sample openings. However, there could be so very much more to learn from the games if there were the space for detailed commentaries.)


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 Post subject: Re: What are the consensus great game commentaries in Englis
Post #8 Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:55 pm 
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Drew wrote:
Vesa wrote:
Invisible - The Games of AlphaGo - Although the protagonist here is not human, the story is captivating and the games unique. The commentary is easy to read and the book is a valuable account on the AI breakthrough year.

Does this book have published reviews anywhere? All I know is what was in the blurb from the AGA advertisement.

Amazon.de has one on the Invisible Taschenbuch: https://www.amazon.de/Invisible-Games-AlphaGo-Antti-T%C3%B6rm%C3%A4nen/dp/3937499067/

And Hebsacker Verlag has a sample of the pdf in http://www.hebsacker-verlag.de/download/Invisible-sample.pdf

I'm yet to receive my special edition but the pdf version is also easy reading on a tablet.

Cheers,
Vesa

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 Post subject: Re: What are the consensus great game commentaries in Englis
Post #9 Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:48 pm 
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My view of Invisible is largely the same as Robert's, though I would probably phrase it more positively. It is definitely a breezier take on the games than you can find in videos such as Michael Redmond's, but because of its succintness, I actually have a hope of making it through the whole thing (I've already gone through the first 10 of the 60 online games). As Robert says, the layout is very nice although a little spacious for my tastes as well (I only have the PDF). I do hope that it is successful enough that Antti's hope in the foreword of publishing more English go literature by modern Japanese professionals becomes a reality.

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Post #10 Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:34 pm 
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dfan wrote:
(I only have the PDF)


Where can the PDF be purchased?

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Post #11 Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:57 pm 
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Drew wrote:
dfan wrote:
(I only have the PDF)


Where can the PDF be purchased?


Here you go.

https://gumroad.com/eikaiwa


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Post #12 Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:01 pm 
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Unfortunately not in English, but if this was ever translated, it would be great for the English community.

https://www.amazon.co.jp/%E9%80%B2%E5%8 ... 94&sr=1-55

It's a great read from the Hon Dojo going over Master's 60 online games. The professionals discuss various options among themselves and write about their thoughts.

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