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 Post subject: Useful books to become stronger
Post #1 Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:39 am 
Gosei
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I posted this a while ago on godiscussions.com and since here are no threads dealing with the eternal hunger for (Go-)Wisdom, I thought I repost it for general discussions.


Preface
Reading alone will not make you stronger, because new tactics and ideas need their time to enrich your play. Therefore it is very important to constantly play while reading a book. Try to use your new knowledge and practice it.
Side note: This is no sure way to become stronger. People learn in various ways. But these books may help you find new ideas and reasons.


    Starters (30k -> 15/12k)
  • Learn to play Go 1-5
  • Opening Theory made easy
    Graded Go Problems 1-2


    Intermediate (12k -> 5k)
  • Get Strong at Tesuji
  • 1001 Life and Death Problems
    Graded Go Problems 3
    Tesuji (by James Davies)
  • Attack and Defense

    Optional:
    - Invincible - The Games of Shusaku
    - Secret Chronicles of Handicap Go
    - Get strong at Invading
    - Get strong at Attacking
    - 38 Basic Joseki


    Advanced (5k -> 1k)
  • The Direction of Play
  • Graded Go Problems 4
  • 501 Tesuji Problems

    Optional:
    - Positional Judgement. High-Speed Game Analysis
    - Making Good Shape
    - Get Strong at the Endgame
    - Elementary Go Series 6: Endgame


    Dan-level
  • Train like a Pro 1-2
  • Graded Go Problems for Dan Players 1-3

    Optional:
    - The Master of Haengma
    - Nie Weiping on Go - The Art of Positional Judgment
    - Perceiving the Direction of Play
    - Vital Points and Skillful Finesse for Sabaki


There is a order given in this list but it actually doesn't really matter, which book you read while being a starter, intermdiate or advanced player. Do what brings you the most fun.
You can read/solve all these books multiple times and it will be still beneficial. Actually you should read these books multiple times, because by becoming stronger, you'll find new things in them.
Also, I like to add that it can be interesting to replay (and memorize, if you like) professional games in the intermediate range. If you like to do so, I'd strongly recommend commented games, so that you know which moves are good or bad and why. My choices would be games by Shusaku (Book: Invincible), Go Seigen, Cho Chikun or by the early Lee Chang'ho. In my experience these games are pretty straight forward and 'easy to follow' at some level.


Disclaimer

Blue coloured titles are 'community approved'.

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Last edited by SoDesuNe on Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:48 am, edited 10 times in total.

This post by SoDesuNe was liked by 2 people: glitchdot, Phelan
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 Post subject: Re: Useful books to become stronger
Post #2 Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:45 am 
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I haven't read all of the books in the list, but from what I've read, and the comments on the ones I haven't, I thoroughly approve of it. Thanks! :)

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Post #3 Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:27 am 
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Learn to play Go 1-5 : Didn't read
Opening Theory made easy : read, and agreed, and it's worth rereading often
Graded Go Problems 1-2 : don't read

Get Strong at Tesuji : read, and agreed
1001 Life and Death Problems : read and agreed
Graded Go Problems 3 : didn't read
Tesuji (by James Davies) : read, and agreed. Actually, I've read at 20k and it was maybe too early

Attack and Defense : read and I don't agree :) I think it's a very valuable book even for a weak player. I've read it when I was maybe 15k, and it has great impact on my understanding of the game. Of course I didn't assimilated everything, and I discover more and more stuff every time I read it, but I really think it's worth reading early !

The Direction of Play : read and I suppose it must be right, because I'm not 5k (rather towards 10 :) ), and I don't understand everything :)
501 Tesuji Problems : read and I agree, I have difficulty with most exercices. Maybe a little easier, but far harder than Get Strong at Tesuji, is "Making good shape".
Graded Go Problems 4 : don't read.

BUT WHERE IS KAGEYAMA ??????? It's also a book worth reading once when you're weak, and constantly reread :)


As to games books, I've read books on games by Lee Chang Ho, Kato Masao, Takemiya, Go Seigen. I think Go Seigen games are really difficult to my level, he constantly tenukis. Kato Masao are very technical, difficult for me too.

Takemiya are maybe the worst :) Everything looks so easy, and when you try it at your club, you get nastily crushed.

Lee Chang Ho are, at my level, the most understandable. At least, you learn good shapes.

All thoses remarks are from a more or less 10k, take it with a big grain of salt :)


Last edited by Tryphon on Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Useful books to become stronger
Post #4 Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:35 am 
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Tryphon wrote:
BUT WHERE IS KAGEYAMA ??????? It's also a book worth reading once when you're weak, and constantly reread :)



!! Agreed. Already read it a couple of times, and I know it helps me every time.

There are a number of those mentioned above that I haven't read yet, but some are on my list.

I've been really enjoying the Elementary Go Series, and the Attack and Defense book is one of the only ones I haven't gotten yet (but want to!).

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 Post subject: Re: Useful books to become stronger
Post #5 Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:10 am 
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Meh on Kageyama. Though I liked the read, I don't really think it's a "get stronger" book. I think it's a "get more determined" book. I wouldn't recommend it to beginners unless they want a more conversational book. And even in that case I'd recomend the Treasure Chest Enigma first.

As for Attack and Defence being readable at an earlier rank, I agree. I read it as 20k-15k, and it was very interesting, but I don't think I got as much as I did from rereading it later.

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 Post subject: Re: Useful books to become stronger
Post #6 Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:37 am 
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Thank you for your comments!

Kageyama's 'Lessons in the fundamentals of Go' is... well, I'm no fan of it. Simple reason, why it isn't listed.
Of course in a narrow view it doesn't belong there, because it does not teach any specific topic like the rest of the books, I mentioned.
We had quite a discussions about this book on Godiscussions.com, showing that some SDK-players (like me) and some Dan-players have exactly the opposite opinion on this book. But this way, it's even more understandable, why this book isn't listed. There are no Dan-level-books in my list :P

Hm, where to put 'Attack and Defense'? Good question. I also know some players, who read this book at DDK, but as far as I see, it's pretty SDK-materia. Of course you can read it at DDK, but I think it is far more beneficial reading it at SDK.
In the end, I did read it at SDK and it is a lot to grab. Especially the sites from 100 on.


I want to add something about Joseki: Though I have the opinion, that there's no use in studying Joseki while not being a Dan- or high SDK-player (1-3), I can see that there is even less use, if you don't know some basic Josekis.
So, I think, roughly going through '38 basic Josekis' is not a bad idea. Just to know some basic approaches and continuations.

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Post #7 Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:47 am 
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SoDesuNe wrote:

I want to add something about Joseki: Though I have the opinion, that there's no use in studying Joseki while not being a Dan- or high SDK-player (1-3), I can see that there is even less use, if you don't know some basic Josekis.
So, I think, roughly going through '38 basic Josekis' is not a bad idea. Just to know some basic approaches and continuations.


I think it's more than that. A book like 38 will show you some of the basic shape moves, and the kind you use in close-contact fights that are good patterns to learn.

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 Post subject: Re: Useful books to become stronger
Post #8 Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:53 am 
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So, to balance opinions, I want to stress that the 2 books I learnt much from were "Lessons in the fundamental of Go" (Kageyama) and "Attack and Defense". Both read around 15k, and constantly reread since :) (third is "making good shape).

Kagayama's covers many aspects of the game. The drawback is it doesn't go very deeply in them (the book would be 2000 pages else), I find damageable it doesn't really deal with "almost filling" a group to kill it (I learnt in Life and Death by Davies) for example, or Attack and Defense strategy (But that''s why the second mentionned book is precisely about that).

I can't let phelan say it's not a "get stronger book" (I've read the "Treasure Chest Enigma", and even if it's a nice book, I don't see what they have in common). To the contrary, it's precisely that. Okay, Kageyama has his style, and books is full of diggressions or true stories, some find it annoying, others (like me) find it even more enjoyable.

If you're between 5k and 20k, give it a try ! Definetely !

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 Post subject: Re: Useful books to become stronger
Post #9 Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:14 am 
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Tryphon wrote:
Attack and Defense : read and I don't agree :) I think it's a very valuable book even for a weak player. I've read it when I was maybe 15k, and it has great impact on my understanding of the game. Of course I didn't assimilated everything, and I discover more and more stuff every time I read it, but I really think it's worth reading early !


This is my top book for 5-12k players without a shadow of a doubt.

Tryphon wrote:
BUT WHERE IS KAGEYAMA ??????? It's also a book worth reading once when you're weak, and constantly reread :)


And this is my top book for everyone :)

I think people go to Kageyama thinking "lots of rave reviews, this'll teach me how to play Go!" and get disappointed. The book doesn't teach you how to play, nor does it teach you the right moves. What it does do is teach you how to think when you play, and how to develop methods to find good moves for yourself - it takes a lot more to get out of it than just "absorb information", but I think the reward is well worth it.

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 Post subject: Re: Useful books to become stronger
Post #10 Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:25 am 
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You forgot:

Super Advanced(6d -> -)
Igo Hatsuyoron


:)


Last edited by Solomon on Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Useful books to become stronger
Post #11 Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:00 am 
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My "favourites" selection by strength...

30 kyu - 25 kyu:
- Learn to play Go Vol. 1 - The Master's guide to the Ultimate game

25 kyu - 20 kyu:
- Learn to play Go Vol. 2 - The Way of the moving horse

- Learn to play Go Vol. 3 - The Dragon style

- The second book of Go

20 kyu - 15 kyu:
- Learn to play Go Vol. 4 - Battle strategies
(The first few chapters are exceptional for this level, and really force players at this level to change the way they think about invasions and reductions.)

15 kyu - 10 kyu:
- Learn to play Go Vol. 5 - The Palace of Memory

- Opening Theory made easy

- Kageyama's Lessons in the fundamentals of Go

10 kyu - 5 kyu:
- Kage's Secret Chronicles of Handicap Go
(This is a remarkable book, and contains ideas which have helped me tremendously in both handicap and even games. I would say this book was responsible for my jump from 10 - 6 kyu. Somehow, the lessons in this book hit hard, and one doesn't easily forget them. Definitely one of my favourites.)

- Attack and Defense
(An outstanding book)

- Takemiya's Enclosure Josekis
(A tough book to read, but very useful as a reference. After consulting the book enough times, the reasoning behind the josekis starts to sink in.)

- Kageyama's Lessons in the fundamentals of Go

10 kyu - 5 kyu:
Haven't got there yet... :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Useful books to become stronger
Post #12 Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:17 am 
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I'm not sure where I would add it, but Yilun Yang's The Fundamentals Principles of Go should be added to the list so far.

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Post #13 Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:23 am 
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I've heard Yilun Yang's "Fundamental Principles" is excellent, but haven't been able to get hold of it - it seems quite rare.

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Post #14 Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:25 am 
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oren wrote:
I'm not sure where I would add it, but Yilun Yang's The Fundamentals Principles of Go should be added to the list so far.

This (and, in my opinion, "Attack and Defense") are examples of books that are effective for a wide spectrum of Go strengths.

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Post #15 Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:27 am 
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I don't remember if I wrote about this in ze old country, but Lessons in the Fundamentals has turned out to be the textbook that's given me the least new insight on re-reads. This is a marked contrast to Attack and Defense, which I nominate the most worthy book I've read.

If there's a book I've read that hasn't made me stronger, it's 501 Opening Problems.

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Post #16 Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:06 pm 
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Saurus wrote:
I've heard Yilun Yang's "Fundamental Principles" is excellent, but haven't been able to get hold of it - it seems quite rare.


It's for sale at www.slateandshell.com

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Post #17 Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:57 pm 
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As someone who is very new to "reading books" to improve my go, I found Kageyama's Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go indispensable. I guess I'd never previously been given a 'fundamental run-down' of go, and he did precisely that. Especially because he would call people out on things at different stages of the book, and it was precisely what I had been doing (tracing ladders with your mouse/finger instead of reading, trying to make pro-looking-shapes for their own sake, trying to protect territory and not the continuity of your stones...)

I imagine people who had already received "fundamental" pointers elsewhere may find the book trivial.


So, are the given booklists striving to only give one book for each niche, as it were ?

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Post #18 Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:48 pm 
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I credit the Learn to Play Go series for my sustained interest in the game from when I first learned through about 20kyu (though they are helpful beyond that). They focus primarily on fundamental principles, particularly on the connection/relationship between your stones. They are also very, very accessible. I found that combining them with the Elementary Go Series worked out very well. Since I'm still DDK, that's more or less all I can comment on.

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Post #19 Posted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 3:31 am 
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I would add the Segoe tesuji dictionary into your advanced section. I recently resumed my quest to work through every problem and fell in love with the books all over again.

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Post #20 Posted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:15 am 
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Gresil wrote:
If there's a book I've read that hasn't made me stronger, it's 501 Opening Problems.


Interesting. As I was reading this thread, I wondered about this book. I, for one, found it fairly useful. Could be because my openings suck. And, I can't say with any certainty that studying this book made me stronger. (My openings still suck.) But, it did give me lots of food for thought and helped me understand the opening.

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