Last December I briefly reviewed

Endgame 2. I bought the pdf versions of Endgame 3 and Endgame problems 1 in early June but later picked up on

Robert’s offer to review them against a (physical) copy.

The books were very, very well packed and it took me a few minutes to unpack them. The printing and binding quality is also very good.

I had started Endgame problems 1 before the books arrived. I left it aside to get a full hang on the theory before going back to practice.

The introduction (chapter 1) quickly caught my attention. The positions below are the first examples of the book and part of the introduction.

- Click Here To Show Diagram Code
`[go]$$Bc Example 1`

$$ +-------------

$$ | X X X X O .

$$ | . O O O O .

$$ | X X . O . .

$$ | . O O O O O

$$ | X X X X X O

$$ | . . . . X .[/go]

- Click Here To Show Diagram Code
`[go]$$Bc Example 2`

$$ +---------------

$$ | O O O O . X .

$$ | O O O O . X .

$$ | . X X X X X .

$$ | O O O , X . .

$$ | O O O . X X .

$$ | . X X X X . .

$$ | O O O O X X .

$$ | . O . O O . .[/go]

In the first example, is it sente for black to connect 2 stones ? In the second example, is it sente for white to connect 6 stones ? I would (have) answer(ed) my opponent without question in both cases. Actually, both positions are local gote. Correct judgement of these kind of positions is the topic of chapter 3.

Chapter 2 quickly deals with the basic of miai counting, or modern endgame as Robert would call it. It’s a a good reminder if you forgot about some of the formulas, or you know about miai counting but you need to learn about Robert’s notations or vocabulary. It’s too short if you’re completly new to the topic, but to be fair you should be reading Endgame 2 before Endgame 3 in that case.

Chapter 3 is about judging whether a local endgame is sente or gote. We learn about 4 possible ways to do that with counts and move values. Each way is treated several times in examples. Overall the chapter was very clear to me, and determining the values and result for easy positions like the two examples was easy. Each method looked similarly efficient when working out examples and problems with pen and paper.

Chapter 4 is about discussing sente and gote options. We have positions where a gote and a sente sequences are both making sense. The objective is to decide which one is optimal. This chapter was also very clear and examples/problems were tackled without much trouble. The same position with a couple of stones moved here and there was used many times so that it was clear using instinct was a poor way to guess the answer.

Chapter 5 is a mix of several topics. First, privileges are briefly discussed. Nothing new for dan players I hope but worth mentioning for weaker players. Also good for the sake of clarity, as some examples uses the concept later in the book.

Next comes « double sente ». We use examples to see that it’s not (really) a thing, but we get practical advice on how to deal with situations we situation we perceive as double sente.

Last, we get introduced to traversal sequences, which will be the topic of the two remaining chapters. Traversal sequences are sequences that should be play in one go : interrupting the sequence can lose points. The follow up idea is to determine when play should be interrupted to play elsewhere on the board.

Chapter 6 presents a sure way to handle long sequences. The downside is that the calculus was a lot of work even for basic positions. I mostly got the examples and problems right so I think I understand the theory correctly, but I needed some time and some paper to do it properly. It was definitly too much time to consider trying it in a real game at my current capacity.

Chapter 7 presents another way to handle long sequences, which doesn’t always work if I understood correctly. That chapter wasn’t untirely clear to me and I started the first problems unsure of where to look at. I wasn’t as lost when doing the last problems but it’s still a bit fuzzy. I’ll give it some time to digest and I’ll give it another chance after. The method was clearly requiring less calculus, but I’m still unsure of being able to do it without a pen and paper.

I was satisfied with Endgame 2 and I am satisfied with Endgame 3. No rough start this time, as the last chapter was the only one giving me trouble. Even if I don’t think I can make use of everything in a real game, solving some of the positions was satisfying on its own.

The part about double sente is concrete advice which I think I can apply in my games.

Distinguishing gote and sente sequences also seems doable in my games during the microendgame and may give me the chance to grab some extra points over the course of a game.

In his review Robert said « The book is not for you if you die on seeing explicit calculations. » and I very much agree. The book doesn’t offer any tactical difficulties, but you’ll see a lot of values and variables. This is a theory book, but you should try to work out the values by yourself as much as possible so it’s quite a lot of work for a theory book.

On the other hand I don’t want to oversell the difficulty. The math level required isn’t high. Everyone who doesn’t want to run away after reading Endgame 2 or reading some of the

endgame topics here should be fine.

Finally, the last paragraph is about chapter 3 and adressed to Robert and the other readers of Endgame 3. On page 50 it is said « If we prefer application of conditions 1, we need to learn these relations by heart » and it wasn’t my experience.

Conditions 2 was my intuitive view of local sente/gote so the relations made sense instantly.

Conditions 1 and 4 came next and they are closely tied in my eyes. The defender chooses if it is a local sente or a local gote. So on conditions 1, he picks the count most favorable to himself and declares the locale as such. On conditions 4 he attributes the lowest move value to his opponent.

Conditions 3 are not intuitive to me. I understand that in a local gote M_G<M_S (conditions 4) and F<M_G (conditions 2) thus F<M_S. I can do a similar reasoning in a local sente, but I can’t explain with words why the relation is as it is.

Arnaud Boucherie, somehow

2 dan at the French go federation and about 4/5 dan on Fox/Tygem.