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 Post subject: Cho U's new L&D books
Post #1 Posted: Tue May 18, 2021 2:20 am 
Oza

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There are a couple of brand-new L&D books by Cho U (already one of the major problem devisers) that caught my eye because of the title: Life & death using sacrifice stones. That sounds ordinary enough but it's actually startlingly novel.

There are two books only because the set is split into Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. On the surface the books are aimed at kinds, with kitty-cat symbols instead of stars for degree of difficulty. There are 105 problems in each volume. I assume that odd number is because 5 is go, the same as the game.

They are nice, interesting problems. Normally I can look at a problem and instantly have a good feel for where the solution lies (or what the theme might be). In these case, presumably because sacrifice stones tend not to be much of an identified theme in L&D problems, I was often left blinking uncertainly. Despite that, and perhaps, surprisingly, they are eminently practical problems. Prompting the obvious question: why has this theme been so ignored up to now? I have no idea.

As far as I can tell, the book has been made suitable for kids not by dumbing down the problems - they can be very challenging - but by the feline feel and, more importantly, by giving very extensive variation diagrams for many of the answers. There is also a nod to the kids with a novel L&D puzzle game called Tetris Go, where you have to make dead shapes à la Tetris.

The cats appear everywhere in excellent cartoon form, and there is one cartoon strip that is the best go cartoon I've ever seen - cartoon that happens to indicate strongly that Cho is also expecting an adult audience. As a matter of fact, the book cover does tell us the books are aimed at mid-kyu to high-dan, but nowadays you can't assume that automatically means adults.

There are quite a lot of what the Japanese call "columns" or mini-essays. One longer-than-usual essay is about "secret" talks with Kono Rin - an outstanding L&D composer. There is a short essay on how to solve L&D problems. There is another on the Igo Hatsuyoron. He recalls even now the wonder he felt in his mind when he first saw the magic of this book as a child.

Yet another essay is on AI, but more precisely on the "Human L&D AI" Ichiriki Ryo.

There are other columns - and what I have described is just Vol. 1. Vol. 2 also has lots of "columns", with several being on nursery tales. There's a nod to Denmark (Den Lille Pige med Svovlstikkerne), and if you can work out how the little match girl might fit into an L&D problem, I'm impressed. Arabia gets a mention with Aladdin, and Momotaro gets double rations as befits a brat who clearly yearns to be a sumo wrestler. And Snow White makes an appearance, gladdening the heart of old Grumpy here. Indeed, double rations of gladness - there is no mention of Mickey Mouse.

I saw just one rating for the book online, and it was the maximum 5 stars (not cats). I'd say that if you can read the Japanese, I'd give it six stars - possibly even higher, seven dogs. If you can't read the Japanese, most of the book is still manageable and I'd still give that stripped-down version 5 stars.

The books are available on Kindle/Amazon. They are expensive as e-books go (over 10 pounds each, say $15). Alternatively you can give yourself a heart attack and buy four double quarter-pounders with cheese.

Search for CHOUNOSUTEISHITUMEGOGE. Despite the Cho U embedded there, Cho is using the name Chang Hsu for his copyright affirmation.


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Post #2 Posted: Tue May 18, 2021 6:50 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Cho U's new L&D books
Post #3 Posted: Tue May 18, 2021 7:50 am 
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Will they be issued on paper?

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 Post subject: Re: Cho U's new L&D books
Post #4 Posted: Tue May 18, 2021 9:31 am 
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On Amazon.com, it looks like CHOUNOSUTEISHITUMEGOGE will bring you to one of the two volumes. To find the other volume, try searching for Chounosuteishitumegozyo. (I don't know which is volume 1, and which is volume 2.)

Some links:

Amazon.com :
- Chounosuteishitumegoge
- Chounosuteishitumegozyo

Amazon.ca :
- Chounosuteishitumegoge
- Chounosuteishitumegozyo

Amazon.co.uk :
- Chounosuteishitumegoge
- Chounosuteishitumegozyo

Amazon.com.au :
- Chounosuteishitumegoge
- Chounosuteishitumegozyo


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 Post subject: Re: Cho U's new L&D books
Post #5 Posted: Tue May 18, 2021 9:56 am 
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"Chounosuteishitumegozyo" is volume 1 and "Chounosuteishitumegoge" is volume 2.


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 Post subject: Re: Cho U's new L&D books
Post #6 Posted: Tue May 18, 2021 4:30 pm 
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Ah! So this is what the scuba-cat book is. Thank you for sharing a review. Amazon.co.jp has been recommending this to me, even by email. Here are additional links to the book. I believe they work but I had to hand edit them since Kanji were giving me trouble on L19.

Image https://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/4818206822

Image https://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/4818206814

By the way, I am in the US and I have had no trouble ordered from Amazon JP. It is especially easy when the item is "shipped and sold by Amazon.co.jp" as is the case here. One time I even received the famous two-day shipping treatment. I have even had good experiences buying items from 3rd parties, and used items. So no worries about using the website. But you will need to make a new account.

-----

And if you prefer to learn go from cats Shibano Toramaru also has you covered.
Image

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Last edited by CDavis7M on Tue May 18, 2021 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Cho U's new L&D books
Post #7 Posted: Tue May 18, 2021 4:34 pm 
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gowan wrote:
Will they be issued on paper?

They are already.

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 Post subject: Re: Cho U's new L&D books
Post #8 Posted: Wed May 19, 2021 2:07 am 
Oza

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Ah! So this is what the scuba-cat book is.


First, I write this stuff unchecked at high speed - a legacy of a long career of fastballing journalistic stories against the deadline clock and being used to having a sub-editor as my catcher. There's the occasional wild pitch. I see I implied each volume had 105 problems - the two volumes together have 105.

As to what the cat represents, it's clearly a family joke. It's well known that Cho U wooed wife Kobayashi Izumi by sending her L&D problems (she's also credited with "collaboration" in the book), and no child in their family was ever going to be safe from L&D. Indeed, daughter Cho Kosumi clearly had two Shredded L&D for breakfast every day and is now a pro with a pukka go name. Many of the cartoons represent real scenes from the Cho family's real life. The first cartoon shows a couple about to be married and taking their vows: they say I do in response to a cat "vicar" asking "Do you promise yo love, honour and obey tsumego till death do you part?"

The theme of the subsequent images of cats scuba diving or in flying saucers, or stuck in a thunderstorm with a broken umbrella, is that they do L&D everywhere. in other words, L&D is catnip.

Since it looks like a few people may be tempted by this brace of books, the following extra notes may help some.

Each book starts with all the problems (all Black to play) presented in their purest form. If you are strong enough, try them as is. If not, you can turn to the page number shown next to the problem, and there you will get the same problem with hints. There is a text hint, obviously in Japanese. But there is also a picture of a cat juggling a number of stones. This number represents the number of sacrifice stones required. The solutions are also given there, but do be aware that Cho likes to mix things up and so don't assume the first variation diagram is the right answer. The right answer, which may come in two or more flavours, is marked with a heading that incudes the character 正. Wrong answers include 失. Cho is not a fan of the old rigid rules of L&D and so solutions may include escapes to the outside or kos - even approach kos. He has written about this in other books, but basically it's all from his experience of making L&D enjoyable en famille, chez Cho.

He offers here views on the best ways to solve L&D, based on the way he does/did them. He tries to do the problem in his head first. If he can't he will look at the hint. If he still can't do it after that, he feels no compunction about looking at the solution. He sees the real task not as practising reading to the bitter end but as absorbing the tesujis. For that reason, he also recommends playing out the solutions on a board. In this connection, don't be misled by the western notion of tesuji as a brilliant move. Parsing the word as te and suji, it really means precision technique. Precision rather than brilliance is what is called for. And it's technique rather than single move.

Another technique, of a different stamp, that Cho uses personally is to work out the problem in his head. Uh, I do that anyway, you may say. But what Cho means is he looks at the problem, does a mental copy-and-paste into his head, and solves it without looking at the book. That explains the compact and memorable nature of the problem positions in these books. It's an example of how meticulous he has been in devising the problems and formatting the books. Cho himself, not a ghost writer, is present in every line and in every image. Hence my galaxy of stars for it.

I'll mention one other thing, because we do have some over-literal readers. The reference to Ichiriki Ryo as Human L&D AI is nothing to do with Catago (geddit???!!!). It's because (says Cho) on problems where the average pro takes 5 to 10 minutes, Ichiriki takes less than a minute. However, he does not devise L&D himself. He has instead graduated to devising superhard endgame problems. I gave an example some time ago on L19.


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 Post subject: Re: Cho U's new L&D books
Post #9 Posted: Sat May 22, 2021 4:25 am 
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Is there some way to avoid Amazon here?

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Post #10 Posted: Sat May 22, 2021 5:52 am 
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Harleqin wrote:
Is there some way to avoid Amazon here?

The ISBNs are 978-4818206816 and 978-4818206823, if that helps when searching for another way of purchasing them.

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 Post subject: Re: Cho U's new L&D books
Post #11 Posted: Fri May 28, 2021 3:03 pm 
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John, you convinced me to order Cho U's new cat tsumego but then I got derailed on Amazon JP and ended up ordering Cho U's 4x4 puzzle game instead, along with a book having more difficult 4x4 problems and the kids 4x4 Go Apple Tree game.

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 Post subject: Re: Cho U's new L&D books
Post #12 Posted: Fri May 28, 2021 3:06 pm 
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Harleqin wrote:
Is there some way to avoid Amazon here?

Amazon JP is much better than Amazon US if that helps. Amazon JP actually knows how to package a book by shrinkwrapping it to sturdy cardboard so that the pages are not dent. Amazon JP even manages to pack magazines so that they arrive in perfect condition. Amazon US will just throw a book in a 2 ft box along with your monthly subscription of cat food, on top of the other dirt and junk that seems to come with Amazon US books. It's hard to believe that Amazon used to be a bookstore.

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