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 Post subject: Review of Winning Go by Richard Bozulich and Peter Shotwell
Post #1 Posted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:01 am 
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Although I wasn't among those selected to do a review in exchange for a free copy, Peter's description of the book was enough to make me want to buy it anyway, so after a preliminary perusal, here is my unbiased review.

The first thing that one notices about the book is that it is thick. It is an oversized paperback, 9x6 inches and has 256 pages. A first flip-through shows lot and lots of diagrams, some of them a tick small. The book is divided into seven chapters entitled: Katachi - Making Good Shape, Fuseki - The Opening, Tesuji – Clever Moves, Shikatsu - Life and Death, Joseki – Local Skirmishes, Chuban- The Middle Game and Yose - The Endgame, and as such offers the reader study material for literally all phases of the game.

With one exception, each chapter consists of a brief introductory text, a set of problems and a detailed answer section. The exception is the first chapter on shape, which does not include a problem section. This is because the authors view shape not as a separate subject, but rather as an essential consideration in all phases of the game. Like the other introductory texts, this chapter offers a clearly presented but superficial treatment of the subject, mentioning, defining and illustrating a few elementary concepts.

The goal of the book however is to deepen the reader's understanding of these elementary concepts, and that takes place in the problem section. I have done the first two problems in each section, and as a 6k I can say that they are challenging.

The first chapter with problems covers the opening and the reader is presented with 40 full board problems. Both of the problems I did served to illustrate a concept in the introductory text, and thanks to having having these concepts fresh in my mind I answered both correctly. The answer to the first problem begins by showing the initial position. I like this, and it is a general principle that is followed throughout the book. It is followed by diagrams illustrating the consequences of a faulty move, and the correct solution. The text of the answer explains which principle the correct answer follows. I like this too.

The third chapter includes 27 tesuji problems. The problems do not appear to be organized in any particular way and encompass a wide range of tactical challenges, such capturing or saving stones, linking up,making shape etc. I got one problem wrong and one right. In the illustration of the answer to problem 2 was a mistake in the diagram. One of two that I discovered in the twelve problems I did. Clearly the book will benefit from some editing before a further edition is printed.

The fourth chapter offers 36 L&D problems and begins with a brief overview of killing techniques. As with the previous chapter, the problems appear unsorted. The answer section is however fairly thorough, including sometimes diagrams of several continuations as well as failures. Again, I got one problem wrong and one right. On a side note, while glancing at the problems, I immediately recognized number 5, which is practically identical to the problem on page 119 of Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go, where Kageyama nastily says : “A dan-ranked player should have the answer the moment he sees the diagram. Anyone who cannot solve it at all has a doubtful future.” While the authors refrain from such judgment, their answer, including the description of the failure, is virtually identical to Kageyama's.

The chapter on Joseki takes a new twist on the subject, and is my favorite in the book. In it, we are presented with 45 initial positions, and asked to find the continuation. It is suggested to lay the problems out on the board before trying to work them out. I have not seen this approach before, and it has several advantages. First, it makes you think about how the position came to be in the first place. This makes you consider the purpose of those moves. Then, when looking for the continuation, it becomes apparent that the inital logic must be continued. The first two problems were a variation of basic joseki in which white makes a low approach to a hoshi stone and after black extends and white moves into the corner, black pincers instead of defending the corner. I was not familiar with this variation, and doing the problems gave me an excellent opportunity to follow the standard advice of trying to understand instead of just memorize the joseki moves. I got both of the problems partially right, and found the answer section, which encompasses almost 50 pages, to be informative.

Chapter six offer 24 whole-board middle game problems. I got the first one right, and the second one completely wrong. Again, the authors don't skimp on the answer section, and include diagrams and explanations of both failures and correct answers.

The last chapter, Yose – The Endgame begins with a concise description of the the interaction of gote and sente and the basic (simplified) principles of endgame counting. The 31 problems are organized to first practice counting the values of endgame moves, then to look for the most valuable moves and lastly to look for endgame tesujis. I appreciated the simple approach to counting, and although I got both problems wrong, I was at least close.

Compared to the other problem books that I own, Winning Go is less thorough in presenting concepts than the books in the Elementary Go series by Davies et al., and has fewer but more difficult problems than in Bozulich's own Get Strong at Tesuji or 1001 L&D problems. What is exceptional is it's wide range of topics and it's detailed and instructive answer sections. Although I have only done a smattering of the problems, my impression is that they are more difficult than the introductory texts would indicate, and not inappropriate for a player around my level or perhaps stronger. For me, the book offers valuable study material to help combat a broad range of deficits, and I would certainly recommend it to those who like to use problems to deepen their understanding of a wide range of topics, and don't scoff at reading the answers.

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This post by daal was liked by 8 people: Bartleby, Chew Terr, chiwito, idleparty, imabuddha, judicata, k1ndofblue, SolarBear
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 Post subject: Re: Review of Winning Go by Richard Bozulich and Peter Shotw
Post #2 Posted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:15 am 
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Excellent review. I've worked through some of it myself, and can confirm pretty much everything you've said. Now, instead of doing my own review I can just point to this one :).

I find it a bit distracting, that common terms often appear in quotes, with pronunciations. For the level at which the book is focused, a glossary would do. But this is a minor quibble.

On the Kageyama point--of course there are classic problems in go that have been used by several people over the years/decades/centuries. I see no problem with including them. Of course, if you "know" 90% of these classic problems, you probably wouldn't be interested in a book that compiled them, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.

Second, I think the joseki you referred to is this one (diagram below). This, and the one in which black attaches at 'a', can be especially effective for black in handicap games, if played correctly. Though I use them in even games too.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$W Slider Pincer
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . 3 . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . 1 a 4 .
$$ | . . . X . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . 2 . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .[/go]

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 Post subject: Re: Review of Winning Go by Richard Bozulich and Peter Shotw
Post #3 Posted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:57 am 
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Hey all,

I have this book now also and have read through the introductory explanations of each chapter hand have gone through all of the problems and Opening section about half of the problems in Joseki section and a few each of the problems in the other sections.

Here are some initial thoughts about it.

1. The introductory texts for each chapter could be a more comprehensive. If the goal of the book is to build understanding of elementary concepts more time should be spent on what those concepts are. The problems then could be used to build practical applications of the concepts. I think this is particularly true in the Tesuji section. Granted it is a fine line between having to much info and not enough but my initial thought is there could be more.

2. I find the problems to be challenging but not impossible at my level (2 Kyu). I think from the problems I have gone through so far that the book probably is geared towards mid SDK's to Low Dan level players.

3. The explanations of the problems are pretty great and where I think allot of this books value is. I have actually learned quite a bit from the problems I have done so far.

4. I think the lay out could be done better in the problems sections. The diagrams are pretty small but not to bad. In the explanation section I wish the lay out was easier to follow. The book presents a diagram then has the title (IE Correct Answer) of the diagram under it and then the explanation. I think it would flow better if it went Title, Diagram then explanation. It's not bad the way that it is but it gets a little funky when reading through it.

5. Before this book is printed again it needs to go through a thorough editing process. I have found no fewer then 6 errors so far and I am probably only about 1/3 of the way through the book.

All in all I think there is value in this book for sure. But I also think that there is opportunity to improve it as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of Winning Go by Richard Bozulich and Peter Shotw
Post #4 Posted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:48 am 
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k1ndofblue wrote:
5. Before this book is printed again it needs to go through a thorough editing process. I have found no fewer then 6 errors so far and I am probably only about 1/3 of the way through the book.

I have observed this about every Bozulich book I own. The editing errors are rampant. I can honestly say, they are far and away the worst edited books I have ever read. One even has his name misspelled on the cover.

Nevertheless, they contain much interesting and worthwhile material. You just need to have patience with the errors.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of Winning Go by Richard Bozulich and Peter Shotw
Post #5 Posted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:55 am 
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judicata wrote:
Excellent review. I've worked through some of it myself, and can confirm pretty much everything you've said. Now, instead of doing my own review I can just point to this one :).

I find it a bit distracting, that common terms often appear in quotes, with pronunciations. For the level at which the book is focused, a glossary would do. But this is a minor quibble.

On the Kageyama point--of course there are classic problems in go that have been used by several people over the years/decades/centuries. I see no problem with including them. Of course, if you "know" 90% of these classic problems, you probably wouldn't be interested in a book that compiled them, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.

Second, I think the joseki you referred to is this one (diagram below). This, and the one in which black attaches at 'a', can be especially effective for black in handicap games, if played correctly. Though I use them in even games too.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$W Slider Pincer
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . 3 . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . 1 a 4 .
$$ | . . . X . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . 2 . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .[/go]


Both the joseki that you show here, and the one where black plays at "a" are good for even games (given the appropriate board position), not just handicap games.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of Winning Go by Richard Bozulich and Peter Shotw
Post #6 Posted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:31 am 
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Kirby wrote:
Both the joseki that you show here, and the one where black plays at "a" are good for even games (given the appropriate board position), not just handicap games.


Of course - I meant to make that clear.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of Winning Go by Richard Bozulich and Peter Shotw
Post #7 Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:17 pm 
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Hi all,
Thanks for taking the time to write in your comments and suggestions! Sorry about the diagram problems. As I mentioned, things got rushed in the end (this wasn't like working for a go press) and the proofing should have been better. I'm very glad, though, that the ideas seem to have come through. Anyway, on Daal's suggestion, I will post an Errata sheet on S.L. that future readers can refer to in the next few days.
Best,
Peter

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 Post subject: Re: Review of Winning Go by Richard Bozulich and Peter Shotw
Post #8 Posted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:00 am 
Oza
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I mentioned above that I had found a few errors, so I thought I might as well mention what they are. If you have the book, perhaps you could corroborate what I've found as well as add to the list.

1. On page 52, on the second diagram from the top, the answer to problem 2 in the tesuji section, the marked stone is missing:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 52
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . O 8 Q O X . .
$$ | . a O 7 O O X . X
$$ | . . X O 9 X O X .
$$ | . . X O X X O . .
$$ | . O O X . . O . O
$$ | . O X X . X O . .
$$ | . . O X . X . . .
$$ | . . O . . . . O .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .[/go]


2. On page 111 the marked stone is missing from problem 3 of the joseki section. The error is repeated in the first diagram of the solution on page 117, as becomes apparent when viewing the next diagram on that page.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Corner
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . O O X . . .
$$ | . . O X X Q . X .
$$ | . . . X O X . . .
$$ | . . . . O . . . .
$$ | . . X . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .[/go]


3. Although the text states that we are to find black's joseki moves (p. 111), problem 7 shows a position where black has made a joseki mistake and it is white's turn. Thus the "correct answer" on page 124 shows how white should take advantage of black's error. It would make more sense to me if we were told to find white's best move in this position.

4. A minor error on page 172 is that on the top diagram, two white stones in the bottom right corner have been omitted.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of Winning Go by Richard Bozulich and Peter Shotw
Post #9 Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:40 am 
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Some more errors/suggested improvements..

On page 52, solution to problem 3: I think White can escape with an atari with move 2, though at too high a cost since I think that allows Black to take the corner. I think this should be mentioned in the solution (but please check - I am not confident of my reading).

On page 59, solution to problem 13: I'm not sure if this wrong, exactly, but it seems strange to describe Black's capturing move as throw in, when it captures directly in a snapback.

On page 70, the text for Diagram 4 refers to three marked moves. They are not marked, and anyway I don't think the position is a seki. Black can make the pyramid dead shape (and therefore I think that should have been listed among the four-point eye spaces above).

On page 71, Diagram 6: I think the text should point out that the rectangular 6-point eye space is only dead a) if it is in the corner, and b) if White plays first.

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 Post subject: Re: Review of Winning Go by Richard Bozulich and Peter Shotw
Post #10 Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:03 am 
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Some more errors:

p. 142: The diagram of the correct answer does not show the solution of the cut at 1, the atari at 2 and crawl of 4 & 6.

p. 168: Text run-on from problems 13 and 14. Problem 13 should read: "Black to play. How should Black respond when White connects with the marked stone?" and Problem 14 should read "Black to play." Furthermore, the answers to problems 13 & 14 on pages 185-187 have been switched.

p. 169: The texts of problems 23 and 24 have several mistakes. Problem 23 should read: "White to play." Problem 24 should read: "White to play. How can White save the stones in the upper-left corner?"

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 Post subject: Re: Review of Winning Go by Richard Bozulich and Peter Shotw
Post #11 Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:11 am 
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P. 114 problem 42 is white to move.

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