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Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go by Toshiro…
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Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go

by Toshiro Kageyama

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Last year I was playing Go with friends in Carborro, North Carolina and was approached by a stranger who challenged me to a game. He was a much better player than I was at the time (he was around 3 or 4 kyu to my 15 kyu - I am now 7 or 8 kyu) and beat me despite a nine stone handicap. After the game, he gave clear, straight-forward instruction as we reviewed and then played out the first 60 moves or so of a professional game he had memorized (as hard as it is for me to wrap my mind around doing this, memorizing professional Go games is a common learning exercise of serious players). Before departing, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a copy of Kageyama's Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go, encouraging me to find a copy for myself. Several months later I did.

This is the best book about Go I've ever come across. It breaks down several aspects of the game (cutting, ladders, joseki, etc) in a conversational - sometimes hilarious - tone, continuously stressing a focus on fundamentals. Kageyama contends over and over again that the difference between professional and amateur Go players is that the former stick to fundamentals. Some of the most amusing sections of the book are when he uses anecdotes to extends this contention to life generally.

The book is so well-written I am almost tempted to recommend it to people who don't play Go. For Go players - this book will get you excited about improving your game, and when you play you'll find Kageyama there in your head chastising you for bad moves ("HANE ON TWO!!! HANE ON TWO!!!"). From what I understand, the book is suitable for players of all amateur levels, though I think it is probably best for people ranked better than 15 kyu. ( )
3 vote inaudible | Mar 2, 2009 |
This is a truly amazing book for the intermediate player. Kageyama's style is wonderfully conversational and imminently funny. Of course, that would be worthless if the book weren't full of fascinating strategic and tactical insights. From the go books I've read, most are either short on depth or overly abstruse. While Lessons does occasionally descend into too-deep analysis of sequences, it generally strikes a good balance between clarifying difficult concepts and considering the concrete implications of those ideas on the board. I can't recommend it highly enough. ( )
  esoteric | Nov 13, 2008 |
Well-written, approachable, and insightful, Kageyama's "Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go" could be considered one of the few must-reads for a Western player interested in this wonderful game. Unlike most professionals, who became professionals after being "discovered" in early childhood and studying the game (and only the game) for years, Kageyama was an amateur and came to the professional ranks late. He has insights into the problems amateurs face which other professionals simply don't share. ( )
  syrion | Jun 15, 2008 |
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1 vote | Budzul | May 31, 2008 |
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