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Books About Go

I have grouped the books into sets based on why I like them.

I like this first set because they have artistic merit.

The Treasure Chest Enigma
Invincible: The Games of Shusaku
The Direction of Play

The following two, while possessing merit, are more interesting to me from a memetic perspective. As the words “techniques” and “concepts” suggest, these books are basically collections of useful go memes.

Basic Techniques of Go
Strategic Concepts of Go

This next book is unusual. The content is based substantially on David Wolfe's doctoral thesis, in which he showed that a certain class of go endgame situations could be solved within the framework of combinatorial game theory.

Mathematical Go Endgames

The rest are introductory books, the ones I learned go from, so regardless of how much merit they have, it is not much fun to re-read them.

Go for Beginners
The Second Book of Go
The Magic of Go
Volume Four of Graded Go Problems for Beginners

* * *

The problems in that last book have always been a bit too hard for me, but I picked up a copy of this next book a year or two ago and found it right at my level.

Volume Three of Graded Go Problems for Beginners

I really like game commentaries. These two books don't have the same depth of story as Invincible but they're still quite good.

Appreciating Famous Games
The 1971 Honinbo Tournament

And now it's story time! I actually learned to play go some time in high school, from an old copy of Hoyle. A friend and I played it on a Pente board with a bunch of little blue and white glazed square tiles. We had no idea what we were doing, but we had fun messing around and wondering when the game was supposed to be over. It was all very mysterious and Oriental. The book was originally written in 1947, when the world was much less global and interconnected, and it only had fifteen pages about go. Over the next few years I ran across some other books about go, but they were always just introductory. Except, once in a while I'd see these slim little volumes from Japan, two or three at a time from a series of seven. Can you imagine how I felt about them? Rare and mysterious books of knowledge! In a series! It almost didn't matter whether they were any good, though in fact they were. I think I eventually borrowed and read most of them.

So, that's the significance of the Elementary Go Series.

In the Beginning
38 Basic Josekis
Life and Death
Attack and Defense
The Endgame
Handicap Go

The “rare and mysterious books of knowledge” thing reminded me of something else.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, …


  See Also

@ March (2000)
o December (2015)