Tag: study

Dictionary of Basic Tesuji

The fourth and final volume of Dictionary of Basic Tesuji by Fujisawa Shuko is now available in Go Books on iPad, iPhone, and Macintosh. The project started mid 2016, and the first three volumes were published October 2016, February 2017, and July 2017. William Cobb of Slate & Shell did all the hard work of converting the books to digital format.

Four volumes of Basic Tesuji

The four volumes contain 714 problems and 3070 diagrams. But the real story is the 3743 inline diagrams: instead of deciphering text that describes alternate move sequences, just tap to see a diagram with the move sequence. This makes the digital version much easier to learn from.

Page showing inline diagram

Tesuji are moves that make the most effective use of stones; knowledge of tesuji will improve your fighting skills. This series brings together the full range of tesuji, categorized by the purpose for which they are used: invading, reducing liberties, securing eye shape, taking sente, linking up, taking away the base, and much more.

While many of the problems are hard, single-digit kyu players (and stronger) should benefit from this series. For weaker players, I’d recommend first working through the Graded Go Problems for Beginners or Black to Play! series, then read e.g. Tesuji by James Davies or Five Hundred and One Tesuji Problems by Richard Bozulich.

Summer Reading

Go Books has been growing: now at 105 books, every Go player can find the right books to improve. The backend has changed completely to enable the Mac version (and Android in the future), and books updated with fixed typos or new languages are now automatically synced to your devices.

The improved syncing has also led to some bugs with books not showing up or not opening properly. I’m sorry about that; in most cases, choosing “Register Your Purchases” in the iOS app will fix it. Plesase let me know if you still experience issues. Unfortunately, travel plans keep me from releasing a fixed version until late July. (I’ve made that mistake before.)

Whether you’re heading to the Go Congress or the beach, this is a good time to prepare for upcoming battles.

  • Solve problems: Practice solving problems so you’re ready when they appear on the board. Choices range from “Graded Go Problems for Beginners” to “Gateway to All Marvels: The Xuanxuan Qijing of 1347”.
  • Focus on one pro: By playing through many games of a particular pro, you’ll soak in their style. There’s “Invincible: The Games of Shusaku”, “The Games of Fujisawa Shuko”, and “The Life, Games and Commentaries of Honinbo Shuei”. If you don’t think you’re ready for that level of pro game analysis, start with Yuan Zhou’s “Understanding Pro Games” and his “Master Play” series.
  • Study openings: “The Chinese Opening” and “Patterns of the Sanrensei” will prepare you for specific openings, while joseki books (combined with joseki pattern matching in SmartGo Kifu) will arm you with more choices to achieve a good result in the opening.
  • Improve your technique: You know your weak spots. Getting lost in the middle game? Study “Attack and Defense”. Losing points in the endgame? Study “The Endgame” and “Lee Chang-ho’s Endgame Techniques”. Getting killed when you invade? Study “Reductions“ and “Invasions”. It always pays off to study the fundamentals.

Enjoy your summer!

Minutes for Go

One of your New Year’s resolutions may be to study more Go. If you can sit down for hours with a board, perfect. More likely, you’ll just have minutes here and there. Take advantage of SmartGo Kifu to use those moments for Go.

Replay pro games

  • Pick a random pro game. (Tap the Go to Game icon at the top left of the game list, choose Random Game.)
  • Turn on automatic replay, maybe 3 seconds per move.
  • Pause replay as necessary to think about what’s going on.

Guess next move

  • Pick a random pro game (see above). Maybe filter games by your favorite pro first.
  • Turn on Guess Next Move. (Tap the Tools button in the lower left of the board, choose Guess.)
  • Try to figure out where you would play. SmartGo Kifu will give you feedback: right move, right move but wrong timing, right area, or not even close.

Study problems

  • Pick a set of Go problems at your level.
  • Start working through them.

Study joseki

  • Pick one of your recent games in My Games. Replay to a corner position you’re wondering about.
  • Turn on joseki analysis for that corner. (Tap the Tools button in the lower left of the board, choose Joseki.)
  • Check out what moves professionals have played in that position.
  • Explore how games with that joseki typically develop from there. (Tap on the joseki stats at the bottom to see the list of games matching that joseki.)

Study fuseki

  • Tap on the New Game button above the My Games list, choose New Empty Board.
  • Turn on fuseki analysis. (Tap the Tools button in the lower left of the board, choose Fuseki.)
  • Explore your favorite opening.

Read biographies of pro players

  • Tap on the Players icon above the list of pro games.
  • Tap on a player name.
  • Read John Fairbairn’s mini-biography for that player. (You can also see these biographies by clicking on a player name above the board.)

And Go Books adds many more opportunities to study on the go, both problems and games.

Happy New Year!

Endgame Books

The endgame may not seem like the most exciting phase of the game, but in close games your endgame skill will often determine the outcome. A few points here and two points there and a sente or two and you’re back in the game.

This version of SmartGo Books adds three more endgame books, for a total of five. The question is not whether you need to improve your endgame — there’s always room for improvement. But which books are right for you?

(A) 200 Endgame Problems by Shirae Haruhiko (Slate & Shell): An easy read that will train your eye to see potential endgame gains. The problems often build on each other to provide a great learning experience; pretty much everybody 15 kyu and stronger would benefit from this book. Whether you’re brushing up on your endgame tactics or want to get a feel for endgame tesuji without dry theory, this will help.

(B) The Endgame by Tomoko Ogawa and James Davies (Kiseido): A full treatment of the endgame, from counting, sente, gote, endgame tesuji, to the macro-endgame. 106 problems. The best overall introduction to the endgame.

(C) Lee Chango-ho’s Endgame Techniques, Volume 1 by Lee Chang-ho (Yutopian): Starts with elementary counting of endgame moves, then takes a systematic look at many common real-game patterns, including large endgame moves. Really helpful in assessing lots of common situations, as shown in this pattern index.

(D) Lee Chango-ho’s Endgame Techniques, Volume 2: The second volume looks at endgame tesuji, with 50 elementary problems, 45 intermediate problems, 36 multiple choice problems, and 36 advanced problems. A great collection of endgame problems by the master of endgame, with dan-level advanced problems.

(E) Get Strong at the Endgame by Richard Bozulich (Kiseido): Mostly a problem book, with endgame tesuji as well many great full-board problems on small boards. 291 problems.

(Books (B) and (E) are available in print; book (A) is out of print; books (C) and (D) are exclusive to SmartGo Books.)

And a bonus: working on endgame problems will also help your overall reading skills.