Description: In the first volume of the Elementary Go Series, Ishigure covers some basic principles and methods in the opening of the game. While a great overview of the beginning as a whole, this book is more suited for intermediate to advanced players as opposed to beginners.
Title, In the Beginning (Volume 1)
Series, Elementary Go Series
Author, Ikuro Ishigure
Published, 1st Printing April 1985 | Eighth Printing February 2006
Length, 152 Pages
- Chapter 1
- The First Moves of the Game
- The 3–4 Point
- The 3–3 Point
- The 4–4 Point
- The 3–5 Point
- The 4–5 Point
- Example Opening
- Extending Along the Side
- Pincer Attacks
- Extending into the Center
- Pushing and Crawling
- Chapter 2 - Nine Concepts
- Make Your Stones Work Together
- Play Away from Strength
- Thickness and Walls
- Open at the Bottom
- The Third Line and the Fourth
- Reverse Strategy
- Light and Heavy
- Attack and Defense
- Chapter 3 - Ten Problems
What did I enjoy about the book?
- There is a LOT of content for such a small book.
- Covers nine concepts that are useful for more advanced players.
- Has ten practice problems that are graded on a scale as opposed to simply right or wrong.
What did I gain from reading this book?
- As a beginner, I had a hard time grasping anything from the book.
- As a more advanced player, I felt that I gained a better understanding of the opening. Though I will say that the boost in my confidence was only moderate.
What style of teaching does the book use?
- Textbook Approach
- Content is organized in a curriculum format and follows a lecture style of writing.
- Primary Learning Mechanism:
- Explanations with example diagrams
- Other Learning Mechanisms:
- Practice problems
What aspect can be improved on?
- I would have liked to see more problems in the book to allow the reader to practice what he/she learned.
Is this book easy to read?
- As a beginner, this was not an easy book to read. The material was rather dense and was difficult to understand. For players that are more advanced however, the book is written rather concisely and one will appreciate how much content is packed into such a small book.
- If you are a beginner, steer clear of this book. This is for more advanced players.
- This book is more of a synopsis of the opening as opposed to a step by step guide to the opening.
- People are interested in learning about the opening should check out Opening Theory Made Easy first.
- I was utterly brand new to the game when I first received this book.
- I was looking forward to reading about the beginning steps that beginners should take.
When I first read this book, I was an 18 kyu eager to learn all he could about go. Unfortunately, this was the first book I encountered and it was so dense I was nearly discouraged from learning anything more about opening theory. The reason this book receives a low score on readability is due to the notion that it is an “elementary” book. With the Western education system, most of us would assume that it should be appropriate for newer players. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Its small size is deceptively welcoming, but the content is incredibly dense and cryptic for newer players. This makes it near impossible to make any of the information applicable to your games. So while you may be planting seeds of wisdom for a time when you will have an epiphany, it may be some time before you can see the fruits of your labor. After all, the last thing I want to see are people putting their precious time and effort into a book that may not be as helpful as they hoped. As a result, if you are a beginner, I highly recommend steering clear of this book and starting with Opening Theory Made Easy if you really want to learn more about the opening.
Now that my rant as a beginner is done, I want to turn the other side of the coin and emphasize the fact that this book has an incredible amount of information for such a small book. There are many nuggets of wisdom in here for those who are able to actually understand the book. In addition, the last chapter consists of problems that are quite useful in gaining a better understanding as to why some opening points are better than others.
Finally, I also want to mention the fact that this book does NOT cover fuseki patterns (e.g., Chinese opening, ninren-sei, sanren-sei, etc.). It is simply focused on establishing basic principles and methods behinds the opening. Nothing more than that.
- Players looking for a thorough (but rather advanced) overview of the opening.
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- Elementary Go Series, Volume 1 - In the Beginning
- Elementary Go Series, Volume 2 - 38 Basic Josekis
- Elementary Go Series, Volume 3 - Tesuji
- Elementary Go Series, Volume 4 - Life and Death
- Elementary Go Series, Volume 5 - Attack and Defense
- Elementary Go Series, Volume 6 - The Endgame
- Elementary Go Series, Volume 7 - Handicap Go
Last Updated on August 1st, 2013