Book Review: Opening Theory Made Easy

Overall Rating: 5 / 5 Ponnuki

Basic Information

  • Title: Opening Theory Made Easy
  • Author: Hitake Odeo, 9 dan
  • Publication Date: October 1992
  • Page Length: 170 pages


  • The best introductory book to opening theory.
  • Concise, easy to read, and easy to carry.
  • Appropriate for 15 kyu and stronger.
  • Recommended for any player with an interest in understanding the opening.

Detailed Review

Readability - 9 / 10

There are twenty chapters in this book, hence the twenty principles. Hideo does a fantastic job of reviewing basic principles of opening theory while keeping his responses short and concise. This makes it extremely easy to gain lots of exposure to various important concepts so that you can try implementing it in your games instead of being caught up in dense theory that will take ages before you see it appear in your game.

Content Quality - 9 / 10

This is a book that delivers on exactly what the title says. Opening theory made easy. As if that wasn’t enough to get you excited, they have twenty one-line principles to simplify it even further. Every concept is explained within 5-10 pages including diagrams! This might seem short to some, but the key is gaining a solid grasp of the principles so that they appear in your play. The details regarding opening theory will be dealt with when you get to it.


Opening Theory Made Easy is what In the Beginning should have been. When a new player buys a book that says “in the beginning” and is the first volume in an “elementary” go series, you’d think that it would be simple to follow. For those who haven’t invested in this series, steer clear for now. If you’ve already purchased it, don’t worry about it. That book will be a nice book to study after you understand this one.

This will definitely be a classic that I will re-read over and over again. Bravo Otake Hideo. This one will definitely go in the hall of fame in my library of Go books.

In summary though, if you are even remotely interested in the opening theory of the game, this is THE book to buy. It’s portability and ease of reading will have you blowing through it in no time and learning a lot of crucial principles that will be critical to your growth in the game. Don’t delay! Buy it now!!!

Table of Contents

  1. Chapter One - Fuseki Fundamentals

    1. Corner enclosures aim at side extensions
    2. Be flexible in deploying from the star-point
    3. Find the right pincer
    4. Have a counterplan to deal with invasions
    5. The 5-4 stone aims at outside influence
    6. The 4th line is the line of development, the 3rd line is the line of completion
    7. Build box-like moyos
  2. Chapter Two - Good Shape

    1. Family feuds waste resources
    2. Don’t permit a hane at the head of your stones
    3. You can never catch up if you push from behind
    4. The empty triangle is bad shape
    5. The ponnuki is worth 30 points
    6. Don’t atari automatically | Beginners Play Atari
  3. Chapter Three - Strategy

    1. Attack the opponent by stealing his base
    2. Don’t attach against weak stones
    3. Try to kill two birds with one stone
    4. Use thickness to attack
    5. Keep away from solid positions
    6. Reduce a large moyo lightly
    7. Don’t cling to stones that have served their purpose
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Last updated October 6th, 2010 - 15 kyu