Book Review: 1001 Life and Death Problems

Overall Rating: 5 / 5 Ponnuki

Basic Information

  • Title: Mastering the Basics, Volume 2 - One Thousand and One Life-and-Death Problems
  • Authors: Compiled and edited by Richard Bozulich
  • Publisher: Kiseido
  • Publication Date: February 2002
  • Page Length: 244 pages
  • Number of Problems: 1001 problems (what else did you expect? =D)


  • New and refreshing approach to teaching life and death.
  • Appropriate for 12 kyu and stronger.
  • Recommended for casual players.

Detailed Review

Readability - 8 / 10

The directions for the problems don’t get any simpler. You have one of two directions: Black to kill or Black to live. This can be slightly confusing for those who wish for more specific directions whether life means seki or not; but this is more accurate to what players must do in their actual games. In addition, the explanation are on the shorter side in order to accommodate the large number of problems. Due to the lack of variations, the readability of the book is rather difficult since there will be times where you are unsure of why your answer is wrong. However, since players purchasing this book are aiming to master the basics and progress into intermediate and hard life and death problems, the format of the book is a great stepping stone for doing so.

Content Quality - 10 / 10

The content quality is primarily boosted by the way that the problems are categorized. You start with one move problems (to kill or live), and then work your way up to three move problems and then five move problems. As a result, each section is carefully designed to meet those requirements and allow players to get a much better grasp of life and death concepts before jumping to something more advanced. Very high marks for this categorization method.

Final Thoughts

This book is not for the faint-hearted. 1,001 problems is a lot more difficult than it seems and it can get tiring at times. However, I cannot stress enough how great this book is at giving players a really good structure for practicing and reinforcing basic life and death skills. It may not cover every life and death problem category that exists out there, but it focuses on the important ones that you will generally see at the beginner and intermediate level. In addition, it gives players great practice in increasing the number of moves they are able to see in their head. So if you’re looking to focus on life and death problems that provide a challenge that won’t bore you to death, this is the book for you.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. Some Important Terms and Concepts
  3. Part One - One-move problems - Black to live
  4. Part Two - One-move problems - Black to kill
  5. Part Three - Three-move problems - Black to live
  6. Part Four - Three-move problems - Black to kill
  7. Part Five- Five-move problems - Black to live
  8. Part Six- Five-move problems - Black to kill
  1. Kiseido - $21.00 (S&H not included)

Last updated May 14th, 2013 - 5 kyu