Book Review: The Basics of Go Strategy

Overall Rating: 5 / 5 Ponnuki

Basic Information

  • Title: Mastering the Basics, Volume 5 - The Basics of Go Strategy
  • Author: Richard Bozulich
  • Publisher: Kiseido
  • Publication Date: January 2007
  • Page Length: 216 pages
  • Number of Problems: 101


  • Fantastic overview to concepts that many beginners should be exposed to early on in their study of go.
  • This is a hybrid book that consists of theory along with actual problems.
  • Content is appropriate for 18 kyu and stronger.
  • Problems are appropriate for 9k and above.
  • Highly recommended for serious players.

Detailed Review

Readability - 9 / 10

The first half of the book focuses on explaining the various concepts: forcing moves, aji, heavy vs. light stones, etc. As someone who has read his fair share of go books and have had stronger players help to explain these concepts before, Bozulich has done a fantastic job on explaining the concepts and doing his best to illustrate them through examples or other games. Granted, sometimes the explanations may feel like they are going over your head; but that is most likely due to the fact that these concepts are rather deep and cannot be grasped as simply as say the snapback tesuji.

For the solution to the problems in the second half of the book, the explanations were quite concise and generally easy to understand in regards to what principle they are aiming for you to grasp when solving them. There were a few occasions where I felt a little bewildered by the explanations, but they were quite easy to read and understand for the most part.

Content Quality - 10 / 10

Whether it’s due to the fact that I’ve yet to see another book come close to explaining these concepts as well as this book does or something else, I really do believe that the book deserves perfect marks for providing go players with a great reference for these ideas and theories. Each chapter does a fantastic job explaining the basic idea behind each concepts, potential responses that you might expect from the opponent and possible continuations to each scenario. Although there were times I definitely wanted a bit more explanation as to why a certain cut did not work, the quantity of solid content and explanations supercedes any of these minor questions.

Final Thoughts

In my entire search for books that are capable of explaining some of the most critical concepts in go (such as heavy stones, junk stones, etc.), it saddens me that it’s taken so long to finally discover this book. For those who are interested in any of the topics found in the table of contents, this is a great book that will help to shed some light and more each time you read it. Very highly recommended!

Table of Content

  1. Author’s Note
  2. Preface
  3. Some Important Terms and Concepts
  4. Chapter One: Aji
  5. Chapter Two: Forcing Moves
  6. Chapter Three: Probing Moves
  7. Chapter Four: Attacking Heavy Stones
  8. Chapter Five: Light Stones and Sabaki
  9. Chapter Six: Junk Stones
  10. Chapter Seven: Key Stones
  11. Chapter Eight: Thickness
  12. 101 Problems
  13. Answers to the Problems
  1. Kiseido - $21.00 (S&H not included)

Last updated May 26th, 2013 - 5 kyu