Book Review: Level Up 1

Level Up! - Volume 1 Cover

Level Up 1

Description: Level Up 1 is part of the Level Up! Series that serves as a workbook in private go schools in Korea. Though designed for children, the content and practice provided is invaluable for adults and children alike.

Book Details

Title, Level Up 1
Series, Level Up! Series
Author, Lee Jae-Hwan
Translators, Lee Seong-Geun & Daniela Trinks
Supervisor, Yoo Chang-Hyuk (9P)
Publisher, Baduktopia
Published, “October 13th, 2011”
Language, English
ISBN, 978-89-90965-81-3

Table of Content

  1. “Level Up” Book Introduction
  2. Baduk Rules
  3. Capturing & Saving 1
  4. Capturing & Saving 2
  5. Capturing & Saving 3
  6. Both sides in Atari (Dansu)
  7. Liberty
  8. Playing Baduk during a Surgery
  9. Baduk Board Terms
  10. Connection
  11. Cut
  12. Opening Sample 1
  13. Atari (Dansu) towards the Line of Death
  14. Atari (Dansu) While Cutting
  15. Atari (Dansu) Towards Your Own Stones
  16. Baduk Around the World
  17. Opening Sample 2
  18. Double Atari (Double Dansu)
  19. Suicide
  20. Reducing LIberties
  21. Beware of Jachung (Taking Your Own Liberty)
  22. Reducing Outside Liberties First
  23. Reduce and Cut
  24. Opponent’s Thoughts
  25. Opening Sample 3
  26. Ladder
  27. How to Answer
  28. Level Tests


  1. The best introductory book that I have encountered thus far.
  2. Imagine one of those practice workbooks you used to have in school, except about go.
  3. Does a fantastic job giving the reader lots of opportunity to reinforce the concepts they learn.

Before I Read This Book…

My Abilities

  • A 5 kyu who has read his fair share of go books and has a pretty strong foundation in the basics and teaching go.

My Perspective

  • I was looking for a series that could fill the missing niche of breaking down concepts in an easy to understand manner while giving lots of opportunity to practice what they just learned.

My Review

What did I enjoy about the book?

  • The diagrams and explanations are very simple and very easy to follow, which is ideal for new players.
  • There are lots of opportunity to reinforce the concept being taught regardless of how “easy” it is.
  • It is very evident that a lot of effort went into structuring the content like a curriculum so that it builds upon previous concepts as the reader progresses.
  • They do a great job with acclimating the reader to more complicated diagrams. For example, the first capture scenarios literally only involve one group. Next round, they add some miscellaneous stones to the diagram while still marking the important stones to start acclimating the reader to seeing more complicated diagrams. Love it.
  • Though the book is designed for kids, both kids and adults alike will be able to learn everything they need to know about playing go in a fun and entertaining way.

What did I gain from reading this book?

  • Even though I already know all of these concepts, forcing myself to go through the book from start to finish was a great way for me to ensure that my reading abilities were 100% with even the most basic problems.
  • The school and workbook-like approach to teaching go has definitely helped me improve the way that I will be teaching go in the future.

What style of teaching does the book use?

  • Workbook Approach

    *   They introduce concepts within one to two lines with diagrams to support them.
    *   Once they introduce a concept, they provide multiple opportunities for practice.
  • Primary Teaching Mechanism:

    *   Solving simple and easy problems.
  • Other Teaching Mechanisms:

    *   Explanations with really easy multiple choice questions.
    *   Kifus (i.e., game records) that are only around 10 moves long with short one line statements of the move's purpose.

What aspect(s) can be improved on?

  • Sometimes the directions are misleading. For example, the direction is to atari the marked stones, but the problem’s solution is actually to capture. Two different objectives.
  • While most of the book is structured very well, sometimes the problems get ahead of themselves. For example, the directions are to atari the stones, but you need to actually be able to read out the ladder to know which way to atari.
  • For the next edition, I would recommend that jachung (i.e., reducing your own liberties) be introduced earlier since some problems prior to the explanation actually utilize it.

Is this book easy to read?

  • It was very easy to progress through the book.
  • The English is not always the most grammatically correct, but the message is still pretty clear.
  • New players who want to learn about go.
  • Beginners looking to practice the basics.

Where Can I Buy It?

  • Yellow Mountain Imports - $13.00 USD (Shipping Not Included)

Other Books in This Series…

Last Updated on July 3rd, 2013