Book Review: The Direction of Play

Book Details

Title, The Direction of Play
Author, Takeo Kajiwara
Translators, John Fairbairn and The Ishi Press Staff
Publisher, Kiseido
Published, “1st Edition - March 1979”
Language, English
ISBN, 978-4-896574-26-2
Length, 250 Pages

Table of Content

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: The Direction of Play in the Opening: The Corner Stones
  • Chapter 2: The Early Stages Are Decisive
  • Chapter 3: Move Two Lost This Game
  • Chapter 4: The Professional Approach
  • Chapter 5: The Direction of Play and Joseki
  • Chapter 6: Once Upon a Game
  • Chapter 7: Test Yourself
  • Chapter 8: The Direction of Play for Fighting


  1. An excellent, although a bit advanced, book on direction of play.
  2. Fills a much needed gap in understanding the opening and fuseki as a whole.
  3. Requires a basic understanding of whole board thinking to really appreciate and understand the explanations.

Before I Read This Book…

My Abilities

  • I had little to no understanding of direction of play. I had heard the term used a lot in my reviews, but my understanding of it was practically nonexistent and any proper application of direction of play was usually just due to sheer luck. Although in my defense, I did have a moderate understanding of whole board thinking which would provide a good stepping stone to understanding this book.

My Perspective

  • Since I was going pretty much blind into the subject, I was really hoping to gain a good grasp on direction of play and be able to apply it when I was finished with the book.

My Review

What did I enjoy about the book?

  • Direction of play is broken down into very simple components that make it easier for the reader to follow.
  • Kajiwara’s writing style makes for an entertaining read and helps make the lesson more memorable.
  • Although it is rather advanced and kind of went over my head, the book even goes into an explanation on how direction of play impacts fighting in a game.

What did I gain from reading this book?

  • A much better understanding of direction of play.
  • Though far from perfect, my ability to apply direction of play in my games has greatly improved.
  • A much greater appreciation for how important the opening and fuseki is in a game.

What style of teaching does the book use?

  • Lecture Approach

    *   While there are numerous diagrams to try and illustrate the Kajiwara's point, the gold mine of information in this book lies in his explanations and opinions about direction of play.
  • Primary Learning Mechanism:

    *   Explanations with diagrams.
  • Other Learning Mechanisms:

    *   Examples from actual games
    *   Practice problems

What aspect(s) can be improved on?

  • While I loved the explanations and accompanying diagrams, it would have been great to have more practice problems.
  • Introductory problems that utilize the multiple choice format would also be nice for people new to direction of play.

Is this book easy to read?

  • Yes. Although not as entertaining as Kageyama’s writing style, Kajiwara’s writing style was still fun to read and really helped to make me feel comfortable with a topic that was once completely foreign to me.
  • Players looking to learn more about direction of play, even if only to simply be exposed to its concepts.
  • A basic understanding of the opening and whole board thinking is recommended to really appreciate the book as a whole, but this should not be a deterrent since this is a book that players will read multiple times in their journey as a go player.

Where Can I Buy It?

  • GoGameGuru - $17.99 (shipping & handling not included)
  • Kiseido - $18.00 (shipping & handling not included)

Last Updated on July 7th, 2013