Book Review: Attack and Defense

Description: Ishida and Davies lay down some basic principles, ideas, and tactics for attack and defense. There are a lot of examples from professional play, along with opportunities for you to practice what you learn.

Book Details

Title, Attack and Defense (Volume 5)
Series, Elementary Go Series
Authors, Akira Ishida and James Davies
Publisher, Kiseido
Published, 1st Edition December 1973 | 8th Edition November 2009
Language, English
ISBN, 978-4-906574-14-8
Length, 254 Pages

Table of Content

  • Chapter One - Territory and Power
  • Chapter Two - Attacking Strategy
  • Chapter Three - Attacking Moves
  • Chapter Four - Defense
  • Chapter Five - Forcing Moves
  • Chapter Six - Inducing Moves
  • Chapter Seven - Reducing and Invading Large Frameworks
  • Chapter Eight - Invasions into Three-Space Extensions
  • Chapter Nine - Ko Fights
  • Chapter Ten - Problems
  • Guide to Further Study


  1. A fantastic introductory book on attack and defense.
  2. In addition to providing great exposure to attack and defense, it goes into tactics and examples that provide really thorough material for the reader.
  3. Contains 20 formal problems at the end that do a great job testing the basic concepts of attack and defense that the reader just finished reading.

Before I Read This Book…

My Abilities

  • My style of play is a fighting style. The problem that often occurs is that I often find myself overextended or playing moves that seem like they are “attacking” but put no pressure on the opponent.

My Perspective

  • I was really hoping to get a better understanding of attack and defense so that I could really sharpen my blade and increase the potency of my attacks. In addition, I was hoping to get a better understanding of how to defend properly since I hardly hesitate to invade.

My Review

What did I enjoy about the book?

  • There is an anecdote about a player who felt that “territory meant nothing unless it contained a dead group” that was incredibly eye-opening and changed the way I saw attacking groups.
  • Does a great job explaining topics (that previously seemed hard to grasp) such as power, forcing moves, inducing moves, etc.
  • The problems at the end of the book were a great way for me to see if I understood what I had been learning.

What did I gain from reading this book?

  • A much better understanding of attacking, defense, and the importance and role that power plays in a game.
  • An improvement in my ability to attack groups properly.
  • A better understanding of how to find multi-purpose moves that serve both attack and defense purposes.

What style of teaching does the book use?

  • Lecture Approach

    *   The writing is far more substantial in this book than what readers might have become accustomed to in Tesuji and Life and Death.
  • Primary Learning Mechanism:

    *   Explanations with diagrams
  • Other Learning Mechanisms:

    *   Practice problems
    *   Examples from actual games

What aspect(s) can be improved on?

  • In all honesty, I have a hard time finding anything to criticize about this book; but if I had to request one thing, it would have to be more problems at the end of the book to continue reinforcing what I learned.

Is this book easy to read?

  • Yes. The writing style in this book makes you feel as if you are having a conversation with Davies and Ishida, which ultimately makes for an enjoyable read.
  • Players looking for a reference on numerous shapes that are frequently encountered in games.
  • Players who have read other life and death books and are looking to expand their knowledge and test their skills.

Where Can I Buy It?

  • GoGameGuru - $17.99 USD (shipping & handling not included)
  • Kiseido - $18.00 USD (shipping & handling not included)
  • SmartGo Books - $9.99 USD (e-Book for iPad & iPhone Only)

Other Books in This Series…

Last Updated on July 12th, 2013