Book Review: Essential Life & Death 2

Description: Essential Life & Death 2 is part of the Essential Life & Death Series that is used as workbooks in private go schools in Korea. Though it might be seen as an addendum to the Level Up Series, it certainly can be used as a standalone product for anyone looking to study life and death.

Book Details

Title, Essential Life & Death 2
Author, Lee Jae-Hwan
Translators, Lee Seong-Geun & Daniela Trinks
Publisher, Baduktopia
Published, “July 8th, 2009”
Language, English
ISBN, 978-89-90965-94-3
Length, 168 Pages

Table of Content

  1. Tiger’s Mouth Vital Point
  2. Vital Point of Eye Shapes
  3. Using Seonsu (Sente)
  4. Making a Sacrifice
  5. Miai (Paired Moves) Tesuji
  6. Playing Dansu (Atari) Fails
  7. Beware of a Pae (Ko) 1
  8. 1st Review
  9. Using Jachung
  10. Extending the Eye Space
  11. Under the Stones 1
  12. First Line Tiger’s Mouth 1
  13. 1-2 Vital Point 1
  14. Try to Find the Vital Point 1
  15. Large Diagonal Vital Point 1
  16. 2nd Review
  17. Where to Reduce the Eye Space
  18. Large Knight’s Vital Point
  19. Vital Point to Make a False Eye
  20. False Eye After Placement 1
  21. Using a Sacrifice to Make a False Eye
  22. How to Make a False Eye
  23. False Eye After Placement 2
  24. 3rd Review
  25. Finding the Vital Point 1
  26. Finding the Vital Point 2
  27. Finding the Vital Point 3
  28. Finding the Vital Point 4
  29. Finding the Vital Point 5
  30. Finding the Vital Point 6
  31. Center of Symmetry
  32. Finding the Vital Point 7
  33. Large Diagonal Vital Point 1
  34. 4th Review
  35. Using the Suicide-Rule
  36. Using a Sacrifice
  37. Under the Stones 2
  38. Using Pae (Ko)
  39. Using Miai (Paired Moves)
  40. Wedging-in Tesuji
  41. Using One Eye versus No Eye
  42. Using a Throw-in
  43. 5th Review
  44. Playing Inside at the Vital Point 1
  45. Playing Inside at the Vital Point 2
  46. Playing Inside at the Vital Point 3
  47. Jachung using Vital Point
  48. False Eye after Placement 3
  49. First Line Tesuji
  50. Where to Make a Tiger’s Mouth
  51. Monkey Jump
  52. 6th Review
  53. Life & Death with no Outside Liberties
  54. Life & Death with an Outside Liberty
  55. According to the Throw-in 1
  56. According to the Throw-in 2
  57. Beware of Bent 4 in the Corner
  58. Bent 4 in the Corner
  59. Placement (Playing Inside)
  60. Spinning Around
  61. 7th Review
  62. Using Connection
  63. Using Double-Pae (Ko)
  64. Using Jachung
  65. Using a Weak Point
  66. 1-2 Vital Point 2
  67. Center of Symmetry
  68. Diagonal Move Tesuji 1
  69. Diagonal Move Tesuji 2
  70. 8th Review
  71. Loose Connection
  72. Where to Hane
  73. False Eye After Placement 4
  74. Try to Find the Vital Point 2
  75. Beware of a Pae (Ko) 2
  76. Making a Seki in Sente
  77. First Line Tiger’s Mouth 2
  78. False Eye After Reduction
  79. 9th Review
  80. Big Eye Shapes Can Die!
  81. Using a Weak Point 2
  82. Excellent Sequence
  83. First Line Tiger’s Mouth 3
  84. One Eye by Two Hane
  85. Tesuji to Make a Pae (Ko)
  86. 10th Review
  87. Final Test


  1. You can expect the same quality of problems from the first volume.
  2. A great way for players to drill their life and death skills.
  3. Though I had a relatively easy time with the first volume, the problems in this book started to pose some difficulty for me.

Before I Read This Book…

My Abilities

  • I’ve studied my fair share of life and death and can confidently say that I have a SDK (single digit kyu) level of life and death.

My Perspective

  • After finishing the first volume, I was expecting this book to be rather easy to do as well.

My Review

What did I enjoy about the book?

  • They have no reservation in terms of making you drill the same concept repeatedly.
  • There are so many concepts and shapes in this book that makes it very valuable.
  • The review sections (e.g., quizzes) and tests do a great job helping you determine if you actually learned the lessons prior.

What did I gain from reading this book?

  • A broader perspective on the different variations that can arise from life and death postiions.
  • A better grasp on techniques used to either kill or save a group.
  • The problems in this book actually posed some difficulty for me at times. Being that this is the second book, it didn’t take long for me to realize how weak my life and death skills really are.

What style of teaching does the book use?

  • Curriculum Style

    *   Content is organized into lessons, topics, or themes in order to facilitate learning.
  • Teaching Mechanism:

    *   Practice problems

What aspect can be improved on?

  • If I had to request one thing, it’s that I was hoping that the difficulty of the problems would be more gradual. The difficulty of the problems increased faster than I was expecting. Though this should be taken with a grain of salt since I have a feeling this is just an indicator of how weak my reading abilities are instead of it being the book’s problem.

Is this book easy to read?

  • Yes. Unless you can’t read English, it really doesn’t get any simpler.

In Comparison to Similar Books…

Compared to 1001 Life and Death Problems, this series does a better job hand-holing players new to life and death through the basic shapes and variations. On the other hand, I would say that in terms of polishing a player’s life and death skills, 1001 Life and Death Problems is still highly recommended. So to clarify, neither one trumps the other. Both can provide great value to a player’s life and death abilities.

While Life and Death does a great job providing a broad survey of different shapes through explanations and accompanying practice problems, this series uses the “learn it through experience” methodology. Though they may overlap on a good deal of material, I believe that they complement one another and would both be of great use to serious players wanting to improve their life and death.

  • Players looking to improve their life and death skills.
  • People who prefer to learn through experience rather than explanations.

Where Can I Buy It?

  • Yellow Mountain Imports - $13.00 USD (shipping & handling not included)
  • Baduktopia - Contact them at to request pricing and shipping costs.

Other Books in This Series…

Last Updated on July 13th, 2013