Book Review: Whole Board Thinking in Joseki, Vol 1

Description: In the first volume of Whole Board Thinking in Joseki series, Yilun Yang uses an innovative approach to teaching how one can apply global strategy to help make the right choice in local situations for the 3-4, low kakari.

Book Details

Title, “Whole Board Thinking in Joseki, Volume One: 3-4 Point, Low Kakari”
Authors, Yi-Lun Yang with Phil Straus
Publisher, Fourth Line Press
Published, 1996
Language, English
ISBN, 0-9653546-0-1
Length, 197 Pages
Problems, 112 Problems

Table of Content

  1. Preface
  2. One-Space Low Pincer
  3. Two-Space Low Pincer
  4. Three-Space Low Pincer
  5. One-Space High Pincer
  6. Two-Space High Pincer
  7. Three-Space High Pincer
  8. Glossary of Terms
  9. About the Authors


  1. Though it may seem like a book about joseki, I feel it’s more of a book about understanding whole board thinking.

  2. Offers a great opportunity to practice whole board thinking while getting a better understanding of why one move is better or worse in different positions.

  3. Very easy to read and work through.

Before I Read This Book…

My Abilities

  • Although I’ve had some exposure to joseki, I have avoided studying them like the plague. I really, really don’t like studying joseki.

My Perspective

  • Though I was skeptical of the book due to seeing the work joseki, I had heard a lot of good things about this book. In addition, since I was interested in trying to learn more about whole board thinking, I thought this book might be interesting to check out.

My Review

What did I enjoy about the book?

  • The problems use a multiple choice format to help players like me who don’t know any joseki.
  • There are clear and easy to understand explanations for every answer choice that allows the reader to compare and contrast why the correct answer is better than the others.
  • The problems and solution diagrams are put on completely different pages to prevent the player from accidentally seeing the solution.
  • The layout of the book was very easy to read. Each section is clearly defined and the book is not cluttered at all.
  • Though the book seems to be centered on joseki, this seems more like a book on whole board thinking than anything else.

What did I gain from reading this book?

  • Improved understanding of how certain moves work with the board as a whole.
  • Reduction in kyu tunnel vision since I have more practice considering the whole board position.
  • Slightly better understanding of joseki patterns for the 3-4 point, low kakari.

What style of teaching does the book use?

  • Off the Cliff Style

    *   There is no gradual progression into the material.
    *   You learn through trial and error as you progress through the book.
  • Primary Learning Mechanism:

    *   Multiple choice practice problems.
  • Other Learning Mechanisms:

    *   Clear and concise explanations with an accompanying diagram to illustrate his point.

What aspect can be improved on?

  • I wish there were more problems! =D But in all seriousness, this book is amazing as it stands. Top notch!

Is this book easy to read?

  • Absolutely. The explanations are no longer than a paragraph long and are very clear and concise.

In Comparison to Similar Books…

38 Basic Joseki, like most joseki books, actually focuses on teaching the reader about the various sequences from joseki. There is some mention of how they affect the board as a whole, but there is a lack of illustration as to how it is truly impacted. Whole Board Thinking in Joseki, on the other hand, does a perfect job filling this gap.

  • Players looking to practice their whole board thinking.
  • Players looking to understand why some moves are better or worse than others when in certain board positions.

Where Can I Buy It?

  • Slate and Shell - $26.00 USD (shipping and handling not included)

Other Books in This Series…

  • Whole Board Thinking in Joseki - Volume Two

Last Updated on July 20th, 2013