Book Review: The Endgame

The Endgame Cover

Description: In this installment of the Elementary Go Series, Ogawa and Davies attempts to lay out the basic tactics, strategies, and techniques required to fully master the endgame. While an excellent reference for players with an understanding of endgame, this may prove to be slightly advanced for someone brand new to endgame.

Book Details

Title, The Endgame (Volume 6)
Series, Elementary Go Series
Author, Tomoko Ogawa & James Davies
Publisher, Kiseido
Published, “September 1976”
Language, English
ISBN, 978-4-906574-15-5
Length, 214 Pages

Table of Content

  • Chapter 1: Introducing the Endgame
  • Chapter 2: Counting
  • Chapter 3: Endgame Tesuji
  • Chapter 4: The Macro-Endgame
  • Chapter 5: Games


  1. A comprehensive book that covers quite a great deal of content regarding the endgame.
  2. Masterfully utilizes multiple choice questions to help train the reader on gaining a better understanding of why one answer is better than another.
  3. It is more advanced than I was anticipating. Not necessarily the most beginner friendly when it comes to endgame.

Before I Read This Book…

My Abilities

  • I have never formally studied endgame. However, I have some preliminary knowledge of some basic concepts like reverse-sente and doubling the value of a move because it is sente. I also have some exposure to determining value for endgame moves, but I’m terrible at it.

My Perspective

  • I was really hoping to clear up any confusion I had about determining the value of endgame moves. In other words, I am hoping that by the end of this book, any failure to play the biggest endgame moves will only be due to laziness and not inability to calculate it.

My Review

What did I enjoy about the book?

  • I really enjoyed the endgame tesuji section. Lots of great explanations along with practice problems.
  • I was also really surprised by how thorough and useful the macro-endgame chapter was. The use of multiple choice questions was definitely ideal for learning.
  • They use a sequence of problems with scores for the respective answers to “grade” your endgame abilities. I thought this was pretty cool.

What did I gain from reading this book?

  • A greater appreciation for the importance of endgame.
  • More perspective on not responding automatically for endgame moves and trying to find sequences that are either sente for myself or at least only give a gote sequence for my opponent.
  • Improved understanding of whole board decisions when it comes to endgame.

What style of teaching does the book use?

  • Textbook Approach

    *   Explanations can be very dense at times and it uses problems or examples to try and illustrate its message.
  • Primary Learning Mechanism:

    *   Explanations.
  • Other Learning Mechanisms:

    *   Practice problems.
    *   Multiple choice problems.
    *   Examples from professional games.

What aspects can be improved on?

  • The first chapter is pretty frightening for anyone who is new to endgame and cannot process a million things going on at once.
  • The material and level of explanation was much more accommodating to players new to endgame as the book progressed, which is contrary to what most people would expect (aka easy to understand into dense material).
  • The section on teaching how to count could be enhanced to accommodate introduction problems and more opportunity to practice how to count the value of endgame sequences.

Is this book easy to read?

  • For the most part, yes. The first chapter was incredibly difficult for me to work through there was a lot of high level discussion that just went over my head. When the book go into the endgame tesujis and multiple choice problems, it became a lot easier to read and understand.
  • Players who have a basic understanding of endgame.
  • Players looking for an opportunity to test their knowledge of endgame using the graded problems in this book.

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 22nd, 2013