Book Review: Handicap Go

Handicap Go Cover

Handicap Go

Description: In the final installment of the Elementary Go Series, Yoshiaki and Bozulich lay down some basic principles for how one should play handicap go as black. In addition, there is advice on how to handle games as White along with practice problems to reinforce some of the lessons.

Book Details

Title, Handicap Go (Volume 7)
Series, Elementary Go Series
Author, Nagahara Yoshiaki (7P) & Richard Bozulich
Publisher, Kiseido
Published, “1st Edition: October 1982, Revised Edition: May 2013”
Language, English
ISBN, 978-4-906574-16-2
Length, 208 Pages

Table of Content

  • Preface
  • Some Important Terms and Concepts
  • Chapter One: The Strategic Principles of Handicap Go
  • Chapter Two: A Winning Strategy for Black
  • Chapter Three: Playing with White
  • Chapter Four: Example Games
  • Chapter Five: 38 Problems


  1. A fantastic book on handicap go.
  2. Provides great explanations for Black’s strategy along with some advice for White as well.
  3. Has an array of example games and problems for the reader to use as additional learning material.

Before I Read This Book…

My Abilities

  • While I have done some studying on handicap go, my knowledge is primarily a compilation of advice from other people along with my own experience as well. Overall, I would say that I believe I have a basic understanding of how handicap games should be played.

My Perspective

  • Though I’ve read tidbits on handicap go here and there, I am hoping that this book will be the first that tries to break down handicap go into into simplest components in order to provide guidance to players new to handicap go.

My Review

What did I enjoy about the book?

  • The advice for Black is broken down into 20 strategic principles.
  • There is a chapter devoted to advising how one should play with White.
  • There are example games that range from professionals level to amateur dan level.
  • There are practice problems to help reinforce the concepts the reader just learned.

What did I gain from reading this book?

  • A better understanding of how to play as Black in handicap games.
  • Realization that as White it is not actually beneficial to make overplays consistently, but rather to play solid moves with strategic value and to take advantage of Black’s inefficient moves and/or strategic plans.
  • A new perspective on how handicap games actually should go all the way into the endgame for the handicap to be considered fair in relation to the ranks.

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. This is not a negative thing though, since it allows for re-readability in the future.
  • Primary Learning Mechanism:

    *   Explanations.
  • Other Learning Mechanisms:

    *   Practice problems.
    *   Examples from professional and amateur level games.

What aspect can be improved on?

  • In the future, I think it would be nice to see strategic principles organized for White the way it is designed for Black. Not sure how possible this really is, but it’d be neat if it were possible.

Is this book easy to read?

  • Yes. Though some explanations may be advanced at times, Bozulich strikes a great balance between introductory explanations and advanced concepts. It makes for a solid book that will be worth re-reading in the future.
  • Any player looking to learn more about handicap go.

Where Can I Buy It?

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

Other Books in This Series…

Last Updated on July 28th, 2013