Book Review: Get Strong at the Opening

Get Strong at the Opening Cover

Get Strong at the Opening

Description: In the first volume of the Get Strong at Go Series, Bozulich presents 175 problems on the opening (fuseki) ranging in difficulty from easy to difficult. The problems begin with an analysis of the Chinese, niren-sei, sanren-sei, Shusaku, and tatsuki (diagonal) fusekis as well as other important opening strategies while the remainder of the problems are designed to hammer home to the reader the basic principles of the fuseki.

Book Details

Title, Get Strong at the Opening (Volume 1)
Series, Get Strong at Go Series
Author, Richard Bozulich
Publisher, Kiseido
Published, “First Printing August 1996 | Second Printing February 2005”
Language, English
ISBN, 4-906574-51-3
Length, 168 Pages
Problems, 175 Problems

Table of Content

  • Preface
  • Some Important Terms and Concepts
  • Introduction
  • Fuseki Problems

Before I Read This Book…

My Abilities

  • I’ve read a fair number of books on the opening, so I feel decently comfortable with my opening abilities; but still not very confident in them.

My Perspective

  • I was hoping that this book would help to clarify some of my misconceptions and boost my confidence in my opening abilities.


What did I enjoy about the book?

  • Covers four very popular fuseki: Chinese (high and low), ninren-sei, sanren-sei, and the Shusaku opening.
  • The problems are realistic and really help the reader to work through the process of where the best response really is, especially when you consider the purpose of each fuseki.
  • The problems build on themselves as you progres through the book. This helps to maintain continuity of what is being learned and is really helpful.

What did I gain from reading this book?

  • An increased awareness for how to interpet the board position during the opening.
  • Greater sensitivity to weak groups and how to handle them.
  • Higher comfort level when it comes to the opening.

What style of teaching does the book use?

  • Drill Seargent Style

    *   Once you get your direction, it's do or die as you attempt to pick the right answer!
  • Primary Learning Mechanism:

    *   Practice Problems
  • Other Learning Mechanisms:

    *   Short introduction to the fusekis used in the book.

What aspects can be improved on?

  • Trivial request: It would be cool to see problems on the Orthodox fuseki.
  • I know this is due to book size constraints, but it would have been cool to see explanations for why every other options (in the multiple choice problems) are considered “failures” to the correct answer.

Is this book easy to read?

  • Yes. All the diagrams are only a few moves long and not to mention the explanations are all concise and only a paragraph long tops.

Bottom Line

  1. Covers situations that generally arise from typical openings from popular fuseki (e.g., Chinese, sanren-sei, etc.).
  2. A fantastic introductory/intermediate level book with practice problems on the opening.
  3. A must have for anyone looking to strengthen their understanding of the opening.

My Review

Though this book has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time, I must admit that I am so glad that I finally got around to it. The way that Bozulich forces the reader to consider different board positions at different points of the opening was really eye opening. I would say that I would get the answer right about 40-50% of the time, but oftentimes when I was wrong my eyes were opened up to a whole new concept. So while it was great to be right at times, I found the explanations to be extremely valuable in teaching me something new.

Granted, I look forward to the day where I can go through this book again and get everything correct without any effort at all; but until that day comes, this book will definitely remain a classic when it comes to providing excellent quality problems for the opening along with fantastic explanations.

  • Players with some basic knowledge of the opening who want to gain more familiarity with proper moves in the opening.
  • Players who want to get a better understanding of how to interpret the board position.

Where Can I Buy It?

  • GoGameGuru - $20.99 USD (shipping and handling not included)
  • Kiseido - $21.00 USD (shipping and handling not included)

Other Books in This Series…

  • Get Strong at the Opening
  • Get Strong at Joseki 1
  • Get Strong at Joseki 2
  • Get Strong at Joseki 3
  • Get Strong at Invading
  • Get Strong at Tesuji
  • Get Strong at the Endgame
  • Get Strong at Life and Death
  • Get Strong at Handicap Go
  • Get Strong at Attacking

Last Updated on August 7th, 2013