Book Review: The Workshop Lectures Volume 3

The Workshop Lectures Volume 3 Cover

The Workshop Lectures (Volume 3)

Description: The Workshop Lectures Volume 3 is part a series of lectures given by Yilun Yang (7P) at workshops in Maryland and Pennsylvania. The topics covered include: “Playing the Opening,” “Developments Around the 4-4 Point,” “Punishing Weak Groups Directly,” “Using Forcing Moves,” and “Handling Weak Stones.”

Book Details

Title, The Workshop Lectures (Volume 3)
Series, The Workshop Lectures
Author, Yilun Yang (7P)
Publisher, Slate & Shell
Published, “2007”
Language, English
ISBN, 1-932001-34-4
Length, 76 Pages

Table of Content

  1. Playing the Opening
  2. Developments Around the 4-4 Point
  3. Punishing Weak Groups Directly
  4. Using Forcing Moves
  5. Handling Weak Stones

Before I Read This Book…

My Abilities

  • A mid-high SDK (single digit kyu) who has read his fair share of books and has a decent foundation of most areas in go.

My Perspective

  • Since these are written to be more of a “workshop” format, I was looking forward to a new style of writing along with a refreshing perspective on some common questions that most players might have.


What did I enjoy about the book?

  • As usual, Yang continues to breakdown topics into simple explanations that I could easily understand.
  • The topics are extremely relevant to the average player since a majority of go literature assumes that the reader is already familiar and well versed in these basic concepts.
  • Yang usually has a checklist of questions for each section to remind the reader of the important things to remember.

What did I gain from reading this book?

  • A much better understanding of how to evaluate whether a group is weak or not.
  • Better grasp on what forcing moves are. Though applying it is still rather hazy for me.

What style of teaching does the book use?

  • Workshop Format

    *   Topics of broken down into its simplest format and represents more of an outline than a thorough textbook.
  • Primary Learning Mechanism:

    *   Explanations with accompanying diagrams
  • Other Learning Mechanisms:

    *   Practice problems

What aspect can be improved on?

  • Though the examples can be helpful, I found that they slightly overwhelming after some time since I am still having issues actually understanding the concept solidly. A good example of this is whether or not a forcing move is good or bad. I have a general idea, but that’s all. So before I get into the weeds of how to use it, it would have been better to have more basic practice questions.

Is this book easy to read?

  • Yes. The explanations are concise and the accompanying diagrams are often no more than a few moves long.

Bottom Line

  1. Breaks down topics into really easy to understand explanations.
  2. Has a lot of valuable content for such a short book!
  3. Worth every penny you spend on it!

My Review

In this volume, I found that the sections on the opening were a little harder to grasp. This is probably due to the fact that the nature of the opening is rather vast and thus trying to condense it down into a few pages is rather difficult. The forcing move section was also a little bit tough for me to really grab hold of as well. I imagine this is due to the fact that the whole concept of “timing” in go is not so easily summed up in a few pages. On the other hand though, I was very impressed by the sections regarding weak groups. And in my opinion, those two sections make the entire book worth purchasing.

  • Players who are 10 kyu or stronger.
  • Players who want guidelines on how to handle the topics covered in the book.

Where Can I Buy It?

  • Slate and Shell - $18.00 USD (shipping and handling not included)
  • SmartGo Books - $5.99 USD (e-Book for iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch Only)

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Last Updated on August 22nd, 2013