Book Review: Scent of Victory

Catching Scent of Victory

Description: In the second volume of The Heart of Go Series, O Rissei 9P discusses twenty of his own games and various strategies that he devised during them. Though it is intended to serve as a guide for developing your intuition in the game, it is a very advanced book that is beyond the scope of what kyu players will be able to comprehend. It should be seen as a collection of game commentary from O Rissei 9P with advanced analysis and content.

Book Details

Title, Catching Scent of Victory
Series, Heart of Go Discovery Series
Author, O Rissei 9P
Translators, Robert J. Terry
Publisher, Hinoki Press
Published, “October 2007”
Language, English
ISBN, 978-0-9788874-3-8
Length, 270 Pages

Table of Content

  • Chapter 1 - Rissei Style Strategy in the Opening

    • Strategy 1 - A Knight’s Move Enclosure Aimed at a Star Point
    • Strategy 2 - A Shoulder Hit Against a Knight’s Move Corner Enclosure
    • Strategy 3 - Simply Attaching and Drawing Back from a 3-4 Point
    • Strategy 4 - A Resourceful Attachment Against the Side
    • Strategy 5 - A Single Two Space High Attack On the Corner to Force (1)
    • Strategy 6 - A Single Two Space High Attack On the Corner to Force (2)
    • Strategy 7 - Playing Elsewhere in Response to a One Space Pincer
    • Strategy 8 - A Favorite Attach and Draw Back from a One Space Pincer
    • Strategy 9 - A One Space Jump After a Opne Space High Corner Attack
    • Strategy 10 - Extending in Response to an Inside Attachment Against a Large Knight’s Move Enclosure
    • Strategy 11 - Priority to Sliding Rather Than Making a Corner Enclosure
    • Strategy 12 - Protecting the Corner During a Fencing-In Joseki
    • Strategy 13 - Racing Ahead for Profit in a Favorite Joseki
    • Strategy 14 - An Inside Attachment After a Two Space High Corner Attack
    • Strategy 15 - Awareness of an Unfavorable Ladder
    • Strategy 16 - Building Outward Influence Versus a Chinese Style Opening
  • Chapter 2 - Starting One’s Sensors to Take Advantage of a Good Opportunity

    • Game 1 - Entering the Tiger’s Lair
    • Game 2 - Dripping Cold Sweat
    • Game 3 - A Single Horseman Fighting Courageously
    • Game 4 - A Lightning Strike
    • Game 5 - Resolutely Sacrificing Stones
    • Game 6 - Missing Chances, Then Grinding Out the Win
    • Game 7 - Favorable Wind, Full Speed Ahead
    • Game 8 - A Game Where Recklessness Succeeds
    • Game 9 - A Good Turn of Fortune
    • Game 10 - Hope and Despair by Turns
  • Chapter 3 - Sharpening One’s Sense of Smell for Victory

    • Game 1 - An Upset Win With One Stroke
    • Game 2 - A Game of Alert Incursion
    • Game 3 - Thoroughly Winning From Start to Finish
    • Game 4 - Indomitable Perseverance
    • Game 5 - A Game to Recapture the Oza Title
    • Game 6 - A Game to Capture the Kisei Best of Seven Title
  • Chapter 4 - O Rissei Go Record

Before I Read This Book…

Based on the title of the book and reading a bit about it, I expected to get some advice from O Rissei on how to “catch the scent of victory.” Didn’t have too high expectations, but was hoping to get a tidbit or two out of it.

My Review

To preface this review, I want to be emphasize the fact that I am a weak SDK kyu player at the time I read this book. Please keep that in mind when reading the following review.

The first chapter discusses sixteen different strategies that O Rissei used in his own games. And although I’m sure that what he is writing about is interesting and useful for professionals or strong dan players, I felt like I was reading gibberish the entire time. Not only was the advice difficult for me to comprehend, but there were numerous times where I was not even sure which move was the highlight of the chapter.

In the next chapter, Rissei then goes on to talk about the games that were featured in the first chapter in a bit more detail. And let me emphasize “a bit,” because it’s more like he glosses over some high level points and then moves on. To be clear though, he focuses on key moves and/or highlights in the game; but once again most of this was gibberish to me.

In the final chapter, Rissei does a more traditional whole game commentary on six of his games. Though it is in more detail and easier to follow, the diagrams were rather long (for someone of my ability) and the analysis remained incomprehensible to me.

Although I am sure that stronger players might find a lot of value in this book, I absolutely DO NOT recommend this book for kyu players in way, shape, or form. This book is incredibly advanced and does not contain an ounce of guidance that any kyu player would be able to easily comprehend. Don’t forget, this is not a book that focuses on topics like shape or fuseki; but is instead a book on a professional player’s thoughts on his own game and style. So there is very little to gain in regards to tactics or strategy for our level.

When I am stronger, I will be sure to revisit this book to update this review; but until then, stay away from this book if you’re a kyu player.


What did I enjoy about the book?

  • Couldn’t enjoy it due to how advanced it was.

What did I gain from reading this book?

  • Reminder of how deep go can really get.

What is the format of the book?

  • The book follows the overall format of diagrams and explanations. There are no real traditional problems for the reader to solve and thus can be seen as more of a book of game commentary.

What aspects can be improved on?

  • Due to my inability to comprehend anything, I have no suggestions at this time.

Is this book easy to read?

  • For kyu players, this book is the most difficult book I’ve read to date.

Bottom Line

  1. Extremely dense and difficult to learn from for kyu players.
  2. If you’re a kyu player, don’t buy it or spend time on it.
  3. Seriously. There are better books to spend your time on.
  • Strong players who enjoy deep professional level commentary.

Where Can I Buy It?

  • GoGameGuru - $22.99 (shipping and handling not included)

Other Books in This Series…

  • Heart of Go Series - Volume 1: Perceiving the Direction of Play
  • Heart of Go Series - Volume 2: Catching Scent of Victory
  • Heart of Go Series - Volume 3: Otake’s Secrets of Strategy
  • Heart of Go Series - Volume 4: Changing One’s Conceptions: Awaji’s Aphorisms
  • Heart of Go Series - Volume 5: The Way of Creating a Thick and Strong Game
  • Heart of Go Series - Volume 6: Zone Press Park
  • Heart of Go Series - Volume 7: Breakthrough Attacking Power Yamashita Style

Last Updated on October 19th, 2013