Book Review: Positional Judgement 1 - Territory

Positional Judgement 1 Cover

Positional Judgement 1: Territory

Description: Ever wonder how players manage to estimate territory? And with terrifying accuracy? Well look no farther, with the first volume of Jasiek’s Positional Judgment, you can get an inside look at the inner workings of how players make these accurate estimations. It’s filled with numerous examples for you to practice, but be wary, this is definitely not for the light hearted! On the other hand, rest assured that you will be significantly stronger at positional judgment than most players out there if you can master the material in here.

Book Details

Title, Positional Judgement 1: Territory
Author, Robert Jasiek
Publisher, Robert Jasiek
Published, “January 12, 2013”
Language, English
Length, 272 Pages

Table of Content

  • Chapter 1 - Introduction

    *   General
    *   Overview
    *   Terms
    *   Acknowledgements and Technical Remarks
  • Groups

  • Regions
  • Territory

    *   Current Territory
    *   Nature of Reduction Sequences
    *   Remaining Boundary Defense Moves
    *   Remaining Gote Endgames
    *   Remaining Basic Endgame Kos
    *   Privileges
    *   Stability
    *   Peaceful Reduction
    *   Quiescence
    *   Territory Count
    *   Fighting Positions
    *   Moyos
    *   Prisoners
    *   Middle Game Kos
    *   Updating Counts
    *   Convenient Counting
    *   Area Count
  • Strategy

  • Index

Before I Read This Book…

I’ve been told countless times that I need to be better of positional Judgment. Before this book, the only other book on this topic (in English) was Positional Judgment by Cho Chikun. So when I got the opportunity to review the book, I jumped at the opportunity since I still don’t feel terribly confident about my abilities to make position judgments.

My Review

When I first started reading this book, the first thing I noticed is that the layout of the book is very clean. Examples of this include shorter paragraphs, proper spacing between paragraphs, proper usage of bullet points and numbered lists, using bold appropriately, etc. And though this might seem like completely irrelevant, but I personally believe that poor book layouts make it difficult for the reader to read and learn the material properly. And since go literature is still maturing, it was great to see Jasiek’s books taking a step forward in the right direction.

The second thing that I couldn’t help but notice is the countless examples that Jasiek uses in this book. This is a welcome change to books that consist of lots of texts and explanation for a few diagrams because weaker amateur players like myself benefit more from increased exposure as opposed to one extremely detailed and high level analysis. And though I would have liked to have seen more examples that utilized smaller boards to acclimate the reader to the material, the examples are great and will provide plenty of material for the studious reader.

Now of course, there is the question of how the content is. I have two words for it: extremely thorough. I’m talking textbook thorough. I mean if you just look at the table of contents above, you’ll notice how Jasiek breaks up positional judgment into different categories. In addition, there are even mathematical arguments for things like why basic endgame kos are worth 1/3 point. This is great because you can always be sure that Jasiek will back up his statements with evidence and proof. And though this might be a little overwhelming for players like me who are nervous about positional judgment, this gives the reader the opportunity to come back later and gain a more in-depth understanding of calculating territory if desired.

In addition, I would have to say that Jasiek does a good job mixing in some theory and new terms on the topic of positional judgment. For example, one of the innovative concepts that I found rather simple and profound is that positional judgment relies on peaceful reductions from the outside as opposed to complicated fighting variations. And in terms of new terminology, Jasiek introduces the term “quiescence” to try and further explain concepts within positional judgment.

As a general overview of the book, I would have to say it is incredibly comprehensive and thorough on the topic of positional judgment. It is incredibly in-depth and detailed in regards to its explanations of specific topics and can be rather advanced if the reader is looking for a broad overview of positional judgment. So while any person who reads and fully masters the content in this book would become VERY good at positional judgment, it can be a bit scary for players looking to casually learn about the topic.


What did I enjoy about the book?

  • Effectively utilizes page layout and text elements to deliver his message.
  • It is extremely detailed and uses a methodical and precise approach to show how Jasiek calculates territory.
  • There are so many examples! Examples galore!

What did I gain from reading this book?

  • Introduction to new terms and ideas regarding positional judgment.
  • Better understanding of how strong players arrive at their positional judgments.
  • More confidence in my ability to count, while knowing I have a long way to go.

What is the format of the book?

  • Textbook. Concepts are introduced and are accompanied by numerous examples along with a few practice problems at the end of each section as well.

What aspects can be improved on?

  • There were momentary lapses when I thought the grammatical structure/syntax was a little off, but this might be due to the fact that I come from “American English.”
  • Perhaps this is a chronic issue I have, but I would have liked to have seen more introductory level problems to acclimate players who are not accustomed to judging 19x19 board positions.
  • This may be personal taste, but I would have preferred to see the game information for all the diagrams be placed in a Reference section instead since it makes the problem a bit cluttered and hard to find the pertinent information to the reader (i.e., Black to play).

Is this book easy to read?

  • This book contains a wealth of information and is probably appropriately seen as a textbook. As a result, don’t expect it to flow like a conversation or a casual lecture from Kageyama and such. It takes time to read and digest. In fact, I will need to go through this book multiple times before I can say I feel I know the material well.

Bottom Line

  1. An incredible step forward for the English go literature community on positional judgment.
  2. The most methodical and detailed book on positional judgment that I’ve read thus far.
  3. Totally worth every penny if you’re interested in gaining an in-depth understanding of how positional judgment works.
  • Players interested in an in-depth and thorough study of positional judgment.
  • Anyone interested in a textbook on the inner workings of positional judgment that is filled with numerous examples.

Where Can I Buy It?

Last Updated on January 2nd, 2014