Archive: 3/2013

Book Review: Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go

Overall Rating: 5 / 5 Ponnuki

Basic Information

  • Title: Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go
  • Author: Toshiro Kageyama 7-dan
  • Translator: James Davies
  • Publisher: Kiseido
  • Publication Date: May 1978
  • Page Length: 272 pages


  • A hybrid of theoretical/conceptual explanations along with problems to illustrate the ideas.
  • While may seem advance, Kageyama’s personality really shines through and makes this such an interesting read (regardless of your level).
  • Appropriate for 20 kyu and stronger.
  • Recommended for all types of players.

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Friday Go Forward: Week 6


  • KGS - 2 games ( 2 win : 0 loss )


  • Essential Life & Death (Vol. 2) - Pages 87 - 110
  • Go Game - Life and Death (iPad App) - Practice Phase 1 (Class 1-3) & Phase 2 (Class 1-2)


  • Elementary Go Series, Volume 3 - Tesuji - Pages 23 - 60
  • The Chinese Opening - Pages 1 - 50


Although it seems like a rather light week in terms of playing, I’ve had a number of teaching games that have been quite eye opening. I haven’t yet processed a lot of what has been passed onto me this week, but I hope to take the weekend to look over the kifus and reinforce anything that I learned. On the upside, I’ve found some really interesting go books that I’m hell bent on trying to finish as soon as possible. More on this next week!

A Dull Blade

In the past month, I’ve been wrestling with the inconsistency of my games. At times, I can give high SDK’s a run for their money. Then, to my utter surprise, I find myself getting beat by players around 6 kyu in the following games. So what gives?

Well, frozensoul shed some light a few days ago, it seems that in my pursuit of understanding a higher level understanding of go, I have seemed to missed a step in my growth. As a result, my go is in this weird limbo. When I play against players who are more skilled than I am, I am able to more or less mirror their skills and give them a good game. On the other hand, when playing against players around my current rank of 6k, I am unable to punish their bad moves. Inadvertently, these players end up getting away with more than they should have which allows them to beat me.

While it may seem harsh, frozensoul’s description of my go is accurate:

You are a blade with no edge.

Similar to preparing food in the kitchen, when you have a sharp blade, there is a certain delight as you cut and slice everything with utter precision and minimum effort. On the other hand, when you’re working with a dull blade, cutting anything becomes a lot of effort for a job not very well done. It is no different with go.

At the present moment, my go would probably be better compared to a club than a knife. In all honesty, a majority of my wins probably comes out of beating my opponents into submission. However, even a simple swordsman will be able parry my attacks and take me down in a one swift strike. And even if I occasionally manage to defeat a swordsman in combat, it is only because of a lucky swing that happened to strike my opponent in the head. =)

Although I have recently overcome the frustration that comes with losing, it seems the next obstacle is bearing its fangs at me. And this time, there will be no convention to shock me into awakening. Like a shinigami searching for his zanpakuto, it seems that unless I discover and forge my own blade, I will be unable to take another step forward.

To Resign or Not to Resign

Weekly Go Wednesday, Issue #18

As most of us are aware, the game of go is rather unique in the sense that it is considered honorable to resign. Unfortunately, when it comes to kyu players (particularly mid-SDK’s and below), I have found that resignation is the bane of their existence. Instead of resignation being a quiet acknowledgment of their opponent’s strength, it becomes a self-imposed obstacle that prevents kyu players from getting stronger. If you don’t believe me, read on.

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Friday Go Forward: Week #5


  • KGS - 3 games ( 2 win : 1 loss )
  • Real Life - 2 games ( 1 win : 1 loss )


  • Essential Life & Death (Vol. 2) - Pages 82 - 87


  • Elementary Go Series, Volume 3 - Tesuji - Pages 1 - 22
  • Dictionary of Basic Joseki, Volume 1 - Pages 1 - 15


Although I haven’t played as much as I might have liked, this week has been pretty interesting in terms of the various activities I’ve had going on. My go studying has taken on more flavors and variety, which has greatly increased my enjoyment of what I’m learning. In addition, it feels as if I’m starting to think less and less of winning, which is something I hope to ingrain permanently into my being. There are a number of reasons due to this spark of an epiphany. One that I will mention in particular is from Hajime no Ippo.

The line comes from a scene after the main character, Ippo, manages to win against a boxer who’s goal was to become like his idol. When analyzing what happened and why Ippo won (even though he was an underdog), the idol said:

It was the result of different goals between the challengers. Those who try to reach and those who try to surpass.

Although I’ve heard similar lines to this before, it was rather profound to me when I read it (perhaps due to the emotional attachment to characters and the story). And to be honest, I think there’s a lot of truth in there. Because in actuality, my goal is not to simply reach shodan; but to surpass it entirely.