Archive: 6/2013

What Do You Look for in a Book Review?

Since I started reviewing books back in 2010, I have been updating the book review template as time has gone on. Categories were added and removed based on whether or not I felt it was relevant anymore. As some of you might have noticed, the book review format changed recently; but I’m already feeling dissatisfied with it even though I just updated it recently. On top of it all, I’m not sure my opinion is enough to validate whether a category is relevant or not.

I posted this question to the reddit baduk community and got some interesting responses regarding some things that they would like to see. In addition, one user brought a great topic to my attention that I thought deserves some time here on this post: reduplication of effort.

For those who aren’t aware, there are already quite a few resources out there when it comes to go book reviews:

  2. GoBooks Nemir
  3. Sensei’s Library
    In my experience so far though, many of the sites tend to be outdated (in regards to user interface and design layout). In addition, while the content is still relevant, I always found it difficult to really determine whether or not I should purchase the book or not. In addition, the reviews are often simply huge blobs of text that can be difficult and tedious to navigate for the average user. Most of the time, due to sheer curiosity, I buy the book anyways; but this defeats the whole purpose of a book review.

My goal is to provide the best user experience for people interested in providing go books. This means designing the most intuitive user interface along with providing information in the most concise and useful manner possible. By doing so, casual players who would otherwise be discouraged by the lengthy reviews (since they aren’t as committed to the game as some of us are) can easily navigate the reviews I post and purchase the appropriate book for themselves!

So, to try and provide the best book review format in existence, I’m asking for your help to make this a reality! If you could leave a comment with things that you would find useful (or not useful) in book reviews, it would be greatly appreciated!

Here is a list of some items to get you started:

  • [ ]Author’s Teaching Style
  • My background as a reviewer before reading the book
  • General pros and cons
  • My expectations of the book
  • What I liked about it
  • What makes the book unique
  • Relationship with similar books
    As always, please be as honest and blunt as you would like to be. If you like or dislike the things I mentioned above or currently use in my reviews, say so! The more vocal and opinionated you are, the more useful the book reviews will be to you. I’m looking forward to seeing your feedback!

Friday Go Forward: Week 21

Friday Go Forward: Week 21


If it isn’t apparent, my studying sessions have gotten pretty crazy. I know that it would be better for me to focus on one book at a time, but my attention span just can’t handle too much of one topic. As much as I’d love to fully absorb everything I’m reading, my goal is to absorb as much as possible with the least amount of time and effort. Therefore, if I am getting bored and not really paying attention anymore, I move on to another topic.

I know it’s not the most thorough method, but I have a lot of books that I’d love to read and different explanations to be exposed to. Once I’ve reviewed every book that I own, you can be sure that I will be returning to the ones that I want to really gain a mastery over. So for now, I’m okay with being a jack of all trades and master of none. xD


  • KGS - 0 games (0 wins : 0 losses)
  • DGS - 3 ongoing games
  • Nova - 3 ongoing games

Education & Training

  • Finished Essential Life & Death,__ Vol. 2.
  • Finished The Direction of Play.
  • Finished Elementary Go Series - Tesuji.
  • Worked on Attacking and Defending Moyos.
  • Worked on Modern Master Games, Vol. 1.
  • Started working on Elementary Go Series, Vol 4 - Life and Death.
  • Started working on Elementary Go Series, Vol 5 - Attack and Defense.
  • Started working on Whole Board Thinking of Joseki, Vol. 1.
  • Started working on Essential Life & Death, Vol. 3.

Book Review: The Chinese Opening (Zhou)

Overall Rating: 8 / 10 Ponnuki

Basic Information

  • Title: The Chinese Opening
  • Author: Yuan Zhou
  • Publisher: Slate & Shell
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Page Length: 184 pages


  • A great introductory book to the Chinese Opening.
  • Explanations are kept at a high level and thus allows for easy reading.
  • Appropriate for 10 kyu and stronger.
  • Recommended for serious players.

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Book Influx

If you’re wondering whether or not that’s my personal collection of Level Up/Jump Up books, it’s not. It’s just a sneak peak of the shipment that will be coming in the near future. xD

That’s right… As if I didn’t have enough books to work on already, the chance to study Korean school texts firsthand was too much to resist. So you will be seeing firsthand as I work my way through the entire series what I think of the books and whether or not you should give it a shot.

Although this purchase would probably qualify enough for the blog post’s title, there was a go classified ad for books on sale and I ended up picking up a couple out of print books along with another Korean series called Train Like a Pro. (I know… what is wrong with me…)

My credit card might be slightly melted, but I hope it’ll forgive me because the rest of the year is looking awesome!

Book Review: Positional Judgment

Overall Rating: 9 / 10 Ponnuki

Basic Information

  • Title: Positional Judgment: High-Speed Game Analysis
  • Author: Cho Chikun
  • Publisher: Kiseido
  • Publication Date: December 1989
  • Page Length: 182 pages


  • A great book on positional judgment when it comes to whole board thinking.
  • Utilizes multiple choice questions along with example games to help illustrate his points.
  • Requires a basic level of endgame sequences for the estimations to make sense.
  • Appropriate for 6 kyu and stronger.
  • Recommended for serious players.

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Friday Go Forward: Week 20


It seems I’m on a trend of not playing as many games anymore, but I’m okay with that for now since I’m currently in a big study mode. I have over 100+ books in my collection (and that’s physical books mind you) and I have barely made a dent. In addition, I have another plan to immerse myself in studying Korean style go books. It will involve buying lots of new books and changing my regimen, but before I do that I want to finish all the Kiseido series that I have started. So, be on the lookout for lots more book reviews!


  • KGS - 3 games (2 wins : 1 loss)
  • DGS - 2 ongoing games
  • Nova - 2 ongoing games


  • Worked on _Essential Life & Death,__ Vol. 2 _everyday.
  • Worked a little bit on Attacking and Defending Moyos.
  • Worked through Modern Master Games, Vol. 1.
  • Finished Positional Judgment.
  • Started and finished The Direction of Play.
  • Started Elementary Go Series - Tesuji.

Lessons Learned

  1. I am not vigilant when it comes to reading out sequences properly.
  2. I still play “wishful go” and think that my opponents will respond to things that I myself would never respond to.
  3. To help remedy my problem of playing moves without thinking, I’m trying to take one deep breath before each move to try and slow down.

Mental Discipline

Recently, I have been trying to figure out how to resolve my problem of being undisciplined when it comes to reading out sequences or figuring out what move to play next.

One of the first solutions I came up with was to simply try and practice more problems, but it didn’t really seem to help much. So the next thing I tried was reading more theoretical go books in hopes of having something click inside me that would all of a sudden fix my problem. That didn’t work out too well either.

After some thought, I realized that my problem is actually multidimensional.

  1. Physical Energy - I have been a lot more tired than I would like to admit lately. Though I didn’t recognize it at the time, it was playing a major role in my being nonchalant about what or where I played next.
  2. Multiple Points of Focus - Those who know me personally will attest to the fact that I am the type who is constantly trying to multi-task and can jump from one thing to another in a blink of an eye. While that can be useful in certain contexts, it is actually becoming detrimental to my go in the long run (along with other things, but let’s face it, go is the first priority here. =P).
  3. Overload / Burnout - As a result of the previous two points, it is only natural that my brain would eventually become overloaded and simply burnout.
    It’s clear that I need a reboot on my system and approach to things. To start though, I’ve resolved to achieve two goals: (1) Simplify & Focus and (2) Gain back the physical energy that I once had.

Monday Go Meditation: Game 14

In continuation of the last MGM, today's game is another 2 stone handicap game where I play White and endure a difficult battle. On the upside though, I am happy to report that handicap games are starting to become less fearsome as time goes on. And to clarify, it's not so much that I'm sure that I can win; but I see the handicap stones as more of a complicated obstacle course instead of a huge tower of death where I am sure to lose.

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