Friday, May 21, 2010

So You Want to Play Go?

Well, I'm finally finished.  As some of you may know I published 3 books on Go last year.  Well, I did some editing and revising and now I can say they are really ready.  The "So You Want to Play Go?" series was designed to take someone who knows nothing about Go and guide them to becoming a single digit kyu player.  The first book is a primer on the rules and basic strategy, aimed at 30-20 kyu players, i.e. people who are just beginning the game.  The second is for those who have some experience but need an introduction to the larger strategic concepts such as middle game fighting and tesuji.  The third deals with more complex strategy and goes deeper into the subject that were introduced in the second level.  Besides Go there is plenty of cultural information including the history of the game as well as profiles of professional players.

I started writing the first book abut 4 years ago after I went to the South Carolina Go Congress.  I was inspired to start writing a primer after I watched a lecture by Maeda Ryo on the fundamentals.  I had learned Go by looking at professional game records and reading books in Chinese (which at the time I didn't understand but gave me every reason to take Chinese!).  I felt I had a good grasp of the basics, but looking at Maeda sensei's lecture I decided that it was more important for people beginning to learn Go to concentrate on set shapes and know them backwards and forwards.  I learned Go haphazardly when I first started, just experimenting with whatever I thought was good and trying moves from pro games.  I thought a book that was more organized and showed things beginners want to know when they first start would go a long way in making Go more popular.

What do I offer that other Go books don't?  Each book doesn't concentrate on just one idea or area of Go, I wanted the reader to have access to as many different faces of Go as possible.  For instance, you'll find chapters on Attacking, Sabaki, and the Opening in the third book where other Go books only focus on one subject.  Instead of piecing together the game like I did, learning one concept from a lecture here and another concept from a book, I thought it'd be easier for the reader to just have everything at their fingertips.  Is there more to Go than what I've written about?  Of course, but my job isn't to create the great Bible of the game, just lend a helping hand to the Go community I'm very much apart of.

So far I've gotten great feedback.  A friend of mine used the first level of the series to teach his beginner classes at Case Western with good results.  I also got some good comments from members of the Quad Cities Go club.  I'm excited because hopefully I can help the English speaking Go world in my own way.  Visit my main website,, if you want to see some previews or order.