Book Club Experiment - Janice Kim’s **Learn to Play Go**

Book Club Experiment - Janice Kim’s Learn to Play Go

I’d like to start a discussion of Janice Kim’s Volume 1 of the Learn to Play Go series.

I request that if you participate, please really get legal access to the book and read it. Let’s post in the spirit of fair use. That said, some diagrams will be necessary to facilitate the discussion.

Since this book starts with the very basics, I’m going to post a single thread for the entire book.

Chapters 1-7 (very basics)
Chapter 8. A Real Game

Referencing the ko fight that begins in moves 18-20. Both white and black made decisions that led to a ko fight rather than an uncomplicated settling of boundaries. Granted this game is designed to illustrate some basics. Other than that, was there a good reason for either black or white to make this a ko battle?

What level of play do you think this game represents? Is it a ddk game?

Chapter 9. Capturing Techniques

In this chapter and the rest of the series, Kim (or more likely her co-author) made a decision that I really don’t like. She asks a question like “What should black do?” On the next pages, she shows one or more wrong answers before she gets to the right answer. I would much prefer the other way around, since it would be much easier to check my own intuition/analysis if the answer was on the next page and not several pages/diagrams later.

Is there a way to explain snapbacks and pins that is easier for a beginner to see? It seems like the approach here is to give examples and count on the student to put it together.

Chapter 10 - diagram 14. double diagonal connection. not sure why this doesn’t get used much in my games. Is it lack of opportunities or lack of perception on my part?

Chapter 11 - Life and death. Basic life and death.
Chapter 12 - Capturing Races

Counting liberties, outside versus inside liberties. These beginner books always make it sound so simple. As a beginner I tried to apply this in all of the situations where simple counting doesn’t work. I’d have benefitted from an admission that there is a list of exceptions: sometimes one player can get more liberties, corners and sides can limit liberties or make virtual liberties, etcetera, eyes matter, size of eyes matter, etc. Just admit to me that it’s not always simple. Tell me the conditions in which a capturing race isn’t simple; give me a clue.

Chapter 13 - Ko fighting. Here is a straightforward and cogent example of a ko fight. The problems are straightforward.

Chapter 14 - Ending and Counting.
Chapter 15 - Sample Openings

In conclusion, this was a beginner book and I didn’t really need to review back to the very basics so much. What was worthwhile was making a list of achievements based on the material and then working toward accomplishing each in at least one of my games. This made me really use every single concept that was presented.

janice kim book 1
errata: chapter 13 problem 2, correct answer is marked wrong