Essential Go Proverbs- First impressions

Essential Go Proverbs – First impressions

To access the synopsis of this exceptional book by John Power, I kindly direct you to the link shared by Richard Bozulich in his announcement:

It has been only a week since I began studying this book, and I am utterly amazed by the outstanding quality of its content. I felt compelled to share my initial impressions on the forum and eagerly await contributions from fellow readers in the near future.

This monumental work spans 522 pages and provides a comprehensive in-depth analysis of 104 proverbs. These proverbs are thoughtfully categorized into nine chapters, covering various aspects of the game, such as Life and Death, Capturing Races, Tactics, Strategy, and more. Essentially, it encompasses all fundamental aspects of the game.

What truly distinguishes this book is its extensive use of examples for each proverb, highlighting their relevance to actual play. These examples are drawn from real games, and at the end of each “lesson,” a couple of problems are presented. What could be better to enhance the learning process than this combination of theory, practical application, and problem-solving?

The book’s layout is excellent, providing a pleasurable reading experience. Despite the author’s mention that reading the book in a specific order is not necessary, I personally prefer to follow it sequentially. Additionally, I have started to lay out many diagrams on a physical board to train my reading and visualization skills.

Through its meticulous analysis of proverbs and principles, this book offers a remarkable wealth of foundational knowledge - offered in basic chunks for easy memorization - that is begging to be studied and internalized. This book is undeniably a masterpiece. If I were ever banished to an island and permitted to bring only one go book, “Essential Go Proverbs” would unequivocally be my choice.

Paul Schmit, 2k EGF


The book is beautiful. At Kiseido the signed version was offered for $ 150. Now it is € 250.
Again the book is beautiful, but I think Kiseido lost its honour.

Thanks for sharing your impressions.

Would you recommend this book to an OGS 7 kyu?

Also, how important is this book compared to other go books, would you say?

I feel that I missed something. Why/how might Kiseido have lost its honour?

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Simple. If you offer something for $ 150, stick to it. Raising the price is not prohibited, but if somebody buys it and after buying is invited to pay € 100 more … Let’s say, for all to see and everybody
may have his/her own opinion on that, but it is not my kind of business policy.

Maybe they have a fixed quantity of them, and want to not sell out for a few years, and priced it based on their estimated demand, but it then proved more popular than expected so they raised the price to reduce demand to ensure they don’t sell out too early.

P.S. Did you order it at $150 and before the order was complete and delivered to you they raised the price and wouldn’t fulfil the order at the original price? I would agree that is unacceptable.


I would not hesitate to recommend Essential Go Proverbs to you as a 7k OGS, even if you were a 15k I would also tell you to go for it. The book could also have been called: Essential Go Principles, if motivated to improve in Go, who could ignore the principles about all the relevant aspects of the game?

How important is this book compared to other go books: I see John Power’s book as a unique compendium of Go knowledge, with very detailed examples of each topic It is certainly the most important book that I own and suitable to systematically work through it, which I’m actually also doing. Of course, it does not replace other basic necessary books like Life and Death and Tesuji by James Davies, Attack and Defense by Kato Masao, Lessons in the Fundamentals by Kageyama, or the fantastic books Tsumego by Motoki Noguchi or Yose by Dai Junfu which unfortunately for the Go community are only available in French.


Thanks for the more detailed feedback.

Whole go proverb are useful at all levels, the problems from the book are better suited for some levels. Are you implying that people at any level can usefully try to solve them?

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There is no progressive classification of the problems and they merely serve to reinforce the principle that has been analyzed. Of course, a large number of the problems would thus be too hard for weaker players but they still might benefit from studying the solution.


Is this book in PDF/EPUB format? It seems nice

It is. For travelling, I also want to get the SmartGo version.

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