(Near) Absolute Beginner: Good books to study?

The title essentially says it. I am very new to Go. I understand the rules well enough (capturing stones, the ko rule, gaining territory by surrounding it). I’d very much like a book (or several) that I could study that would help me understand basic strategy and the like.

Obviously, the people who will theoretically be replying to this post should be significantly more aware of what I need to know than I myself am, so please, don’t be scared to suggest something I’ve preemptively rejected.

Thank you all in advance!

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I really like the Level Up series of workbooks available from Yellow Mountain Imports. Might not be your cup of tea, though. They are designed for children and have a lot of review built in. I find them … good!


The Go by Example series is filled with practical advice that you can apply in your own games immediately.

Also, if you can, I would highly recommend checking out free resources such as Nick Sibicky, Dwyrin, Clossius, Haylee, Fridays with xhu98, and more. Most (all?) of these and many more are listed on the OGS resource page here:

Also, feel free to ask people to review your games or give you teaching games. I’d be happy to do either. Along the same lines, if you don’t understand something you’ve read somewhere, feel free to post it here. As I saw someone post in an unrelated forum recently: “The only stupid question is one not asked”.

Thank you! I’ll definitely check that out.

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I do tend to try to avoid books aimed at children. They just often seem rather patronizing and go over things at a level of detail that seems unnecessary

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That’s an understandable way to feel about it, but the thing to understand with go books, especially those translated from the asian countries, it’s that most people who play the game begin in their childhood, so beginner books tend to have this fact in mind. It’s not a personal slight against you.

As to book recommendations… geez it’s been ages since I first started playing. >.< I recall that back when Janice Kim was writing a column for american shonen jump she’d often plug her series of books for beginners. By the time I read them they were beneath my level, but I recall them being very informative, if a tad overpriced.

I have the first two of Janice Kim’s go books and I don’t personally prefer them, though your mileage may vary. Honestly, it’s mostly just personal preference that I don’t prefer them. They’re not bad. She does tend to use English where 99.99…% of English speaking go players would use Japanese terms, which was one of the things that was annoying to me. I get that “Standard Pattern” is a good translation of “joseki”. Everyone still calls them “joseki”.

But if you think they look interesting, go for it. :slight_smile: I’m not the only one entitled to an opinion on them. :smile:

What makes her use of english terms especially funny, in hindsight, is that she was published in US shonen jump, as I said, and the viz translation of Hikaru no Go (the reason she was published there) used the japanese terms for them. XD

she was just the first I could think of who wrote beginner books with a western audience in mind, and thus one who wouldn’t come across as patronizing to an adult.

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