Your perfect library

Hi everybody,

if you have some advice to give for a go player about books, could you tell us 5 books to buy for :

  • a newbie (30- 15 kyu).
  • an amateur (14- 5 kyu).
  • a good player ( 4 kyu and more) ?

Thank you and happy new year. :smiley:

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Hello @Yunzi (is that you? — nice to “see” you here, too :slight_smile: )

Hard for me to answer, because …

  1. I’m still hovering somewhere around 13k and 19k.
  2. I have too many books already, and I can’t bring myself to read any of these from front to end :no_mouth:
  3. It’s quite hard for me to say which books are recommendable for which strength.

BUT here is what I recommend:

And then I can recommend ALL books by Robert Jasiek that I’m reading in:

I’d say these latter books are good to read from perhaps 22k on (up to perhaps 5k or even higher?)

I believe Jasiek’s books have contributed to my ascent from perhaps 17k on. You might think that’s not a lot since now I’m between 13k and 11k, but I have been spending far too little time on Go study and play, and things like that I’d intermittently beaten a 6k and a 2k in correspondence games, and just recently a 4d in a 9x9 game, didn’t happen before, I’m QUITE sure all this would never have happened without the clearly structured and defined principles I learned from Jasiek’s books.


Hi Thomas,
yes I am here also. :smile:
Thank you for your answer. Maybe someone else could be have some advices. :blush:

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Hey, happy new year. :smile:

I consider these books to be the best for each level:

Newbie: Baduktopia - “Level Up!” Series 1-6
Amateur: Robert Jasiek - First Fundamentals (And generally everything by Robert Jasiek)
Good Amateur: No idea, I’m not there yet :slight_smile:

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Don’t believe a word of this, @Yunzi :smiley: @Francisa is a very polite and modest person AND one of the very promising SDK players here who will probably soon be Shodan.

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Newbie: "Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go"
Amateur: “Making Good Shape”, “Attack and Defense”, "Direction of Play"
Good Player: you know what you’re missing, probably :wink: have you read Empty Triangle, Aji’s Quest, seen Hikaru no Go?


newbie must read is ‘Opening Theory Made Easy’ by otake hideo

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While I like that book a LOT, I’m not sure it would make sense to read it before reaching about 20k.

I haven’t looked at and compared enough books to really say that these are better than other options, but here is what I read and found very helpful and suitable for the skills levels that you described.

Newbie: “Learn to Play Go” series by Janice Kim

Amateur: “Elementary Go Series” by several authors

Good Player: not qualified to answer

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I would not recommend Lessons in the fundamentals of go to newbies. I’d say it’s more for 20k player or stronger.

I’m just a (bad) amateur and never read books before turning SDK on KGS (the contrary would probably have saved me a lot of time), so I can only give an opinion on “amateur level” books, and I liked In the beginning a lot. I have yet to read Attack and defense, on which I heard only good comments.

I have a friend who picked up ‘Lessons in the Fundamentals’ for his first Go book as a complete beginner and liked it.
Yes, it does contain some advanced content. The real value of the book lies in the writing and presentation of the material. It is funny, memorable and motivating and will excite you about the game, even if you don’t understand everything :smile:

On a side note, I am a bit irritated about the phrase ‘20k or stronger’. What does that mean?
20k is where most rating systems set their weakest rank, as a ridiculous statement about the ‘long’ way these players have to go to SDK. Apparently, this was not enough for the authors of the original OGS, leading to the introduction of even lower ranks. Predictably, this continues to drag down all OGS ranks to this day.
I have even heard (in real life) statements like ‘I’m just a beginner, probably still around 50k’. Where does that come from? Maybe it’s a result of some self-deprecation hysteria that befalls newbies when they first get trashed by a regular player. Maybe they’re trying desperately not to sound arrogant and over-ambitious.
It’s ridiculous! I can’t win against those players with a 49 stone handicap. I highly doubt I could give 19 stones to most of the [20k] around here either.

Under any sensible rating system, a 20k player is someone who understands the basic rules, like when to take stones off the board, and that it is sometimes not ok to capture ko, but snapback is fine (once you point out that it’s there).
I entered my first tournament as 16k after a small handful of games. The tournament on its own taught me more than those initial games. I am not exactly a fast learner, especially compared to the 1-year-shodans.

OGS is the odd exception. It alienates me :confused:

I don’t get it. If one starts to play on ogs, one takes the ranks for granted and tracks the progess without being alienated. If you started to play somewhere else, you just know that your rank here corresponds to that rank there somewhere else.

My experience is that places where people say “You are a beginner, so somewhere between 20k-15k, exact ranks do not mean anything in that range.” are places where you have to get to 13k to be assigned opponents of similar skill at tournaments.

It seriously sucks to play against “other 18k players” and they are all either 4 stones better or 4 stones worse.

Another issue is that there is no reason whatsoever that handicap stones should be transitive.

The fact that you cannot give 49 stones to someone does not prove that there is not a chain of 50 people from you to this person where everyone has to give one stone. I think that this strange assumption is responsible for a large part of the weird behaviour of the ranking systems.

Let’s stay on topic here folks.

I have not read many go books, but I can definitely vouch for the Elementary Go Series, particularly Attack and Defense. These books helped me get from DDK to SDK and I still have a lot to learn from them, so I plan to reread them many times. Some people say the joseki book in the series is outdated, but for an amateur I think it still has a lot of relevant content.

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