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Learn to Play Go: A Master's Guide to the Ultimate Game (Learn to Play Go, #1)
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Learn to Play Go: A Master's Guide to the Ultimate Game

(Learn to Play Go #1)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  371 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Learn to Play Go, the elegant game that has enthralled millions of people around the world for millennia. In Volume 1 of this award-winning series, professional Go player Janice Kim 3 dan helps you brush up on the fundamentals, or learn the game from scratch. Suitable for children, de-mystifying for adults, with plenty of historical and cultural notes and resource lists to ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published June 1st 1997 by Ishi Press International (first published 1994)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  371 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Jan 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: go, gaming, non-fiction
So, a little history: I first learned go way back in college. Told myself I was going to keep playing. Didn't play again until I spent a year and a half in Korea, and hung out with the Korean go club. Told myself I would learn to play well this time. Stopped playing when I left Korea, even though I'd bought a bunch of Go books, most of which I never read through.

So now, after reading ten volumes of a children's manga series called Hikaru no Go, I am inspired to maybe break out the books again an
Dec 21, 2010 rated it liked it
This book covers the rules, basic concepts, and shapes and structures of Go in a very easy-to-read fashion. I already knew the rules and understood the basic ideas (two eyes, ko fights, capture races, etc) from reading on the internet, and was worried that the book would be too simple; however I found the catalogue of the different types of basic connections and dead-or-alive shapes very useful, as I hadn't seen them all explained in one place. There are problems on each concept, and the authors ...more
This seemed like a reasonably good introduction to the basics of go. There actually wasn't much I didn't know, which is saying something, since I started playing a couple of weeks ago. I did learn a few things, though. The most useful section to me was the chapter on different ways to connect, since I have been connecting directly in my games and didn't realize there were other ways to connect.

Some topics were glossed over. For example, ko wasn't very clearly defined (instead it was just describ
Ned Leffingwell
Oct 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The is a great introductory book for learning the game of go. I tried to learn the rules of go from books before and found it impossible. I was convinced that the only way to learn was to have someone else teach me (thanks Mark). This is the book that I would recommend to anyone trying to learn the game on their own. It covers basics, etiquette, and history. The author starts out easy and introduces concepts one at a time while providing exercises to reinforce the lessons taught. This book shoul ...more
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I did an online tutorial which covered the basics of this book, but I found the book was more helpful in the practicality and explanation of the game. For someone who didn't know about Go months ago, I found the style of game play relatively simple after reading this book, despite the fact that putting it to practice so far has ended in frustrating loss. I'm thinking about getting out the other books but I think after this the best lesson is to play against others.
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: go, 2018
Seems to be a worthy introduction to the game, though since it's the first book I've read on the subject I don't have much frame of reference. It follows a logical progression, starting out slowly with basic examples and presenting problems for the reader to work through before introducing the next topic, and only touching on those topics that are more advanced/involved, reserving further discussion for subsequent volumes.
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Solid introduction book - maybe the most solid in English. I have a few complaints though:

1) It might be wise for absolute beginners - the kind likely to read a book like this - to learn how to play Capture Go before playing actual Go.

2) There's IMO not enough time spent on playing on a 9x9 board in this, which is maybe where new players should begin.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm still a terrible Go player, but at least I now have a better understanding of why I'm so rubbish.

The book itself is good, It walks you through the rules of the game, the basic strategies -- including what to watch out for -- and how the game ends. On its own, this book is enough to get anyone started playing. Then you just need a board.
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best game books I've ever read. Absolutely a fantastic primer to playing Go. While I'm absolutely horrible at the game still, I feel like I have a potential future playing this game going forward.

This book has excellent writing, clear demonstrations, and just seems to want to have fun with the reader. I can't recommend this book more highly.
Valentyn Danylchuk
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, go, baduk
A very clear and practical introduction to Go, starting with the rules, and including all the basics required to start playing meaningful, enjoyable games. Recommended to all beginners. The rest of the series builds nicely upon this base, step by step.
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a great resource for learning Go.
Jim Leesch
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
While dryer than So you Want to play Go? This introduction so wequi is an excellent addition to beginners’ understanding.
Travis Timmons
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very good conceptually, just a bit clunky in editing and design.
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
- Help me recognizing the importance of studying life and death, good shapes and bad shapes.
- Help me forming my learning path, which is an important matter.
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent for those that are completely new to the game.

There are several beginner books out there, this one fits well those people that pretty much have never played a game and need to learn about the objective and rules of the game. People that are beginners but have already played a few games, understand about captures and basic life and death will probably be better served by going straight to Volume 2 of this series or look for a different beginner book, such as Go for Beginners by Iwamoto.
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: games-etc
I thought this was a very good introduction to Go ("Weiqi", in China, the country of origin). I've read complaints that this book is a bit too simplistic but that's its goal; it's for the beginner! It does a great job pointing out the key elements of both rules and strategy. I've also read the second book in the series and I think they both do a good job of explaining, giving a good variety of practice problems, and building on what was already learned.

This book will not make you a master but i
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very educational book for beginners about Go. Part I describes the very basics of the game, but part II already goes a bit deeper by describing some connecting and capturing techniques which I probably would not have learned quickly on my own. The book might even be suitable for children, yet never strikes as childish. The graphics of the Go boards are very nice, which makes it even more pleasant to read the book from cover to cover.

The book is not entirely perfect. Here and there are some "inf
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chess-and-go
This is my first book about Go. I have been a moderately serious amateur chess player, but with the AlphaGo match again Lee Sedol and following the always stimulating comments and reviews of Manny Rayner, here in Goodreads ( I felt the itch for Go, so I bought and read this book.

It is a very good book, easy to follow, very introductory, but that's not bad. It's important to have the basics clear and then continue with more difficult things. You can find t
David S
Jan 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to learn how to play Go
Shelves: non-fiction
The first book in Janice Kim's five volume series on the game of Go is the best of the widely available introductory books I've seen. If a store carries books on Go it's a good bet that Learn to Play Go Volume I will be in stock. This installment gives an easily understandable explanation of the rules and basic technique, and it fills in the corners with a little history, etiquette, and a few short bios of some of the top professional players. An excellent, well-rounded introduction to the game ...more
Jan 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-on-go
For those of you interested in getting started in learning to play Go, this is a must read. Janice does an excellent job of explaining many of the basic concepts needed to play Go. She covers territory developement, capturing stones, life and death, ladders,and basic stratagies. She uses several actual games to demonstrate and explain these concepts to make it easier for beginners to grasp these concepts and improve their playing ability. If you read all of Jancie Kim's books and play diligently ...more
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This short book with several pictures clarified a lot of my basic Go knowledge. While the rules of Go are very simple, you won't be playing quite the same game as someone who has studied even a little bit. Presenting Go heuristics in the right order helps avoid confusion and allows one to trust one's common sense in a way that does not happen if advanced techniques are learned before basic ones. I found the chapters on connecting and capturing techniques particularly valuable. I understand and a ...more
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: go
Definitely a lively introduction go the game Go. This book takes the reader through all the basics of the game, such as how to play, how to secure territory, how to capture, and how to score. At the end of each chapter it lists some sample problems for the reader to work out and solidify what was taught. Definitely a good read for anyone interested in learning the rules to of Go, and much more detailed and explicit than any of the internet tutorials I found on the game. I am definitely going to ...more
Jan 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was my second reading of the first and second volumes of this series. I highly recommend this book, and the whole series to anyone interested in learning Go. For a game with so few actual rules, it can be challenging to understand how to actually play. Not only will you learn to play the game, you'll start to develop some neat tactics. The other volumes are equally good, with increasingly advanced strategies.
Aug 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: go
This covers the very basics of the game, starting with the rules and finishing with counting and some fundamental life and death positions. The chapter on capturing moves introduces the concepts of ladders, nets, and snapbacks which are all important for any beginner to learn. Kim writes in a clear style, and keeps things simple. This and "The Second Book of Go" should be read by anyone who is just getting started.
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this book long ago and unfortunately no longer have a copy. This is an excellent beginning book on go (baduk, weichi). I found it easy to read, clear, and informative. I have read the second and third books in the series and they are very good. I especially like the focus on concepts and general rules of thumb. I much prefer this learning method to spending hours memorizing joseki or puzzling over sparsely commented professional games. I highly recommend this series.
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, taoism
A great book for learning the rules and basic strategies of Go. I was able to get my game up to where I am competitive with the easiest computer player on small boards. It might be nice if they went a little more step-by-step through some of the examples and problems, but I was able to follow them all with a little focus. And the fact is, if you're not going to put in that focus, you won't get very good at this game.
Malcolm Bastien
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed it. Though as of now, it's the only Go books I've finished so I can't say for sure if it's really 5/5 without comparing it to others.

That said everything was very clear, the lessons were organized very logically and I had no problems through the book. I really liked how they included information about Go, to put the lessons into better context for the reader. I hope to see more of that extra information in the proceeding volumes.
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Learn to Play Go by Janice Kim is my go-to book when teaching the game to new students. I have purchased half a dozen copies and given them to people interested in the game over the years. Kim has a friendly, accessible writing style; presents the game in a clear and logical fashion; and by the end of the book the reader, if s/he has faithfully followed along, is now a go player.
May 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I met Janice in 1988 or 89, about the time she was featured in Sports Illustrated. I was so happy to see this series by her. A perfect introduction to the game, and equally valuable for experienced players.
Jul 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: go
This was the first go book I read and I completely taught myself to play with it. It covers everything from the rules, to how to hold a stone, to basic tactics. I have lent this book to two people who wanted to learn to play and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
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