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The Direction of Play

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This book is a lucid exposition of the basic principles of Kajiwara's go theory and a guide to applying these principles in your own game. Above all else, Kajiwara emphasizes the importance of careful analysis in order to determine the correct direction of play, that is, the direction in which a stone or a group of stones exerts its main influence. He demonstrates that each stone has a life of its own and so expresses the individuality of the player. The key to a powerful game is understanding the relationship between each stone and the overall position, for only then can one realize the full potential of every stone that one plays.

256 pages, Paperback

First published March 1, 1979

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5 stars
23 (32%)
4 stars
28 (40%)
3 stars
15 (21%)
2 stars
2 (2%)
1 star
2 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 29 books13.5k followers
February 16, 2016

Reading this book is about as close as I have got to receiving a message from an alien planet. Kajiwara was renowned in Go circles for his uncompromising attitude and short temper. He was one of the best Go players in the world, and spent his whole life mastering this extraordinarily difficult game, which is of course hardly known in the West. I am not quite sure what he is trying to do in this book. Sometimes you feel he is talking to you as an equal, explaining deep philosophical ideas about the theory of Go, and what it has taught him. Then he remembers that you are just a stupid Western beginner, and he tells you something that even you realize is obvious. And then it's back to thinking out loud. He is extremely self-critical, and goes through his games expressing disgust that he missed "obvious" things which assume a complete knowledge of Go theory and an ability to calculate 30 moves into the future. I was once invited to dinner at the house of a neighbor, now sadly deceased, who was one of Wittgenstein's last remaining pupils; he described what a tutorial with the great man was like. Reading Kajiwara is a bit like that, except that he is talking about something you know even less about.

It is notorious among Go players that reading Kajiwara is not a good idea if you actually want to learn to play better. You end up trying to emulate him, with completely disastrous results. But, in an odd way, it does have a certain literary value.
Profile Image for JethOrensin.
109 reviews7 followers
July 18, 2018
Another "must-read" Go book that demands a board and stones and meticulous study and, quite possibly, many re-studies as you progress in the game. Highly recommended.

The only reason for the 4 stars instead of the 5 stars, is that sometimes the diagrams can be confusing or be misplaced in comparison with the text, making studying the whole situation a bit weird. Apart for that, very solid content!
Profile Image for Iago.
153 reviews5 followers
March 29, 2023
Este libro trata una importante consideración de cara a tomar decisiones en el Go: la dirección de juego. Se centra en eso y lo desarrolla con ejemplos, que quedan explicados con bastante profundidad. Me ha parecido un libro muy útil. La razón es que al enfatizar durante todo el libro esa única cuestión, se le queda a uno grabada, lo cual ayuda a tomar decisiones.

Profile Image for Howard.
266 reviews18 followers
April 14, 2021
This one is filled with great information! Unfortunately, I was not able to digest all of it the first time through. I am sure that I will be revisiting this one many times and learning more from it each time through.
Profile Image for Ben.
222 reviews9 followers
June 20, 2021
I like the tone - understanding that this stuff is complex and based on intuition - but it still relies a lot on that intuition.
Profile Image for Chloe Moon.
54 reviews7 followers
February 2, 2014
Wow! I love Takeo's writing style. He approaches the game with such a reverence and intensity. I feel like reading this restructured a fundamental way I saw the game. Reading this made me see with much more clarity stones' relationships one to another...and the power they cast over the entire board.

I read this as an 8k, and while I learned a lot, much of it was beyond my ability.

One of my favorite Go quotes of all time, from the first chapter: "Every time you place a stone on the board you are exposing something of yourself. It is not just a piece of slate, shell or plastic. You have entrusted to that stone your feelings, your individuality, your will power, and once it is played there is no going back. Each stone carries a great responsibility on your behalf."
Profile Image for Frank.
354 reviews
November 12, 2011
I thoroughly enjoyed this little book. Takeo’s style, while intense, is very entertaining. Most go books stress taking the whole board into account when selecting moves and strategy. Well, that’s pretty much the point of DOP. Nothing new, right? KT just spends 250 pages illustrating ways to see this idea. He analyzes many examples of bad moves — his own, taken from his own games. He makes bold statements. He takes issue with joseki. He says things like “listen to your stones” and will contradict himself without fear. I found it quite refreshing after a boring diet of Bozulich books containing nothing but problems.
Profile Image for S Shah.
46 reviews2 followers
April 16, 2015
One of my favorite go books. Almost completely void of technical instruction which most Go books rely on. In this text Kajiwara focusses on the game from a philosophical point of view. He invites his readers to think about the game broadly, and to make decisions based on axioms for success, rather than wrote memorization. This is key for developing the ability to play good opening moves, in particular.
Profile Image for Andrew.
121 reviews12 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish-reading'
January 31, 2011
This book is a bit advanced for my level; the conversational tone makes it more readable yet less comprehensible.
Profile Image for Christopher.
14 reviews
February 9, 2016
Takeo Kajiwara challenges his readers to understand the personality of their stones braking habits of pedantic joseki play.
Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews

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