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Tesujis are the tactics of short range combat in the game of go. This volume presents over three hundred examples and problems of them, aimed at training the reader to read and spot the right play in all sorts of tactical situations. It covers a wide range of material while concentrating on fundamentals; its problems manage to be both hard enough to challenge and easy enough to solve, and there are enough of them to keep the most avid busy.

198 pages, Paperback

First published May 12, 1976

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About the author

James Davies

10 books
James Davies was born in 1945 in Philadelphia. He studied mathematics at Oberlin College and the University of Washington, but in 1970, the game of Go drew him to Japan, where he has lived since. An amateur (5-dan) player but a semi-professional writer, he has turned out numerous books and countless magazine articles on Go.

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5 stars
72 (43%)
4 stars
58 (34%)
3 stars
33 (19%)
2 stars
4 (2%)
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Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 28 books13.4k followers
February 16, 2016
Combinations are the heart of chess, as they say, and similarly tesuji (literally, "skillful moves") are the heart of Go. This book gives you a nice introduction.

Here's an example of a tesuji, the "crane's nest", which is about as basic as it gets; it's sort of the Go equivalent of the smothered mate. Recall that, in Go, you capture by surrounding the opponent's stones. Black has just played 1, trying to connect the three stones on the left to the circled stone on the right:


White now counters with the clever move 2, and continues up to 8 (Black's stone 7 is played at the same point as White's 2):


To sum up, White lets Black surround a stone, but ends up surrounding the whole Black army. If you took the trouble to follow this and liked it, maybe you're already hooked!
Profile Image for Curran.
9 reviews
January 16, 2023
this book is taking me a while to read because of all the sequences they use as examples. i am able to get a better understanding of the game and identify weaknesses that I was not able to see before.
Profile Image for Andrew.
121 reviews12 followers
March 17, 2011
This is a great book chock-full of techniques as well as problems to test yourself on.

Some tesuji (tactics) can be recognised and immediately played in-game. However many others require more subtle execution and are harder to recognise in-game; unfortunately this book describes those mostly by example and it's up to the reader to try to extract their general principles. Indeed many tesuji reappear under different functions without their critical properties highlighted.

The book can be heavy going; pages after pages of diagrams and problems to go through (I got lost in the section on ko). The author includes a lot of explanation, but I felt that he should have included more higher-level summaries and analysis to emphasise key concepts and make the book less of a descriptive compendium.

Davies' two-stage ko (need to win two kos in a row) versus two-step ko (one move approach ko: need to win the first ko, play an approach move to make the ko direct, and then win it again) terminology is annoying.
Profile Image for Iago.
147 reviews5 followers
December 5, 2022
Libro muy instructivo para aprender técnicas de lucha en el cuerpo a cuerpo a nivel local. Tiene un enorme listado de tácticas (los tesuji como tales) con varios ejemplos y problemas que ayudan al lector a saber aplicarlas correctamente en cada caso. Es un libro muy útil, aunque, para mi gusto, adolece de una enseñanza para el reconocimiento de los patrones en los que hay que aplicar cada técnica.
Profile Image for Eric Nguyen.
15 reviews4 followers
October 22, 2018
Even though it's elementary already, I still don't get some stuff inside. Not recommended for a COMPLETE beginner like me, you've got to at least know some basic stuff like hane, joseki and probably ladder and net, etc.
Profile Image for Howard.
252 reviews18 followers
February 5, 2021
This book is FULL of problems that illustrate the concepts. There was so much good information in here that I felt a bit overwhelmed. I am sure that I will be coming back to this book many times. Lots to study and learn here. Well worth the purchase price!
78 reviews2 followers
February 12, 2017
A superb book to teach the tactics of Go.
It's almost worth a 5* but falls down just slightly in that it presents dozens of different techniques, but doesn't really explain how to choose between them, so can leave you paralysed by too much choice. But practice all these problems and sooner or later you will find yourself outthinking your opponent and getting that warm glow of satisfaction and smugness when you split apart stones that (s)he thought linked, or linking stones that seemed hopelessly lost.
Profile Image for Chloe Moon.
54 reviews7 followers
February 2, 2014
Amazing! There is so much to learn in here!

A 5d friend of mine gave me this, Attack and Defense, and Kageyama's Fundamentals. He said that I can basically keep re-reading each and they're all I'll ever need. While I've read numerous other books, I do think that these three have been the most enlightening and helpful books I've read.

I first worked through this cover to cover from 15-10k, and then again from 9-7k. There are parts I've fully absorbed, but so much of it is fuzzy or just didn't stick at all...I'm 5k now and will continue to revisit it!
5 reviews
January 2, 2008
A must for anybody learning go. I had already been playing for a while when I read it, yet it still had tactics to offer. And even if you know all the tesuji in the world there are plenty of puzzles to solve.

I have read this book maybe 3 times cover to cover, but found it much more useful to read a chapter and then play some games trying to apply the tactics I had learned.
Profile Image for Joy.
1,184 reviews81 followers
December 14, 2010
#3 in a great series of books for beginner Go players--that is, players who have mastered the basic rules but are pretty much at sea when it comes to actual strategy. My only complaint is that this book forces me to think so hard that I end up getting a headache when I try to read more than one chapter at a time.
3 reviews
Currently reading
November 16, 2009
This is a fantastically well-written and well-laid-out book. It presents concepts, explains their applicability, gives a few examples, and then gives 2-4 practice problems. My game is improving rapidly as I continue my study.
Profile Image for Frank.
352 reviews
December 15, 2013
I read this book about fifteen years ago. It's time to read it again.

Many good basic techniques in here, useful in games and helpful to review.
Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews

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