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Go for beginners Hardcover – 1 Jan 1976

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 148 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books; 1st American ed edition (1 Jan. 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394413520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394413525
  • Package Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book comprehensively covers the game of Go, and justifies the word "Beginners" in the title by at least starting with the basics. But sadly I wouldn't recommend it as a book suitable for someone completely new to learning the game. Iwamoto's knowledge is impressive, and his writing style clear and descriptive. But what he offers is more a demonstration of his own Go understanding, rather than explanations to help others understand.

The style is concise (but not terse), and moves rapidly from the basics through increasingly complex board positions and plays. But too often he dismisses a new layout of stones (just a jumble of black and white to the novice!) with statements such as "in this position, black's best move is obvious..." It may well be obvious to an expert, but the whole point of the book ought to be to explain why a certain move is the correct/best one - and the lack of this explanation makes the book frustrating and ultimately unsuitable for beginners. The style is also occasionally patronising - Iwamoto refers to one common beginner's error as "boorish behaviour" which is neither helpful nor encouraging to a novice looking to an expert for advice and motivation.

This book's strength however is its comprehensive coverage in a neat and small package. I think it works much better as an 'aide memoire' for the developing player, who is past the novice stage and wants some reminders of strategy and positional play to bolster learning gained elsewhere. Approach this book with that aim and it succeeds wonderfully. Approach it as a complete beginner wanting a gentle, hand-holding introduction, and you may be confused and disappointed.

(Personally, I found 'Teach Yourself Go' by Charles Matthews much more suitable for a complete beginner to the game).
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By A Customer on 9 April 1999
Format: Paperback
Although there are much better introductions to this arguably greatest of all games now available (e.g., Janice Kim's books and, especially, Cho Chikun's _The Magic of Go_), these later works would probably not have existed if Iwamoto's classic (along with the works of Korschelt, Lasker, and Fairburne(sp)) had not generated enough interest in the West to justify their publication.
If you can tough-out this work, you are probably Shodan material, but, if it proves too daunting, fall-back to Kim or Chikun. Then, after it all makes sense to you, revisit Iwamoto; the insights of a 9-Dan are invaluable to any player.
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Format: Paperback
This is a pretty good book for learning the game. It covers all the rules and many elementary tactics as well as a little bit of strategy. The book is easy to understand and follow. I thought it was slightly overwhelming though. Everything was described a little too concisely. That is, I could only read 10-20 pages at a time before I was overloaded with information.
What I liked most about the book was that the chapters were broken up by problem sections which tested one's understanding of the material just covered.
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Format: Paperback
This is an old outdated book. It is slightly better than some of the original beginner's books by Laskey, Smith, and others. There a far better books available. Janice Kim's "Learn to Play Go" is an excellent example. Please note that I have the greatest respect for Iwamoto. His book was the best English language beginner's book when it first appeared.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book for beginners, possibly a little bit on the compressed side. Although I am a beginner myself, and therefore not qualified to give an opinion carrying much weight, I strongly recommend the book for anyone who wants to learn this intriguing game.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read five or six Go books now and none explain this well or in this much depth before once my go table i will fully understand the finer points of practicing with the book and table :) looking foreword to it
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pretty good beginner's introduction to a game that is easy to learn, but QUITE challenging to master. Any Go fan should have a good read out of this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is currently at an acceptable price, and it'll just about do.

It's a book that was written a long time ago, there is a list of addresses of national and USAian Go club addresses, which are presumably mostly out of date.

The introduction is intensely USAian oriented, Britain and Europe have their own histories, even in Go, and an introduction that only mentions the introduction of the game to the USA is not entirely appropriate here.

There are issues with the "ko" and "bent four in the corner" rules, as these have changed in wording though not so much in effect, since the book was published.

If a revised edition is ever written, which with the number of other (more expensive) books on the subject is unlikely, it would be a good idea to have all the diagrams on the same page as the text which refers to them, and the references to marked stones in the text is made difficult by the fact that the ink flows which means that the marks are somewhat obscured in the text. This is a common fault in go English language Go books, but since the marked stones in the figures show up almost perfectly, it should be possible to fix this in another printing.

All in all, authoritative but out of date, it will do so long as someone who is aware of the new rules can mention that there are minor issues to potential readers.
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