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More Go by example: Improving single-digit kyu play Paperback – 12 May 2012
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I play fast, it's not really a choice, I have for decades, I don't have the concentration to play slower, I'd start thinking of other things. I sometimes get a little angry when other players take their time, even if it is only for one or two moves, I am suspicious that some do it as a tactic. I'm not convinced that fast play is necessarily less careful, mistakes can be made at any tempo.
I do like the emphasis on whole board thinking.
Sometimes you have to answer an opponent's play, always would be too often, just as never would be too little.
I don't like the name "reading", that word sounds like a child looking at "the. cat. sat. on. the. mat.", when you are experienced at playing go it feels more like seeing to me, you do have to look carefully but it's not a matter of looking at each possibility in turn, it's more a matter of looking at the whole particular game by its different aspects, it's quite fast and pretty detailed.
Definitely recommended book and his previous one for double digit kyu players 'GO by Example'.
The book contains a number of chapters each identifying a general principle ("Looking Beyond the Immediate Position", "Whole Board Balance" and the like) and these chapters are broken into several examples each, using relevant fragments of games to illustrate each point in several ways. The practice here of taking example situations and following them for only a few moves to illustrate the principle seems an excellent teaching tool, allowing for repeated viewing of a single principle in different situations with the hope that you might be able to identify a similar situation "in the wild" in one of your games.
There are a huge number diagrams in the book, with passages of play illustrated using a single diagram for each move. This is the first time I have seen this format and I found it difficult to maintain context while constantly refocusing on the next diagram each move, but this is largely a matter of personal taste and is certainly no worse than the "one diagram with a lot of numbers" format.
The author clearly has a pet issue concerning short time limits in games and the automatic and unthinking play that can result from lack of time or just from failure to think sufficiently deeply about positions. I feel that much of this is tilting at windmills as it is a simple fact that both online and tournament games are played at a faster speed than previously and there is probably no going back (I am not happy about it either). But aside from the odd comment here and there decrying the superficiality of blitz play the examples are all fairly chosen and contain excellent examples of the kinds of mistakes that an SDK could make at any time control and in which bypassing the obvious move by giving things just a bit more thought could pay huge dividends in a game.
In my opinion, kyu and dan level players differ in several areas: Dan players read (calculate) better; they have a larger database of patterns in their memory that indicate to them where a non-obvious move might work; and they have a better whole-board and strategic understanding of the game, enabling them to calculate with more sophisticated aims in mind. Given limited thinking time, knowing when and what to read is as important as calculating well. While this book will not improve your calculating ability, it will help players at my level start to build an understanding of those critical factors and to identify moments where one must read more deeply into a position.
SDK represents a huge range in playing ability (a player at the lower end of this range could give 8 stones to one at the upper end, after all), and I do not know how well it covers the low-SDK range. Overall, however, I found much food for thought and I am sure that several of these ideas could improve my game by several stones if I could apply them consistently.