In the Beginning (Elementary Go Series, Vol. 1)



In the Beginning (Elementary Go Series, Vol. 1)
As in many creation stories, we have darknees, and then light. So it is from the very first stone of a game of Go. Ishigure takes us on an exploration of these beginnings, my favorite time of the game, Because of it's open and abstract qualities, it is by it's very nature difficult to teach with authority, simply because there is none. There are very many approaches to the opening game, the basic structure and strategies of which have evolved over time. I find it fascinating, and a tribute to the flexibility of the game itself, that for as many thousands of years as Go has been played, there have been significant new developments in opening style in just the past hundred years alone.
In addressing the Beginning, Ishigure is giving us a philospohy of the game as a whole. He handles the subject matter with skill. He shows us how to build solid bases from which to attack and pincer. We see different shimari and kakari, but instead of an emphasis on joseki, Ishigure stays true to the nature of this time in the game by focusing on a broader context. We are shown the values of diferent areas, relative to position. There are problems throughout the text, and in their own section as well.. All of this leads us through nine Concepts which will help guide us through developing our own style of opening. These are principles of balance, on which every rank of player needs to act.
Reading this book has given me more insight into the state of mind required to play Go well. This of course brings more appreciation of the game; and also of the cultures which have embraced it.


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