Thursday, October 05, 2006

I've started to play Go

Last week I have started to play Go. I took a seat near one of the games in the mini-club here, at Condor/U.Wisc./Madison/WI/USA, and got immediately hooked. Go is atari, joseki, aji, fuseki, hane, and zillion others, with only 19x19 spaces to pus black and white stones, alternatively. And much more. Tim Cartwright pointed me to this wonderful discussion of Go books [ http://www.gobooks.info/bib-difficulty.html ], from which I quote "
I recommend any of the first seven books listed beneath here. (The other three are good, too, but for various reasons I don't recommend them as strongly.) Learn to Play Go, Vol. 1: A Master's Guide to the Ultimate Game is very well-written and clear, and has the advantage that it's part of a series, so once you're done with it, you can read the other books in the series. Its downside is that volume 1 covers less material than the other books mentioned here and costs more. Iwamoto's Go for Beginners is the book that I learned from; I recommend it happily. It and Matthews's Teach Yourself Go have lots of bang for the buck; so they're cheaper than the others and contain more material, but for some people the presentation may go by a bit too quickly. They're also more likely to be available in a general bookstore than any other good go book, though fortunately Learn to Play Go is also making inroads. Go! More Than a Game does a better job of presenting cultural information surrounding the game than any other introductory book. Cho's Go: A Complete Introduction to the Game is also quite good: it's about as cheap as Go for Beginners, but is easier to read and contains nice cultural information (though not as nice as Go! More Than a Game). You'll have a hard time finding it in a general bookstore, but specialty bookstores carry it, as do web bookstores. It had an earlier incarnation under the title The Magic of Go; there's no real difference between the two editions. And The Book of Go uses the capture game to introduce go, which some people might like.
About equipment: most European cities seem to have cheap Go equipment for sale. Try for instance http://www.samarkand.net/ (Janet Kim's web site) for better quality.

To conclude: with Go, life is never simple. If you argue that it's the same without it, then you've probably never played Go.


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