Monday, December 2, 2013

On Books

There are lots of free online sites to practice go problems (GoProblems and GoChild, just to name a few), including software (Gobandroid and WeGolgo Lite among my favorites). But I'm pretty fond of books, and I prefer practicing from a book when I have the choice. Why? Because instead of having the stones arranged on screen with one click, I have to manually setup the stones on a physical board myself. And instead of starting over with another click, I must remove the stones and set it up again. This tedious labor is what fixes the pattern more easily into my brain. An analogy would be copy/pasting a piece of text versus typing it in. This is part of the "Learning the hard way" movement.
Of course you can read from a screen and use a physical board also, but the temptation to place the stones on the screen is too high, at least it doesn't work for me. When left alone on the board, nobody tells you if the first stone you placed is wrong, as happens when using software.
For documentation purposes, I do believe software is great, it allows storing each variation with comments in full detail.

Even if I knew a whole book by heart, I still like to have it around. I believe that authors when choosing the problems, strive to maintain them cohesive, and not leave corner cases untouched. I fear that studying random problems from different sources may take longer to cover all aspects.

This is my book collection so far, there are many great reviews already online, so I won't add another one here, instead just a few personal comments.
My first book
Many books have overlapping subjects, but chapters 7 and 8 of this book alone are worth it's value. They cover the subject of counting liberties and winning capturing races. Even though I haven't studied them thoroughly (I should someday), I know where to go when I need it.
Vol 1. is way too basic, I bought it only to complete the series.
I promise lot's of quotes from this excellent book in future posts.
Books that haven't arrived yet:


  1. What an impressive initial collection! Did you get your books from someone else or buy everything new from the publishers? (When I first started, I bought used copies of Graded Go Problems Vol 1 and 2 on Amazon that were more expensive than the new ones!!)

    1. I bought everything new from the publishers. I know that the web is full of material for studying, but I have a special attraction towards books. I feel that the authors put a great deal of time choosing the problems so as to provide a gradual learning curve, and they pick them in such a way that you get a grip on all different situations. My memory also works better when I can fix a problem to a specific book, or a position on the page, and they will always be physically lying in my bookshelf, inviting me to read them.