American e-Journal review, republished by permission of the American Go Association
Reviewer: Philip Waldron
The phrase “opening dictionary” brings to mind massive chess tomes filled with a maze of variations for every conceivable opening. While hardly at that level, the nearly 300 pages of this book do provide some systematic analysis of several modern openings, including the mini-Chinese, full Chinese and Kobayashi fusekis.
Each of the book's 59 sections a position from the very early (~5-10 moves) of a common opening and provides roughly a dozen diagrams discussing possible variations. Although this cannot hope to provide an exhaustive analysis of an entire opening, it does cover the major branches. Because the analysis deals with the early stages of the game, it is hardly definitive. Variations where one player gets blown away in 20 moves are not shown. “Black has better prospects” is a typical judgment, and considerable playing strength is required to convert such an advantage into a win. For this reason the book will be most useful to dan-level players. Kyu players will likely have to grow into the book as their openings improve, although seeing a discussion of why some opening variations are not played by pros is bound to help.
Given the scarcity of high-level opening theory available in English and the complete absence of any analysis of several modern openings, this book should be a welcome addition to any shelf. While unlikely to have anyone playing perfect openings by the next Congress, this book is very well written and I highly recommend it.