Nie Weiping on Go

American e-Journal review, republished by permission of the American Go Association

Reviewer: Philip Waldron

ISBN 0-9641847-2-9

I must beat the Japanese 9-dans. Move X showed good judgment and took the whole board situation into account. One must come up with a battle strategy that is based on detailed analysis. Memorize these sentences and you will have absorbed 75% of the content of “Nie Weiping on Go”.

Curiously, the first 27 pages of this go book contain no go at all, but rather a biographical sketch of Nie Weiping's childhood and early career. Poorly written and rife with nationalism, the chapter was likely inserted by a government propaganda officer and contributes little to the overall book. The actual go content of the book is divided into several chapters, including forcing moves and utilizing thickness, each ostensibly related to the overall theme of positional judgment. Illustrating each concept is a collection of game commentaries, showing how a particular theme played a role in a Nie Weiping win over (you guessed it) a Japanese 9-dan. After suffering through the initial biography, I had hoped that the commentaries might contain a few grains of useful advice, but this was not to be. With the exception of the last two “fully annotated” games, a typical analysis gave a half-dozen variation diagrams accompanied by a largely superficial commentary, which included such trivial advice as “Knowing one's enemy like oneself wins all battles.”

“Nie Weiping on Go” appears to be more of a propaganda piece than a serious effort to teach go. Players interested in positional judgment should consult the book of the same name, while those wanting in-depth game commentaries would do better with a Go World subscription. Overall, this book is a disappointment.

Published by Yutopian Enterprises, ©1995

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