Games of Go

BGJ 149 Autumn 2009

Reviewer: Pat Ridley

ISBN 978-0-9561562-1-1

It has 12 fully commented games ''...written by a kyu player for kyu players.'' The author, Neil Moffatt, a member of the Cardiff club, is 2 kyu KGS (6 kyu EGF) and his target readership is beginners to intermediate players, up to around 8 kyu KGS (about 10 kyu EGF).

This is a beautifully produced book, the design greatly aiding its readability and clarity. It is self-published and I suspect the author's control of the process aided this greatly.

There is a diagram for every move, indicated by a dot on the new stone. In my opinion this is a highly successful approach which avoids some of the problems I, and I am sure many others, find with 'traditional' books. In 'Games of Go' the eye quickly finds the relevant place without the distraction of several numbered stones and it is easy to follow the sequence without one having to mentally remove stones in order to visualise intermediate positions, or alternatively play through the game on board. Shading is used to indicate potential territory and variations are clearly differentiated in boxes from the main text. There is a comment for every move. The result is an A4-sized book of over 200 pages, so not something to slip into your pocket for a train journey, but this is a small price to pay for the clarity gained. I am not aware of any other collections of game reviews that have adopted the same approach, though two books by Yuan Zhou with a small number of moves per diagram have the same concept.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it without hesitation to any double-digit kyu players. All the games reviewed were played on KGS and the levels of the players range from 20 kyu to 8 dan. As a double-digit kyu, I am not competent to judge the accuracy and usefulness of the comments on the games played at the top end of this range, but the comments on the games at my own level and below seemed to me particularly clear and instructive. In contrast most other sources of game reviews, Go World for example, seem to me to assume a much higher level of understanding from their readers. I, for one, would welcome more books written at the level and in the format Neil Moffatt has adopted here. For beginners, a glossary of some basic Go terms might have been useful, though they would no doubt find these in any suitable instruction book. The author has written such a book, 'Learn Go', which, however, I have not yet seen.

The author has a website where, amongst other resources, you can see samples from both his books and draw your own conclusions at first-hand. 'Games of Go' is available to BGA members from the BGA Bookshop and to the rest of the world from Amazon.

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