Capturing Races 1 / Two Basic Groups

Review by the Author

General Specification


The book Capturing Races 1 / Two Basic Groups can be read as a textbook or used as a reference dictionary. A textbook reading is supported by introducing the terms and basic theory before applying it and by preceding every central chapter with problems and concluding it with their answers. Thereby the reader can verify whether he has understood and can apply the theory correctly. The book serves also as a dictionary because the classification of capturing races with two basic groups is complete and many chapters have overview or summary of the principles.

Most of the 272 pages carry these five chapters or groups of chapters: Terms and Basic Theory (43 pages), Class 1: Two Basic Groups, No Kos, No Approach Defects (132 pages), New Semeai Formula (7 pages), Classes 2 to 6, which are variants of Class 1 (54 pages), Correcting Mistakes in Literature (16 pages). Introduction, literature list and index round off the book. A semeai class refers to all capturing races with the same general properties.

The basic theory chapter defines all the necessary terms such as 'semeai eye', 'stable', 'strong' and 'favourite'. Only due to this very careful preparation, completeness of the case classification could be achieved and players can know in general which principles apply and which don't. Otherwise application of the same popular mistakes found in literature would continue. Now they are revealed and a weak result of earlier research is replaced by one of the book's highlights: The 'new semeai formula' expresses the elegance and power everybody desires because of being easily applicable to all the 24 cases of Class 1 semeais. Recognition of a new concept different from approach liberty and invention of the term 'fighting liberty' make this possible.

While the five basic semeai types 'no eyes', 'each side has a small eye', 'each side has a big eye of the same size', 'only one side has an eye' and 'one side has big eye and the other side has a smaller eye' are known in earlier literature, this book goes one level deeper and describes all the 93 possible cases. For a semeai class and type, every case distinguishes different conditions such as numbers of exclusive approach liberties and some of the over 200 principles state which to count to determine status and outcome. The applied illustration uses simple and clear examples to assist fast learning of the theory. Together with a meticulously carefully chosen order and structure of the types and cases and textual and tabular summaries at the chapters' ends, the reader is motivated to absorb everything and keep it in memory permanently.

The book combines refined earlier knowledge and many new discoveries and presents everything with such a great clarity that players from beginner to top level will get a good understanding of the basic capturing races. Even the author doubled his related knowledge while writing the book.

Principles don't attract you, you solve each basic semeai correctly within a few seconds and you are interested only in complicated kos? Then reading some dan player's problem collection might be a better choice. Everybody else gets the capturing races' state of the art as a solid fundament for his games.

Future Volumes

Volume 1 misses all those topics that will be studied in detail in later volumes of this Capturing Races series. Several further volumes can be expected but only later research can reveal their necessary number. The author's tentative schedule envisions these volumes:
It is, e.g., possible though that outside and inside approach defects need to be split in two volumes or one ko on the outside, on the inside or in an eye requires more than one volume. Since the plan is an essentially complete study of all capturing races and a great advancement of Go theory, there will be as many volumes as necessary and research and writing them all can take a couple of years.
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2016 Robert Jasiek