Review by the Author
- Title: Fighting Fundamentals
- Author: Robert Jasiek
- Publisher: Robert Jasiek
- Edition: 2013
- Language: English
- Price: EUR 26.5 (book), EUR 13.25 (PDF)*
- Contents: fighting
- ISBN: none
- Printing: good
- Layout: good
- Editing: good
- Pages: 256
- Size: 148mm x 210mm
- Diagrams per Page on Average: 3.5
- Method of Teaching: principles, structure, decisions,
- Read when EGF: 13k - 5d
- Subjective Rank Improvement: ++
- Subjective Topic Coverage: o
- Subjective Aims' Achievement: ++
Most middle games involve fighting. 33 years after Attack and Defense
introduced to the Western literature a first generally applicable
approach to fighting, appearance of another such book has been
overdue. Fighting Fundamentals enhances coverage from selection of a
few to all major fighting types, techniques
and principles. The book also presents the previously
under-represented, but essential topics of fighting aims and strategy.
The result is a clear and comprehensive treatise of fighting theory
applied to many examples.
Apart from the short introduction and the index of keywords, the book's
chapters are 'Basics' (21 pages), 'Types of Fights' (49), 'Primary
Aims' and 'Secondary Aims' (together 54), 'Fighting Techniques and
Moves' (87) and 'Strategy' (34).
The chapter 'Basics' ensures
that readers still unfamiliar with basic concepts, such as sente,
fundamentals of life, stability, thickness, influence or aji, meet them
now and are prepared for the following chapters, whose theory presumes
foundation. Furthermore, the chapter introduces the basic
which fights are all about: settled versus unsettled groups; important
versus non-essential stones; territory versus valuable versus neutral
regions. Thanks to this careful preparation, later in the book,
beautifully simple principles, such as "Prefer to fight about valuable
regions and important stones.", can be formulated and
recognising a fight's nature, one cannot understand it well. Therefore,
'Types of Fights' discusses, of course, the fighting types: reduction,
invasion, attack on one group, splitting attack, mutual running fight,
cutting fight, leaning attack and capturing race. The more demanding or
less familiar types are also explained: mutual settling fight, mutual
reduction fight, multiple groups fight, exchange and complex fight.
Principles identify the fair versus the one-sided fights and emphasise
consideration of territory and influence balances.
first hurdle is to identify a few aims of a fight at all. His next
obstacle is a flood of too many, conflicting and frequently changing
aims. The book resolves these problems by discussing all the
fundamental aims and inventing a clear structure: primary aims are
means to achieve secondary aims. In the chapter 'Primary Aims', the
reader learns about aims of defending or threatening life or stability,
or of offering a strategic choice. The following chapter 'Secondary
Aims' reveals a player's aims related to territory, influence,
or playing elsewhere. Both his and the opponent's view are considered.
Techniques and Moves' is the longest top level chapter, simply because
there are a good number of techniques. Besides the basic techniques of
attacking or defending life (capturing, maintaining connection of a
group's stones, connection to another group, cut, blocking,
eyespace construction or destruction, running), there are also
flexibility, severity, options and their related threats, contact plays
and efficiency. Forcing moves are considered from the attacker's or
defender's view, in case of combined attack and defense and with
respect to offered resistance. One must not forget
generally applicable techniques of reading, interruption of a fight,
timing and sacrifice. In conclusion, the chapter explains every
important technique. The instructive and sometimes spectacular examples
add an entertaining note.
Finally, the 'Strategy' chapter
profits from the previously developed theory by inventing powerful, but
easily understood principles with a general scope of application.
Since reductions and invasions frequently occur, they are given
Fundamentals answers all the essential questions of why, about what,
where, when and how to fight. For example, the reader learns which
group to attack or defend, while choosing good development directions.
Fighting regions are identified and compared by their values, so that
one can play in the most important region.
What does it mean to
be aware of the fundamentals of fighting? To start with, a player is
aware of every related topic; he does not have a major knowledge gap of
overlooking some topics entirely. Therefore, the book is comprehensive.
While the author still suffered from gaps in the Western literature and
had to discover one topic or another by himself as a 5 dan, the reader
can simply profit from the contents available now.
understanding the fundamentals includes knowledge of basic principles
at all, and then in their correct and most general (that is, most
useful) form, as stated in the book. On average, every subchapter has
one principle. While there are easy chapters without principles, other
chapters about demanding topics have a few principles. The principles
are formulated briefly. Most of them seem 'obvious' and
'self-evident', as soon as one has read them. Nevertheless, the book's
set of principles cover by far the most fighting decisions well. Could
learning of generally applicable theory be easier and more efficient?
chapter starts with a general introduction of the topic and explanation
of its theory. This part can be enriched by principles in bold
font. Usually, examples, their variation diagrams and comments conclude
are 243 examples discussing sequences from professional (or scarcely
top amateur) games. Most of the 54 other examples are in the Basics
chapter. Due to the many examples, there is space for only 18
problems. Most of the subchapters have three examples. Other
subchapters can have from one to ten examples, although General
Fighting Strategy has 14 and Reduction and Invasion 19
In case of the few subchapters with one or two examples, their study of
variations is particularly detailed.
The detailed table of
contents reserves a subchapter for every topic, so that there are 64
subchapters (other than problems / answers). Despite the typically only
three examples per subchapter, the flow of closely related topics and
the overall great number of examples guarantee good
of every topic and its theory.
When writing the book, a decision
between using simplifying, artificial versus realistic,
professional game examples had to be made. Although both have their
merits, the latter are preferred. A player's games rarely have
stereotype patterns. In the wilds of real world games, positions
tend to have complications. Instead of showing only important stones,
valuable regions and relevant aims, it is better to develop, as early
as possible, the ability to distinguish important from non-essential
stones, valuable from neutral regions and relevant from irrelevant
aims. Fighting Fundamentals achieves this by explaining these topics
throughout the book and clearly identifying the important aspects in
most examples discuss positions from professional games, the reader
need not fear complexity. Instead, analysis and comments concentrates
on a chapter's topic and explains the relevant difficulties or tactical
variations. Correct variations and good choices are compared with
failures and bad strategy.
What the Book is Not
Whilst the book discusses the fundamentals of each topic, its advanced
details must be studied in
specialising literature. Fighting Fundamentals is
neither a shape dictionary, nor a problem book. Although the book
explains every term beyond 'atari' and 'tesuji', players weaker than
EGF 13 kyu might find the Basics chapter too dense and most examples
above their head.
Fundamentals is a treasure for all players, except for absolute
beginners and the strongest players. For the kyu player, it can serve
as the first or second book on fighting. Intermediate and low dan
players having read several fighting books still find a lot of new and
important information. Although dan players are already
most of the contents, they can complete their fundamental knowledge.
The thorough structure of the contents allows the reader to develop a
clear and deep understanding.