Joseki / Volume 3: Dictionary
Review by the Author
- Title: Joseki / Volume 3: Dictionary
- Author: Robert Jasiek
- Publisher: Robert Jasiek
- Edition: 2012
- Language: English
- Price: EUR 26.5 (book), EUR 13.25 (PDF)*
- Contents: joseki
- ISBN: none
- Printing: good
- Layout: good
- Editing: good
- Pages: 256
- Size: 148mm x 210mm
- Diagrams per Page on Average: 5
- Methods of Teaching: decisions, classification, methods,
- Read when EGF: 10k - 3d
- Subjective Rank Improvement: +
- Subjective Topic Coverage: +
- Subjective Aims' Achievement: ++
Among the genres of go literature, joseki dictionaries have the worst
reputation: their purely tactical selection of countless variations
suggests rote learning. Everybody knows that this does not work. Joseki
/ Dictionary breaks with this tradition to emphasise understanding.
Strategy and evaluation are more important than minor tactical
variety. Therefore the book explains all the josekis'
choices and reasons in the global positional context and evaluates
their territory and influence. These aspects are so fundamentally
important that the book sets a new standard for joseki dictionaries.
Remarkable Top Achievements
Among the English language or probably world-wide go
books, Joseki / Dictionary is the only joseki dictionary
- explaining strategic choices for all its josekis,
- classifying all relevant joseki types by their functions
- stating a player's number of excess moves for all
- evaluating territory and influence for all its
- distinguishing equal from one-sided results in general,
- providing all major reasons for decisions in the
global positional context.
dominates the by far greatest part of the book's space. It contains the
dictionary of 3-3, 3-4, 3-5, 3-6, 4-4, 4-5, 4-6 and 5-5 josekis. Its
top level is organised in the traditional reference
style by coordinates of the initial moves. After the very few
first moves, structure relies on a different means: the major strategic
choices. There are decisions such as sente or gote, upper or left side,
thin or thick shape, territory or influence, favourable or unfavourable
ladder, support or no support in the adjacent corner etc. The usual row
of three diagrams shows the prior position, one follow-up choice and
sequence, and the alternative follow-up choice and sequence. Every
follow-up sequence has the moves until the subsequent
choice or the sequence's end. This structure greatly eases both
understanding and learning because strategic choices are clearly
distinguished from minor tactical considerations.
inserted game examples enrich the text, show applications in the
positional context, illustrate alternative variations or sometimes
exhibit failures. Those diagrams show sufficient parts of the
board or the whole board for understanding the reasons of choices.
Where necessary, additional diagrams explain non-obvious tactics.
Diagrams for ladders are put right after the strategic choices for such
conditions. As for the strategic choices, the reader need not search
but finds the relevant information exactly where he needs it.
Nevertheless, the book comes with indexes for diagrams and keywords.
Besides there are 33 mostly tactical problems.
professional games have been consulted to distinguish modern from
outdated variations, identify currently popular moves, verify the
joseki sequences and identify the practically occurring reasons for
strategic choices in the global positional context. Thus the reader
profits from several weeks of empirical research by the author.
One of the
great hurdles for joseki learning is the difficulty of recognising a
joseki's functions. Chapter 2 classifies the types of josekis,
characterises every type, studies typical strategic choices and
provides the relation to relevant reasons for the strategic decisions.
For example, there is the type 'mutual running fight' and the reason to
'make territory during the fight'. The chapter is as simple as
valuable; its fundamentals are learnt easily.
Have you ever
wondered whether a sequence creates a joseki or why
dictionaries do not tell you the why? Chapter 3 gives the answer by
the necessary theory! With a bit of practice, a player's current
territory can be counted. Usually, assessing influence is even easier:
count a player's number of influence stones, then compare Black's and
White's numbers! The theory tolerates small calculation mistakes.
Needless to say, one must also know whether both
players have played the same number of stones in the corner. Josekis
are classified according to their values of territory and
influence. Without a proper balance, a result is 'favourable for a
player'. The book offers solutions also for sequences in which a player
has played one or two stones more than the opponent. The age of alchemy
ends - now everybody can evaluate josekis!
Why would a player learn josekis from a purely tactical dictionary
consisting of two or three volumes? Surely he does not want to maximise
his necessary effort, doesn't he? The author firmly believes that a
dictionary consisting of just one volume suffices. What matters is
rather how careful the dictionary's josekis have been selected.
Probably Joseki / Dictionary with its 400 josekis and 130 (mostly
professional, a few top amateur) game examples can serve as the only
joseki dictionary a player needs for his go career. A beginner finds
the simple variations, a kyu player finds exactly the practically
relevant variations and a dan player finds the most frequent of the
modern, recently invented josekis. When a player understands the book's
variations, he will be prepared to rediscover or invent further josekis
Although Volumes 1 and 2 provide all the background
go theory, Volume 3 presumes comparatively little prior knowledge. The
essential terms' definitions of the preceding volumes are repeated. For
a truly profound
understanding, it is recommended though that the reader has at least a
rough idea of development directions, sacrifice, large scale cuts and
aji. In other words, a player profits the most by understanding well
both strategic concepts and josekis. Volume 3 can be read
independently, but a kyu player wishing to reach dan level some time
cannot circumvent strategic concepts forever.
/ Dictionary can be used as a
textbook or a reference. It serves the joseki learning of players from
10 kyu to 3 dan while they get a very thorough understanding.
Evaluation adds another
layer to the book; players below 5 kyu can postpone chapter 3
the values in
the diagram captions. Since the
strategic choices, evaluation, classification and reasons explain the
core missing in purely tactical dictionaries, they can be understood
better while consulting Joseki / Dictionary. Players from 4 to 5 dan
can complete their knowledge gaps related to modern josekis not
existing in their older source. For yet stronger players, the
evaluation method is new.
What the Book is Not
Volume 3 does not repeat the go
theory of Volumes 1 and 2. Since Joseki / Dictionary offers the most
important tactical variations but presumes the reader's ability to find
the easiest alternative tactics by himself, probably the book is not
those double digit kyu players still having basic tactical
difficulties. Joseki / Dictionary does not compete in terms of
numbers of tactical variations, as found in detailed purely tactical
dictionaries such as the Nihon Kiin's Joseki
Dictionary. Joseki /
Dictionary has intentionally skipped most of the too complicated, rare
++ (very good), + (in between average and very good), o (average), -
(in between very bad and average), -- (very bad), ~ (to)
/ Volume 3 : Dictionary
|Number of josekis
||o ~ ++
|Number of failure variations
||- ~ ++
|Stating equal / favourable results
|Stating territory and influence values etc.
|General evaluation method
|Strategic choices and reasons
||-- ~ o
|Go theory is found easily vs. buried in the text
||-- ~ -
|Professional game examples
||-- ~ +
|Modern josekis included
||-- ~ ++
|Relies on professional experience / databases