Full title is Graded go problems for dan players, vol 3 - 300 joseki problems. Originally published in Japanese by the Nihon Ki-in as Shodan Gokaku no Joseki and Sandan Gokaku no Joseki. Compiled by Kazuhiro Aiba, translated by John Power and published in English by Kiseido in 2009. http://kiseido.com/dan.htm
Because I couldn’t find much information about the book before I bought it, I thought I’d just write some words about it. I have not gone through the whole book yet, so this is more of a first impression kind of review. I would probably not have bought it if I hadn’t already bought vol 1 (tsumego) and vol 2 (tesuji) in the same series, both being my favourite problem books.
So, joseki. For some reason, there are some strong opinions on if or how it should be studied before you are basically 5d. Don’t memorize joseki you’re told, then you mess up in josekis. You tell yourself “Never again, I’m buying myself a dictionary!”. And then you ask yourself, where to start? There are thousands of variations. Sure, there are explanations for the moves, but will you really remember that important move in an obscure variation of that uncommon joseki in two weeks from now? I sure didn’t, but those dictionaries are nice to have, as dictionaries, not as much as a studying tool. So yeah, I get it, it is easy to put in a lot of time and get little out of it when you have to choose from thousands of joseki. So I went looking for another way...
Graded go problems for dan players vol 3, 300 joseki problems by Kiseido presents a select collection of joseki in problem format. It seems to focus on common and “basic” joseki, with problems including next move in joseki, punishment of overplays/misplays and trick plays. First you get a position with the last move marked, and a hint in the text under it (often vague, like “black’s timing is important” or “what is white’s aim? Read it and counter it”). Next to the problem you get the same position but with every move numbered. I think this separation helps to think about the position in a more neutral way than just seeing a variation and trying to recall the next move from memory. I think it forces you to understand instead of memorize. By turning the page you will find the answer to the problems, usually with one correct diagram, with two failures or suboptimal/special variations. Diagram 2 can be a follow up sequence of the correct answer if there are a lot of moves.
If you have read the Get strong at Joseki series, you’ll recognize the format. However, where Get strong at joseki focuses on a few josekis (nadare anyone?...) with tons of variations, this book contains a bigger selection of joseki but with less focus on smaller variations. For me this is very welcome, it doesn’t get boring and you’re being exposed to a lot of positions. A couple of problems can hardly be counted as 1 dan level, but maybe they are there for moral boost. What I really like is the selection of joseki, the fact that they are scrambled (you don't get 4 problems in a row on the same or almost the same position) and that the number of moves can be anything from 1 to 20 depending on the problem. Just making good shape with one move is sometimes correct, but sometimes the correct thing to do might be to push and cut and win a capturing race. A lot of reading is required
For the record, I am currently ranked as 2k on KGS and I find the 1d problems suitable for my level. Here is one example of a 1d problem.
I'm having trouble figuring out how that position was reached in the first place. What does it give as the move order that created the position?
Ah yes, I forgot to include that diagram. I'm on my phone now but I will add it when I wake up tomorrow. But the position arrives from black capping white's approach move, white making a two space extention, black kicking and white extending up.
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