Merry Christmas everyone,
it’s been over 4 months since I posted my review of Endgame 3. I want to apologize to Robert for being so long. I am somewhat surprised nobody else picked up his offer to receive and review one of his endgame books. That or people have been even slower than me
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I am Arnaud Boucherie. As I am typing this review I am ranked 1 or 2 dan EGF but 2019 has not been an active year. I received a physical copy of the book in exchange for the review.
What’s in the bookAs the title says, it is a problem book. The book contains 150 problems, 130 of which are about getting the correct evaluation of a local endgame (sente/gote, count and move value). The first 20 problems are about getting the correct endgame on a 11x11 board. They are about spotting tesuji and reading life and death correctly and not much about calculation.
Even if it is a problem book, there are many pages about the theory. It is obviously much shorter than what you get in Engame 2 and 3 but it is enough to get you going if you are a good learner, and a great reminder if you have already read Endgame 2 and 3. The topics dealt are :
- counting gote and sente endgames
- distinguishing gote and sente positions
- kos
- theory of long sequences (should you play the sequence in one go or should play be interrupted)
Each problem comes with a detailled solution.
How did it go ?As I mentionned in my previous review, I actually started the book in June before reading Endgame 3. I made some mistakes in the first 20 problems from reading too fast, but most of them went fine. In my opinion all of them are doable for players at least 5k. The main lesson is that at some point you need to grab your sente moves before it’s too late.
I then did the first 25 calculation problems. I got « only » 4 of them wrong but I was very slow at the time.
At that point I switched to Endgame 3, learned some more theory, got a bit better at calculation from doing the examples and exercises. I was faster during my second trial.
Here are the results, problems are seperated the way they are in the book :
Problems 21~59 (basic problems) : I cannot find my results (edit:I found them! I made 6 mistakes) but I remember being much faster the second time
Problems 60~67 (not as basic) : I made 1 mistake
Problems 68~79 (ko) : I made 3 mistakes
Problems 80~99 (mixed problems) : I made 1 mistake
Problems 100~118 (some more mixed problems) : I made 7 mistakes
Problems 119~150 (problems for long sequences) : I made 7 mistakes. Those are also about indentifying long sequences worth playing, which I have not done (yet). I focused on getting the correct counts and move values.
My mistakes were of various types. Sometimes I didn’t count points correctly. Sometimes I overlooked a move was sente. Sometimes I overlooked a move tactically. Sometimes I didn’t understand the problem correctly, usually when it was in the center.
Edit: I forgot to mention that usually mistakes came in groups, which suggests that there has been days where I was sharp and days where I was off.
What did I learn ?Obviously I didn’t learn anything about theory, as the other books already covered it. Still, reading about long sequences the second time was easier. I lack the courage and confidence to do the related problems, but the examples were completly clear.
Practice makes perfect. My speed has increased a lot over the last 6 months. Calculations to check if a move is sente or gote became second nature. In that regard, the book helped a lot.
I still cannot do the problems mentally, unless the position is very easy. I tried when I picked up the book the second time, but I soon gave up. I use pen and paper to keep track of values. I wonder how well I could do without it in a real game.
Would I recommend it ?Yes ! I have not read Anti Tormanen’s Rational Endgame so I can’t compare. If you already know a bit about miai counting, Endgame problems 1 is a very good stand alone book. A year ago, in my review of Endgame 2, I complained about the first 50 pages being hard to follow, in my opinion. This time there are not many theory pages, but they are very clear and to the point. It is hard to judge if it is enough for most new readers, as I have already read about the theory before. If you started with Endgame problems 1 I would like to read your opinion. Anyways, if you are considering getting only one of Endgame 2/Endgame 3/Endgame problems 1 this is the one I would recommend.
Lastly, I was very impressed by the proof reading of the book. Whenever I disagreed with the solution, I always identified the mistake on my side, and it was never an issue because there is a lot of detail.
Since I learned go in 2004, 2019 is by far the year I played the least. Hopefully that will change in 2020. I will update my post next year to tell how it goes in real games and do a longer review of problems about long sequences.
If you have any question about Endgame 2 & 3 or Endgame problems 1, don’t be afraid to ask. I will happily answer.