Friday, November 27, 2009

Requesting Ideas on Refinishing Goban

Wax is difficult. Unless the wood is sealed, it gets deep in the wood. After adding wax, you cannot draw the lines any more - the ink/lacquer does not stick any more. So if you can plane the board, then first seal, then draw lines, then wax.
Always test the combination you intend to use with a test piece of wood, so you can see that the lines will be nice, and not smudging.
The Japanese use I guess some softer wax. I made mine with carnauba wax (which is the hardest natural wax).

I'd start by scrubbing down the surface with soap and water! Hopefully, you'll be happy with the amount of dirt that gets washed away. This is the way my current goban looked for several years before I gave it a wash.


The big stain came out and, after a little oiling, it now has a bright sparkle. I've washed other gobans with equally good results.


An amazing improvement, but it looks like  lines were still good, but the original posters lines look worn off. Still it is worth a try to wash first as that is less drastic.

Looking for a website listing Go Books by difficulty

Site 1:

Site 2:

I think he has a good list, but it's kind of biased. Roberts book is rated ++ when he hasn't been able to read it himself as a player who doesn't understand those concepts. Another thing is books are rated bad because they don't show rank improvement. I think a lot of the books mentioned do improve your rank. Not your overall rank, but your strength in that specific subject. It's not that his list is bad. I think it's really good, but its incomplete.

Where to begin - life and death for beginners?

Where do you begin?  Here's what I think I know.

1) Regardless of any heuristics you might start with - ultimately you have to 'read it out' -- I got that. Problem is? As a noob - not having a clue where to begin - I'm faced with MORE variations to consider than someone who knows what they're doing. And very quickly get overwhelmed.

2) Practice, practice, practice... so that I get familiar with the basic patterns. Got that. And working on it.  With these two observations as a given... any suggestions?  One thing I find myself barely able to do - and it's getting a bit easier - is to identify where eyes would have to be for a group to live. I find this easier to do when a group has invaded in the centre, away from sides and corners, and I figure out what points to 'take' to make sure it dies a bloody death.  But beyond this, I flounder - basically trying to solve LD probs using the brute force method. Very plodding - no real sense of 'art' in any manner. And again? My head isn't big enough for the number of possible variations generated by good old brute force. Any beginner hints? I know there's no magic here. I suspect that the only path is practice, practice, practice until your eyes bleed out.

Kiseido also has Graded Go problems for Beginners, which I recommend. It has a variety of different problems, instead of just life and death.

Difficulty level of 501 Tesuji Problems

Recently I have started going through the book 501 Tesuji Problems, and I am finding most of the problems obscenely hard, I spent an hour and a half on one page last night and got 3 out of 9 right (around problem 85.) See for an example of a problem. I have checked the GD product database, and LPDavid and Slarty both suggest that the book should be possible for a player that is close-ish but not yet a Dan. Sensei's Library does not have information for this book on its useful "Problem Book Grades" page.
Just in case any of you were wondering if I am torturing myself in the name of getting better at Go, this is not really the case  I really like the Mastering the Basics series, especially the excellent Making Good Shape, and I appreciate all the explanation diagrams and the cool way that similar problems recur helping to crystallize the tesuji pattern in my mind. 

Two most common questions:

1: How hard have others found this book?* Is it that my reading is unusually poor for my rank? I found it comfortably lukewarm (I would read it before I sleep every once in a while; just from those bedtime readings, in the end I got through about half the book and began reading something else from there). I have never read Get Strong at Tesuji, James Davies' Tesuji, or the Kensaku Tesuji dictionary, so no comment there.

2: Is it worth doing a book that I find so difficult, I mean, will I learn things? IMHO, no. It is much better to go through problems you are comfortable with and getting through many of those done than to crawl at a snail-pace over problems that fly over your head. Solving problems should be comfortable and enjoyable, not stressful and torturous (of course there are a few exceptions...).

Free legal Go eBooks

Even though there are out there illegally in PDF format.  Yes. There are a few go books available in PDF format, but they're few and far between. The vast majority are only available in dead tree format. Since I (and I assume many other voracious readers) plan to purchase more digital and fewer physical books, I want to know if Go publishers plan to follow the publishing industry's general trend and offer larger online selections.
Plenty here if your reader can handle PDF well.

Here are some free, legal books on pdf

Remember. Physical books have higher resale value.

Well there's a big difference between reading from monitors and ebook reading. I had a cybook ebook reader for a while and was quite comfortable reading novels - e-ink displays are very easy on the eye.

However, nowadays I feel I don't have the time to read random novels or histories so its value hinged on Go books. Perhaps newer ebook readers will have a better spec but the cybook couldn't handle pdfs of books scanned in as images - they were too big. It couldn't manage the Go world free example pdf for example or the copy of All about thickness I bought. It would have been fine if I'd had a big collection of sgf tsumego to covert to pdf myself (i.e. do it properly). That said, only books with high readership seem to be 'worth it' for publishers to do proper ebook versions, so if I were ever to get another ebook reader (I sold the cybook) it'd have to have about 5Gb+ (ideally 50Gb+) storage, decent memory and good pdf scrolling capabilities since my guess is the level of support of the ebook format isn't going to improve - though I'd love Slate & Shell to move into that market and prove me wrong.

Suggestions On Purchasing Excellent Reading Problem Books from

I'm looking to add a couple of more books to the list below. My criteria is that the books offer excellent practice in reading by way of problems. This means that I am looking only for problem books. Hopefully, people won't just list every run-of-the-mill problem book, but rather those which promote or represent excellence in some form or fashion. Lastly, I don't have a need for the classics before the early 20th century (such as "Gokyo Shumyo") as they can be found for free in various forms easily enough. The books that I currently plan on purchasing are:
碁の力を強くする本 <上> - The Book to Increase Your Fighting Strength at Go, Vol. 1
碁の力を強くする本 <下> - The Book to Increase Your Fighting Strength at Go, Vol. 2
手筋事典〈下〉- Segoe Tesuji Dictionary, Vol. 3
I'm looking at the recently reprinted "Maeda Tsumego" set, but haven't decided on it yet, as there may be better options.

So far. I have made five book orders from in the last year. The shipping costs were as follows (i) $73.55 for 13 books; (ii) $77.79 for 15 books; (iii) $78.01 for 15 books; (iv) $47.10 for 6 books; and (v) $81.61 for 17 books. The more books you order at once the better the deal you get on the shipping (but it's still quite expensive in any event).

Kiseido shipping is mind blowing

Wow... I ordered my books on the Opening, based upon suggestions on this forum, on Saturday.
I live in Toronto, Canada. I was hoping that they MIGHT show up this week before I leave on Saturday. I didn't believe I had a chance.  They showed up today. Amazing.  All the way from Japan in less than 4 business days. Truly stunning service. Shipping was 600 Yen... $6.60 USD... !!! for three books! I picked up: Opening Theory made Easy (K36), as well as Get Strong at the Opening (K51) and 501 Opening Problems (K71)

Keep customers happy - you get free advertisement

Go Problem books

What books do you recommend for me AND WHY? I am between 4-1k on KGS. I looking to spend $50 or less. Please explain why it is good and what it did for you particularly?  I just used the problem database on Many Faces of Go v.11. I want something for when I'm on the bus or at school. I want something challenging, yet something I can solve without TOO MUCH trouble...

The new Kiseido "Graded Go Problems for Dan Players" books. They would go from just below your level to just above. I have the Japanese originals for these books and they are fine, very well chosen problems.

Also, The Segoe tesuji dictionary is very good, but I'm not sure it meets your criteria of being solvable without too much trouble. I own the Chinese version but you don't have to worry about a language barrier. Yutopian sends a sheet with the essential character definitions. You might want to look into 1001 Life & Death Problems or Get Strong at Tesuji. There are plenty of problems to solve and they're great for studying on the go. I used both of those books when I took the light rail to work every day. I'm not sure I'd get very far on the Segoe dictionary while riding a crowded train with lots of noise around me.

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