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Review: Mastering Basic Corner Shapes - Step-by-step

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Robert Jasiek

Apr 28, 2023, 7:41:35 AM4/28/23

* Title: Mastering Basic Corner Shapes - Step-by-step
* Author: Young Sun Yoon
* Publisher: Korea Baduk Association et al
* Edition: 2022-12-25
* Language: English
* Price: EUR 0 (plus any commission or postage)
* Contents: life and death
* ISBN: none
* Printing: good
* Layout: good
* Editing: intermediate to weak
* Pages: 270
* Size: 153mm x 224mm
* Diagrams per Page on Average: 2
* Method of Teaching: selected examples
* Read when EGF: 7k - 1k
* Subjective Rank Improvement: o
* Subjective Topic Coverage: -
* Subjective Aims' Achievement: +


The book Mastering Basic Corner Shapes - Step-by-step contains life
and death problems, answer diagrams and accompanying text. Besides
short introduction, diagram index and appendix, the main part
comprises 50 chapters on 229 pages. 36 chapters contain the problems
while 14 chapters refer to their joseki origins. In the former, every
chapter has 4 problems and a brief summary. Subtracting one duplicate,
there are 143 problems. Within each chapter, the difficulty increases
from the first to the fourth problem typically with a position a few
moves earlier. Apart from the appendix, there is no structured theory.


The book claims to present basic corner shapes and this is mostly
correct. Of course, no single book can cover all shapes. The curios
omission, however, is the most frequent basic corner shape resulting
from the 3-3 under 4-4 invasion. Otherwise, the author has selected
the shapes well: they occur rather frequently and offer a decent
variety of techniques. The selection differs from All About Life and
Death and more basic life and death books so makes more shapes
accessible to the English literature.


For the four problems of a chapter, there are altogether about half a
dozen to a dozen answer diagrams with short commenting texts, which
contains hardly any further variations. The diagrams show solutions,
variations, failures, or sometimes additional analysis.

The author speaks of the most relevant sequences in the diagrams. Some
of them are relevant indeed but the reader must not fall under the
illusion of sufficient diagrams. The greatest weakness of the book is
the missing variations. The reader must read about two or three times
as many relevant variations as shown. As a related aspect, the author
mentions visualisation, memorisation and neuroscience in the
introduction and appendix but fails to explain tactical reading and
its decision-making, which would also consider the missing variations.
A reader knowing tactical reading and reading all relevant variations
can, however, profit more from the book by overcoming the author's or
publisher's desire of pretending easy teaching and prominent layout.


Some of the problems might also be suitable for 10k - 8k players but
such readers face the difficulties of the missing variations and
presumed knowledge, although the appendix, which introduces bent-4,
10000-year-ko and approach ko, might mitigate this a bit if read in
between. A few problems have some variations of intermediate
difficulty suitable for low dans but a dan would not read the whole
book just for them or a basic type of ko previously neglected in other
texts. Hence, the core readership is 7k - 1k. A dedicated low dan
should not condemn the book though, as it is a reminder of what he
should know but probably partially might be missing. A reader can
first solve the problems and then consult the book again for


Although the book must have undergone some proofreading, there are
many minor mistakes of language or sometimes contents but they do not
obstruct reading significantly. An accompanying leaf only lists a few
of them. There are occasional relevant mistakes of contents, such as
swapped diagrams, a suboptimal solution disregarding the endgame, a
few terms on ko types and counting versus scoring used wrongly, and
consequences of shapes in the appendix for rules application. A reader
of a free book can easily forgive such but should not blindly trust


The author has been enabled to create the book so that it can be free.
However, it might not be easily available because reasonable postage
cannot be offered everywhere these days. Therefore, you might have to
await distribution at some large tournaments or possibly pay some
commission to a retailer.


Mastering Basic Corner Shapes - Step-by-step is a welcome addition to
the English literature offering suitable practice for problem solving
but should show more relevant variations, include the most frequent
class of shapes and receive better proofreading.
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