Book Review: Get Strong at Invading

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getstrongv5cover

Get Strong at Invading

Description: In the fifth volume of the Get Strong at Go Series, Bozulich provides a ground-breaking book on a topic that every player in go encounters: invasions. Once the spheres of influences have been established, being able to choose the correct invasions is a key skill to becoming stronger and winning. Through 171 problems, readers will have many opportunities to practice and hone their invasion abilities.

[expand title=”Book Details” trigclass=”expandTitle”] [table] Title, Get Strong at Invading
Series, Get Strong at Go Series
Author, Richard Bozulich
Publisher, Kiseido
Published, “First Printing May 1995 | Second Printing January 2010″
Language, English
ISBN, 987-4-906574-55-1
Length, 152 Pages
Problems, 171 Problems
[/table] [/expand] [expand title=”Table of Content” trigclass=”expandTitle”]

  • Preface
  • Part One – Invasions on the Side
  • Part Two – Invading Corner Enclosures
  • Part Three – Invading Large Territories
[/expand] [expand title=”Before I Read This Book…” trigclass=”expandTitle”] Since I tend to be more of a “jump before you look” type of player, I’ve played my fair share of invasions without any regards as to whether or not it would be successful or whether it even hits the weak point. So in some regards, I have developed a basic understanding of how to invade based on trial and error. However, there have been numerous times where I wished that my decisions were made with a bit more sound judgment. So when I found out about this book, I couldn’t get around to ordering it fast enough.
[/expand] [expand title=”Synopsis” trigclass=”expandTitle”] What did I enjoy about the book?

  • Bozulich breaks invasions up into three common categories that players encounter: corner, sides, and frameworks.
  • There are numerous opportunities to practice identifying a similar type of weakness so that you can reinforce it in your mind.
  • In addition to identifying weaknesses and common invasion points, there are numerous problems that show the reader how to handle some common responses that their opponent might play.

What did I gain from reading this book?

  • A greater understanding and ability to identify how stronger players identify places to invade.
  • A much better grasp of what proper follow up moves are and the reason behind them.
  • A lot of new ideas regarding how to invade what I once considered “solid territory.”

What is the format of the book?

  1. A set of problems followed by their solutions and explanation. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

What aspects can be improved on?

  • I’m not sure of how feasible this really is, but I think it would have been helpful if there was a one-page summary of basic invasion principles that players should keep in mind when invading.

Is this book easy to read?

  • Yes. Explanations and solutions are very short and clear cut. In addition, the diagrams are not very complicated, so the solutions are typically very easy to follow.

Bottom Line

  1. Currently the only book (I’m aware of) that focuses exclusively on invasions.
  2. Provides a great way for players to get familiar with what are considered good invasion points and how they generally proceed afterwards.
  3. Highly recommended and worth the money for anyone interested in getting stronger at invading.
[/expand] [expand title=”My Review” trigclass=”expandTitle” expanded=”true”] When I first started playing, I remember how difficult it was for me to choose points of invasion. More often than not, I would stare at my opponent’s formation and feel so intimidated by it that I would never invade. Luckily for me, this book really helped to open my eyes in regards to where the weaknesses in popular formations are, along with the common follow-up move to make sabaki or life.
The first section on “Invasions on the Side” was very informative in helping me recognize what was considered thin and where the weak points were. In addition, there are variation in the problems regarding how the opponent responds and recommended responses along with the rationale for why the result is considered acceptable. Definitely very helpful.
The next section on “Invading Corner Enclosures” might be my favorite in this book. The reason for this is that I believe that kyu players often have difficulty identifying where to invade in an opponent’s corner enclosure. So more often than not, the territory is left untouched and assumed complete. By exposing players to the weaknesses and ways of living in “completed territory,” I think this will help a lot of players get stronger since they will feel better equipped to fight back when they are behind in territory.
In the last section on “Invading Large Territories,” Bozulich does a great job heping readers identify weak points in very common moyo shapes. Though focused on teaching players common invasion/reduction points, it also serves as a great way to practice analyzing the board as a whole.
My final piece of advice to players thinking about buying this book is this: Being able to choose the right invasion point and being able to make your invasion successful are two VERY DIFFERENT things. Aside from figuring out the proper timing, you must be aware of the fact that successful invasions involve lots of fighting and ability to make living shapes. So while this book will provide you the foundation you need for launching your invasions, just remember that there are multiple aspects to a successful invasion.
[/expand] [expand title=”Recommended For…” trigclass=”expandTitle”]
  1. Players looking to strengthen their ability to invade their opponent’s positions.
[/expand] [expand title=”Where Can I Buy It?” trigclass=”expandTitle”]
  • GoGameGuru – $20.99 USD (shipping and handling not included)
  • Kiseido – $21.00 USD (shipping and handling not included)
[/expand] [expand title=”Other Books in This Series…” trigclass=”lastExpandTitle”] [/expand]

Last Updated on September 24th, 2013.

About the author

BenGoZen

<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="4011 http://bengozen.com//?p=4011">4 comments</span>

  • Nice write up Ben, look forward to reading it (need to get busy working on the pile of books that stand between me and this).
    About your advice in the last paragraph. Is there something other then practicing (in games) studying tsumego and such that could be recommended to polish these multiple aspects of becoming a merciless marauder. Maybe reviewing games of pros who have an aggressive style? Anything else?
    This subject is one that interests me very much. Even though a novice, have already felt that one of the great thrills of go is when both I and opponent try to stuff as many stones as possible into each others territory. It feels like my attitude about being invaded is changing, like I want them to invade as much as possible, only holding out hope that I can occupy their arena just a bit more in the end. šŸ˜€

  • Nice write up Ben, look forward to reading it (need to get busy working on the pile of books that stand between me and this).
    About your advice in the last paragraph. Is there something other then practicing (in games) studying tsumego and such that could be recommended to polish these multiple aspects of becoming a merciless marauder. Maybe reviewing games of pros who have an aggressive style? Anything else?
    This subject is one that interests me very much. Even though a novice, have already felt that one of the great thrills of go is when both I and opponent try to stuff as many stones as possible into each others territory. It feels like my attitude about being invaded is changing, like I want them to invade as much as possible, only holding out hope that I can occupy their arena just a bit more in the end. šŸ˜€

    • Hmmm… if I were to give a summary of what I think is necessary for being a merciless marauder, it would be this: Learn how to sacrifice groups and not save everything. Now obviously this is an extremely loaded statement and not nearly as simple as it sounds, but when going over games of pros (or having your own games reviewed), you’ll find that successful invasions involve using probes to exploit aji along with being aware of when it is okay to sacrifice the tail of the dragon so that the body can live.
      If invading is something you are finding you enjoy greatly, than playing more territorially will make more sense since you will not create very many weak groups and can focus on making the invasion successful. On the other hand, if you enjoy your opponents invading and chasing them, then playing a moyo strategy is the other way to go.
      I hope I’ve given you some ideas as to how you can work towards becoming successful at being aggressive. I will be sure to jot this down as a future article though, since it’s obviously quite a deep topic. =)

      • Thanks for the thoughtful response, some interesting things to consider. What you said about sacrificing stones kind of stuck a chord (could be wrong but my impression is that that I sometimes sacrifice stones too willingly and am not getting the full benefit of the aji they may possess). Anyway this is definitely something to continue to ponder as I move forward with play and studies. Look forward to reading more of your thoughts on the subject in a future article. šŸ˜€

By BenGoZen

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