Book Review: Level Up 1

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Level Up! - Volume 1 Cover

Level Up 1

Description: Level Up 1 is part of the Level Up! Series that serves as a workbook in private go schools in Korea. Though designed for children, the content and practice provided is invaluable for adults and children alike.

[expand title=”Book Details” trigclass=”expandTitle”] [table] Title, Level Up 1
Series, Level Up! Series
Author, Lee Jae-Hwan
Translators, Lee Seong-Geun & Daniela Trinks
Supervisor, Yoo Chang-Hyuk (9P)
Publisher, Baduktopia
Published, “October 13th, 2011″
Language, English
ISBN, 978-89-90965-81-3
[/table] [/expand] [expand title=”Table of Content” trigclass=”expandTitle”]

  1. “Level Up” Book Introduction
  2. Baduk Rules
  3. Capturing & Saving 1
  4. Capturing & Saving 2
  5. Capturing & Saving 3
  6. Both sides in Atari (Dansu)
  7. Liberty
  8. Playing Baduk during a Surgery
  9. Baduk Board Terms
  10. Connection
  11. Cut
  12. Opening Sample 1
  13. Atari (Dansu) towards the Line of Death
  14. Atari (Dansu) While Cutting
  15. Atari (Dansu) Towards Your Own Stones
  16. Baduk Around the World
  17. Opening Sample 2
  18. Double Atari (Double Dansu)
  19. Suicide
  20. Reducing LIberties
  21. Beware of Jachung (Taking Your Own Liberty)
  22. Reducing Outside Liberties First
  23. Reduce and Cut
  24. Opponent’s Thoughts
  25. Opening Sample 3
  26. Ladder
  27. How to Answer
  28. Level Tests
[/expand] [expand title=”Synopsis” trigclass=”expandTitle” expanded=”true”]
  1. The best introductory book that I have encountered thus far.
  2. Imagine one of those practice workbooks you used to have in school, except about go.
  3. Does a fantastic job giving the reader lots of opportunity to reinforce the concepts they learn.
[/expand] [expand title=”Before I Read This Book…” trigclass=”expandTitle”] My Abilities

  • A 5 kyu who has read his fair share of go books and has a pretty strong foundation in the basics and teaching go.

My Perspective

  • I was looking for a series that could fill the missing niche of breaking down concepts in an easy to understand manner while giving lots of opportunity to practice what they just learned.
[/expand] [expand title=”My Review” trigclass=”expandTitle” expanded=”true”] What did I enjoy about the book?

  • The diagrams and explanations are very simple and very easy to follow, which is ideal for new players.
  • There are lots of opportunity to reinforce the concept being taught regardless of how “easy” it is.
  • It is very evident that a lot of effort went into structuring the content like a curriculum so that it builds upon previous concepts as the reader progresses.
  • They do a great job with acclimating the reader to more complicated diagrams. For example, the first capture scenarios literally only involve one group. Next round, they add some miscellaneous stones to the diagram while still marking the important stones to start acclimating the reader to seeing more complicated diagrams. Love it.
  • Though the book is designed for kids, both kids and adults alike will be able to learn everything they need to know about playing go in a fun and entertaining way.

What did I gain from reading this book?

  • Even though I already know all of these concepts, forcing myself to go through the book from start to finish was a great way for me to ensure that my reading abilities were 100% with even the most basic problems.
  • The school and workbook-like approach to teaching go has definitely helped me improve the way that I will be teaching go in the future.

What style of teaching does the book use?

  • Workbook Approach
    • They introduce concepts within one to two lines with diagrams to support them.
    • Once they introduce a concept, they provide multiple opportunities for practice.
  • Primary Teaching Mechanism:
    • Solving simple and easy problems.
  • Other Teaching Mechanisms:
    • Explanations with really easy multiple choice questions.
    • Kifus (i.e., game records) that are only around 10 moves long with short one line statements of the move’s purpose.

What aspect(s) can be improved on?

  • Sometimes the directions are misleading. For example, the direction is to atari the marked stones, but the problem’s solution is actually to capture. Two different objectives.
  • While most of the book is structured very well, sometimes the problems get ahead of themselves. For example, the directions are to atari the stones, but you need to actually be able to read out the ladder to know which way to atari.
  • For the next edition, I would recommend that jachung (i.e., reducing your own liberties) be introduced earlier since some problems prior to the explanation actually utilize it.

Is this book easy to read?

  • It was very easy to progress through the book.
  • The English is not always the most grammatically correct, but the message is still pretty clear.
[/expand] [expand title=”Recommended For…” trigclass=”expandTitle”]
  • New players who want to learn about go.
  • Beginners looking to practice the basics.
[/expand] [expand title=”Where Can I Buy It?” trigclass=”expandTitle”]
  • Yellow Mountain Imports – $13.00 USD (Shipping Not Included)
[/expand] [expand title=”Other Books in This Series…” trigclass=”lastExpandTitle”] [/expand]

Last Updated on July 3rd, 2013

About the author

BenGoZen

<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="3216 http://bengozen.com//?p=3216">8 comments</span>

  • I’ve been curious about this serie but I don’t really know where to start with it. I’m currently teaching my 6 years old daughter how to play and I was looking for some books to help me get the right message across. Right now I’m using some french books for this purpose (“Le go: un jeu d’enfant”) but I’m curious about books that could fill the same purpose with a focus on children (varying exercises and practice to keep their interest).

    • This series is perfect for that. And to be honest, I think adults can benefit just as much from it as well. Let me know if you ever have any questions about the series, be sure to let me know!

  • I was looking for a book set for my nephews as they are a bit far away and we only get to play every few weeks. Heard about this one and took a chance on it, bought the first few books. I read through the first and second and found it to be possibly perfect for their ages (3 and 6. The 6 year old on his own, the 3 year old via parents. That one might struggle a bit in life and death, but the kid LOVES his moyos). After reading into the book three, I started running into problems. There was stuff here I didn’t know. This intrigued me. I opened four and was lost. From here I ordered the rest of the series for level up, jump level up, the reviews, and life and death. I have experienced before how things can go out of print right when you want them, so figured it worth the investment. It may take me five years to make it through these books, but wow…. I am sold on the series. The progression of concepts seems fluid and well designed. Yellow Mountain has a bundle deal on some of them bringing the price down to about 10 bucks per book.
    Good luck!

    • Thank you for your input! I agree with you on the fact that I’m completely sold on this series as well. Be wary of the Essential Life and Death one though, it can get super advanced very quickly. Good luck on your progression through them as well!

By BenGoZen

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