3 years of Go Game Guru

Happy 3rd birthday Go Game Guru!

Happy 3rd birthday Go Game Guru!

Today we celebrated the third birthday of Go Game Guru by eating noodles (a Chinese tradition which Jing reminded us of).

Likewise, in the short time we’ve been doing this, it’s become our annual tradition here at Go Game Guru to pause to reflect on the experiment and ask readers how they think things are going.

Many of the best ideas for this site, such as weekly Go problems, have been suggested by readers and we always appreciate hearing your suggestions.

My thoughts on Go Game Guru

When we started this project, we set out with the idea of building a sustainable business that exists to promote Go worldwide.


In retrospect, I can say that I didn’t fully anticipate exactly how much work that would be, or how long it would take to get certain things done.

I guess I’m the kind of person who tends to bite off more than they can chew and then work like crazy to catch up.

Because of that, sometimes I’ve been disappointed about the slow progress of things, especially when we’ve been waiting on collaboration with third parties (sometimes indefinitely).

There’s also a lot of grind involved at times – for example, who really wants to know more about the business regulations, tax and import laws of several different regions?

Having a clear plan is only the first step.

There have been many delays and setbacks that have been beyond our control, and also times where we’ve become overwhelmed because of everything we’ve tried to do at once (I’m sure that some of you noticed this when posts ground to a halt for short periods :)).

There’s a huge amount of work that goes on behind the scenes.

Learning to make it work

However, it’s been a great adventure and Younggil, Jing and I have all learned a lot.

We’ve picked up new skills and knowledge, we’ve learned how to work better as a team and we’re gradually learning how to help each juggle all our other life and work commitments.

The systems behind the Go Game Shop and Baduk TV are running very smoothly at last, which frees up a lot of time to improve how we’re doing things and to work on new stuff.

In a few months, new Go equipment will arrive in store, including (finally) The Dirt Cheap Go Set – which we see as our ‘secret’ weapon for promoting Go.

We also have some more affordable Kaya Go boards coming (at the other end of the spectrum) and some more improvements to Baduk TV to roll out soon.

So what’s next?

Over the next 12 months, we want to focus on three new things:

  1. More articles for beginners and intermediate players, gradually increasing in difficulty – we’ve wanted to do this since the beginning, but we’ve rarely been able to free up enough time to sit down and write. Hopefully we can also make some videos if we have time.
  2. Very affordable, basic Go equipment for beginners. We’re convinced that affordable equipment is a must if we want to introduce Go to more people. Want to see Go sets in your local games store? Soon you’ll be able to work with Go Game Guru to become their supplier (and even turn a small profit if you want to)!
  3. In 2014 we’re going to ask for your help to pull off worldwide, ‘simultaneous’ Go demonstrations all around the world on the same weekend. We’ve been unofficially calling this ‘Learn Go Week’ so far – do you have a better idea for a name? If it’s successful, we hope that the community could turn this into an annual event for promoting Go. More on this soon.

These are three things that we’ve been dreaming about doing pretty much since we started, but this year, after much patience, we’re finally ready to make them happen!

Thank you

Thank you everyone for your time and attention over the last few years, it’s been a lot of fun.

Thanks to everyone who’s told their friends about Go, and who’s shared Go Game Guru with other Go players.

Thank you everyone who leaves comments and lets us know that people are reading.

And many thanks to everyone who’s shopped in our store or subscribed to Baduk TV – this is what makes it possible for us to keep doing what we’re doing.

Thank you.

Over to you

But that’s enough from me.

What do you think we should do to better promote Go and what do you want us to do to improve this site?

Click here to let us know what you think!


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About David Ormerod

David is a Go enthusiast who’s played the game for more than a decade. He likes learning, teaching, playing and writing about the game Go. He's taught thousands of people to play Go, both online and in person at schools, public Go demonstrations and Go clubs. David is a 5 dan amateur Go player who competed in the World Amateur Go Championships prior to starting Go Game Guru. He's also the editor of Go Game Guru.

You can follow Go Game Guru on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube.


  1. Justin (hyperpape) says:

    Congratulations on three years! You say you’re frustrated by the slow pace, but you’re already doing great work.

  2. Congratulations on three years! You and your team have done an incredible job with GoGameGuru and I’m really looking forward to what you all have in store for us! To many more years! Cheers!

  3. You guys are doing amazing work. I’ll be sure to let my Go friends around the country about Learn Go Week when it happens!

  4. Congratulations! It’s always great coming here.

  5. First, congratulations! I know about Go Game Guru for about two years now, and am enjoying myself big time here.

    Two things I like a lot:
    – the commented games, with those choice possibilities: also once a week?
    – the weekly problems, with the different levels.
    I’m not quite sure that I need more than this.

    But of course there is more than me, there is what you want to achieve for others. Spreading go is quite an objective, like with the video project you show us. What I like most is the annual “go spread weekend”. There is a lot of potential in this, also in the long run. All the go associations and go clubs should, and could participate, even individuals in school projects, family, Facebook actions: the sky is the limit. Start small, grow bigger every year. Splendid!

    Kind regards,

  6. Congratulations and more power!!!

  7. I’m curious as to why you celebrate by eating noodles? That sounds like a common rather than birthday food.

    • Hello Hao Sun,

      Many Chinese food traditions seem to be based more on symbols than ‘celebratory’ food. The tradition of eating noodles on your birthday is supposed to symbolize a long life. I suppose you can always serve your noodles with something extravagant like lobster! 🙂

  8. Dear David, Younggil and Jing,

    thank you so very much for all your work. You are a doing fantastic job and I sincerely hope that your effort to provide so much great, free content and service will pay off and earn you some decent money as well.

    I have been visiting and enjoying your website for more than two years now, but this is the first time I post.

    Just one little wish: as much as I enjoy the problems and commentaries, as a lowly single digit Kyu player, I would be happy to see much more strategic long-form commentaries or guides like the outstanding 5-4 opening tips & tricks. I do not understand 99,9% of what the hell is going on in any given professional game and even with Younggils commentary, I can only figure out some local positions. I personally would much rather see one long, detailed commentary or guide every month instead of a couple of shorter ones. I believe the list of “popular articles” strongly indicate that I am not alone.

    All the best,

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks Philipp,

      Younggil and I have talked about this and he’s going to try writing some longer form articles about different openings soon. I feel like he’s a better person to talk about specific openings than I am, because he has a pro’s understanding of the opening.

      I’ll still be writing about other related topics too and some interesting ploys like in the 5-4 article from time to time though 🙂

  9. Almost three years ago, Gogameguru was my internet home and the first thing I did after breakfast, was to see what new topic you had here. Today is the same thing. Thank to the three of you for all this. It would be very good (if you have the time) if you write some more articles in the section “get better at go”. Thanks again!

  10. Hi David and Younggil. I really enjoy the newsletters, the commented games, and the problems — and it’s all for free! Too good to last?
    I hope the business side builds up and that you have many more noodle days. Thanks for doing it.

  11. David Holland says:

    Dear GoGameGuru,

    Thank you for your innovative approach to spreading go. I love Baduk TV. Watching pro games in real time is very special. I also enjoy the weekly problems and game commentaries. Your coverage of international go news is also well done.

    Keep up the good work. I predict a bright and successful future for your activities.


  12. Congratulations.

  13. Josh Hoak says:

    Thanks David, Younggil, and Jing. You guys run a fantastic website.

  14. Congrats!
    I’d like to see more news and games in a weekframe if possible.
    Long live gogameguru!

  15. Congratulations! If it wasn’t for your site, I would probably not have become as hooked on Go as I am now. 🙂

  16. Congratulations!
    I especially like the game commentaries. My favourite was the game by Pietsch. It’s really nice to discover such marvels. The frequency and the extent of variations and text suits me fine.

    And the problems got me hooked, too.

    I wish you lots of noodles to come.

  17. Charleschapple says:

    Congratulations. I love this site. Every time there is a new post I get excited, I either read it right away, or save it for later. Despite your frustrations, I am quite impressed with what you have done so far.

    One of the things I had looked for, for years, in Go is coverage of the pros. Finally finding this has brought a great excitement back to my game. Like Philip, I am a single digit kyu player and understand little of what happens but, it is still exciting. However, I do have some ideas on other ways you could make the game more accessible.

    One would be talking about different player’s style. The idea here would be to give the audience something to look for in the play of a certain player, or style of player. Instead of commenting on a whole game, you could show similar situations in several games and show how a player tends to approach certain situations. This way, even if we don’t know a lot about all the different variations, we still might be able to say ‘Oh it looks like Xi He is up to his wily tricks again!’

    The other idea I had was some kind of rookie report. Who should we look for in the future? Or perhaps some info on some under the radar players who might make a splash.

    Anyway, just a couple ideas. The cheap go set is pretty brilliant. I have a dream of starting up a Go club (you know, when I have free time ;)), and that would certainly make it a lot easier. Thanks for all the wonderful work you do, David, Jing and Younggil. And once again, congratulations.


    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks Charlie,

      I’ve made a note of your ideas for later on. We have a pretty big list now, but I hope we have time to write about most of them eventually. As long as we can keep this show on the road we will 🙂

  18. The pro game commentaries are my favorite offering, but I’ve also started coming around more often because some of my comments have gotten individual replies, and I see both David and Younggil having conversations in the comment sections of many posts. That kind of personality behind the site is really attractive, and the friendly, respectful tone all the authors set is a wonderful thing to have representing go.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks Nate,

      Even though we don’t always have time to reply right away :oops:, we still read all the comments and do our best to reply to questions.

      I’m very happy to hear that you find the site to be friendly and welcoming. That’s the sort of place we wanted to create for people – like a friendly online Go club. I wasn’t quite unsure about how to go about that, because as you’d no doubt know too, sometimes public spaces on the internet can turn nasty. However, if you ever meet Younggil in real life, you’ll realize that he’s just a very kind and generous person, and I think that helps a lot.

  19. Congratulations! Yours is the second go website I check every day (after looking at the tournament results on http://igokisen.web.fc2.com/news.html). I have a rather specific request: I would like to see a weekly column on openings that aimed at building a complete (?!) opening book for a beginning player. As a teenager, I played rated chess, and that’s the first thing I did, and I find it extremely frustrating to be so ignorant of the openings. Again, I used the English Opening P-QB4, not well-known at the time, 1966-68, so I got a little advantage from that. Is this even possible in go? Can we learn certain openings and steer (or force?) our games into them? I found that players would often let me play the chinese opening, which I like, but if they didn’t, I was clueless. I’d like a weekly column – maybe it would take 52 weeks to even lay out the basics of an opening book. I mean, can you force things by playing diagonally from the opening move? As black, can you play some 5-4 moves (I don’t really like that idea, the moves I like are more traditional and conservative). My ignorance and frustration about openings is probably the biggest factor that leads me to not want to play go. Help, please!

    • I like your remarks about openings and chess. I stopped playing chess a long time ago, opening preparation was necessary but too much of an effort. Loving the Kings Gambit, but not being tactically that strong, gave a lot of poor results. In go that is different. I got hooked up studying quite some joseki’s, hated it, ended up playing 4-4 all the time. What I like about modern pro games is that sente is not always sente anymore. You can apparently approach about every move as a forcing move that you don’t need to answer. It is the attitude of this that I like, it frees the mind, takes away a lot of worries. After some reasonable opening moves (OK, maybe the best ones) some fighting starts that is not seen before, here you are alone with your reading ability and your positional judgement. I think that you must stop to approach go as chess, that will improve your fun in go immensely.

      Kind regards,

    • I’ll start by kicking an open door: Go and Chess are two different games. The fundamental difference is that Chess is essentially a knock-out game while Go is a points game. Everybody understands this at the rule level but few people absorb this fact into the mentality with which they play go. Many amateurs are subconsciously looking for a way to knock the opponent out: an all decisive opening, an all decisive kill, a moyo that’s too big to bear …

      I think it is one of the hardest tasks for an aspiring amateur to get this desire for knock-out out of the way and think of the opening as a careful distribution of stones that strives for a certain advantage, the moyo as something that can be invaded resulting into some other advantage, the large capture as an inevitable consequence of neglect and sometimes a source of burden.

      Games do end in resignation, especially at the professional level, not because Go is a KO-game but because pros are so good at predicting the final score.

      So, for your openings, concentrate on principles rather than moves. Treat the opening stage as one where you are making your intentions clear to each other. Are you developing a whole board structure (4th line play)? Are you establishing independent groups (3rd line play)? Or are you going for a balanced approach of influence and territory (mixed)?

    • David Ormerod says:

      As Dieter said, the key in Go is to focus on learning principles and technique rather focusing too much on learning patterns.

      It would take an incredibly long time to write a complete opening book and it would quickly become obsolete 🙂

      However, Younggil is going to try writing more about the opening and I’ll try to write a bit more on that too. Please let us know what you think once we start.

  20. Though a regular visitor, due to the amazing free content, it remains somehow unclear to me what the actual focus is. i’ve seen other online businesses at work, which offer great content for free in order to make money by 1. selling prime content to those attracted 2. affiliate marketing and 3. advertising.

    Your purpose however is to spread go to a wider audience, which has only lately become more explicit through the partnership or promotion of the slightly awkward “Go” movies.

    i assume you are reaching out to existing go players first, who will act as proxies in attracting a new crowd. However, looking at myself, i fear those will only come for the great free content and stop right there, not necessarily sharing your long term objective.

    if the purpose were to make money of existing go players, i’d have a few ideas. For the longer term purpose, an end to which the business seems to be a means, i’d probably other things than what you are doing now.

    However, with your plans for the next months, it seems the scheme is coming together. Talk about patience and vision, two qualities which i probably lack and i can only wish you good luck. i’m somewhat sad to waive the call for cooperation: my years of devotion to go promotion lie behind me.

    One final tip: trust silent majorities (stats) more than vocal minorities (forums) to shape your plans.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks Dieter,

      I always appreciate candid advice from you and others. Too few people are willing to offer it these days.

      Regarding your three points in the first paragraph;

      1. That’s what Baduk TV English is, and I think hardcore Go fans (who it was designed for) are enjoying it.

      2 and 3 both of boil down to running different types of paid advertising for others. There are two problems with this approach for a Go site:

      Firstly, the audience isn’t that big. If you simply want to sell generic advertising, you need to run a big news/gossip site or talk about something else with a much broader appeal, like investing, real estate, fitness/weight loss, parenting etc. If my primary interest was to make a lot of money, that’s what I’d do – and I’d never have started Go Game Guru.

      Secondly, it helps a lot if ads are relevant to the topic being discussed. However, for sites about Go, nobody is doing that kind of advertising and tools like Google AdSense are (still) terrible at dealing with words like ‘go’ that also occur in everyday speech.

      That’s why it’s much better for us to advertise our own products, like the ones in the Go Game Shop and setup an advertising system for other Go websites, so that they can also earn some money and grow, without having to jump through three years worth of hoops like we have.

      Not running other people’s ads also means we can keep our own ‘ads’ and this website tasteful and low key (which I prefer), though perhaps they are too low key if you haven’t even noticed them? 😉

      As for wider promotion, it became clear early on that we needed to focus on making what we’re doing sustainable first, so that’s what we’ve mainly concentrated on up until now. Our promotional activities have been mostly limited to online campaigns so far (e.g. on social media) and we believe that we’ve introduced a lot of new players to Go.

      The videos from Play More Go weren’t something we were directly involved in, but we did support them – financially and mostly in terms of helping with publicity – the same way that we supported The Surrounding Game and Kaya.gs.

      If you have other ideas about what we could be doing, I’d be happy to hear them and you can email me any time.

  21. Thanks GoGameGuru! I love this site, its my hobby read and one of the only sites I know that writes interesting articles about Go.

    Your wanting to supply affordable equipment is a VERY good idea. I’m a university club organizer and it’s hard to find good equipment that is of long-term quality but cheap.

  22. Congratulations, David & team!

  23. José Fidel says:

    I think you three are making a great effort to provide us with a home where we can learn about Go.
    I always find something interesting and instructive here. Perhaps it’s been a hard three years, but now you see some light in this journey you decided to make, I’d like to say, here is to many more years of Go Game Guru and to David, Younggil and Jing, blessings and health. Cheers!!!

  24. Congratulations! I love this website, especially the commentaries.
    If there’s anything I can do from Japan during the Learn Go Week,
    I would be happy to do that!

  25. Michael Brownell says:

    Thanks so much all for your great work! The problems and commentaries are fantastic, but perhaps even more remarkable is the friendly and positive energy throughout the site. It’s always a great pleasure to visit, and I’m sure you’ll have continued success promoting go.

  26. You guys are awesome. Without GGG, online go presence would be archaic and difficult to get into. You make the game accessible and fun, and I don’t think twice when I need to buy something. Here’s to the future!

  27. Congratulations on three years!!!!

  28. Deathgenius says:

    Hello, and congrats for these amazing 3 years! do you think it would be a good idea to create go “memes” or jokes on popular memes site that only go players can understand that way people might try to “search” a bit and get info about this game . Anyway just a weird Idea I was wondering about and once again, thanks for these incredible 3 years! Great work, very inspiring 🙂

  29. Hello and happy birthday! Many thanks to the three of you for the great content here. From this article, I feel you have pretty amazing plans on your roadmap already.

    Being part of the ‘perpetual ddk league’, your item #1 in ‘so what’s next?’ puts some glitter in my eyes — even if that might not translate to english very well ^_^ Some video lessons would be nice, indeed; maybe you could try to set up a few ‘interactive sessions’ through KGS/KGS+? (or some other server)

    An alternative name for ‘Learn Go Week’ that would instantly pop up into my mind: ‘Spreading Stones’. That might be a bit too cryptic though 😉

    I wish you ongoing fun running the site!

  30. Congratulation and continue good job

  31. Congratulations!

  32. Happy Birthday! Thanks for all the info, game reviews and problems. Some day I will understand this game.

  33. Congratulations and best regards, dear Gogameguru team!

  34. First off I wanted to state that I have been a long time fan of Go Game Guru, the pro games and weekly go problems have given me new insight to my playing and I’ll continue to use this as long as it is around.
    Secondly, the three things you have listed as improvement is really awesome–giving back to the new generation of go players is one of the best ways to promote go whether it is through demonstrations or more beginner-intermediate content.
    With that, I would like to recommend that various go techniques are discussed more in articles. Such as invasion, attack and defense, Fuseki and so on. Probably a bit too much to ask but I feel like it could push the site to the next level with an increasing array of topics whatever those may be. 🙂
    Also, have you considered making a room for this site on the KGS go server if there is not already one? Perhaps even a league someday.

    Regardless of whatever it is you choose to improve upon however I’m sure it will be great, and can’t wait to see what’s next. 🙂

    Take care, Jonathan–KGS ID Mooncrest

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Jonathan,

      That’s exactly the sort of thing I want to write more about, so let me know what you think once we start publishing the articles 🙂

      As for a room on KGS, maybe one day. As you know already, there is An Younggil’s Go School and Deli under the lessons category 🙂

      • Absolutely I’ll give my opinion of them, I’m really glad go game guru is branching out.
        Articles on the subjects many overlook I think would be great insight.
        Often, players focus on fuseki and joseki and tesujis.
        But, they don’t do much research into the principles of things like attack and defense, invasion, sacrifice. So, as I said–if there’s someway possible to do articles on those things to. (Fuseki/Joseki and other things like that would come first of course)
        Then go game guru would undoubtedly rise to a new level of awesome, which is hard to beat already.
        Also, hopefully you can manage to get some new products for the go store. 🙂
        Read the recent Chen Yaoye commentary, was very insightful and I learned quite a bit about a new fuseki variant. 🙂
        Thank you for your reply, hope to talk to you on KGS sometime David.

  35. Great work! Am so glad I subscribed to Baduk TV… even better than the free samples suggest. All in favor of more video style lessons.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks. You’re right about those free samples. They were some of the first videos we did. I think the newer ones are much better because we’ve all learned more and improved the quality. I’ll replace them with better videos soon.

  36. David Ormerod says:

    Thanks everyone for your kind comments. There are so many this year and I want you to know that we read every comment, even if we don’t always reply to each one.

    I’ll let you all know about ‘Learn Go Week’ and other ideas as we start getting things done.