Baduk TV English: Gu Li vs Lee Sedol – Exhibition match in Jingdezhen

This is an exhibition match between Gu Li and Lee Sedol, played in Jingdezhen, China. It was played on March 20, 2013. Gu Li plays black and Lee Sedol plays white.

Gu Li vs Lee Sedol

Video: Gu Li vs Lee Sedol

Watch Gu Li play Lee Sedol on Baduk TV

Login to Baduk TV to watch this video.

Or click here to create your free account and try Baduk TV for free.


Game record


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Transcript of the video

Translated by Oh Chimin 7d for

Edited by David Ormerod 5d

Today's game is from an exhibition match between Lee Sedol 9p and Gu Li 9p, in Jingdezhen, China.

Today's commentator is Yoo Kyeongmin 8p.

The fame of these two players is enough to draw lots of attention.

This Tianxin Pharmaceutical Cup isn't an official competition.

However, the players' names make us excited anyway.

Lee is a bit behind in their head to head record at the moment.

They're at almost 50/50.

Including unofficial matches, the win rate is exactly 50 per cent.

I think this is an important game for the sake of their record.

A ten game match (jubango) between them could be arranged soon.

I read some articles about it a few days ago.

I heard that preparations for the match are underway.

This game had nothing to do with the planned ten game match.

But if that project is realized, this game could play an important role.

The winner of this game will gain confidence.

Since this was an unofficial game, the information about it was unclear.

We collected some details anyway, let's have a look.

By far, they're the strongest rivals in the world.

They were both born in 1983, and became a pro in the same year, 1995.

They're the #1 players in their countries.

They recently had a quadruple ko draw in the Samsung Cup, which was a first.

A draw is very unique in Go.

Generally it results from a triple ko, quadruple ko, or eternal life [chosei] position.

Because of the drawn game, they had to play once more.

They've both won several world championships.

Both players are #1 national players.

Young Chinese players have been performing quite well recently.

But no one can deny that Gu is still the best player in China.

Putting aside rank, he has invisible strength.

In Korea, Park Jungwhan 9p and Lee are fighting to be #1.

However, I reckon Lee's more reliable on the international Go scene.

Gu's position in his country is similar to Lee's.

Gu's slightly ahead in their matches together.

But considering Lee's recent performance, I expect him to win this game.

Gu has been challenged by many young Chinese players.

The new Ing Cup title holder, Fan Tingyu, is one of those challengers.

Because of that, he's been a little shaky lately.

In contrast, Lee's status is more stable than Gu's.

Let's have a look at this game between the two top players!

Gu Li plays black, Lee Sedol plays white.

This game was played under the Chinese rules, so the komi was 7.5 points.

The allocated time was two hours each, with 5x60 seconds of byo-yomi.

The game was played in Jingdezhen city, China.

Games between these two are always fascinating.

In addition, the details are spectacular.

I heard that Jingdezhen is famous for its china (porcelain).

Go and porcelain are both art forms that originated in ancient China.

These two have played many games against one another,

And both players have more wins as white.

This was their 35th match together.

It's such a large number of games.

In their head to head record, Gu's ahead 17-16.

Most of their encounters were in international competitions.

Most recently, Lee won the 2012 Samsung Cup 2-1 against Gu.

Their results in that final are even, at 2-2.

They've run into each other many times, at crucial stages of tournaments.

Lee's been playing in the Chinese A League.

And they've played several games in China, too.

They can meet in big matches at any time, in the final, for instance.

The previous BC Card Cup was also exciting.

Every game in that series was spectacular.

Right from the beginning [of this game], they've both played aggressively.

Their moves are quite extreme.

Many groups have already been created and separated.

This was another bumping move.

They've exchanged the strongest moves.

In their games together, both players play to their utmost ability.

They seem to enjoy the games, instead of competing.

These two rivals are close friends, off the board.

Even though they've competed in many important games, they're good friends.

Go is enough to bond two people with one game.

That's one of the merits of Go.

Considering this, their intimacy is obvious.

That's why people also call Go 'hand talk'.

After black's peep, Lee connected his group.

The opening was very complicated.

In this kind of game, the territorial balance doesn't matter very much.

They never just play for a win.

Instead, they focus on fighting, which can end a game very quickly.

Interestingly, their games together are usually long though.

This game was played on March 20.

However, it was only announced in the news four days beforehand.

Normally games are scheduled far in advance, drawing lots of attention.

Based on the name of the competition, the sponsor seems to be a pharmaceutical company.

There wasn't much promotion beforehand.

Besides this game, they'd think of the proposed ten game match (jubango).

Go Seigen's jubangos are still talked about today, by many people.

The mental anguish is enormous for the player who loses the jubango...

Gu was trying to separate white here.

The game is getting more interesting.

White's left group was cornered.

Lee took profit, as if he wouldn't have a problem saving the group.

After taking points in the top left, Lee made a ponnuki in the bottom right.

White's group has been isolated. Let's have a look at how white can manage this situation.

Right from the start, the game became complicated.

Lee approached here, without taking the empty corner.

It's typical of their games.

After Lee's extension here, I thought the game would be peaceful, but I was wrong.

When black extends, white normally makes a two space extension.

Yes, that's the most common move.

Then black will pressure white with this knight's move.

So, in the game, Lee attached here.

If black extends, white will simply jump.

Black can also hane here, then simple variations can be expected.

After black invades here, a fight begins.

White can also hane like this. If black blocks, this move is a tesuji.

It's a compromise.

In the actual game, Lee chose a stronger move - the extension.

The first contest started here.

Black descended here, this move looks special.

It wouldn't be strange to see Lee play like this either.

Both players like these sorts of moves.

That's their strong point.

This kosumi would be commonplace.

In this case, white will attach here.

However, this extension was tougher.

This bump was hard to anticipate too.

This peep would be the normal idea.

Then, with the knight's move, white can aim at both sides.

But Lee bumped here first.

In response, Gu jumped out. Was black's top left group safe?

This group can't be captured with a single move.

On the other hand, black can attack white with a knight's move.

Then this group is nearly dead.

Lee's aim with this jump was to wedge here.

If black attacks immediately, this wedge will be a good counter.

Instead capturing white, black will die.

After peeping here, white jumped.

Gu descended here, then Lee jumped again.

Each move was unpredictable.

Jumping here is easier.

But Gu wanted to fight, ignoring shape and basic theory.

It seems like black was attacking both white groups simultaneously.

After white connected, black jumped out.

In response, Lee came out after making this exchange.

I thought the game was proceeding as Gu intended at this point.

Because they'd both moved into the center, but black had good aji.

In an emergency, black can connect his groups.

Because of this cutting point, Lee had to extend.

Gu kept taking points at the bottom.

Black intended for white to answer here.

Then he could connect and isolate white's group.

Furthermore, white didn't gain any points while connecting.

That was Gu's ideal variation.

This move goes against theory, because it's dame (a move that doesn't make points).

Go theory recommends that we force black to play on dame himself, like this.

Nevertheless, Lee separated black.

He preferred a fighting oriented game.

Gu kosumied here. There are several aims behind this move.

In fact, he hesitated to play this move.

It was a safe move.

Since Lee's separated black, I think moving out here looks better.

If white jumps, black can still escape.

Locally, this move is vital.

In the actual game, white enclosed this area instead.

Actually, Gu expected white to defend here first at this stage.

However, Lee tenukied and shut black in.

Now black has to attack this white group.

Lee has guts!

In exchange for this ponnuki, he allowed his group to be enclosed.

This battle could end the game very early.

If white can't rescue this group, or get some sort of compensation,

Then he won't be able to make up for the loss.

In contrast, if this group lives, black will struggle to make up for the previous losses.

In addition to the ponnuki, black's top left group is in huge trouble.

The life and death of white's dragon becomes the focus on the game.

These two never disappoint us! Let's continue.

It seems like Lee had to find something in the corner.

There were no exits.

But black had some weaknesses in his position.

Both players faced a difficult situation.

What was the meaning of that kosumi?

Gu removed white's potential eye by playing there.

It's complicated. It will take us a long time to review the variations here.

Frankly, white can't live on the inside.

On the other hand, black can't capture the group without leaving bad aji.

Lee's aiming at black's thinness.

White needs to divide black into two groups.

This battle is so complex.

With the tiger's mouth, black's lower left group is alive.

However, black's been split into two groups.

Black had to play an empty triangle to escape.

Gu made an eye with the wedge.

This battle is too complicated to explain with words.

Couldn't Lee sacrifice his group?

He couldn't afford to let it die unconditionally.

White needed to get enough compensation for this group.

White can make a ko with a bump in the bottom left.

This is the spot. If black cuts, then white can make a ko.

However, black will extend during the ko fight.

And he's already secured an eye here.

Therefore, if white wins the ko, the result will be seki.

Black jumped out.

After this extension, white's huge group is dead.

In exchange, Lee's extended in the top left.

Let's review the game up to here.

This battle was so complicated.

Thanks to this cut, white was able to make one eye in the corner.

In addition, he could separate black in sente.

This kosumi was unexpected.

White could make an eye here, but it's gote.

He had two half eyes.

Because of that, black might want to remove the aji.

Surprisingly, white can live with this kosumi.

Black can't capture this group.

This looks like a vital point. White can't make another eye in the corner.

But bumping here is nice.

If black removes the eye shape, white hanes here.

Because of this weakness, black can't capture the group.

Likewise, this move doesn't work.

If black plays here, white will pinch here.

Then he can live in the corner like this.

Because of that, black had no time to capture this stone.

White's group was more flexible than it looked.

Let's look at this jump.

Along with the push, white can play this move in sente.

Now white has half an eye in the corner.

In this case, white can't easily make two eyes.

Black can defend here now.

There are two half eyes, so white's dead.

Then how should white respond?

As in the actual game, he should attach here first.

Then black has to no choice but to peep here.

Because, if black blocks, white will play a forcing move.

After that, white can make an eye here.

Subsequently, he can make another eye by peeping.

And there's half an eye in the corner, so white has miai to live.

White's flexible. So there's no need to play in the corner.

Instead, he should play on the outside.

This is the expected sequence.

White has several sente moves here.

If white cuts, then locally it's the same as the actual game.

White can't make two eyes in the corner anyway.

Therefore, it's better for black to have his stone here.

Because it helps black to secure one eye later.

Later on, Gu was able to win the capturing race.

If white plays here, the result could be reversed.

That's why black played here.

Before the atari, white made these exchanges.

The wedge was sente.

As a result, black got an eye in sente.

After that, he attached here.

Black has an eye here.

If white doesn't get any eyes, his group will die.

However, white can make a ko in the corner.

Connecting here isn't good. Black will descend.

Because of the self-atari, white can't make an eye.

So he has start the ko immediately.

If white wins this ko, the entire group will be alive.

But, of course, black will extend here.

Even if white captures black, he'll only get one eye.

But because of the shared liberties, it will be seki (both groups live).

It seems like the capturing race was unfavorable for white.

In addition, black had some local ko threats in the center.

On the other hand, white's threats were around here.

And there are some more at the bottom.

But there are a number of threats in the center.

Black can start with these threats.

This hane is a good threat.

Because of this weakness, white has to be careful of his threats.

So Lee haned first.

After these exchanges, he captured.

The ko threats were removed, so Gu kosumied here.

After this move, white's whole group died.

Even though white's captured black here, the lower left corner looks too big!

Let me count how many points black gained in the corner.

Black captured 20 stones, which is worth 40 points.

It's slightly less then 70 points in total.

Since black has an eye, there's no need to reduce white's liberties.

But black will have to do so if this group is enclosed.

Since white has many liberties, black can't afford to let that happen.

It's such a big territory. Let me count white's.

If we count along the fifth line, it's 50 points.

But, once we include thickness, it's worth more than that.

This stone isn't completely dead.

In that case, how should the corner be calculated?

It's a bit complicated. This isn't entirely white's territory.

However, many moves around here are sente.

Even these move are sente too!

Because white can connect along the first line.

This is sente as well.

Therefore, black can't easily rescue this stone.

If he does so, white will be able to connect under later.

Then this black group will die instead.

Before that, Lee exchanged these moves.

Gu secured more than 70 points, including the corner.

White had 50 points in the top left, and at least 20 in the bottom right.

Overall, white wasn't behind.

Despite the death of a huge group, this game was still well balanced.

Let's take a break.

This game is between Lee Sedol 9p and Gu Li 9p.

The big battle in the bottom left was nearly finished.

The battlefields on the right and at the top remained unsettled.

They were both born and had their professional debuts in the same years - 1983 and 1995 respectively.

They're both #1 in their countries too.

Gu has scored one more win than Lee in their games together.

It wouldn't mean a lot in this match.

We may know Lee better than Gu [in Korea].

However, Lee's performance is more stable in my opinion.

Nevertheless, he's behind in their head to head record.

Lee's career is extraordinary.

He's won so many national and international tournaments.

Like Lee Changho before him, Lee Sedol is the most reliable player in Korea.

Most people would choose Lee Sedol to play in the most crucial matches.

Here are Gu's recent records.

He won a national tournament [in China], the Changqi Cup in 2011.

Then he was the runner up in three international championships.

And a few months ago, he was the runner up in a national tournament.

Even though he hasn't won a tournament for awhile, he's still the best player in China.

Yes, and his style of play is unique.

He doesn't play only for a win.

His style is based on power and thickness.

Unlike players like the Ing Cup holder, Fan Tingyu, his style is distinctive.

That's one of the reasons why one of Gu's nicknames is 'the world's strongest amateur'.

Black moved his group in the corner out.

Was there any aji there?

Yes, there was some.

As I explained, white also had aji at the bottom.

That's why black attached here.

After Lee descended in the lower right, the aji was exposed.

With this move, the right side was resolved.

Compared to what we counted earlier, white's left side swelled a lot.

Lee didn't stop fighting. He pincered.

Let's review the game on the demonstration board.

This move was a good depiction of Lee's style.

He seized a good chance for victory.

Gu's group had to escape.

Black would easily fall behind with a simple jump.

So he had to block here.

In response, Lee cut powerfully.

Couldn't black capture the stone in ladder?

Yes, however, white will atari and extend.

The right side is too big. The territorial balance will be broken.

White's extension looks in both directions.

White can enclose on either side.

If white plays here, black's group will die.

So escaping became urgent.

After this move, these two stones were in trouble.

Black should be able to rescue the group somehow.

But he can't win the game by playing like this.

Because the corner will get hurt in the process.

Moreover, this black group mustn't be shut in.

So Gu tried doing something in the bottom right corner.

Then he peeped here.

Lee wouldn't answer submissively, he countered with the push.

When white attached, Gu exchanged these moves.

After black's connection, Lee kosumied.

Many people think Lee only plays aggressive moves.

But these three stones are placed on pivotal points for defense.

This atari will end in black taking gote.

Lee's play is more delicate than I thought.

Gu attempted to make something in the corner.

Black could've rescued this group somehow.

After enlarging the eye space, this group can live.

But, in this situation, white can connect to the corner.

Let's have closer look.

This huge black group will die.

So Gu had to attach, then Lee wedged.

Why didn't black capture this stone?

To be honest, black's group can't live unconditionally.

He can only make a ko with this move.

If black cuts, white will atari.

If the ko starts, capturing this stone as a threat will be painful for black.

When Gu answered here, Lee captured black.

I couldn't calculate the right side accurately before.

However, after capturing many stones, it's worth well over 30 points.

So I thought Lee ensured his lead here.

For Gu, the last battlefield was the top side.

If I were white, I'd just defend here, since it's good enough.

Black can't catch up with white on territory.

Even with the kosumi, white's clearly ahead.

Both territories are just too large.

Black had approximately 70 points in the bottom left.

But he can't build such a big moyo again at top.

I'm not sure why Lee played so fiercely here.

I guess he wanted to humiliate Gu (to destabilize him mentally) before their jubango starts.

Well, this pincer looks very aggressive.

On the one hand, Gu would be glad to see this move, since he was behind.

On the other hand, he'd feel the provocation

Can Lee maintain his lead? Let's continue.

We saw Fan Tingyu's victory in the Ing Cup recently.

Throughout the final, Fan never gave Park Junghwan any opportunities once he was ahead.

He showed many defensive and safe moves at those times.

This game shows the antithesis of Fan's style.

In this game, Lee never fell back, even though he was ahead.

That's the difference between players like Fan and these two.

I think this sort of game is more interesting to watch.

Black's center was becoming more solid.

If black continued unchallenged, that area could become huge.

Because of that, Lee's pincer earlier on was unusual.

Lee Changho would never consider such a move.

Of course, Lee Sedol would have confidence in his moves.

Because of that, these players respect one another.

That's why they seem to enjoy their games very much.

Regardless of their level, some opponents are fastidious.

You'll feel particularly disappointed when you lose to such players.

On the contrary, these two play with a vigorous style.

No matter how they play, people are attracted by their games.

In my opinion, that's not only because of their styles.

I think it has something to do with their personal characters.

I couldn't agree more.

Go reflects not only one's skills, but also one's character.

White's right side became a lot bigger.

In exchange, black secured the top side.

This game started with a battle in the bottom left.

At this stage, white had many choices.

Can white separate black?

In order for black to reverse the game, he has to capture white's group.

How will this fight proceed?

White can live simply by capturing black's stone.

But Lee wants something more extreme.

White hasn't lived yet in the corner.

However, black's group isn't alive either.

Well, neither group has two eyes.

It seems like a contest of wills, rather than a game in a competition.

The game reminds me of Cho Hunhyun 9p's comments in the past.

He said that the further ahead he is, the stronger he plays.

Because a big win will affect future games against his opponents.

Lee Sedol and Cho Hunhyun both show us one extreme case, of crushing their foes.

Another example is Lee Changho's, he plays to make them exhausted.

When he's ahead, his moves are extremely defensive.

His style is the opposite to the one we just discussed.

I suppose you'd know Lee's style well enough.

Most players never narrowed a small margin against Lee.

And in contrast, they allowed Lee to reverse the game.

If it happened repeatedly, they'd feel worried, even when they were ahead.

That's one of the merits of Lee Changho's style.

The top right ended up as a seki.

Well, black could start a ko, if it wasn't unrealistic.

Black needs to make many steps to win the ko.

He has to play four moves. So it's not really like a normal ko.

In spite of that, Lee removed the aji.

236 moves, white (Lee Sedol 9p) wins by resignation.

Lee won the game with pride.

He showed his strength in all aspects of the game very well.

Let me summarize the game briefly.

From the beginning, there were many extreme moves.

Lee took great profit, with several tenukis.

It was quite the contest of fighting spirits.

We expected that the first battle might determine the winner.

However, Lee gave up his entire group.

With this ponnuki, he developed the right side.

In addition, he captured the top left, ensuring his lead.

Even though he could have played more simply, he pincered here.

Instead of living peacefully in the corner, he made a seki in the final battle.

From the beginning to the end, this game was breathtaking.

I'm looking forward to the ten game match between them.

With Lee's win, their head to head record is tied again, at 17-17.

Their jubango will be more exciting than any other games.

Thank you!

Baduk TV English at