Commented Games by Lee Sedol: Now available in English – Worldwide

Many Go players consider Lee Sedol 9p to be the top player in world.

Commented Games by Lee Sedol – Now available in English for the first time.

And without a doubt he’s among the best of the best from the early 21st century.

His style of play is always exciting to watch and his games are among the most popular here at Go Game Guru.

Lee Sedol’s leave of absence

Some of you will remember that Lee Sedol took a leave of absence in mid 2009 and temporarily stopped playing professionally.

It was because of some issues with the Korean Baduk Association as well as physical and mental exhaustion from his hectic tournament schedule.

Thankfully, those issues were resolved. Lee Sedol was dissuaded from retiring and he returned to win the 2nd BC Card Cup in 2010 – apparently stronger than ever.

Lee Sedol writes his first Go book

During his time off, Lee also had the opportunity to write his first Go book and he chose to make it a series of incredibly comprehensive commentaries of his own games.

This book is slightly unusual, because top players are usually too busy competing in matches to have time to write books, especially highly detailed books like this one.

That’s what makes this book special.

An excerpt from the preface of Commented Games

As Lee himself wrote in the preface to Volume One:

At one point, when I did not plan to return to playing in tournaments, I remembered that I wanted to publish books containing my most significant games.

Baduk was always on my mind during my leave, even though I didn’t play. Fortunately, preparing these books filled the void admirably.

Commented Games by Lee Sedol is a series of three books, each of which has three games. I chose these games from among the ones I played over the course of my career (since the year 2000) in terms of the importance of the tournament, meaningfulness to my career, and personal significance.

Unlike common game commentary books, where you find a dozen games with short explanations, this book was designed to provide more detailed explanations, as well as comments on my feelings and emotions during the actual game.

Now available in English

Thanks to the excellent work of Daniela Trinks from Baduktopia, Volume One of Commented Games by Lee Sedol is available in English for the first time.

The book contains over 300 pages of some of the most detailed and insightful Go commentary ever seen in English, as well as plenty of background material on Lee’s life and career, and his thoughts about many aspects of Go.

Destined to be a classic

I’ve been reading Lee’s Commented Games for about two weeks now and I believe this series is destined to become a classic of Western Go literature.

The book really is comparable to a modern version of Invincible: The Games of Shusaku in size, format and the quality of the contents. And I don’t say that lightly, because Invincible has been among my favorite Go books for many years.

The main difference is that Lee only reviews three games per book, but spends about 100 pages on each.

Download the sample pages

If you’d like to see for yourself, you can download a free copy of the sample pages to have a look at a selection of the contents.

Local shipping in the USA, Europe and Australia

One downside of the large format is that this is a big, heavy book.

It costs more to ship than most Go books, which is why we’ve made sure to stock it locally in the USA, Europe (UK) and Australia.

For most Go players, this should mean that you can order Commented Games by Lee Sedol from Go Game Guru and make considerable savings on shipping.

We also ship worldwide, and you can easily get an instant shipping quote by visiting the product page for this book and clicking the green ‘Add to Cart’ button.

Order Commented Games today

I know some people have been waiting for this book for a long time and since this is the first time we’ve stocked a brand new book, I’m honestly not certain what demand will be like.

We already sold quite a few copies after I added the product to our store earlier today. So if you really want to get a copy of this book as soon as possible, order now.

Currently Go Game Guru is the only store stocking this book in North America, the UK and Australia. We can always order more from Korea if we run out, but you’ll have to wait about a month.

Click here to order Commented Games by Lee Sedol

And if you miss out, don’t say I didn’t warn you 🙂

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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. Frédéric says:

    This is an amazing book , i used 1 week for this book and i learn so many things. Everyone need to read this book. I can’t wait 2013 for read the volume two and three :).

    • David Ormerod says:

      I’m waiting too Frédéric 🙂

      Some of the tactics Lee showed around page 142 about the game with Lee Changho were new to me. This book is full of little things like that. They usually never get mentioned by pros and you have to work things out for yourself.

      I also like the way he summarizes each major diagram with piece of pithy advice about Go.

  2. Would I be wasting my time if I asked whether the book is available for e-readers?

    • David Ormerod says:

      It’s not a waste of time, but I’m not aware of a digital version yet. Daniela only just finished translating volume one. I’ll ask her about this for you though.

      • Thanks for the reply. Go publishers seem disinclined to offer e-books and exceptions such as Kiseido’s digital bookshelf, which consists of scans of printed copies, and Smart Go, which is confined to the iPad, are worthless. If someone released a go book specially formatted for a run-of-the-mill e-reader, I’d be standing by with a fistful of virtual dollars.

        • I believe these exist in Korea, but because of DRM restrictions :eye roll: they are only legally usable on Korean eReaders, such as those sold by KyoboBook. However, mobile apps for Apple and Android devices are available that let you read them.

          • I’ve been curious about this as well, so the next time I talk to one of my Korean friends, I will ask them about it and get back to you. 🙂

  3. will you ever take credit cards instead of paypal do you think?

    • David Ormerod says:

      We use Paypal partly because it lets you pay by credit card, as well as bank transfer and ‘bill me later’.

      You don’t need to create a Paypal account to pay using your credit card, but it seems the option to pay by credit card (without registering at Paypal) was inadvertently disabled when we did some major work on our shop recently. Paypal likes to disable that option by default. I’ve now re-enabled it. Sorry and thanks a lot for letting me know about that problem!

      Have another look and if there’s some reason why you still don’t want to pay this way, let me know what you’d prefer and we’ll consider your suggestions.

      In the future we might add other payment options, but we’d probably still use a payment processor like or Google Checkout, because they’re just more secure and robust than something we dream up on our own.

      Bitcoin is also a possibility at some point in the future. If anyone’s interested in Bitcoin or other options, please let me know. All of these things take extra time to do, so we need to know whether there’s interest first.

  4. Byung Soo Lee says:

    You’re making me wish I had not purchased the Korean editions… Oh the shipping fees from Korea!!

    I high recommend these books. Lee Sedol modeled these books after 名局細解 of Go Seigen’s games (Rough translation: Detailed Explanation of Great Games), which contain move-by-move analyses of high quality. The 名局細解 series, originally published in Japanese, featured other players as well, but Go Seigen’s games were the most popular for the obvious reasons.

    It might not help kyu players very much quickly (if it helps them at all, it might come much later down the road), but it can be read quite enjoyably read by players stronger than 7k-ish on KGS. If you read the book, you will feel all the effort that Lee Sedol put into these books. You are transported into the mind of Lee Sedol. That alone is worth the purchase, even if you don’t improve a single stone.

    Give these good people some business!

    • Byung Soo Lee says:

      By the way, the mind of Lee Sedol is a scary and confusing place. Be sure to bring snacks for survival.

      • David Ormerod says:

        Haha, it’s certainly scary in the way he conveys the intensity of playing someone like Lee Changho. Replaying that game on the board, you can almost feel Lee Changho’s iron will bearing down on you.

        And thanks for the information about 名局細解 Byung Soo. I didn’t know that Lee based the books on that series (maybe he studied them when he was younger?).

        I have the four volumes of Sakata’s games from that series in Chinese, but not the Go Seigen ones. The (out of print) Kiseido/Ishi press publication of ‘The Middle Game of Go’ seemed to me to use a lot of material from those books.

        Anyway, be glad you bought the Korean version, now you don’t have to wait until next year to read Volume Two :).

  5. Is this a book, or one of a series of books?

    • David Ormerod says:

      It’s the first book in a three book series.

      Daniela Trinks, who did the translation, said she aims to have the second book ready in the first half of 2013. She didn’t make any guarantees though, because like all of us she has plenty of other things to deal with too.

  6. frédéric says:

    maybe i can read the volume two and three in korea next year 🙂

  7. Justin Teng says:

    This book is great. I’ve learned tons of things from all the in-depth detail. Plus, if it makes buying the book any more enticing, the third game in the book is the same game as the one between Hikaru and Ko Yongha in the Hikaru no Go manga. 🙂

  8. Well, it did and its really good marketing. I just bought the book 😛

  9. I just got this yesterday and have been enjoying it greatly, thanks! I have a number of books on commented games and this is definately the best. The fact that it only took a few years to get translated into English makes me very optimistic for the future

  10. This is exactly my kind of book 🙂 Lee See dol gives us deep insight in his thinking process and feelings at the board. A wonderful book!