Go Commentary: Gu Li vs Lee Sedol – Quadruple ko – 17th Samsung Cup

This game is from the round of 32 (group stage) of the 17th Samsung Cup. It’s between Lee Sedol 9p and Gu Li 9p.

Lee Sedol 9 dan (foreground) and Gu Li 9 dan (far right).

Lee Sedol defeated Nie Weiping and Gu Li defeated Cho U before this game, in the group stage.

The group stage of the Samsung Cup uses a double elimination system, and two winners can proceed to the next round.

This is the 29th game between Lee and Gu, and so far, their record is the tied at 14-14. Their games are always exciting and interesting to watch.

Let’s have a look at the game.

Commented game record

Gu Li vs Lee Sedol


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


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About Younggil An

Younggil is an 8 dan professional Go player with the Korean Baduk Association. He qualified as a professional in 1997 and won an award for winning 18 consecutive professional matches the following year. After completing compulsory military service, Younggil left Korea in 2008, to teach and promote the game Go overseas. Younggil now lives in Sydney, Australia, and is one of the founders of Go Game Guru. On Friday evenings, Younggil is usually at the Sydney Go Club, where he gives weekly lessons and plays simultaneous games.

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


  1. What a fantastic game, thank you for your enlightening comments. Almost unreadable ko’s and fighting spirit were very dominant here, how rich the game of go is indeed.

    One question about the opening, the bottom right area. After B21 at Q2, why not WR2? I guess B takes sente around K16 then. So then, Lee’s WQ3 was better, as after BP3 he could take sente and play WL17. Seeing this, is B21 at Q2 really better than B21 at P3? Assuming it is sente, B can play around K16 after W’s answer. Would W answer P3 with Q3, would B really play Q2, or take that sente at the top?

    Again, thank you very much for explaining this game.

    Kind regards,

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      Thank you for your comments every time. πŸ™‚
      Good question. If black plays at P3, white would tenuki and play at the top. It’s not sure who’d play at Q2 later. In the game, black took the place, so it’s clearer for black. Does it make sense?

  2. Thanks a lot for commenting this game. As you say, this one will be remember for ever. You always make us understand better and better this kind of games. Just a little question: is it posible to pincer at q8 or r8 at move 9?

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      Yes, right. Those are also possible. But, somehow, you can see far more of pincer from top right in pros’ games. πŸ™‚

  3. FrΓ©dΓ©ric says:

    Thank you very much , this game is so cool !!!

  4. Thanks for commenting this game. Do you have any guesses when player realized it will be quadruple ko? Was there any way avoiding it so that neither of players would end up in clearly disadvantageous position?

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      They might have realized the quadruple ko at B141. Gu Li didn’t have any other choice, because if he avoided the quadruple ko, he’d end up in disadvantageous position. When Gu Li cut, Lee must have felt that too.

  5. Thanks for the comments. In homage to this game, I had my first triple ko on KGS today πŸ˜‰

  6. Who would win if they continued the game with the super-ko rule? Also, why aren’t they using this rule in international tournaments ?

    Thank you very much for your great comments!

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      Oh, I have no idea about the super-ko rule. Would you explain more about it please?
      I can’t say why they don’t use that rule since I don’t know that. -.-;

  7. Peter Dijkema says:

    Thank you Younggil for all your comments.
    I posted the link at my Facebook page,
    so many of my baduk friends can enjoy it.

  8. Peter Dijkema says:

    Could we also republish your comments and answers to questions
    in the next Dutch quarterly GO, Younggil?
    Tobias Berben told me he also requested for Deutsche Go Zeitung.
    Would be good for your fame in Europe, ahead of a possible teaching tour next year or so πŸ˜‰

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Peter,

      Younggil asked me to explain how GGG content is licensed to you.

      Basically, you’re welcome to reuse this in accordance with our creative commons license here:

      http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ (there’s a link to it at the very bottom of the page too).

      Please have a look at that page and provide attribution by linking back to the original article on our site (crediting An Younggil as the commentator). And let us know when you’ve published it so we can see :).

  9. The super-ko rule is a generalization of the ko rule. Basically, it says: You can’t repeat the same position (whole board) twice. So with this rule, triple or quadruple kos are not a problem. At the end of the cycle, when you’re about to repeat a position. you must play a threat, just like in a normal ko.

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      Thank you for your explanation.
      I think I’ve heard about that. With this rule, Lee would have won the game. There was an article about this quadruple ko with the super-ko rule written in Korean, and it said Lee would win in this case.
      There’s not a big problem with the current rule, and it’s more fun and interesting to see draw as a very special event in international tournaments. πŸ™‚