Go Commentary: Lee Sedol vs Gu Li – Jubango – Game 5

This is game 5 of the MLily Gu vs Lee Jubango, between Lee Sedol 9p and Gu Li 9p.


Lee Sedol 9 dan during the game review.

The mood of the series changed dramatically when Gu Li defeated Lee Sedol in four consecutive games – including in games 3 and 4 of this match – and the overall score for the Jubango became 2-2.

This game was very important for Lee, because if he lost he’d face a heavy burden.

It would be very difficult for him to overcome the psychological damage of losing five games in a row, while also being behind in this match.

This game was played on May 25, 2014, in Shangri-La, Yunnan. Shangri-La is a famous location in the Chinese highlands, on the Tibetan Plateau.

We’re writing a book about this match

This commentary, and others, will form the basis for our Go book about Lee Sedol and Gu Li’s jubango.

The actual book will contain a more extensive commentary of this game, but you can regard what you see below as a draft (learn more).

Please help us to make our first Go book as good as possible. There are several ways you can help us to improve the commentary below:

  1. Ask questions about the game – if anything is unclear, please let us know so we can explain it better!
  2. Point out any mistakes, even minor typos – our first draft is below. Because this is going to be a book, even small mistakes need to be fixed.
  3. Tell your friends and ask them to help too.

The rules of the game

The time limit for these games is 3 hours and 55 minutes, with 1 minute x 5 times byo-yomi. It’s traditional to subtract 5 minutes from the 4 hour total, because of the 5 x 1 minute periods.

There’s no lunch break scheduled for these games, but food is provided and the players are free to get up and eat whenever they want, throughout the game.

Let’s have a look at the game 5 of the 10 game match between Lee Sedol 9p and Gu Li 9p.

Commented game record

Lee Sedol vs Gu Li – Game 5


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Related Articles

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. Thank you for your explanations. This game was indeed difficult to follow.

    I’ve also had some trouble with a line, in which you explained that some stones get captured, but it appeared as if it would only lead to a single eye that can be enclosed, so it still dies (78 at J6, then h2 c2 j2 k3 h6 h7 j5 k6 k5 l5 l4 l6 l3, now h1, and aim at m2). I think black would then play l2 n2 m2 and aim at a ko?

    Another question: White P11 at move 22 would have been a non-tesuji?

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for your questions.
      For the first question, Black can answer at K2 after White H1, and because of the weakness of N3, White can’t continue to attack that Black group with M2.

      For the second question, P11 is also conceivable. However, Black will respond at Q12, and it’s hard for White to find a good followup.

  2. Yudong-nick says:

    Move 78, option 2, option 2 – a (probably white wins the semiai)
    Final position – ‘Gu Li too an early with a nice opening, ‘

  3. move 33/variation reads: “…which makes miai of A and B are miai next.” no need for both “makes miai of” and “are miai next”

  4. move 61/main line talks about black 16.

  5. move 62/main line: It made miai of A and B are next.

  6. I thank Younggil An very much! The game is super and the comments makes the game more clear and more super! I’m very happy *v*! hug >*v**v**v*<
    Make the comment box bigger, extend the height of the embed SGF player in the html code, will make this post look better and greater!

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks ukuphila for your suggestion.
      It’s a bit hard for us to make this comment box bigger, but we’ll try to make it better. 🙂

  7. I have a question about moves around move 102. Can’t black now play H6 at move 103 instead of N2 (e.g. H6, K6, K5, J4, J2 )? I.e. the same lack of liberty problem exists like in you line at move 96 for white at O3.

    I hope I’m not missing something quite obvious 🙁
    Thank you for the game and commentary, very nice!

  8. I don’t understand move 213. Why doesn’t white respond by filling the ko?

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks konrad for your question, but what do you mean by filling the ko?
      It was already very hard for White to reverse the game, so Gu cut at White 214 before he resigned.

  9. As we have come to expect, a very nice commentary. Exact and thorough. The analysis of the failed net 78 at J6 depressed me a little though. It was such a clear example of what I will never achieve in my life.

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for your comment and don’t be depressed Stefan. I wouldn’t be able to read those variations in the real game either. 🙂

  10. David Beard says:

    I admit it. I’m not advanced enough to see the reason when you state a couple of times, “Gu missed a very nice chance to catch up (or wrap up the game)”. Could you explain?

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks David for your question.
      White 158 was the losing move. If he played at K5 instead, he would have a good chance to catch up.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi David,

      Usually when there’s a comment about a move being bad in some way, if you go back one move in the commentary, you should be able to find other suggested variations (alternative moves).

      If you’re viewing the commentary on our site, then the various possible moves will be marked on the board as 1, 2, 3 etc. You should be able to just click on the move that you want to see the commentary for. Let me know if this doesn’t make sense.

  11. Uberdude says:

    Thanks for the detailed variations from move 78 including that ugly yet beautiful empty triangle 🙂

    • Younggil An says:

      You’re welcome. The empty triangle doesn’t work well, but it’s quite a strong move for White. 🙂

  12. Thank you for the review. This is a very in-depth explanation especially for the mid-game 🙂

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks Jay for your comment. It might be hard follow in the middle game though. 🙂

  13. mateoxx59 says:

    Hello, Sensei !
    I have 2 questions:
    1. is it necessary to repeat the colours ? One example:
    ”Since White took a big point with WHITE 76, Black set his stones in motion with BLACK 77”
    2. why do you super-write over the figures ? You just complicates your life 🙂
    Best wishes

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks meteoxx59 for your questions.
      1. It’s because of the format of the book. The ‘Black’ or ‘White’ will become a circle of its color in the book.
      2. The same reason as above.
      Thanks for your wishes. 🙂

  14. I just noticed that komi is 7.5 points, is this becoming increasingly common?

  15. Adrien Dupont says:

    Hello, a question about move 105, you say “it’s the most efficient move”
    i guess it’s about endgame and ajii, but i don’t really see why taking the white stones at O3 instead isn’t better. Is that because of O7?

    • Younggil An says:

      That’s a good question, and you’re right.
      It’s because of O7 as you mentioned. White will reduce more points of Black’s territory in that case.

  16. Move 46: “If Black defends the left side with Black 1, White will press Black B down with White 2 and reduce Black’s area at the top. Up to White 10, Black B is practically a wasted move.”

    Is “White will press Black _A_ down” intended instead?

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks zoom for your correction.
      You’re right, and thanks a lot for pointing that out. 🙂

  17. Jonathan Miller says:

    I am a mere 7K on KGS, and yet I imagine that I can follow and appreciate this match.
    Obviously there is no way my reading skills could permit genuine understanding of this game.
    And yet, even for a weak beginner like myself, there is beauty here and (am I kdding myself) logic. Comments?

    • Younggil An says:

      I agree with you.

      It would be pretty hard to understand the game all, but you can still feel the moves if you keep replaying the game.

      You’ll understand and enjoy more when you become stronger. 🙂