Go Commentary: Shin Jinseo vs Lee Changho – Prodigies vs Top Pros

In early January 2013 some exhibition matches between three of Korea’s top players and the three young talented players were held.

Representing the top pros, were Lee Changho 9p, Lee Sedol 9p and Choi Cheolhan 9p.

The young players were Shin Minjoon 1p, Shin Jinseo 1p and Byun Sangil 2p.


Lee Changho (9 dan, left) plays an exhibition match with Shin Jinseo (1 dan).

This is the first game between Lee Changho 9p and Shin Jinseo 1p.

Lee Changho

Lee Changho is currently ranked #13 in Korea, but many fans still recall the time when he was invincible.

He’s one of the most famous and well known Go players ever and I’ve written a bit more about Lee Changho here.

Shin Jinseo

Shin Jinseo became pro in the new Prodigy Pro Draft qualifier for ‘young talented students under 15’, in July 2012 along with Shin Minjoon.

You can watch a qualification game between Shin Jinseo and Shin Minjoon and learn more about the Prodigy Pro Draft here.

Let’s have a look at the game…

Commented game record

Shin Jinseo vs Lee Changho


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. Frédéric-lichigo says:

    Hi Mr . Younggil,

    Thank you very much for this game, i’m always happy to replay lee changho’s games with commentaries . And this time it was very exciting, Lee is my favorite player for many years and now i’m a big big fan of shin Jinseo . This summer i go in South Korea for study Baduk and i hope to meet both players.

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      Oh, that’ll be very exciting for you! I hope you enjoy studying go and Korean culture.

  2. Thx a lot! This game is a great lecture on how to control the flow of the game. K17/F14 are beautiful. It’s kinda sad though to see a move like H7 after such a great opening.

  3. It would be nice to have less stringent time settings for games like these to avoid things like K11…

  4. A great comments! It’s always a plesure to rewiew games commented by An. Thank you!

  5. The level of gogameguru readers is improving rapidly as they find it plain to see that H7 should be at M4 and K11 at K4. These pros really play stupid moves under time pressure, don’t they.

    Another great review, making Go intelligible for mortal readers.

  6. Thanks for the review Mr Younggil, without you, the meaning of a lot of moves are very obscure to me from this kind of game.

  7. agntcooper says:

    did lee make any comments about shins play after the game?

  8. You say Shin’s reading was accurate under the time pressure, but I wonder how much of the reading for the status of that group on the left (reading b8 was not sente) do you think he had prepared earlier during Lee’s (or his own) thinking time.

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      I don’t think Shin had prepared.I assume that when B8 was played, he would have felt that the group wouldn’t die, and read in a short time and tenuki.

  9. “This is boring” <- best argument against a joseki 🙂
    I use it all the time.

  10. Peter Dijkema says:

    Great game, great commentary. Thank you so much.

  11. Peter Dijkema says:

    Very instructive comments. Thank you.
    I reposted this page at my page in Facebook
    for some 500 friends in Baduk to enjoy.

  12. hmm…I am kind of disappointed that Lee lost like this. Is the difference between a 9p and 1p so little? If I were the 1p, I think I would have rather beaten Lee when he was still invincible rather than now. Perhaps I am misunderstanding something?

    • bobiscool says:

      Yeah, you are.
      1. You can’t beat someone if they’re invincible
      2. You can’t turn back time

      So how would the 1p be able to defeat Lee changho back when he was invincible? It’s quite silly to suggest such an obvious impossibility. Besides, I believe that being able to play one of the top go players in history is an honour, and even if he isn’t at his best anymore, he is still a top go player.

  13. Nice game nice review

  14. Thank you very much! I thought the “boring” and vague joseki move at D14 became less popular after the more territorial answer at B16 instead of the shape move at F16. At chess someone commented a move as being cowardly, therefore bad. Are these adjectives (boring, cowardly) useful to assess a move? Maybe Go is too difficult, but I always tried to find the best move. I guess it is possible that a quiet, clear move is as good as a messy one, but that the messy move gives the opponent chances when you yourself make a mistake. Still, keeping maximum pressure on the opponent, isn’t that the best way to proceed? Lee, being ahead, didn’t he become too complacent, giving his opponent a chance mentally, even before he made his mistake? I wonder whether these thoughts cross the professionals mind while playing.

    Kind regards,

    • black stones in swamped in a field of snow says:

      My impression from reading go books and commentaries is that the term “boring” is often used to describe a situation that there’s not much options or potential for later development, eg. lack of aji , influence, and such. Since go is such a dynamic and flexible game with new strategic oppotunities emerging every few moves, maintaining a flexible position is quite important, so I can see why stong players often (but oc not always) prefer the more dynamic option. Similar goes for “cowardly”; if you don’t fight when you have to(eg. your opponent is overplaying, you invested more in the area, your position is better, it’s your best chance to stir up trouble, etc.) it means you’re not playing the in most efficient way possible and thus losing points. So yes, I do think these adjectives are useful in assessing moves. Of course though, nothing is definite in go, and there’s many, many instances where the seemingly “cowardly” or “boring” move is actually the best one. But it professional commentaries those moves don’t tend to be criticized as “cowardly” or “boring”; instead you’ll probably see them described as “the proper move”, “slow but thick”, “fist-clenching”, “keen on cash” type of moves.

      For weak players like you and me, though, distinguishing whether a move is “cowardly” or “thick” may be quite tricky, so just trying to find the “best” move should be a good attitude. Just keep in mind, that some of the moves you want to play may be considered too “boring” or “cowardly” to stronger players, and trying to understand why will improve your strength tremendously.

  15. About the joseki in the upper right after move 17 why doesn’t white try to ladder black?