Go Game Guru turns 2 today

3,105 comments, 376 game records, 255 articles and 3 Go cakes later, Go Game Guru is 2 years old today.

Younggil, Jing and I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for your time, attention and thoughtful comments over the last year.

Time to eat cake. Two years of Go Game Guru.

We’ve been working hard on a number of things, which we’ll tell you more about in the coming months, but today I’d rather hear what you think.

If you were running a website like this one, what would you write about? And what would you do next?

Leave a comment below and let us know. Thanks!

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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. Hello, thanks for the tremendous work during those 2 years of go game guru. The “interviews” section, in “go news”, is my favorite section of your website, but I guess it must be difficult to interview a lot of go players.
    Thx again for this great website.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks for the feedback David, the interviews do take a bit of time to do, but more than anything else they require us to be organized and plan ahead :). Once we’ve finished the major work on Baduk TV and the Go Shop, which has been going on in the background, I hope that we’ll have more time to do interviews and other articles to add more variety again.

  2. 😀 ¡Feliz Cumpleaños!

  3. Happy birthday!! Of course this is my favorite web site of all! I have learnt millions of interesting things here about “baduk” and I always waiting for a new article day after day. I can say that this site is my “internet home”. Thanks to you: David, Younggil and Jing.

  4. Atari Cake!

  5. Happy Birthday and thanks for the great site! I’d like to see more updates from around the globe. Go news from China, Korea, Japan, Europe, and America. What they’re doing, what tournaments they are having, spot lights on different players and more game reviews 🙂

    Keep up the good work!

    • David Ormerod says:

      Haha, thanks Devin, that’s a big list, but we’ll do our best. With the news from around the world, it was something we’d hoped to do early on when starting this site, but we’d need help from other people in each country or region and so far nobody has really volunteered to do that. You never know though ;).

  6. Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Michael Galero says:


    My favorite ones are the game commentaries, but I enjoy all kinds of articles: the go problems, news on international competitions with game records, interviews, etc.

    If I had a site like this, and hypothetically I have great resources and connections in the Go world, I really like stories about how Go opening evolves, like in those articles of Nam Chihyung. It would be great if it’s in context, like a new opening is becoming popular and is used in important games in tournaments. Some back story about how that opening came to be is interesting for me. But I have no idea if there are a lot of your readers that are interested in such an article. 🙂

    • David Ormerod says:

      That’s an interesting idea Michael and I hadn’t considered doing anything like that. It sounds like a lot of work and I don’t personally have the Go knowledge to write something like that, but Younggil would. I’ll add it to our list and we’ll have a look at it sometime in the new year.

  8. Ryan Smith says:

    Thank you so much for running this website! I know this must take a lot of time, but it is such a wonderful resource for the community! Like some of the other people in the comments I would love some more articles (how do you review your own games, what goes through your head when you’re in a serious game, is it better to practice many easy problems or a couple hard ones, any other mental aspects of go), but all of the content is wonderful!

    Thanks again.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks for the suggestions Ryan. We can definitely start to write about those sort of things more after building up the beginner sections of the site a bit more.

  9. Great site, time flies: congratulations! I like your mix of problems and (not) commented top games. The comments on the games are the best I have seen, because of the interactive possibilities. Keep up the good work, I love it!

    Kind regards,

  10. Gracias por el esfuerzo. Este es mi sitio preferido relacionado con el GO.
    Feliz Cumpleaños!

    Thanks for the effort. This is my favorite GO related web site.
    Happy Birthday.

  11. John Hardy says:

    Congratulations on a great job.

  12. Matt Mennie says:

    Congratulations on your first year of operations!

    I look forward to there soon being English and other language subtitles on the BadukTV stream. This I think would help immensely for all players :).

    • David Ormerod says:

      It’s nearly ready Matt, at least for video replays. I’ll post more about Baduk TV English in the next week or so. Commenting the live stream is a bit beyond us at the moment because we simply don’t have the resources to do that and it would be very expensive.

  13. Byung Soo Lee says:

    You guys have done a great job so far. I hope that your projects keep expanding and improving as they have done thus far. Great cake! Atari.

  14. Congratulations, it is said easy, but 2 years take a lot of effort, thanks to all of you for that effort and may go game guru live many years.
    The commented games are my favorite section but I enjoy everything else as well, which brings an idea to mind, why not comment on classic or historical or famous games too? That would be interesting for another section of go game guru.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks Fidel, I’ll suggest your idea of commenting some classic games to Younggil. Right now he’s very busy, but it may be possible next year.

      For ‘Baduk TV English’, which will be released soon, we’re getting a series called ‘Searching for Exquisite Games’ subtitled. There are 45 episodes so far, looking at games from the 1980s through to today.

      I take it you’re thinking more about the games of Dosaku and the like though?

  15. Thank you for the 2 years.

    What I realy like:
    – games reviews (you really show alternative thoughts, not just indicate them) (I am just a 15k, I need explicit hints)
    – problems (I have transfered a few already to gopbroblems.org, thank you for the permission to do so)

    What I would like to see:
    – the possibility to ask questions about situations in my games, maybe with a forum so the community does can do some of the review

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Ulrich,

      When we first started we had a Q&A (question and answer) thing where people could ask questions and we’d answer them. We weren’t really ready to do that though and the number of questions people emailed in was overwhelming. Maybe we can give it another go in the future.

      I also did setup a forum when I originally built this site, but I took it down after I saw lifein19x19.com was getting started. Back then, another forum called godiscussions.com had been popular, but had fallen into disrepair and stopped working. There was a lot of concern at the time about not splitting the Go community and I didn’t want to cause problems.

      You might be able to find some people who would be willing to help you analyze your games at lifein19x19. At some point if the community seems big enough and we think we have something of value to add we might add a forum-like component to Go Game Guru, but at the moment we have our hands full :).

  16. @shanguito says:

    As usual, keep up the good work, cheers from Argentina. Hope I can play that korean pro again, or maybe arrange some simultaneous online games. I shall let you know if any of this becomes possible.

    Thanks as always for the tips, problems and most importantly, keeping people motivated about playing go

    • David Ormerod says:

      No worries Shanguito. I hope you can learn a lot from Lee Youngshim during her visit.

      Keeping people interested in Go one of our top priorities ;).

  17. Congratz !
    Keep in mind that a lot of people (like me) follow your site without commenting, but it don’t change the fact that we love your work !

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks for pointing that out Galcha, I guess it’s easy to look at the number of comments as an indicator of how interested people are, but it’s not always accurate. We were a bit worried for awhile that nobody was commenting on Jing’s news updates. I suppose sometimes there’s not that much to say though.

  18. Thomas DiMattia says:

    It is crucial for the future of Go to realize that volunteers that promote the game with the youth are the cornerstone. This evolutionary awareness took some time to come to fruition in the U.S. chess world, because so many who loved that game had personal motives that interfered, particularly among the stronger players. Today, their magazine “Chess Life”, as well as many of the articles now seen coming from the AGA, are right on target. I especially was thrilled to read where Myungwan Kim 9P took America’s new professionals Gangsheng Shi and Andy Liu aside And spoke to them of the “high expectations” of professional Go players, and, according to the AGA Journal, added that “You are not individual Go players any longer, you are now representatives of the AGA and the US Go community.”
    So whatever you do with your wonderful Go Game Guru, please keep this in mind.
    I would also suggest looking at Chess Life magazines and get some ideas. In particular, their monthly articles by Andy Soltis, as well as their solitaire Chess test articles, these two are excellent and have yet to be initiated to the Go reading world.
    Thomas DiMattia

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks for your suggestions Thomas. I’ll have to go out and buy some chess magazines and see what they’re doing. It’s a great idea.

  19. I know that this site proclaims to promote Go before everything. Currently it satisfies net addicts with a strong interest in Go, like me. There’s no need to go in to detail how well you are doing that.

    I think that’s a good place to start. Now comes the big question, how do you further promote Go, by drawing outsiders to the site or its resources and by having us, netties, promote it to friends.

    Would I recommend this site to someone who doesn’t know Go? Maybe not until I thought about this comment: I now notice the three useful resources on the right hand side. Perhaps this IS a good site for beginners. Still I use and look upon it as a site for an experienced player.

    What may be missing here is a report on how well you have been doing with your mission. How many new players per year can be counted in Australia? How many of them know Go through gogameguru? How about Belgium? How well has baduktv been working for you? Do you have book sales? Are these people beginners?

    We don’t see any report of the kind, which would show the mission of gogameguru and its accomplishment. We get free pro reports, pro game comments and problems. That’s all very much appreciated but …

    Is this site’s purpose really to promote the game? I would suspect you are scanning the Go World for some way to sustain yourself (that’s what I would do). Can you sustain while promoting? Are you on track on either of those purposes?

    Inc onclusion, the commitment, enthusiasm and generosity you show are undeniable. The purpose is less clear.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Dieter,

      As usual your comments are sharp and insightful :). I’ll try my best to give you a satisfactory answer and you can let me know what you think.

      So far one common thread in running this site is that we’re always short of time. We haven’t been able to do a lot of things we really wanted to do so far and the thing I regret the most over the last 12 months is not having found the time to build the beginner sections of this site further. I’m hoping to work on that more soon.

      As we’ve said from early on, and as you know well, the plan is to run Go Game Guru as a business that promotes Go. I know that over the last decade many people saw open source as a panacea and some resisted the notion of commercializing anything, but there are some things that just work better when you have some money and the two ideas can work together in a complementary way. For example, nearly all Go Game Guru content (except Baduk TV, which we don’t own) is available under Creative Commons and we will release some of our code under an open source license once we have something structured and useful enough for other Go sites to use.

      Anyway, the idea of running a business like this isn’t particularly radical these days and that’s what we plan to do. In one sense we’re still far from reaching that goal, but in other ways I feel we’ve come a long way.

      For the last 18 months or so a lot of Younggil’s spare time and my own has been taken up by working on the business side of things in the background. Jing likes to joke that I don’t have weekends, which is somewhat true, but I don’t mind because it’s a temporary state of affairs and I enjoy what we’re doing.

      We’ve had several failures with suppliers who weren’t a good fit or who eventually refused to sell stuff to us for one reason. At times it became really ridiculous and I seriously considered abandoning this project altogether after the bizarre fake obituary fiasco…

      With each one of those failures we learned at a lot though and we also burnt up a large amount of time, without achieving anything tangible. We became acutely aware of why no business like this existed already…

      We’ve also had some successes though and found some good partners. Setting up Baduk TV has been a lot of work but it’s practically ready to be released now. We’ve been working with some Go equipment manufacturers and all that’s left to do now is wait for the products to ship from Asia. There are also some other product categories, like Go software, coming to our shop soon. For example, the publishers of Zen sent me the new English version of their software for testing a couple of days ago.

      All of that will be ready within the next few months – it’s funny how things all come together at once like that, we didn’t plan it this way. So my thinking is that by the end of this year we’ll have a very good idea of where things stand.

      If things go well, we can move onto the next phase of our plan, which is focussed more on promoting Go and less on setting up infrastructure. If things don’t go well, we’ll have to reassess the situation at that point.

      Go Game Guru isn’t really the center of all this though, it’s more an attempt at trying to develop what I call a ‘Go economy’ (for lack of a better term). I realize the term sounds a bit pretentious and it’s really pie in the sky stuff. I could explain this better to you if we ever meet in person, but I’ll try to explain here.

      Yes, looking at this just as a website and a business, we do hope it becomes profitable, we want to have the resources (whether it be cheap or free Go equipment, money, time or otherwise) to help other localized promotional projects and to run our own, and we would like to be able to pay ourselves for our time eventually so that we can spend more of it doing cool stuff for Go players online and still put food on the table, but…

      That’s not the endgame.

      The reason why we’ve spent so much time setting up warehouses around the world and doing certain other things is that we’re really trying to kickstart a sort of ‘Go economy’. It wouldn’t have taken that long to just ship a bunch of Go products to my garage and send them from there, but that wouldn’t scale well. That’s important because there are plenty of Go Associations and other Go websites that need better ways of earning some income as well. Currently most Go entities have totally anemic finances.

      The first thing anyone who starts a website and wants to try to make a bit of money from it does is think about putting Google Ads on it. That doesn’t work for Go though, because the word ‘go’ is so ubiquitous in English and our poor game gets lost in the noise (try it if you don’t believe me). That’s actually a huge handicap because it removes the lowest stepping stone and forces anyone who wants to build a positive business related to Go to spend two years doing something like what we’ve done.

      The next thing you could try is contacting one of the three major English Go book publishers, but they’re not really interested in working with fledgling businesses – I think it’s because they view them as a threat, rather than an opportunity, but I can’t really know what they think. I know what their general view on this is though, because I tried very hard to work with them for months. Their way of viewing the world is totally different from mine.

      So Go Game Guru is going to help Go Associations and other websites and small businesses to get started in the Go economy – whether they’re totally about Go like us or mix Go with other interests doesn’t matter. We can help them by paying them for ads on their sites, supplying products to them locally (when they can’t afford bulk shipping from overseas), shipping products on their behalf, buying their books or products and selling them for them. And that’s just for starters.

      No doubt if we’re successful up to this point we may help some other new businesses get up and running more quickly and they may grow to compete with us more directly in time, but I believe that that growth also represents a growth in the Go economy – in other words, the number of engaged Go players around the world will have grown. The biggest problem with the existing Go economy is that it remains small because of a scarcity mentality. The dominant players don’t want to work together. Go Associations and others have been giving various Go businesses free advertising for years and never getting a share of the profits. I think that’s unfair.

      I hope that explains better what our thinking is. I know that some of that sounds impossibly far away, but you have to plan ahead to some extent. It’s still possible this might all fail spectactularly. On the practical side, all of the examples I just gave you are things we’ve already setup and can do either right now, or starting in 1-2 months. Anyone who wanted to put paid ads on their site, for example, could contact us and get started today.

      With regards to the kind of metrics you asked about, we don’t track all of that stuff, partly because we haven’t had time to set some of those things up, but a few things I can tell you are:

      – Over 1,200 people signed up for the beginner course by email (it’s hard to tell what percentage of those people would’ve learnt Go anyway).
      – There were over 250,000 page views at Go Game Guru in August, so the number of players worldwide is quite a bit larger than people tend to think.
      – We sell books on a daily basis and a lot of books are sold to beginners.

      This has turned into a rather long rant… It’s not something I can explain in a few words and I’m not sure that what I’ve written really explains things that clearly anyway.

  20. Thomas DiMattia says:

    Hello again, and continuing my previous letter. . .
    I am embarrassed to write that what I peraonally thought of as a good starting point, outside of the crucial promoting of interest in Go among the youth, I noticed that the Nihon Kiin book store has 4 such books recently covering just what I was looking for. I’d love to translate them, but I have to make a living.
    I would also like to see more videos available free on the net for all aspects of Go.
    Maybe we could hance a write in for something like “My favorite tesuji move” from games of the past month. Or a “My favorite position” from a professional game of the past.
    In other words, it’s brain stormin’ times fellow Go players. Time for

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi again Thomas, I replied to your comment in the other article too and I’ll email you to discuss your ideas more.

      I appreciate your offer to help and understand that you still need to earn some money for your troubles (so do we for that matter).

      There are a few ideas we can talk about.

  21. Happy birthday! Great site, I enjoy mainly the problems.
    I’d like more material for the beginner.

    • David Ormerod says:

      More beginner articles are coming in a few months Fercho. Thanks for being patient with us :).

  22. Happy birthday!

  23. David Ormerod says:

    Thanks for the kind words and encouragement everyone, and sorry for taking so long to reply. I’ve been out of town for a few days.

    It’s good to know that you’re all reading, even if you don’t always leave a comment :).

  24. I second Michael Galero’s ideas about the opening.

    I haven’t read the Nam Chihyung articles, but the evolution of the opening is an invaluable bridging between professionals and amateurs in Go. It’s alive, fresh, complex and intricate. Difficult to find, without connections (though, there are resources here and there). But, really crucial.

  25. It will probably also propel the Go world together, instigate new interaction, new ideas. It is a big essence of Go evolving, to create and change the opening. But it is a big ask to cover well, perhaps.