Gu Li strikes back: Gu Li vs Lee Sedol jubango – Game 3

Gu Li 9p chalked up his first win in the MLily Gu vs Lee jubango, forcing Lee Sedol 9p to resign in game 3, on March 30, 2014.


Lee Sedol (left) and Gu Li, in Chengdu, China.

Lee and Gu faced one another in Chengdu – the capital city of Sichuan, China – having traveled straight there after their game at the 10th Chunlan Cup two days earlier.

The only game that mattered

After Lee won game 2 of this jubango in February, he led the 10 game match 2-0.

Since Gu lost game 2 in regrettable circumstances, many Go fans reasonably surmised that Lee would have the psychological advantage going into the third game today.

However, over the last week, Lee and Gu have played three games together. Not only is this very unusual, but it may have helped to restore Gu’s confidence.

Gu defeated Lee in the 4th Zhaoshang Cup (a China vs Korea team tournament) on March 23, and followed it up with another win at the 10th Chunlan Cup on the 28th.


Gu Li 9 dan (left) plays Lee Sedol 9 dan in the third game of their jubango.

Because of this, it’s hard to say who had the momentum going into today’s game. Some commentators argued that Lee was saving his energy for the jubango, but perhaps that’s because they were rooting for Lee.

We do know one thing for sure though; that today’s game was the only one that really mattered to both players. And Gu Li won.

Good news for Go fans

This is, of course, good news for all Go fans – except perhaps the most die hard Lee Sedol fans. A close score increases the likelihood that we’ll be able to enjoy all 10 games.

It also makes the series more exciting to follow.

An Younggil’s brief game analysis

Go Game Guru’s An Younggil 8p discussed the game live with Baduk TV Live subscribers. This is his initial brief commentary of the key points in the game:

Black 17 was an interesting attachment, and the first fight started there. The result up to 31 was a bit better for White (Gu Li), because he became very thick and powerful at the top.

White 36 was an unusual move, and a big fight began when Black responded at 37. It was very complicated, and the result up to 61 was playable for both.

Black 63 was a severe response to White’s attachment at 62 and the trade up to 71 looked playable for Black, but it was actually an even result.

White 78 and 82 were a nice combination, and the invasion at 86 was painful for Black, because White’s influence at the top was too strong.


Gu Li’s invasion at White 86 was painful for Lee Sedol.

Black 87 and 89 were questionable, and White 90 showed Gu Li’s nice sense of play. Black 91 was an another questionable move, and White executed a nice counter-attack with 92 and 94.

White established a solid lead with 102, but Lee started to catch up again with 113 and 115. White 116 and 124 were slack, and Lee caught up through to 144.

However, Black 147 was a big mistake, and the game became difficult for Black again. And when White played at 162, the game became desperate for Black.

White 178 was a big mistake too, but Gu stayed calm with 182 and maintained his lead.

Black 185 was the last losing move for Lee. It should have been played at 186 instead. Black couldn’t find any more chances to catch up after White 188 and Lee Sedol resigned soon afterwards.


Gu Li erred with White 178, but kept his cool and won by resignation.

It was a very interesting game to watch, but both players seemed to make more mistakes than they usually do. That could be because it was a very complicated game, but they also they seemed to lose focus at some points in the game.

Recently, both Lee and Gu have played quite a lot of games and they had very little time to rest before today’s game. I think they both seem exhausted and neither player is in their best form at the moment.

Both players will work hard to recover and get back into shape – physically and mentally – in time for game 4.

More commentary to follow soon

Reviewing the game in detail will take more time, but Younggil will be back soon with his full commentary of game 3.

Game 4 will be held in Korea, on April 27, 2014.

While you’re waiting, you can review all our articles about the match on our Gu Li vs Lee Sedol Jubango page.

And don’t forget to subscribe to our free Go newsletter to get our weekly updates every Thursday, including all the latest news and commentary on this match!

Click here to join now (it’s free)

The MLily Gu vs Lee Jubango

Two of the world’s top Go players, Lee Sedol and Gu Li, will play a jubango throughout 2014, to decide which of them is the stronger player.

A jubango is a 10 game match between two players. The term originates from the Japanese language and has been imported into English language Go parlance. The first player to win six games wins the match.

The official name for this event is the MLily Gu vs Lee Jubango. MLily is a mattress and bedding company that also sponsors the MLily Cup.

Go Game Guru is writing a book about this match and posting news and commentary about each game as it happens.

Game record

Lee Sedol vs Gu Li


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


David Ormerod, with Younggil An and Jingning Xue

Related Articles

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. I don’t know about others, but I would really like to see an analysis of white 36 (s5), and black’s reasons for the indirect response. Completely baffling as beyond my reading! 🙂

  2. OK, perhaps that is a bit feeble: I should at least try…!! Here goes…

    37 at s3 is impossible as white can push through and cut (q4 p4 q5).
    I suppose q4 is undesirable as white can live with s9 and then N2 becomes well placed. R5 likewise after s9 and s3?
    I suppose if black could engineer a move at o3, s3 would then be strong. Is that one of the aims of 37 at N4? Over to An Younggil! A good challenge, I hope!!

    • Younggil An says:

      That’s a good question, and your theory is also reasonable. 🙂
      I wonder why Black didn’t play at R5 for 37, but I need to look at the game more deeply. You’ll soon be able to see my commentary about the moves 36 and 37.

      • Thanks Y.A. Glad it wasn’t something really obvious! 🙂

        Look forward to your commentary. Anything remotely like the last one would be great!

  3. I’ve noticed that the labelling of professional ranks in the game records posted by gogameguru is not consistent. Sometimes you write “9d” and sometimes “9p”.

    • It is the same

    • Younggil An says:

      I’m sorry if that makes you confused. Actually, 9p and 9d are the same since the strongest rank for amateur is 7d. Both 9p and 9d are pros.

      • James Sedgwick says:

        I’m pretty sure both the Japanese and Chinese issue 8D amateur ranks these days. Of course your point about 9D still stands.

  4. Viktor Kurta says:

    Congratulations for both players!

  5. Marek Jasovsky says:

    Thrilling game, was worth watching it. Feel sorry that Lee Sedol has lost, but it is not yet over.

    still respect for both of them for wonderful game experience, and thrilling moments with lot of nice people

    • Younggil An says:

      The game was thrilling and worth watching it indeed. I hope you enjoyed the time and I hope you get improved quickly! 🙂

  6. It’s not a pretty idea and probably not worth discussing but my dirty mind can’t help what would be the likelihood of either player throwing away a match for the sake of the sponsor’s event?

    We’ve had a contest like this between two big entertainment figures, shared between two TV channels. One channel had the first five challenges, the other the last five. Of course it was close until the last game.

    I cannot fathom professional go players doing this, so the organization must be prepared for lopsided results.

  7. was h13 (move 168) necessary for w? could he not have simply connected q12 at that point? I thought j12 worked to save the right, in which case that seems a more straightforward path to victory (especially considering Lee Sedol seemed to have at least a small chance after that point). thanks, and i look forward to the commentary (particularly about r5).

    • Younggil An says:

      Q12 for 168 could be also possible, but Gu wanted to make sure. It’s because he was already in the winning position. Gu’s chose in the game was good, though he made a mistake later (178) and gave Lee a small chance.

  8. Anonymous says:

    For move 168, why did w h13 instead of q12?

  9. Can you please post the condtions for the game, and what is the prize for the winner?

    • Younggil An says:

      The prize for the winner is 5M RMB (US$800.000), and the time limit is 4 hours with 1 minute byoyomi, 5 times each.

  10. I like the updates, but the main site is really irritating. First of all, there is the huge “Do you want to get better at go” banner, now there is the “did you know we have a Go shop” footnote. All the relevant stuff I can see on the frontpage is literally just half a headline of your newest article. Love the content, but the homepage is really irritating.
    All the best, rachel

    • It would be a great world indeed where everybody can live their passion and educate others for free, while still being able to own a house and eat good food. Unfortunately we’re facing an economy of supply and demand, where demand for free content is high and the supply of free houses and food is low.

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks a lot for you opinion Rachel, and thanks for sharing your insight Dieter. 🙂

    • When you said about banner and pointer to the store, I remembered them, but I do not remembered being irritating. I just enjoyed the content, and even more, I advertised the store in my Go community. I remember the times when I learned the game, but there was not internet, or local stores. and I needed to manufacture my Go set from backgammon sets.

      I would not mind even that aggressive advertising seen in other places, like Yahoo for example. The content worth the price. I am sure that if you and some other readers demands it, for sure will be offered a version free of that banner, but with a monthly fee.

  11. lostbeef says:

    Wow great game for Gu Li. He must be in a good shape after 3 wins straight against Lee Sedol… 😀

    Anyway, the bar below that says “Did you know we have a Go shop? Click here see our store” is kinda not so good because whenever i scroll it’s blinking and when i scroll down it doesn’t stay where it should staythen blinking. I’m not sure if it’s my pc problem or scripting mistake. It’s just doesn’t look good for the site.

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, I agree that Gu Li must be in a great form now.
      The footnotes was removed, and I hope it’s alright for you as usual. 🙂

    • I saw footnote problem too in my pc but not in my friend’s laptop so might be the problem is in the pc we are using.

      • David Ormerod says:

        Which web browser are you guys using? And which version if possible?

        I’ve tested this on a lot of different browsers and operating systems, but I can’t test every possible setup. Thanks.

  12. Proud2BPinoy says:

    Eventhough there is a big conflict between my country(Philiipines) and China, Gu Li is still my bet in this jubango. Go Gu Li. . . 😀

  13. Love Japan says:

    Hi An.
    Game 3 isn’t commented in Gogameguru?

    • The commentary is probably coming soon. I’m looking forward to it. I’m especially curious about the mistakes David mentioned: What kind of mistakes happen when a player is exhausted. And I’m wondering whether they changed their style to accomodate the fact that they were tired after their 2 games within a week. I hope they have a less stressful time before game 4.

    • Younggil An says:

      Hi Love 🙂
      The Game 3 was now published. I’m sorry that it took so long for technical problems.
      I hope you still enjoy it. 🙂

  14. Love Japan says:

    Hi An
    I want to study about endgame but I don’t have problem endgame.
    Can you help me?

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for your question.
      You can improve your endgame by playing many games. If you review your own games especially in the endgame, you’ll be able to notice the mistakes you made, and you’ll learn where’re bigger points or not.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Excellent commentary as always, much appreciated. And nice to look at the game afresh a month on – I am seeing more this time.

    The detailed comments on the tactics is very useful – it shows not only the sequences, but also the way a strong player looks at these tactical positions – the bits that most books and commentaries avoid, as it is hard to organise write that detail. Impressive piece of work.

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for your nice words. It’d be good if you can come and look at the commentary again. You’ll find some useful comments which you missed last time. 🙂

  16. Anonymous says:

    Well there was a lot. No way I am going to remember it all in one go!

    For example, I have read John Power’s book on Shusaku 4 times. And I am still not meijin strength! 🙁 … 🙂

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, that’s impossible to remember all in one go even for me. It’s hard to improve dramatically by reading the commentaries, but if you can enjoy, it’ll surely be helpful for you! 🙂