Happy 1st Birthday Go Game Guru!

Can you believe that it’s already been one year since we started Go Game Guru? It really doesn’t seem like it, but the calendar says otherwise…

Happy Birthday Go Game Guru! Picture by Bob Staake.

On August 22, 2011 it’s Go Game Guru’s 1st birthday!

It’s been a really busy year for Younggil and I, working, learning, making this website, travelling and of course, playing Go.

Thanks to all our readers!

There’s no way we would have kept working on this thing for so long without the advice and encouragement of so many readers.

Without you, Go Game Guru would’ve ended up as just another abandoned web page on the scrap heap of the internet.

Thank you all for taking time out of your day to read and comment on our site regularly. Thanks especially to everyone who’s given us advice, linked to our site or shared our articles with friends.

What’s gone well?

It’s reassuring that some things are getting easier and better. For example, we finally settled on clean design that loads quickly a few months ago and nearly 1000 Go players worldwide read our free Go newsletter each week! Do you?

Younggil’s been publishing fairly frequent commentaries of professional games and readers definitely seem to enjoy them.

Jing started writing for us and took over writing a lot of the Go news. She’s been doing a fantastic job and I really can’t thank her enough!

We’ve all learned a lot, and many things that used to take a long time now seem really easy :). However, we still have plenty to learn and a lot more work to do.

What still needs work?

Learn Go The Easy Way

I started a series of articles for beginners called Learn Go The Easy Way. The first three articles have been published and I’m fighting to find time to write more. Don’t worry though, the next two articles are coming soon and there’ll be plenty of ninjas!

Top 20 Go Players

Likewise, Younggil started a fascinating series about the personalities of the Top 20 Go players of 2010, which he really wants to finish. Recently, he’s been busy revamping his Go school, where he teaches Go to lots of children (as well as adults) in Sydney.

If you live in Sydney or are ever visiting, it’s definitely worth stopping by. I hear the new website for Younggil’s Go School will launch soon ;).

Questions and Answers

We also started taking email questions about Go from newsletter subscribers. This is a series we called Go Game Q&A.

We got a large number of questions about Go, some general and some really specific. Some of these we were able to answer by email, while many others are stuck in the pipeline as drafts.

They’re good questions and we really want to answer them publicly so that everyone can read and learn from the answers. I was able to publish the first one, How to get better at Go, recently.

Unfortunately, due the backlog of questions we haven’t answered yet, we haven’t been able to open up questions again for readers who subscribed more recently, but we will as soon as we have the time.

The Go shop

The Go shop is central to what we want achieve with Go Game Guru, because we need a way to raise money to fund the promotion of Go. That’s the main reason why we started all of this.

Unfortunately, things haven’t gone as smoothly as we’d hoped and setting things up properly has been taking up a huge amount of my time recently. I’m really looking forward to the day when I can tell you all that the shop is finally ready.

What do you think?

That’s enough about us though. What I really want to know is how you think we’re going?

  • What’s do you like?
  • What don’t you like?
  • What would you like to see us do when we have time?
  • What do you think is a waste of time?
  • How could we do things better?
  • Would you like to help?

And so on…

I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below.

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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. katastrofsenap says:

    Hey! congratts on one year birthday, you rock!

  2. Happe Birthday Gogameguru lol

  3. Congratulations!! I hope all of you guys will continue your great job here for many more years.

    I have been reading GGG for some months now, and regarding your questions, I personally enjoy most the latest news and commented games. For many western players with no knowledge of any asian language, or links to China, Japan or Korea, it’s not easy to stay updated on the go world. Surprisingly, there are not many resources in english, and your page is doing an excellent job at this. If you keep this track, GGG might become a de facto standard news source for western go players/fans. Perhaps -with time- you might improve this “newspaper” side of the website, with dedicated pages for China, Korea and Japan, updated biographies of important players, trophy list with links to Younggil’s commented games… and maybe more in-depth, long articles, written by you or even translated from asian sources. I don’t know, just some ideas. Anyway, you are doing amazing, thanks for all your effort!!

    • David Ormerod says:

      Great ideas dav, thanks. I agree that it would be great if we could develop the ‘newspaper’ side of the site as you suggest. Right now we don’t have the resources to do that, but let’s see what happens in the future…

  4. DanielTom says:

    Happy birthday Go Game Guru!
    I really enjoyed the ‘Top 20 Go Players’ articles. I can’t wait for the rest. 🙂
    I wish the best of luck to An Younggil with his Go School!
    Congratulations for the fantastic website.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks DanielTom, I’m looking forward to Younggil’s next article about the top 20 players too. Li Jie and Won Seongjin are up next ;).

  5. There are a lot’s of good go places in internet, but this one is special. Every day I wait news from you and read the articules very carefully. I am sure that you are going to grow a lot in time coming. Maybe I will never play good (I am responsible for that)… but I will always wait and enjoy your articules.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks jangalf, it’s really kind of you to say those things and I wish we could update the website more often. Anyway, like you say, we will continue to grow and let’s see what happens next…

  6. Happie Birthday to u, Go Game Guru!

    I really appreciate about ur work, merci so much ^_____^ If u need any support , u could contact me anytime 😀

    Again, merci so much 😀

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks AnhTam, I’ll keep that in mind and contact you if we need help. Is there anything in particular you’d like to help with?

  7. Congrats! And keep up being awesome. ☺

    I think you should continue with articles like ones about 5-4 or getting better, they’re really nice. Some topics which are not covered in books are good, like newest joseki, unusual openings(tengen, center shimari, or I personally would welcome article about openings with several ignored kakari moves or kakari when there are empty corners), center control etc. Or maybe something about honte moves and how they help later in game, how slow moves which eliminate aji can win the game.
    It would be nice to review some older games of famous players like Dosaku, Shuei, Longshi. I tried to replay some of them, but didn’t understand a thing. Books also are not really helpful, except ones by Yuan Zhou. His “Master Play The Style of Lee Changho” was really interesting, and easy to understand, just like Younggil’s reviews -_-

    • David Ormerod says:

      Flandre, thanks. As usual you have so many ideas! 🙂

      I’ll add them to my list of ideas and articles to write when I have time.

  8. + Great: answering people’s comments. Will be hard to continue that! Right now it’s a cosy corner. Of course you want it to become a big room.

    + Great: the commented games by a pro. The top 20 pros article was refreshing.

    + Great: the style. You are benevolent but trustworthy. Some are all too eager to attract people, others are just too self conscious. You strike a nice balance there.

    – Improve: maybe the publishing rate is just a bit too slow. I’m returning more often for new stuff than I am rewarded with it.

    – Improve: at SL we lacked the trustworthiness of pro level comments, but we went in depth into a game analysis. I think you could hyperlink aggressively from a comment so that it functions as a top layer for a massive body of knowledge.

    Incidentally, did you learn from Yaro Starak?

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks for the comprehensive feedback Dieter.

      You’re right that it will be hard to respond to all the comments once the site gets more popular, but for now it’s nice to get to know more Go players. I hope that once there are more readers people will be able to help one another and answer other people’s questions more often.

      As I’ve said in other comments, we can hopefully publish articles more often once we have more time or people. Regarding your comment about SL, can you explain more the kind of linking you had in mind please?

      About Yaro Starak, I’d never heard of him until you mentioned it, but I do look at what other websites are doing and I like new ideas, so thanks for introducing me to him :).

      • (on SL) The advantage of the wiki format is that you can factor out the reusable stuff. In a pro game analysis, there is no need to show standard variations of a joseki. You just refer to the joseki page, unless you want to show the whole board thinking involved. Likewise, you can freely talk about aji, thickness, snap-back … without explaining but with including links to the those terms and techniques. A beginner thus can be introduced to the terms by stepping into a pro game. SL has many more features, like the search facility.

        SL has two main drawbacks: 1) sgf was never really fully integrated (the workarounds required a learning curve) 2) the site is not always authoritative because there was no critical mass of strong contributors; unlike wikipedia, where thousands of watchdogs can distinguish expert additions from stampeding ignorance, keeping SL tidy was the task of but a few librarians. Some people also lamented the decision to remove signed contributions when summarizing.

        You have authoritative sgfs. As your articles grow in number, you may want to increase their interlinkage. You may even want to link to SL articles!

        One thing I’ve learned from Yaro Starak is that when he deleguated writing to many other writers, the “soul” of his site was lost.

        • David Ormerod says:

          I see what you mean now. We’ve been doing a bit of the sort of interlinking you’re talking about, but as you said we will be able to do it much more as we build up the number of topics covered. I’ll think more about how we could improve the interlinkage between game records.

          That’s an interesting point about Yaro Starak’s experience in delegating writing. It’s definitely something to think about, because at the moment we still have a small team that works well together. Thanks again Dieter.

  9. Michael W says:

    I have never commented before, but I check your site every day. I look forward most to the professional games, and especially the comments. I think one way you could improve would be to post more professional games, whether you have time to comment or not.

    Also, a daily or weekly life and death problem would be a really neat and helpful addition. Maybe you could have one very difficult problem each week, and easier problems daily?

    Whatever you choose to do, keep it up. This site is amazing.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Michael, it’s nice to meet you then. Great idea about the weekly life and death problems, we’re going to give that a go, thanks :).

  10. Happy Bday Go Game Guru!

    I’m a recreational player and wish I had more time to invest in playing. Your site is one of my favorites. The tie-in between your newsletter and Facebook keeps me up to date with your new postings, and that’s extremely helpful to me.

    Keep up the great work!

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Carney, it’s good to know that the newsletter and Facebook are doing their job :). Thanks.

  11. LionelLAT says:

    Happy birthday GoGameGuru!
    I really appreciate what you’ve done for this website. This is probably one of the best go website I’ve found. Everything is going perfectly so far, but I hope that the Go news should be updated more. Anything about professional go players would be enough for go fans (their hobbies, their pictures, their personal experiences, etc.)
    Anyway, thanks again for your effort. Go is the best game all over this planet!

    • David Ormerod says:

      Lionel, as you might’ve seen in my previous comments, we’d also like to update the news more frequently once we’re able to do so. Maintaining a bio on each player is an interesting idea, but how could we manage the work involved? A wiki is one possibility, but then there is already Sensei’s Library (and Wikipedia), and we don’t want to duplicate or split the effort that goes into those. Are there any other solutions? What do you think?

      • LionelLAT says:

        Hi there,
        I really thank you for spending your time replying my post. About the bio of pro players, I knew there are many pages you can search on Google, but what I want to say here is that GoGameGuru should post more personal comments from pros to other pros. I remember there is somewhere else an article said that Lee Changho “Stone Buddha” rarely smiles, but in a particular moment he does, and even tells jokes (with Choi Cheolhan if I’m not wrong). Any tiny info like this would make go fans more deeply understand their favorite pros’ personality, and have a clear sense that pros are normal individuals too (believe me, most of my go friends keep admiring pros as God, though it’s good too).
        Besides, I think GoGameGuru should make more interviews with young female pro players (along with their photos would be the best haha), about this I’m sure that any go players, from ama to pro, would definitely like it.
        P.S: Remember my email, you shouldn’t miss a good and dedicated vietnamese go fan like me 🙂 (if I’m not wrong, AnhTam is one of my friends in Ho Chi Minh Go Club).

        • David Ormerod says:

          Thanks again Lionel, we’ll keep your ideas in mind when we’re writing articles and try to include more details about pros and their personalities when we can :).

  12. Happy birthday!

  13. Happy Birthday GoGameGuru!

  14. This is my favorite “all in one” go sites. I love all the commentaries you have and how Younggil notes the style of the players. That is what the analysis should be, because each player is definitely different. The continual, concise updates on professional go news is also much appreciated as are your How to Get Better at Go series (I believe that is what the 5-4 tips and tricks page is?)
    Thank you for putting together and maintaining such a great website. If anything, more commentaries would be much appreciated. Mahalo!

    • David Ormerod says:

      Mahalo Rocky. Yes, those articles by me are loosely intended as a series to help people get better at Go. I’m glad you like them. 🙂

  15. Happy birthday!

    I generally don’t answer much, but I read most articles on GGG carefully. I especially enjoy the game commentaries, but I also like the diversity of articles, and getting news of the go world.

    Thank you for your work.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Donio, that’s no problem. I know not everybody wants to, or has time to, comment. It’s nice to hear from you today though and know that people are reading and enjoying what we do.

  16. Muchas felicidades, sois geniales, muchas gracias por todo lo que hacéis por nosotros, espero que cumpláis muchos años más! (^¿^)

  17. Happy Birthday and good luck in developing this grate site!

  18. I discovered your site a few weeks ago, and like it very much: well done, and keep on going! I especially like your non-standard game comments that go a bit deeper here and there, and your articles, like that about 5 tips when encountering an unexpected move: really good!

    Kind regards,

    • David Ormerod says:

      Cheers Paul. I’m happy that you’re finding things a bit different and interesting ;).

  19. miguel angel says:

    well done!

  20. Happy B-day! Just like the game stay with it and it will get better!

  21. Shinoshino says:

    Happy birthday guys!

  22. David Ormerod says:

    Thanks everyone for your birthday wishes and kind words. After seeing all these messages Younggil, Jing and I are all very motivated to keep working to make the site better. Hopefully next year we’ll have even more to celebrate :).

  23. Bon anniversaire/Happy birthday!!! Your website is great, probably one of the best out there . I really enjoy reading news about the pro world and game comments. Something which I’d love to see is a calendar with all pro tournament and results as it is pretty hard to find information if you don t speak any asian language. It would also be really cool to have a weekly summary of everything that happened in the go world during the week (tournament results, important games, events, new pro grames, other go related news…).

    I also really like the top 20 series, it s great to get to know more about top pro players.

    When you re a go fan it s very difficult to follow what s happening in asia and your website really helps.

    Thanks a lot for your hard work and I ll keep on comming everyday.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Great idea Cyrion. Setting up a calendar is something that’s been on my mind for awhile, because it would also be useful to help us plan our articles better. Once we have that I’ll look into making it public as you’ve suggested. Thanks.

  24. gogameguru is shaping up to be a great site. please continue covering the pro tournaments and publishing articles for all level of go players. thank you for a great start.

  25. See you next year!

  26. Happy Birthday! David, we have met a couple of time as I am in Melbourne. You website is great. I have been keep coming back to see more articles. One thing I have noticed is the subscription email is always a couple of days late than the article was put on the website, is there any reason? I really think simple quiz or life and death problem will get more readers to involve. Cheers

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Daniel, I remember you :).

      The newsletter only gets mailed out once per week because I thought most people wouldn’t want to get emails from us more often than that.

      Good idea about life and death problems. I’ve setup some weekly Go problems as you suggested and we’ll see how it goes!

  27. At present I know of no other steady and reliable source of go news in a western language on the internet. While commented games, articles, etc. are useful, similar work can be found in other places, however as a news site, gogameguru is pretty much unrivaled. Personally, I believe this is the most valuable aspect of what you are doing, and it is the one thing that always keeps me coming back — Not that I don’t read and enjoy the other stuff too, but I came for the news.

    The section of this site that I think is probably the weakest is the beginners section, although my reasons are different from yours: I just don’t think there are that many beginners who read this site. Even if there were, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this site to beginners either, since there are an awful lot of websites with excellent beginners sections, which are significantly more fleshed – out than the section here.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Nicolás, thanks for your comments. I’m glad you like the news and Jing will be too :). The beginners section isn’t finished yet, but it’s very important to what we’re trying to achieve with this site, which is to promote Go. I think that even though there are older more established sites that teach Go, there are better ways to teach it. That’s what I’m trying to do, but it takes a lot of work.

      If we can teach Go better, then more people who start to learn Go will become Go players :). Also, the beginner’s pages are quite popular.

      • OK, thanks for answering! I hope the feedback was at least somewhat useful.

        • David Ormerod says:

          Of course it was useful! From reading your comments and others I’ve realized that there are several distinct audiences reading our site. That will help us when we plan new articles later on.

  28. Congratulation on your 1 year anniversary!!!!!!!! Keep up the good work,

  29. Congratulations on the anniversary. I’ve appreciated GGG very much. Please keep up the good work.

    A few comments:
    * The best user interface, IMHO, for Go games with variations and Go problems is the one used by gobase.org. It has very clear separation between navigating along a variation and navigating between variations. The user interface (which I helped design) for PilotGOne on Palm OS is also excellent. You may want to use or steal ideas from these apps.
    * Be careful commiting yourselves to selling paper books through the Go Shop. Amazon now sells more ebooks than paper books. An activity like learning Go lends itself to interaction. See SmartGo Books (smartgo.com) to see what paper books are now competing with.
    * Younggil’s annotations are sometimes a bit advanced for a kyu player like me. I’d ask him to at least give a very explicit explanation of why players resign when they do resign.


    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Rodney, thanks for your suggestions and advice.

      The player we use is part of an open source project called EidoGo. There are some things I’d like to change about it too. For example we can’t show the full width player on our site because our content area isn’t wide enough. If we could do that, it has much better navigation of the game tree, with comments and variations to the right hand side. When I have more time, I’d like to try making some changes to the code and push that back upstream, but for now I’m flat out working on this website.

      Regarding the books, thanks for your concern. I’m aware that the market for e-books is growing and it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. The other day I saw an interesting suggesting that e-readers are out selling tablets significantly. The book shop is really just a proof of concept for what we’re trying to achieve. It’s the easiest way to get started and hopefully raise some money for promoting Go, but we don’t intend to put all our eggs in one basket :).

      By the way, I interviewed Anders Kierulf about SmartGo books and other things a few months ago. You might be interested in what he had to say.

      I’ll mention your suggestion about making the reasons for resignation clearer to Younggil.

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      Hi Rodney,
      That’s a good question!
      Generally, pros resign their games when they think it’s hopeless. Some pros resign when they miss a simple mistake, so they feel embarrassed. Very rarely, pros resign when they’re winning, but they think they’re losing. Recently, Park Junghwan resigned a game against Chen Yaoye in Chinese League. When Park resigned the game, he was winning and if he played one move, Chen would have rather resigned the game. You might think it’s funny, but you should consider that lots of pros think that to keep playing a hopeless game is not a good manner.
      It’s hard to explain though.