They’re back! Lee Sedol and Gu Li proceed to 17th Samsung Cup final

On November 12 and 14, 2012, Lee Sedol 9p of Korea and Gu Li 9p of China ensured an early finish to the 17th Samsung Cup semifinals, both defeating their opponents 2-0.

Lee Sedol (left) and Gu Li (right) with famous Korean musician and amateur Go player, Kim Janghoon, at the 17th Samsung Cup semifinals.

No luck for Choi and Park

Choi Cheolhan 9p looked decidedly uncomfortable during his games against Lee.

Choi Cheolhan 9 dan, couldn’t overcome Lee this time.

Park Junghwan 9p, who couldn’t overcome Gu this time, still has the Ing Cup final to look forward to.

Young gun, Park Junghwan (9 dan, left) falls to Gu Li (9 dan).


The Gu vs Lee record

Gu and Lee have setup what will be their 31st, 32nd and possibly 33rd encounters in the final of the 17th Samsung Cup.

Interestingly, the two superstars have only met in two international tournament finals, which account for 7 of their past 30 games.

Gu Li contemplates the Go board.

The two are neck and neck at 4-3 in Gu’s favour (in international finals). Gu won the 13th LG Cup in 2009 2-0 and Lee won the 3rd BC Card Cup 3-2 in 2011.


Their overall head to head is also close at 15-14 in Gu’s favor. This finals series will decide who takes the lead from here.

Lee Sedol 9 dan gets another chance to pull ahead of his friend and rival, Gu Li.

Their 29th game during the Samsung Group Stage resulted in a spectacular quadruple ko (which was ruled a draw) and Gu won the rematch (game 30) to pull ahead by one game.

Whenever these two play together there are fireworks, so Go fans everywhere are in for a treat!

The final

The final will be played next month, from December 11-13, in Shanghai, China and will be broadcast live on Baduk TV.

Check the Pro Go Calendar and the Baduk TV Guide for details – you can even import the events to your own calendar if you want.

Who are you rooting for?

Because of their exciting fighting styles, Lee Sedol and Gu Li are two of the most popular players among Go spectators.

It’s hard to choose a favorite when these two great partners dance together on the board, but if you had to, who are rooting for in the final, and why?

Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.

The Samsung Cup

The Samsung Cup first started in 1996 and uses a rather convoluted draw. Though, arguably, it is fairer than a straight knockout format.

The 32 players in the main draw are split into 8 groups of 4. Players must win two games in order to proceed from the first stage; two players from each group will advance to the knockout stage.

In some ways it’s similar to the group stage of the FIFA World Cup, except that only two wins are necessary to continue.

The round of 16 and the quarter finals are played as a straight knockout.

The semifinals and the final are played as a best of three matches.

Samsung is a well known Korean conglomerate.

17th Samsung Cup photos

Game records

Gu Li vs Park Junghwan – Game 1


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Lee Sedol vs Choi Cheolhan – Game 1


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Park Junghwan vs Gu Li – Game 2


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Choi Cheolhan vs Lee Sedol – Game 2


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Related Articles

About Jing

Jing likes writing, and can occasionally be convinced to play a game of Go. Even though she doesn't play Go as often as she once did, she still enjoys following the professional Go scene and writing about it on Go Game Guru.

You can follow Go Game Guru on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube.


  1. i will cheers for Gu Li !
    hes my hero !! =)

  2. I will cheers for Lee Sedol… but Gu li is my hero too.

  3. I’m a solid Gu Li fan!!! Go Gu Li!!! !!! \( ^_^)/

  4. I used to like Gu Li more, but now I don’t know : (

    Lee Sedol seems to be improving this year in subtle ways.

  5. Lee Sedol!

  6. Charleschapple says:

    One of the best Go rivalries in history. So looking forward to this.

  7. I want more quadruple kos!

  8. I cheer for three super games, and hope Lee Sedol wins, as he is my favourite.

    Kind regards,

  9. 1st let me say i’m new around here and this website is just amazing !
    Thank you very much to all writers !

    2nd, i cannot decide what was that urgent in the move : Black 65 D13 stone during the Choi Cheolhan – Lee Sedol game 2 (last one of the 4 published in this article).
    This move broke the balance and the game became just crazy after this. So crazy i couldnt have a clue about the fireworks that exploded later. (omg, what kos !)
    I sincerely hope Mr Younggil will comment that game 🙂

    3rd, Lee Sedol \o/

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks Songe, I’m glad you’re enjoying the site :).

      It looks like move 65 was the last chance to invade. Do you think white should have reduced instead?

      I’ll pass on your request to Younggil.

      • It would be quite arrogant to say i am seeing any kind of “better” move. But if we talk about intuition, i may say “yes, i am more inclined towards a reduction here…”.
        But those skyrocketting games are more about willpower and dedication… So this attachment is probably more positive.

        Anyway, the first time i saw it, it looked somewhat “wrong” to me. Even if i cannot decide or find a better move 🙂
        Something softer.

        Reading again and again after this move, i dislike the fact that neither the crosscut (E14) or the double hane (C14) worked. So after the strong hane answer, i feel Black is behind…

        On the other hand, it is obvious that J11 is so thin you will suffer a splitting attack if you try something less dynamic (like D11, D12). And maybe the fifth line is not enough…
        Well i dont know 😉

        Waiting for Mr Younggil enlightment then 😀 (Thx anyway for passing this on !)

  10. Byung Soo Lee says:

    Whoever wins, this will be a fantastic series. The games are inspiring when these two get together.

    • David Ormerod says:

      I just got the (Chinese) book of Gu Li and Lee Sedol’s games :). It has 28 of their games together with detailed commentary.

      I’ve only had time to flick through it so far though. Too much working on GGG.

      Anyway, I’m leaning slightly towards Lee Sedol because I can understand his style a little more than Gu’s, but both are great players and it doesn’t really matter who wins when you can create art like that.

  11. Strange: my comment has disappeared. It was a long way to say I favour Gu Li.

  12. Hello, Jing!

    This tournament seems exciting.

    I’ve noticed recently that the Samsung Cup allows amateurs to enter, and also remembered that some other tournaments (defunct? still running?) have amateur allowances, also.

    Do you know how an amateur would enter the Samsung Cup?

    And, do you know which other tournaments including professional players also allow amateurs to enter, and how an amateur would enter those?

    Many thanks.

    • There are qualifying tournaments in Asia for the Samsung Cup and regional (e.g. North America, Europe) qualifiers for other tournaments where amateurs can play against pros (e.g. the SportAccord World Mind Games).

  13. Ah, also… mild confusion about the 4- player group stage… how exactly does one continue from that?