Lee Sedol nears victory and Gu Li faces kadoban: Gu Li vs Lee Sedol jubango – Game 7

Lee Sedol 9p won game 7 of the MLily Gu vs Lee Jubango decisively on August 31, 2014, establishing a convincing 5-2 lead over Gu Li 9p.


Lee Sedol 9 dan (left) and Gu Li 9 dan meet for game 7 of their jubango in Lhasa.

The pair met this weekend in Lhasa – the capital of Tibet and home of the Potala Palace – to play the 7th game of their historic 10 game match.

It was smiles all around at the pre-match festivities, but Gu’s mood quickly soured once the game got under way.

No surprises in the opening

Readers who’ve followed this match from the start will be completely unmoved to hear once again that “Gu Li took the lead in the opening.”

The challenge for Gu throughout this series hasn’t been in taking the lead – his skill in the opening is exceptional, even by pro standards – but in holding onto it. Go is like a marathon and Lee Sedol is dangerous in the middle game.


Gu Li (left) took an early lead in the opening.

Gu Li manages the center skillfully

Up to move 84, Gu (playing White) had more territory and Black had to find a profitable way to use his influence to attack.

White reduced the center and managed his groups skillfully up to 128, and it seemed difficult for Black to make any special happen.


Game 7 of the MLily Gu vs Lee Jubango looked promising for Gu Li.

Lee Sedol strikes like lightning

However, when White haned at 130, Lee struck like lightning and severed White’s center group.

In the powerful attack that followed, White was overwhelmed and White’s isolated dragon on the right side suffered a tragic death.


Lee Sedol seized his opportunity with both hands and attacked decisively.

A kadoban in Gu’s hometown

In case the disappointment of losing a promising and important game so irrevocably wasn’t enough for Gu, he now has to face a kadodan (a potentially match deciding game) in his hometown of Chongqing next month.

Game 8 will be played on September 28 and will be Gu’s last chance to fight back.

Don’t miss it!


Chinese Go players and fans post messages of support online for Gu Li, before the game.

An Younggil’s preliminary analysis

Black’s opening up to Black 7 is very rarely seen these days.

Black 19 was questionable. Extending on the other side (at M3) would be more common.

White 22 was a nice attachment, and the result up to Black 35 was satisfactory for White.

Black 39 and 41 were interesting responses, and the trade up to Black 53 was even.

White’s attachment at 56 was good and the game became favorable for White up to White 64.

Pushing at Black 65 was questionable, and White 66 and 68 comprised a very nice combination, after which White took the lead.

The hane at White 74 was a strong move and White gained more points up to 84.

Blocking at Black 97 was very big and White 98 was a nice reduction.

Black started to attack White’s top center group with 107 and 109, but it wasn’t that successful.

White 116 was a good move for stabilizing his group and White maintained his lead through to 122.

The hane at White 130 was a big mistake. This move looked nice, but Lee’s counter at Black 131 was very powerful, and White was suddenly in trouble.

Black 135 and 137 were nice follow ups, and the situation became desperate for White. Black 145 and 147 were the finishing blows.

All of a sudden, the game was practically over. It all happened in just 20 moves.

Gu tried very hard to catch up afterwards, and there was a big trade in the top left corner, but Lee didn’t give White any chances this time.

White resigned after 237 moves.

Unike game 6, Lee played very carefully once he took the lead and Gu didn’t have any chance to reverse the game.

This was a disappointing loss for Gu, because the game ended very suddenly and decisively in the middle game. There was nothing he could do to catch up again, even though he tried very hard to do so.

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.

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. Anonymous says:

    need move indicator (which move # it is) for the new sgf viewer thingy

  2. Wow, you are quick with the game WITH some first comments, thank you! Now I have a (very slight) clue at what was happening. Some questions:
    – I assume that B131 was possible because of B129. B129 was played disregarding an apparently non-sente W128. Wasn’t then W128 a mistake too, allowing B129, shouldn’t it have been played better in the center, avoiding any possibility of a black attack here?
    – The struggle after, say, move 150 is fierce, kind of a white’s death struggle, and I don’t quite understand most of it. An example: eventually black’s top left group dies. But couldn’t black have defended this group easily with B F18 instead of B177 at F19? Therefore, shoudn’t white have played W F18 instead of W176 at E19? I don’t quite get the swap here.
    – In the final position, black seems to be leading by about 2-3 points if I counted well, surprisingly small. How I would have liked the game to be played out, but that is not the habit these days.

    So, Go is fantastic in its adventurous complications, too difficult for any human being to be grasped fully: thank god, this makes for an ever exciting game! Thank you again for showing!

    Kind regards,

  3. Dissenting view: The games in this match, and in general most modern international games, disappoint due to the shortened time controls.
    Watching the games there is no doubt that Gu Li is a far stronger player; however, in shorter games, the scrappy, inaccurate player can win.
    I would far prefer to see fewer games played at the top level, each over several days, where players can bring grand concepts to fruition.

    Of course I do like these games, but they suffer from the length—that is obvious.

    • 8, 9 hours a game is not long enough for you? These time controls are far longer than almost all other national or international tournaments out there

    • Go is, by nature, a game, not a science. If the latter, you could make the game of Go as long as you wish, lasting several months, like the Kitani – Shusai game. To me, the nature of a game is that is must be finished within a day, and that fysical exhaustion must not play a deciding role. Like a football match that could last for six hours: not necessarily the best team wins then. So, four hours for each Go player should suffice to play a reasonable or even a good game, requiring some time management too. In regular chess, when a game becomes a long one, the time allotment per player is about the same. The best player then is the one playing the best game, making the least mistakes, preferably not the latest one, being the most efficiënt, and being the fittest, being able to maintain his concentration the best. Quite a balanced set of requirements, I would say.

      Kind regards,

    • “There is no doubt Gu Li is a far stronger player”
      No doubt according to ? I guess that’s your opinion which doesn’t doubt, but maybe you should consider that your bias talking, and not your ability to read the game, which is (in my opinion) light years behind those guys (unless you’re a top pro yourself, but I doubt a top pro would loose his time commenting on a western audience oriented blog).

      “The scrappy, inaccurate player can win”
      Dude ? Are you for real ? You’re considering Sedol a scrappy, inaccurate player who “can win […] due to the shortened time controls” ? Maybe you’re right, Sedol actually won several national and international titles, placing him number one player on world scene for a long time, because the guy is just so lucky…

      Gu Li’s ability in fuseki is “top notch, even by pro ratings” according to M. Younggil 8p, which is something I can’t (and I guess almost nobody in the west) argue with, but you seems to forget :
      1. Go is a marathon, so you can get quite an advantage in the opening, but there’s also middle and (sometimes) endgame, which are two aspects of the game most pros get to fear Sedol (according to Sensei’s and interviews)
      2. Sedol patiently waiting (gambling ?) for an opportunity to come back, and being able to read out the result of this complexe fight with Gu Li’s inability to do a thing should be enough to disprove your comment by itself, thus being regarded as areas of the game where Sedol is “no doubt […] a far better player”.

      PS : M. Younggil already took time to kindly answered his opinion concerning time setting in the first article’s comments of the previous game.
      PPS : I love Gu Li’s opening, so I might be biased too…

  4. What a masterful blow by Lee Sedol. How nasty, that this long sharp sequence left the white right side group just barely without 2 eyes.
    Maybe by top pro standards this rates as a blunder for w. But by mortal standards b made his own luck here.
    This is even worse for Gu Li than “normal” kadobans, because the best he can hope for is a draw.

    • Younggil An says:

      I agree with you. Furthermore, the next game will be played in Chongqing where’s Gu Li’s hometown, and he’ll be under even bigger pressure.

      It looks as if sponsor expected at the beginning that Gu will win the Jubango at around game 8, but it was reversed in real.

  5. I’d love to see more commentary on why white couldn’t use various moves to save the white group. For example, why couldn’t white save the center group by playing at S12 instead of T1?

    • t1 stops the 03 cut and subsequent ko in the corner. If s12, then w has also just given b a load of ko threats, even though he gets life ( I read 1 eye sente or 2 eyes gote on the side, and 1 eye gote at p11). You’re right though, it still seems like an opportunity to try something for w from a losing position, so I’d have thought it was worth a shot. I must be missing something too…

    • There will be a more thorough commentary later, as An Younggil has done so diligently and exhaustively over the past 6 games.

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for your idea C.

      White would still lose the game after living his group on the right side, so Gu chose the other way which he might have thought was more complicated.

      I’ll explain more about that in the commentary. 🙂

  6. Hello,

    Will there be a draw if Gu catch up back ?
    I thought there would be a decisive match ?

    Thank you

    • Younggil An says:

      I’m not sure Vendredi.

      When the Jubango was started, the media said that it’ll be draw. However, once the sponsor mentioned about the decisive match during a game, but I don’t know if it’s changed or not.

  7. Love An Younggil’s thoughts as always. However, having to open 2 browser windows (or 1 browser window + 1 sgf viewer app) to view the context is pretty clunky. And as mentioned, no move number on sgf viewer = crippling.

    • The official, grand commentaries are always integrated. It’s the quick service for our pleasure that goes in a separate fashion.
      I’ll remain baffled how people can complain about free services.

      • Hi Steven. Move numbers are coming soon. We’re working on a title bar, which will provide the move numbers and other game information. It’s been a lower priority because, as Dieter mentioned, the commentary itself will be numbered. That being said, it’s on the top of my todos =).

  8. Commentators like NaHyun 4p thought the opening was pretty even. But since most pros prefer profit over influence(defense over ofence), he thought it seemed lil easier for white to play. But overall this game was pretty even until move 128. Black’s counter 129,131 was deceptively deadley; white cluster on the right just died quietly. It was just a hopeless struggle for Gu Li afterwards.

  9. This makes me sad. I don’t have a favorite between the two but I really hope Gu Li can pull out a win in game 8. I don’t want to see a blowout.

  10. I was wondering if Gu Li really lost those games or lost in purpose. Hopefully he win the next match. Oh I’m so sad…

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for your comment LomX.

      It looks like Gu wasn’t careful enough after Black 129. Probably he didn’t expect Black’s counter from Black 131.

      Those players would never lose a game in purpose by the way.

  11. White 148 was the losing move. W could have saved his group.

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks fred for your opinion.

      I’m not quite sure if White can could have saved his group on the right side or not. However, even if White could have saved his group on the right side, the game was already very hard for White to win I think.

  12. I really dont understand W S2 (around when W got killed). Why not O11 for example instead? To my eyes W could at least put up a fight starting that move.

    • Arthur Yeh says:

      Same here… I also don’t understand W S2. I mean this move is obviously extremely gote but doesn’t W S12 live? Even gote life seems better than just letting that group die, no?

    • Younggil An says:

      That’s a good question Juho and Arthur.

      Actually, that move was hard to understand.

      If White saved his right side group, Black can play at N4 and White’s center group will be disconnected and captured.

      White S2 was a tricky way to reinforce his weakness at N4. 🙂

      • Arthur Yeh says:

        Ah, yeah, I was just looking at it again and realized I missed that cut. Somehow I thought W could play R2 and kill P2 after B N4, O3…

        Thank you for the explanation Younggil 🙂 Looking forward to the detailed commented game.

        • Younggil An says:

          That’s alright Arthur. It was actually easy to miss out and Gu’s diagonal move S2 looked awkward as well. 🙂

  13. Hi, what is this new sgf viewer ? I prefer the old one, why did you change for this one?
    Thank you you two for what you do for go! This website is the best i know for go news and comment. And your problems are always very interresting.

    • Hi Davy,

      I’m the author of the Go Viewer (called Glift). We changed to this one for a couple reasons:
      1. This viewer has better support for mobile devices
      2. The viewer is more extensible, and has better support for problems and lessons.

      You can read more about the new viewer here: https://gogameguru.com/meet-glift.

  14. Tuomas Toppila says:

    More baduk tv english subtitles plz. I subscribed to GoGameGuru mainly cuz I like watching Baduk Tv but you havent subbed new episodes for a long time =((

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Tuomas,

      I’ve added seven new English videos over the last fortnight. However, because we’re still catching up from when I was very sick earlier in the year, they’re backdated until I catch up completely.

      I’ve also been posting four extra videos for each month, so please check the actual videos rather than just the dates. If you still can’t see new videos, you may need to hard refresh your browser on the video page (ctrl+shift+R) or clear the cache.

  15. It was fun to watch the game live (with English comments). I didn’t see that white’s group was in danger, something I have in common with Gu Li I guess ;-).

    Although this thread isn’t about the new viewer:

    I like it (it’s been added to my local go club’s website), some things can be improved, I was wondering: when you click download sgf file, you don’t download a sgf file instead but the the content is displayed? I know it’s not that big a deal to copy paste the text etc…. but for some people it’s not that obvious.

    • Hi Steven. Cool to hear that you’re using Glift! Yeah, there’s definitely things to improve, but I’m on the lookout for feature requests and actively fixing bugs. Let me know and I’ll file issues and put them into my queue =).

      > you don’t download a sgf file instead but the the content is displayed?

      Odd. That sounds like a web browser issue rather than a Glift issue. I don’t have that issue with firefox, chrome, safari, or IE 9, so I would bet on a different browser or some setting that’s been set.

      • If you are looking for things to improve in Glift, I’d love a “go to the first move” and “skip to the final position” buttons or being able to use ‘home’ and ‘end’ keys for the same purpose.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Steven,

      This is a problem that would usually be fixed on the server side. Tell the person who runs your Go club’s website that they can fix this for all links to SGF files by telling Apache (or whatever web server they’re using) that the mimetype for .sgf files is application/x-go-sgf

      However, I’ve just updated the Glift plugin (version 0.3.7) to provide some extra hints to let web browsers know that the file should be downloaded, so this should help to fix the problem you’re describing even without the webmaster fixing anything. Please let me know whether it works for you.

  16. Interesting game. If Lee Sedol would study the fuseki more he could become quite strong! 🙂

    I feel for Gu, he doesn’t seem to deserve to be 2-5. Sadly, it’s usually the last mistake that counts: being good at fuseki is beautiful, fun, artistic. But being good at cutting and hacking and killing is how you win…

    I think move numbers (somewhere, not necessarily on the board) should be higher priority. Without them, it is necessary to open the SGF to follow the commentary, which makes GLift redundant here.

    Also, I think most people following games at some point say “what if white went there?” and, not being pro, want to play a few moves out on the board. As a feature that will also be important I think.

    Anyhow, seems very stable – no crashes on IE or firefox (on windows 7.1) for me. Only one bug I’ve seen where occasionally numbers suddenly change to little squares until you change variations.

    • > I think move numbers (somewhere, not necessarily on the board) should be higher priority. Without them, it is necessary to open the SGF to follow the commentary, which makes GLift redundant here.

      Yup! Working on it.

      > Anyhow, seems very stable – no crashes on IE or firefox (on windows 7.1) for me.

      Excellent, thanks.

      > Only one bug I’ve seen where occasionally numbers suddenly change to little squares until you change variations.

      Let me know if you can reproduce it, so I can fix it if it’s a persistent bug.

  17. Flagellator1974 says:

    “Chinese Go players and fans post messages of support online for Gu Li, before the game.”
    Zhou Ruiyang is on that photo?

    • Yes, that’s Zhou. And Hu Yaoyu 8p is to the right of Zhou.

      Also, the large photo in the lower left is Liu Xing 7p punching Lee Sedol’s face in the photo 😉

  18. Flagellator1974 says:

    HIPPO: “I think move numbers (somewhere, not necessarily on the board) should be higher priority. Without them, it is necessary to open the SGF to follow the commentary, which makes GLift redundant here.”
    ANONYMOUS: “If you are looking for things to improve in Glift, I’d love a “go to the first move” and “skip to the final position” buttons or being able to use ‘home’ and ‘end’ keys for the same purpose.”

    Agree. (And the last move indicator should be red, not blue 😉
    Thank you for Glift!

  19. Is there any way you can turn the numbers of the moves on, I know they are on in teh comentary games, but that gameboard is quite bigger then this one. So it might be a size issu, I dont know. But it is very anoying not knowing what number of move they are on, especialy when you provide info in the report “this move number X was very important turn in the game”.

    Great report, as usual, other then the lack of number. =)

  20. Also when you keep the mouse cursor still and just pres (to go to the next move, anmd teh next) you get a big floating “NEXT MOVE” (or “PREVIOUS MOVE” if you use the back one move button). Any way to turn this featur of, it is not so anoying on teh normal boards but the “nex move ” is right in the comentary when I look at and replay the bigger comented games.

  21. Mr.Younggil, you have defeated Lee Sedol several times. Do you plan to include in your book a chapter about his strong sides/blindspots? Maybe a game of your own to illustrate those points?

    Have you played agianst Gu and how did it go?)

    • Wouldn’t it be a book about Sedol’s style and not about the Jubango ?

      • It is a book about the Jubango. Maybe tehre will be other stuff included also like a histry chapter, bacground and such stuff and maybe soem other goodies… =)

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for your opinions and concerns Lake, Vendredi and Daniel.

      I also played against Gu twice, and I was crushed both. -.-;;
      The games against Lee and Gu were played long time ago, so I don’t think they’re that helpful.

      Anyway, we’ll think about those later. 🙂