The dates for the much anticipated jubango between Lee Sedol 9p and Gu Li 9p have been announced, and the match will start in January 2014.
The MLily Gu vs Lee Jubango will be sponsored by MLily. The official launch of the match was held on November 24, 2013, at the Conrad Hotel in Beijing, China.
Lee Sedol 9 dan (left) and Gu Li at the launch of their jubango.
What the … is a jubango?
A jubango (十番碁 in Japanese – literally ‘ten boards of Go’) is a 10 game match between two noteworthy players, which has traditionally been used to determine who the stronger player is.
Jubango rose to prominence in Edo period Japan as a way of resolving disputes between top Go players and their houses and have been a popular format for sponsored matches between top players in the modern era.
The most famous jubango in recent times have been those played by Go Seigen, against various top Japanese players, in the first half of the 20th century.
A statement from the Chinese Weiqi Association
Liu Siming, the president of the Chinese Weiqi Association, said:
“The jubango between Gu Li and Lee Sedol is finally going to start in 2014 and many Go fans have been looking forward to it. Each of the 10 games will be played in a different city.”
“I think these two players are the best choice for a jubango, and the games will be very exciting. There hasn’t been a jubango like this in the last 70 years, but we’ve pushed ahead to make this one happen.”
“Gu Li and Lee Sedol both were both born in 1983, and Lee is just one game ahead in their head to head record.” (currently 18-1-17 in Lee’s favor – with one draw because of a quadruple ko)
“There are many rising stars today, but Lee and Gu are still the best, since they’ve won 14 and 7 international titles respectively.”
“It’s a very special event with a lot of prize money, and I hope that both players can create great games, which they can be proud of.”
Note: We believe Mr Liu’s “70 years” comment refers to the famous jubango between Go Seigen and Kitani Minoru, played between 1939 and 1940.
From left: Liu Siming, Lee Sedol, Gu Li and Ni Zhanggen.
Comment from MLily
Ni Zhanggen, the president of MLily said, “I hope that many people will follow this match, and I hope that both players will play their best, regardless of the prize money.”
MLily, the sponsor, is a mattress and bedding company which also sponsors the new MLily Cup.
The match schedule
Lee Sedol stands in front of a commemorative banner with his name (李世石) written in calligraphy.
The games will be played on the last Sunday of each month, with the first game scheduled for January 26, 2014, in Beijing. See the Pro Go Calendar for other dates.
The players will take a break in June, when the 2014 FIFA World Cup is held in Brazil. (Go players like to stay up late and watch the football too! )
The time limit for each game is 4 hours for each player and the first player to win 6 games will win the match.
The winner will receive the entirety of the prize money – 5 million RMB (approximately $820,000 USD at the time of writing).
There’s no official prize for the loser, but there’s a consolation prize of 200,000 RMB (about $33,000 USD).
If the score is tied at 5-5, the prize will be split 50/50, with no tie breaker planned.
An interview with Lee Sedol and Gu Li
Gu Li stands with a commemorative banner of his name (古力) in calligraphy.
Lee: I’ve lost some important games against 90s generation players over the last two years. Some of them are already playing at the top level, but it’s hard to answer your question. I’m more experienced so, if I play with them at the moment, I think it’s 50/50.
Gu: The 90s generation players are already very strong. I sometimes feel they’re stronger than me. I can’t agree that the 80s generation still rules the Go world. There are many top players today, but I still feel confident when I play against one of them in the final of a tournament.
The time limit for this match is 4 hours each, which is quite unusual these days. What do you think about this? And most of the games will be played in China, does that put Lee Sedol at a disadvantage?
Gu: This will be my first time playing a game with this much thinking time. I normally play faster than Lee Sedol does, so it’s not good for me. However, I want to show my potential in this series, in 2014.
Lee: It’s reasonable to have more thinking time for such an important match. I’ll be able to play better with more time to think. I’m already used to playing in China, so that won’t be a problem.
How will you prepare for the jubango?
Gu: I’ve been studying by myself to prepare for the match. This match will be a very important part of my career and my life.
Recently, you’ve reclaimed the #1 rank in Korea. Is that related to this match in any way?
Lee: No, I don’t think so. There were many lightning games in the first half of 2013, and I lost many of them. However, there have been more games with longer time limits in the second half of the year, and I’ve been able to achieve better results in those games. That’s all there is to it.
Follow the Gu vs Lee jubango in 2014
Go Game Guru will follow the jubango between Gu Li and Lee Sedol game by game in 2014, and you can follow it with us!
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