Book Review: Commented Games by Lee Sedol Volume 2

Commented Games by Lee Sedol: Volume 2 - Dream to Be the Best

Description: Described as many as the Korean version of Invincible, this series contains some of the most detailed commentaries that I have read thus far. In addition, it is evident that Lee Sedol 9P and Lee Sena have worked work to make the content accessible to both that beginner and intermediate players as well. This book not only goes into Lee Sedol’s thought on go strategy and his thoughts on the moves that occur; but also talks about his feelings and mental state during each game along with anecdotes from his journey to being one of the strongest go players in the world.

Book Details

Title, Commented Games by Lee Sedol: Volume 2 - Dream to Be the Best
Series, Commented Games by Lee Sedol
Authors, Lee Sedol 9P & Lee Sena 6D
Translators, Daniela Trinks 5D & Kim Chaelim 6D
Publisher, Baduktopia
Published, “July 2013”
Language, English
ISBN, 978-89-90965-39-4
Length, 324 Pages

Table of Content

  • Commentator’s Preface
  • Writer’s Preface
  • Chapter 1

    • 7th LG Cup International Tournament, Title Match - Game 3 (Lee Sedol 3P versus Lee Changho 9P)
    • Episodes

      *   Hometown: Bigeum Island
      • Confidence and Frustration
      • The Kongbbokki Farewell
      • New Dance
      • If Not for Father
      • Weak to Compliments
      • Going to Competitions
      • Competitive Spirit

      • Chapter 1 - Epilogue

  • Chapter 2

    • 2nd Toyota Denso Cup - World Oza, Title Match - Game 3 (Chang Hao 9P versus Lee Sedol 9P)
    • Episodes

      *   Baduk Professional Brotheres
      • Left-handed Handshake
      • School Days
      • Grateful to Master Oh Kyu-Cheol
      • Dried Gourd Dipper
      • Four-wheeled Bicycle
      • Brave Kid
      • “Longing for Father”
      • Burn
      • Playing Style

      • Chapter 2 - Epilogue 1

    • Chapter 2 - Epilogue 2: Semifinal versus Kong Jie
  • Chapter 3

    • 3rd Toyota Denso Cup - World Oza, Semifinal (Lee Sedol 9P versus Lee Changho 9P)
    • Episodes

      *   Leave of Absence
      • Studying Baduk in a Dojang
      • Swimming
      • Play
      • Dojang Life
      • Benefits of Playing Baduk
      • Women’s Baduk
      • Lapses During Professional Games
      • Becoming a Professional Player

      • Chapter 3 - Epilogue

Before I Read This Book…

After finishing Commented Games by Lee Sedol Volume 1, I couldn’t wait to get started on the second installation of this series. Not only was I looking forward to being bestowed more go wisdom from Lee Sedol, but I was also equally excited to learn more about his life and his perspective on things. With that said, onward to the review!

My Review

Much to my delight, this book not only continued the format I came to love; but it seemed to have gotten even easier to read and comprehend! Now I guess it’s possible that I suddenly had an epiphany and am now miraculously stronger; but let’s face it, the more likely explanation is that Lee Sedol 9P and Lee Sena actually managed to improve the format and somehow managed to make it more accessible to amateur players. With that said, let’s dive a little deeper into my thoughts on the book shall we?

So what most players will be curious about is the game review content. And in all honesty, I was a little shocked when I found that this volume contained explanations and diagrams that were actually shorter and more concise than the Volume 1. In fact, these diagrams and explanations are often easy to follow for even players in the 10 kyu range. And in my opinion, that is pretty impressive when you consider the fact that most professional game commentaries are hard for even dan players to understand.

For those like me who enjoy non-sequitors about Lee Sedol, I’m excited to inform you there are still numerous anecdotes about Lee Sedol that make for very entertaining breaks between the all the go commentary and explanations. It’s so funny to learn about what Lee Sedol was like as a child and how those experiences contributed to his style of go today.

At the end of the day, this volume only continues to reinforce my love for this series and I can’t wait for the third one to come out!


What did I enjoy about the book?

  • When you first open the book, they still have the colored pictures capturing some of Lee Sedol’s highlights in life. While this might seem irrelevant to some, I found that it added a really personal touch to the book since it felt as if I was looking through a scrapbook and getting to know Lee Sedol personally.
  • The introductory page for each game was immensely appreciated since it gave context as to the kind of game being played along with how high the stakes were.
  • The game commentary is extremely detailed and you get to hear Lee Sedol’s personal thoughts on both the go discussion along with his mentality at the time.
  • The way Lee Sedol highlights the important moments of each game is new and really helped to wrap up the game in a very thorough manner.

What did I gain from reading this book?

  • A much broader perspective on the game in regards to how to approach it.
  • Quite a few pieces of advice and wisdom that have really struck me and given me a lot to think about.
  • A reminder of how often things can change during a game and that trade-offs can occur at any time in the game.

How is the book structured?

  1. A one page introduction to the game with the following information:

    • Prize Money (1st Place)
    • Winner’s Purse (2nd Place)
    • Tournament Regulations (Time Allotted for Each Game)
    • Short summary of the tournament’s background and general structure.
    • The tournament pairing chart.
  2. A title page featuring:

    • A black and white picture from the actual game itself (with the respective players included).
    • The tournament and round that the game was played in.
    • The date that the game was played.
    • Indication of who played which color and what rank they were at the time.
  3. For the commentary portion of each chapter, each figure had the following structure:

    1. A large kifu that made it easy to read and figure out where each move was.
    2. Below each kifu was at least a few lines from Lee Sedol commenting on his mental state of mind or thoughts he was having at the time. This is not to be confused with go related commentary, since it is more of a psychological introspection than anything else.
    3. Approximately a paragraph long of Lee Sedol’s explanation of what happened in the featured sequence and some of his thoughts on it (e.g., why he played the way he did, etc.).
    4. As you can expect from any game review, the discussion of variations and numerous diagrams appear with each sequence.
    5. At the end of each game, Lee Sedol goes through and summarizes the highlights of each game and discusses the importance of that moment.
  4. An epilogue of Lee Sedol’s thoughts of the tournament as a whole along with any thoughts he had about himself as a player and his psychological state at the time. In other words, it’s as if you got the opportunity to talk to Lee Sedol and hear his thoughts on the tournament. Extremely enjoyable to read.

  5. Finally, spread throughout the chapters, players will also find anecdotes and random tidbits (called Episodes in the Table of Contents) about Lee Sedol that serve as an extremely enjoyable break.

What aspect can be improved on?

  • No complaints here!

Is this book easy to read?

  • Yes. The tone of the book was primarily conversational that really helped alleviate any difficulty weaker players might normally have when reading a book with professional level commentary.

Bottom Line

  1. Continues to uphold the quality of content that you come to expect after reading Volume 1.

  2. Considering it’s a book on professional level go, this book is very accessible to beginners and intermediate players alike (though a bit more towards intermediate players).

  3. The format of the book makes for an incredible and unforgettable experience where the reader can be immersed in go and Lee Sedol’s thoughts while also getting to know him at the same time.

  4. Worth every penny and more for the content and experience you get with it!

  • Any players who are fans of Lee Sedol.
  • Players who have run into issues understanding professional commentaries in the past and are looking for a book that tries to bridge that gap.

Where Can I Buy It?

  • GoGameGuru - $42.00 (shipping and handling not included)

Other Books in This Series…

Last Updated on September 22nd, 2013