What the AI Behind AlphaGo Can Teach Us About Being Human: AJA HUANG DIPS his hand into a wooden bowl of polished black stones and, without looking, thumbs one between his middle and index finger. Peering through wire-rim glasses, he places the black stone on the board, in a mostly empty zone, just below and to the left of a single white stone. In Go parlance it is a “shoulder hit,” in from the side, far away from most of the game’s other action. Across the table, Lee Sedol, the best Go player of the past decade, freezes. He looks at the 37 stones fanned out across the board, then stands up and leaves…Read the rest of Cade Metz’ report in Wired. photo by Geordie Wood
A glimpse inside AlphaGo? “Here’s a picture of the machine Google used in the match against Lee Sedol,” writes Steven Schmeiser. “It turns out that they were using custom designed chips that are optimized for machine learning.”
Google supercharges machine learning tasks with TPU custom chip
Go Commentary: Lee Sedol vs AlphaGo – Game 1: If there’s any recent game that needs no introduction, it’s this one. On March 9, 2016, the computer Go program ‘AlphaGo’ defeated Lee Sedol 9p in the first game of the Google DeepMind Challenge Match. Go Game Guru’s Youngil An takes a look at the game.
Lee Sedol overtaxed? In a related story, Gordan Castanza reports that “I just learned from KBS News (Korean Broadcast System) this morning that Lee Sedol has left the Korean Baduk Association over the issue of its imposing a 20% ‘tax’ on him.” Stay tuned for more details as they become available.
Pre-registration for next weekend’s annual Maryland Open has topped 20 and will feature a strong Open section, including Xinying Jiang 7D, Zhaonian Chen 7D, Zhengbokang Tang 7D, Calvin Sun 1P, Shiyao Qiao 1P, Xiaocheng Hu 6D, Willis Huang 6D, Edward Zhang 6D and Justin Teng 6D.
One of the oldest chapters in the American Go Association, the Gilbert W. Rosenthal Memorial Baltimore Go Club has sponsored the Maryland Open go tournament every Memorial Day weekend for 43 years. Details and register here.
photo: at the 2012 MD Open; photo by John Pinkerton
The design committee of the Santa Monica Coffee Cup has finally chosen this year’s theme color, along with the colors for the next two years after. The eponymous “Coffee Cup” to be awarded to the first place winners in each division, as well as the tiles awarded the placers, for the 10th Annual Santa Monica Coffee Cup will be painted “fulvous,” a kind of dark yellow with some brown in it, said tournament organizer and AGA president Andrew Okun. “There were good arguments for mikado and sarcoline, but fulvous won the day.” The 2017 theme color will be something between glaucous and Nattier blue, followed by sang-de-boeuf in 2018.
Oh, and the tournaments itself will be June 11. The three-round AGA-rated go tournament is held, courtesy of owner Pam Stollings, at the UnUrban Coffeehouse in Santa Monica, CA. Check in starting at 9 a.m., rounds at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., prize giving around 5:30 p.m. Prizes will also include coffee, go books, bacon-flavored toothpicks and UnUrban T-shirts. Help is gratefully accepted for setting up and clearing up. Preregistration is essential as the field must be held to 64 players at most. Please register immediately.The 2017 and 2018 tournaments have not had their dates fixed yet, but the organizers will seek to hold them on the usual middle weekend of June. Please contact Okun at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know whether or not “mikado” should be capitalized in the sentence above, or have other questions about the tournament.
The last round of the Pandanet AGA City League is this Sunday, May 22nd. Each of these teams has played six exciting rounds so far with one more and the finals to go. Play starts at 3pm EST/12pm PST on Sunday unless otherwise noted on the schedule pages. Schedules: A League / B League / C League
Vancouver has climbed slightly ahead of Greater Washington in the A League. They are 5-1 each against the rest of the field. With two professionals for each team (Chinese and American professionals), play has shown the strength of their players. Los Angeles has been hot on their heels all year with Boston one game behind them.
Washington DC 2 has taken a commanding lead all year with their undefeated streak. Edmonton has taken one loss this year. We’ll have to see who leads the middle of the pack between Washington DC 1, New Jersey, and San Francisco 1.
The C League is led by Atlanta 2, followed by Boston 3, and Atlanta 1.
The Brooklyn Go Club hosted its annual event at the Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom) Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on April 30 and May 1. “A fair amount of interest was sparked by Alphago,” reports Barbara Calhoun.
photo by Calhoun
Tournament details for this year’s US Go Congress — July 30-August 7 in Boston — are still in development, but in addition to the US Open and US Open Masters, players can already look forward to favorites like the Diehard, Lightning, Crazy Go, and Pair Go tournaments. Some new excitement has been added for all levels in the form of Relay Go tournaments, where teams of players will switch off playing games of pair go, with an added element being that the teams that are currently not playing are able to discuss and strategize. One tournament will be open to all, and one will be an exciting US-China team showdown featuring professional and very strong players that promises to be an exciting addition to Go Congress events. A new Evening League will be a week-long ladder tournament, combining elements of the Self-Paired tournament and Midnight Madness and giving players the opportunity to self-pair and play rated games throughout the day. Stay tuned for further updates as we get closer to game-time.
- Karoline Li, EJ Congress Team (if you’re interested in being on this year’s team, email us at email@example.com)
photo: at the 2015 US Open; photo by Chris Garlock
GO BOOKS AND EQUIPMENT FOR SALE: Solid Kaya bowls $160, Two sets of semiprecious stones (yellow and green) $320, 33 English Go books $80, 18 Asian language Go books $50. All prices include free shipping and insurance to the 48 states of the USA. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for complete photos and descriptions. Payment by Paypal only.
(Things got extra busy here at EJ Central and we fell behind a bit in posting your letters and tips; here’s a batch of recent items sent in)
“On page 331 of ‘Caliban’s War’ by James Corey, “It’s like playing Go. It’s all about exerting influence. Controlling the board without occupying it.” - Peter Freedman
“Sam Hinkie, the controversial GM of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76′ers, just announced his resignation with a 13-page letter that references AlphaGo at one point.” Hinkie wrote “Watch what’s happening with the collaboration between IBM’s Watson and M.D. Anderson or
Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo. It won’t be just an ancient board game that’s disrupted. It’s also anything but a game to Lee Sedol.” Here’s a link to the full letter.” - Freeman Ng
“Although this is a chess article — Historical Chess Ratings – dynamically presented — there is also a short film on Go,” writes Michael Bacon.
“I wonder if the journal team can do a bit of digging and find out more information about this display in Italy,” suggests Ramon Mercado.
Myungwan Kim 9p’s upcoming top game broadcasts have been arranged for the next month! These will be broadcast LIVE over the AGA’s YouTube and Twitch channels, www.youtube.com/c/usgoweb/live and www.twitch.tv/usgoweb. All times listed are PST.
5/19, Thurs, 9:00 – 9:45pm, summary of Ing Cup Quarter-final, Ke Jie vs Park Junghwan, plus a teaser of Kim’s upcoming congress lecture on the AlphaGo matches
5/31, Sat, 7:00 – 11pm, LG Cup (round of 16), players not decided
6/9, Thur, 8:00pm – 12:30am(next day), Ing Cup semifinal 1st game, Lee Sedol vs Park Junghwan
6/11, Sat, 8:00pm – 12:30am(next day), Ing Cup semifinal 2nd game, Lee Sedol vs Park Junghwan
6/13, Mon, 8:00pm – 12:30am(next day), Ing Cup semifinal 3rd game, Lee Sedol vs Park Junghwan, only if the score is tied
6/25, Sat, 8:00 – 8:45pm, Ing Cup semi final, review of commentary, Lee Sedol vs Park Junghwan
by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal
The first game of the 71st Honinbo title match was played in the Honinbo Shusaku Igo Memorial Hall (right) on the island of Inno-shima (Shusaku’s birthplace) in the city of Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture on May 9 and 10. This is Iyama Yuta’s first title defence since completing the first-ever Grand Slam of the top seven titles. The challenger is Takao Shinji 9P, who has a bad record against Iyama (13-30 before this match) but who took the Tengen title from him in 2014, thus slowing down his quest for the grand slam. Takao has also been in great form this year and, as of May 3, had 13 wins to one loss.
Takao (left) drew white in the first game. During the middle game, Iyama (right) made a strong attack on a white group; Takao sacrificed it, getting an attack on two black groups as compensation. Later, Takao was able to force Iyama into a large ko fight that could potentially decide the game. Lacking ko threats, Iyama finished off the ko and let Takao revive his dead group. This trade was favorable for Takao. Iyama did his best to catch up, but couldn’t quite manage it. Takao likes to build thickness and in this case his thickness did him in good stead in the endgame. Iyama resigned after White 244. This was Takao’s first win against Iyama after a string of seven losses.
This is just one loss, so, my headline notwithstanding, Iyama will not yet be too worried. The second game will be played on May 23 and 24.
“There were 31 excited third through fifth grade participants at an elementary school tourney in Prince William County of Northern Virginia,” reports organizer Garrett Smith. “The two elementary schools, Neabsco and King, faced off on May 5th. Even though the Lions out numbered the Stars by more than two to one, the Stars carried the day. Both schools have had year-long, before school go clubs generously supported by the the American Go Foundation,” adds Smith. - Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor. Photo by Garret Smith
Organizer’s of this year’s US Go Congress – July 30- August 7 in Boston, MA — have just announced the following line-up of professionals and their lecture topics. Myungwan Kim 9p: “Mathematical Endgame” (all levels), “Liberty racing” (kyu level), “Puppydog and Bulldozer” (all level) and many more. Yilun Yang 7p on “How to play a reasonable opening” and “Against a strange move.” Andy Liu 1p on “The secret to get stronger.” Stephanie Yin 1p will present a series: “How to improve from one level to another” (15 kyu to 5 kyu) and “How to improve from one level to another” (5 kyu to 1 dan). More pro news and lecture topics are coming in the future, Congress organizers promise. Meanwhile, nearly 300 have already registered for this year’s Congress; click here for complete details.
by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal. As in 2015, I was invited to cover the Globis Cup for the E-Journal; I hope readers will forgive the delay in submitting my report.
China’s Li wins 3rd Globis Cup: The third Globis Cup, an international tournament for young players sponsored by the Globis Corporation, was held from April 22 to 24. Li Qincheng 1P (left) of China won. The full name of the tournament is the Globis Cup World Go U-20, and it is open to players under 20 as of January 1 of this year. Participating were six players from Japan, three from China, three from Korea, and one each from Chinese Taipei, Europe, North America, and the Asia/Oceania zone. The venue was the Graduate School of Management, Globis University, a business school run by the corporation; it is located in the Kojimachi area, a short walk from the Nihon Ki-in. The tournament is the brainchild of Hori Yoshito (right), who is the president of Globis University and also a director of the Nihon Ki-in.
At present, this is the only international tournament held every year in Japan and the only one for players under 20. The aim of the tournament is to raise the level of teenaged players in Japan who may not have many opportunities to take part in international tournaments. Of course, all the participants benefit, but the founder Mr. Hori is particularly concerned to raise the level of Japanese go and has set the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Nihon Ki-in (2024) as the target date for achieving this ambition.
The new tournament started well for Japan, with two Japanese representatives making the final (the first time this had happened for 16 years) in the 1st Cup (Ichiriki Ryo beat Kyo Kagen). In the 2nd edition, on which I reported last year for
the EJ, Huang Yunsong 4P of China beat Na Hyeon 6P of Korea in the final.
Below is a full list of this year’s competitors with their ages.
Japan: Ichiriki Ryo 7P (18), Son Makoto 4P (20, as of February 21), Kyo Kagen 3P (18), Matsuura Yuta 2P (16), Shibano Toramaru 2P (16), Onishi Ryuhei 1P (16)
China: Fan Yunruo 4P (20, as of Jan. 7), Yang Dingxin 3P (17), Li Qincheng 1P (17)
Korea: Lee Donghun 5P (18), Shin Jinseo 5P (16), Byeon Sangil 4P (19)
Chinese Taipei: Lin Shih-Hsun 5p (18)
Europe: Grigorii Fionin 7D (17)
North America: Justin Ching 7D (14)
Thailand: Krit Jamkachornkiat 7D (20, as of March 1)
Like some other international tournaments, the Samsung Cup, for example, the Globis Cup is made up of two stages. In the first, the players are split up in to four groups, in which the players play each other in a double knock-out. You qualify for the main tournament when you win two games (one player will do so with a score of 2-0, the other with 2-1). The second stage is then a regular knock-out tournament. Unfortunately, none of the amateur players scored a win. Below are the results in the second stage. Tournament conditions are the same as for the NHK Cup, that is, 30 seconds per move plus ten minutes’ thinking time to be used in one-minute units.
Quarterfinals: Li (China) (W) beat Shibano (Japan) by resig., Byeon (Korea) (W) beat Lin (Ch. Taipei) by resig., Yang (China) (B) beat Shin (Korea) by 7.5 points, Kyo (Japan) (W) beat Lee by resig.
Semifinals: Li (B) beat Byeon by resig., Kyo (B) beat Yang by resig.
Final: Li (B, center) beat Kyo (right) by resig.
Play-off for 3rd place: Byeon (B, left) beat Yang by resig.
In the final, Kyo started fairly well playing white, but he missed the decisive points in large-scale middle-game fighting, so Li took a safe lead. As far as I know, this is Li’s first tournament victory. Kyo had to be satisfied with second place for the second time; he will get one more chance to play in this tournament. Incidentally, both Li and Kyo scored 2-1 in the first stage.
Four schools in Portland competed in a Chess and Go Tournament on April 30th, reports organizer Peter Freedman: “All together, 8 children played in the Go tournament and 11 in the chess tournament. Taking 1st place again in Go was Olin Wexler, Beverly Cleary, sweeping the tournaments this year. Luke Helprin, Irvington, won the play-off for 2nd/3rd place, beating newcomer Patrick Le from Roseway Heights. Patrick took third place in his first ever Go tournament. Conall Wilkinson, Richmond, won all four of his games to take first place, and Sam Plager, Irvington was 3-1 to take second. Aiden Harris, Richmond, won third place with a 2-2 record on tie-breaking points. This completes the tournament season for this year. In all, the children played in five Chess and Go Tournaments, with about 125 competitors total in the five tournaments.” Story and photo by Peter Freedman.