by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal
Xie defends Women’s Kisei: The challenger for the 19th DoCoMo Cup Women’s Kisei title was Yoshihara Yukari 6P, who held this title for three years in a row before losing it to Xie in 2010. The opening game of the title match was held at the Hotel Sun Life Garden in Hiratsuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture on January 21. It was a very exciting contest, with the lead switching back and forth, but Xie (right) managed to pull ahead by half a point in the endgame. The second game was held at the Ryusei Studio in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo on February 1. It was another close game, but Xie, playing black, won by 2.5 points. Xie thus defended the Women’s Kisei title with straight wins and maintained her triple crown. She has now held this title for four years in a row and six times overall and has extended her tally of titles to 22.
Ishii Kunio wins 1,000th game: Ishii Kunio 9P, best known these days as the teacher of Iyama Yuta, has won his thousandth game. He reached the landmark with a win over Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P in the preliminary round of the Masters Cup. His record is 1,000 wins, 603 losses, 1 jigo. He is the 18th player at the Nihon Ki-in to win a thousand games and, at 74 years three months, is the oldest; he is in his 59th year as a pro. He is also the first such member of the Kansai branch of the Nihon Ki-in. He commented that while he regrets not having won a title, in a way he is proud of the fact that he is the first such player to reach this mark.
When asked which was his most memorable game, Ishii answered in detail. ‘I guess my win over Lee Chang-ho [in the 2001 Fujitsu Cup]. Besides that, I have strong memories of my win on white with no komi in the rating tournament over Ishida Yoshio 7P when he held the Honinbo title. Ishida was probably not psyched up for the game. The game when I beat Fujisawa Shuko to win a place in the Honinbo League; the game when I beat Rin Kaiho in the main section of the Judan tournament when he was Meijin. Sakata Eio Sensei stood and watched the whole game. When it was over, he said: “I’m astonished, really astonished. What was your name?” This is still a vivid memory. They are not counted among the thousand, but I also have vivid memories of the best-of-three match with Nie Weiping in the Japan-China go Exchange when I played as a substitute for Kobayashi Koichi and won 2-1.’ Ishii also mentioned that his only form of study is looking at Iyama’s games.
To 9-dan: Nakane Naoyuki (200 wins) (as of Feb. 19)
To 6-dan: Takemiya Yoko (as of Feb. 16), Kanai Tenpei (as of Feb. 23) (90 wins)
To 5-dan: Ando Kazushige (as of Feb. 5), Inagaki Yo (as of Feb. 19) (70 wins)
To 3-dan: Tsuneishi Takashi (40 wins, as of Feb. 5)
Promotions based on prize money
The annual promotions based on prize-money earnings for the previous year were announced in the February 8 issue of Go Weekly. They are listed below.
To 7-dan: Ms. Suzuki Ayumi
To 6-dan: Muramatsu Hiroki, Suzuki Shinji
To 5-dan: Yanagisawa Satoshi, Fujita Akihiko
To 4-dan: Ito Masashi, Numadate Sakiya
To 3-dan: Yo Chito, Koyama Kuya
To 2-dan: Sotoyanagi Sebun, Cho Zuiketsu
Tomorrow: Okura Prizes for Pair Go founders; 49th Kido Prizes; Xie makes good start in Women’s Meijin defence; Kono wins first game in Meijin League; International tournaments
Peter Shotwell just caught one of the History Channel’s two-hour “Art of War” series devoted to the teachings of Sun Tzu’s book by the same name. A professor from the Military College of Canada and several very knowledgeable authors began with a vivid in-depth discussion of Sun’s classical war and life ideas. This is followed by the Vietnam interplay between chess-thinking American bombing, battle strategies left over from WWII vs. the evolving Sun- and go-like Vietnamese strategies and use of spies that culminated in the Tet Offensive and its complicated aftermath. Finishing it was a highly innovative discussion of the clash of the two kinds of thinking during the Battle of Gettysburg and the World War II invasion of Normandy. It’s now on You Tube, and all the material plus a discussion of the role of language and the use of the “36 Strategies” is available in Appendix VIII of Shotwell’s “Speculations” article in the Bob High e-Library.
At the insistence of staff counsel at Boston University, the US Go Congress and AGA this year will be instituting tougher procedures for the appointment of guardians for under-18s staying at BU for the Go Congress without parents, AGA President Andy Okun told the EJ. “It is more involved than in previous years, which is regrettable, but campuses and their lawyers are feeling some pressure in the wake of the Penn State scandal. More vigilance in this area seems to be both inevitable and a good thing, and this is just the year we have to start.” If under-18s are staying in campus housing without a parent or formal legal guardian with them, a parent will have to sign a waiver and appoint an onsite guardian, as has been necessary since 2011. That guardian will have to be staying in the same housing and be attending Congress in the same time period, as always. The new requirement is that the guardian will also have to undergo a database background check by a third party service hired by AGA, as well as a brief online training in the protection of minors. AGA will charge the parents $25 for the background check, although the actual cost will vary and likely be more. The BU policy doesn’t apply to kids who are not staying in campus housing; for them, Congress will ask parents to sign a form as in prior years, but without the need for background check or training. Congress this year has booked some rooms at a hotel near the campus and other housing options are available around Boston. Questions about the policy can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The forms will be ready within the next week or so, Okun said.
AlphaGo scored a stunning win against Lee Sedol 9P in the first game of the historic match between Google Deep Mind’s AI and the world’s top professional go player, forcing Lee to resign in just 186 moves. “#AlphaGo WINS!!!! We landed it on the moon,” tweeted DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis after the game. “So proud of the team!! Respect to the amazing Lee Sedol too.” At a jam-packed post-game press conference, Lee admitted “I was so surprised. Actually, I never imagined that I would lose. It’s so shocking.” Cho Hanseung 9p said that “AlphaGo is much stronger than before, when it played against Fan Hui 2p!” Click here to see the English game commentary by Michael Redmond 9P with Chris Garlock on the Google Deepmind YouTube Channel.
The match began on Wednesday, March 9, at the Four Seasons Hotel, in Seoul, Korea. Lee is playing for one million dollars and, perhaps more importantly, the pride of countless humans around the world who don’t yet wish to see computers triumph in the ancient board game go. DeepMind, on the other hand, seek to test the abilities of their machine and make another step along the road towards a general purpose learning algorithm.
Game two of the match is scheduled to take place Thursday March 10 (local time; see below for US details) and Lee said “I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
Includes reporting by Go Game Guru; click here for their full report, photos and a game record.
The second game in the Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match will be Wednesday, March 9, 8p PST (11p EST). The match will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with English commentary by Michael Redmond 9p with American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock.
In addition to the live commentary by Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock on the first AlphaGo-Lee Sedol game (starting at 8p PST tonight), Myungwan Kim 9p will offer commentary on the AGA YouTube channel and Twitch, starting at 9p PST tonight. Kim’s commentary will be targeted for high level players. “Michael and Chris will be hosting DeepMind’s official broadcast for the wide audience attracted to this historic game, so we really wanted to go deep on the variations and complexities that might show up,” said co-host Andrew Jackson.
A report containing results, photos, and game records is available here.
Mark Lee swept the Southern Cal Go Championship, held March 5-6 in Anaheim, just down the road from Disneyland at the Ramada Plaza, where the ownder provided free space for the tournament. A total of 71 players competed in the tournament, which was directed by Kevin Chao.
Open Section Champion: Mark Lee (5-0); 2nd place Evan Cho (4-1); 3rd place Danny Ko (3-2); 4th place Yunxuan Li (3-2); 5th place Vincent Zhuang (3-2)
Dan Handicap section: 1st place James Lou (4-1), 2nd place Howard Zhou (4-1); 3rd place Brandon Zhou (3-2)
High Kyu Section: 1st place Sungkyun Kim (4-1) ; 2nd place Cody Frias (4-1); 3rd place Josiah Frias (4-1)
Mid Kyu Section: 1st place Greg Kulevich (4-1); 2nd place Derek Su (4-1); 3rd place Tony Koslow (4-1)
Low Kyu Section: 1st place Constantine Kopylov (5-0); 2nd place Lujia Chen (5-0); 3rd place Lucia Moscola (3-2)
- reported by Kevin Chao; photo: Open section winner Mark Lee
Myungwan Kim 9P will provide live commentary this Friday night on the third game in this week’s DeepMind AlphaGo vs Lee Sedol 9P match. LA-area fans can watch in person at the Korean Cultural Center of Los Angeles starting at 7p. The Lee Sedol/AlphaGo challenge match is being held March 9-15 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul, South Korea, and all five of the matches will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with commentary by Michael Redmond 9P with American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. Kim, a professional Korean 9-dan player, lives and teaches in Los Angeles. The event is free but registration is required as seating is limited; click here to register.
East Coast go players will want to mark their calendars for two upcoming events, the New Jersey Open March 19-20 in Princeton, NJ and the Philadelphia Spring Open on Saturday, April 30th.
“To register for the Philadelphia Open — or for more information — email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preregistration is required for the New Jersey Open; click here to register (If you register and cannot play, your fees will be refunded as long as you let organizers know by March 17th that you aren’t coming). The New Jersey Open is organized by the Princeton Go Club and supported by the Feng Yun Go School. The tournament began at Bell Labs, migrated to Rutgers University and then Princeton, and for the past 27 years has been organized by Rick Mott (a Princeton alumnus) and Paul Matthews (a Stanford alumnus and former Bell Labs research scientist). The AGA itself began with people from Bell Labs (West Street, New York City), “so the New Jersey Open is not only a great regional tournament but also a connection to American go history,” notes Matthews.
The much anticipated five game match between Lee Sedol 9P and Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo begins this week, on Wednesday, March 9 (March 8 for American viewers). Here is the match schedule, along with details of how you can watch and timezone conversions, courtesy Go Game Guru.
The first game in the Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match will be Tuesday, March 8, 8p PST (11p EST). The match will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with English commentary by Michael Redmond 9p with American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock.
“The winner here, no matter who wins, is humanity,” said Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt at Tuesday’s press conference launching the Google Deep Mind Challenge Match between Google’s AlphaGo and world champion Lee Sedol 9P. Alphabet is the parent company of Google. Hundreds of journalists crowded into the 6th-floor ballroom at the Four Seasons in downtown Seoul. Camera flashes exploded as Schmidt took the stage to proclaim that “This is a great day for humanity. Humans will be smarter, the world will be a better place.” Deep Mind CEO Demis Hassabis called go “The most elegant game humans have ever invented.” Hassabis, a go player himself, noted that because of go’s complexity, “It’s been a longstanding challenge for the AI community to master this game.” Lee Sedol, who a few weeks ago confidently predicted he would defeat AlphaGo, adopted a more circumspect approach this time. “Playing against a machine is very different from an actual human opponent,” the world’s Number 1 told the BBC. “Normally, you can sense your opponent’s breathing, their energy. And lots of times you make decisions which are dependent on the physical reactions of the person you’re playing against. With a machine, you can’t do that.” Indeed, asked about AlphaGo’s strengths, Hassabis sais that “AlphaGo will never get tired and it won’t be intimidated, unlike a human opponent.” Even so, Hassabis said, “We’re many decades away from a real human AI; we’re still playing games.” And Sedol turned a bit philosophical at the end of the press conference, quietly saying that “If I get defeated it might be negative for go, but it is inevitable in this modern life. But it won’t destroy the value of go itself.”
- report/photo by Chris Garlock; photo: (l-r): Hassabis, Lee & Schmidt
The 23rd annual Redmond Cup will begin in April, and registration is due by March 13th. Preliminary games will be played online and the four finalists will be invited to the 2016 US Go Congress to play the final games. There are two divisions in the Cup; the Junior league for kids 12 and under, and the Senior league for 17 and under. Competitors in both leagues must have an AGA or CGA rank of 1 dan or higher. The Junior league may be expanded to include ranks down to 5 kyu if there are not enough players. Players who complete the tournament will be eligible for $400 scholarships to the AGA Go Camp, or $200 scholarships to the US Go Congress, on a first come first served basis, courtesy of the AGF. Competitors from Mexico are also invited to the event. The participants must be members of the American Go Association or the Canadian Go Association and either residents of the U.S., Canada or Mexico, or citizens of the United States living anywhere in the world, provided that they are also members of the AGA. For more information on the event, read the rules document here. To register click here.
Twenty children competed in a three schools chess and go tournament in Portland, OR, on February 27th, reports organizer Peter Freedman. The prize for first place was a $25 gift certificate from Guardian Games, second place a $20 gift certificate, and 3rd place a $15 gift certificate. Go results: First place – again – Olin Waxler, Beverly Cleary 4-0; 2nd place, Tommy Flynn, Beverly Cleary, 3-1; 3rd place, Luke Halpern, Irvington, 3-1. Four players had 2-2 records: Scout Imboden, Mason Bonner, Kahlial Lofquist, and Diego Hernandez. Diego and Ben Kunze were playing in a Go tournament for the first time. Chess results: Sam Plager, Irvington, 1st place: Aiden Harris, Richmond, 2nd place, and Mason Buchanan, Irvington, 3rd place. - story and photo by Peter Freedman:Olin Waxler (l) playing Tommy Flynn (r)
Artem Kachanovskyi (right) prevailed over fellow Ukrainian Andrii Kravets in the final of the third European Pro Qualification tournament to become Europe’s latest professional. Sixteen players competed on the weekend of March 5-6 in Baden-Baden to become the next EGF professional. The tournament featured a double elimination to determine a final eight, who ten competed in knockout rounds. The tournament started well for French players Thomas Debarre and Benjamin Dréan-Guénaïzi, who beat respectively Andrii Kravets (Ukraine) and Jan Hora (Czechia), and then Juri Kuronen (Finland) and Csaba Mero (Hungary), advancing to the quarterfinals. Tanguy Le Calvé (France), who lost to Lukáš Podpera (Czechia), entered the repechage, where he could again hold his head high after wins over Lukas Krämer (Germany) and Juri Kuronen (Finland).
On Saturday afternoon, the quarter-finals saw Debarre lose to Kravets in a repeat match and Tanguy fall to Kachanovskyi. Debarre beat Viktor Lin (Austria) but then on Sunday morning he lost in the semi-finals to Kravets. The two Ukrainians then met in the final where Kachanovskyi emerged as champion.
Kachanovskyi lives in Kyiv, Ukraine started playing when he was just 6 or 7, studying mostly on his own. He’s long dreamed of becoming a professional. “I read many books that were describing not only the games, but how professionals think and some details of their living. That was inspiring.” Now, having finished university, “I’ll have more free time” to play go, he says, though since he works as a programmer, “it’s not so easy to play online each day, after staring almost all the day into a monitor. I think I’ll pay more attention to reviewing pro games on a board, maybe playing online on weekends.”
Full results can be found on the EGF website, along with player bios and tournament photos.
Based on an article in Revue Française de Go by Simon Billouet, posted by Ian Davis and edited by Chris Garlock; photos by Harry van der Krogt