World news

New Jersey Open This Weekend; Pre-Registration Required

AGA news - Thu, 17/03/2016 - 03:03

The New Jersey Open will be held this weekend in Princeton, New Jersey in the Frist Campus Center. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required this year: register here by Thursday, March 17. When you arrive, there will be a check-in sheet at the registration desk and initial pairings will be posted. Check your name off on the list. DO NOT START PLAY until the designated start time of 10 AM. Announcements and attendance check will begin at 9:50. If you are not there, you will be removed from the first round. Cell phones don’t work at the site, but if you’re lost or late, call 609-851-6351 during the last half hour of check-in. Trains from NY/Phila arrive at 9:36. We suggest a taxi to Frist in order to arrive on time.
- Rick Mott, Princeton Go Club
NOTE: top boards will be broadcast on KGS by Chris Garlock (just returned from the Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match in Seoul) and John Pinkerton

Categories: World news

New 10-Week Beginner Class at SF Go Club

AGA news - Wed, 16/03/2016 - 03:33

The SF Go Club is starting a new 10-week beginner’s course this Sunday, March 20th, club president Mishal Awadah told the EJ. “This is a new approach to teaching and we hope to have a great class of beginners’ learn the basics of the game together.” More information about the course as well as a flyer for distribution can be found at http://sfgoclub.com/go-for-beginners/. Topics include the rules, capturing stones, eyes and living groups, shape, ladders, ko, seki and sente vs. gote. The lessons run from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. each week.

Categories: World news

AlphaGo Edges Lee Sedol in Game 5 to Win Google DeepMind Challenge 4-1

AGA news - Tue, 15/03/2016 - 15:58

After a loss in Game 4 of the Google DeepMind Challenge, and a move early on that looked like a mistake, but could have been a creative and effective new move, AlphaGo on Tuesday won Game 5 against the legendary Lee Sedol 9P. This final game of the match was close until the very end, with commentators going back and forth about who was leading. But after 280 moves, down a couple points, Lee resigned, giving the Google AI program a 4-1 match record and achieving a major milestone for artificial intelligence a decade earlier than many predicted.

“It was difficult to say at what point AlphaGo was ahead or behind,” said English commentator Michael Redmond 9P. “AlphaGo made what looked like a mistake with move 48, similar to the mistake in Game Four in the middle of the board. After that AlphaGo played very well in the middle of the board, and the game developed into a long, very difficult end game…AlphaGo has the potential to be a huge study tool for us professionals, when it’s available for us to play at home.” Korean commentator Kim Seongryong 9P added that “Just like the scientists, go players are always trying to find new methods and approaches. And we are so happy when we find them. This Challenge Match has brought us go players to new areas we’ve never explored. We are now seeing a lot more interest in playing go. And even in one week, I feel like my go playing has improved.”

“I just want to say thanks to the entire DeepMind AlphaGo team,” said Chris Garlock, Managing Editor of the American Go E-Journal, and the other half of the English commentary team. “This match… the drama, the historic aspect, the quality of the games, the brilliance of AlphaGo, the brilliance of Lee Sedol, and then the amount of media coverage. This is a gift to go. This is going to do a lot to bring go to new audiences. We could not have dreamed this up any better, and the match delivered beautiful games. This match has done what go always does: brings people together in friendship and cooperation, and that, like the game itself, is beautiful.”

With AlphaGo’s victory, Google DeepMind will donate the $1 million in prize money to UNICEF, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) charities, and go organizations.

Click here for complete game commentaries, as well as brief game highlights for each round.
photos: (top right) Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis with Michael Redmond (l) and Chris Garlock (r); (middle left) AlphaGo team takes a bow.

Categories: World news

School Teams Tourney Deadline March 23

AGA news - Tue, 15/03/2016 - 02:19
The registration deadline for the School Team Tournament (STT) is right around the corner. “The STT is one of the most interactive and competitive tournaments for students in high school or below,” says American Go Honor Society President Yunxuan Li. “It draws many schools every year and has always been enjoyed by young players. All you need to do is gather 3 players from your school and sign up to compete!” To register, click here.

Registration will end March 23, and the tournament will take place on KGS on April 2 & 3. The 1st round starts at 9am PST, and the 2nd  at 1pm. Rounds 3 and 4 follow the same schedule the next day. Time settings are 45 minutes main time and 30 seconds of byo-yomi 5 times. Please remember to indicate your accurate AGA rank or your KGS rank. If you register with your KGS rank, please make sure you have at least 10 games on your account before the tournament. “Which team will be the next to win top honor for their school this year? We will find out soon,” adds Li.

Categories: World news

Michael Redmond on AlphaGo, Lee Sedol and Honinbo Shuwa

AGA news - Mon, 14/03/2016 - 09:52

by Chris Garlock

During a long walk around Seoul on Monday — the day off before the Google DeepMind Challenge final game Tuesday
between Lee Sedol 9P and AlphaGo — Michael Redmond 9P was still thinking about the game from the previous day, in which Lee had finally snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. In reviewing the game carefully, he was convinced that Lee’s “brilliant” move 78 — which had won the game — didn’t actually work. Somehow, though, it had prompted a fatal mistake by AlphaGo, which top members of the DeepMind team were still trying to understand, and had reviewed key points with Redmond after the match and then again at breakfast Monday morning. While Redmond was fascinated with the move’s many complicated variations and trying to understand what had happened to AlphaGo, he was also thinking about Honinbo Shuwa, the 19th century Japanese professional go player admired by modern professionals for his light, flexible play, and mastery of “amashi,” taking territory early and then invading or reducing the opponent’s resulting area of influence. Which is exactly the strategy employed by Lee Sedol against AlphaGo in the fourth game on Sunday. “Shuwa would just jump into huge moyos and lay waste to them,” Redmond said as we walked past the Changgyeonggung Palace. “He’d just be kind of floating around there and still taking territory while being attacked. It was just sort of impossible to kill Shuwa’s stones.” Lee Sedol was doing things a little differently, Redmond noted. “He was taking profit and taking profit and then invading at the last minute. He’s been trying this strategy since Game 2 and it hasn’t been working but it finally did in Game 4.” In the final game, in which Lee will take black, “I think that Lee has the idea that he can use the amashi style, which is usually used when playing white, to take territory, allow AlphaGo to build a big moyo and then jump in.”
Garlock is the Managing Editor of the American Go E-Journal. photo: Redmond (left) with DeepMind team members David Silver (next to Redmond), Chris Maddison (second from right) and Thore Graepel (far right), reviewing Game 4 Sunday night.
Click here for Redmond’s Match 3 Game Highlights and here for the Match 4 Livestream commentary by Michael Redmond 9P with Chris Garlock. Click here for complete commentaries on games 1-4, as well as brief game highlights for each round.
The fifth and final game in the 5-game Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match will be Tuesday, March 15, 1P KST (Monday night 9p PST, midnight EST). The match will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with commentary by Redmond and Garlock. And catch Myungwan Kim 9P’s commentary with Andrew Jackson starting at 10P PST on the AGA’s YouTube Channel. 

Categories: World news

Lee Sedol Notches Win Against AlphaGo in DeepMind Challenge Game 4

AGA news - Sun, 13/03/2016 - 15:10

Lee Sedol 9P made a comeback Sunday after three consecutive losses, to beat AlphaGo in the fourth game of the Google DeepMind Challenge. Playing as white, Lee won by resignation after 180 moves. AlphaGo held a strong position for the first half of the game, but commentators noted that Lee Sedol played a brilliant move 78, followed by a mistake by AlphaGo at move 79. “Today’s game was another example of AlphaGo playing a very interesting, good game,” said English commentator Michael Redmond 9P. “However, move 78 by Lee Sedol was really brilliant — and enabled him to win.“ Song Taegon 9P, the Korean commentator, said that “It seems Lee Sedol can now read AlphaGo better and has a better understanding of how AlphaGo moves. For the 5th match, it will be a far closer battle than before since we know each better. Professional go players said that they became more interested in playing go after witnessing AlphaGo’s innovative moves. People started to rethink about moves that were previously regarded as undesirable or bad moves. AlphaGo can help us think outside of the box.“ As in the previous games in this match, Lee used up all of his time and two periods of byō-yomi overtime, playing nearly two hours on his last period. With the match score 3-1, AlphaGo has already secured victory in the Google DeepMind Challenge Match, but Sunday’s loss heightens the drama going into the final game, Game Five, which will be played on Tuesday, March 15 at 1pm KST.
photo (left): AlphaGo’s Demis Hassabis and David Silver review Game 4 with Michael Redmond 9P; photo by Chris Garlock. photo (right): Lee Sedol, courtesy Geordie Wood for Wired.
Click here for Michael Redmond’s Match 3 Game Highlights and here for the Match 4 Livestream commentary by Michel Redmond 9P with Chris Garlock. Click here for complete commentaries on games 1-4, as well as brief game highlights for each round.
The fifth and final game in the 5-game Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match will be Tuesday, March 15, 1P KST (Monday night 9p PST, midnight EST). The match will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with commentary by Redmond and Garlock. And catch Myungwan Kim 9P’s commentary with Andrew Jackson starting at 10P PST on the AGA’s YouTube Channel. 

Categories: World news

San Diego & SDGC Join Forces to Watch Lee Sedol – AlphaGo Game 3

AGA news - Sat, 12/03/2016 - 22:00

Seventeen people attended a go house-party on Friday evening to watch the third game in the Lee Sedol – AlphaGo match. Members of the San Diego Go Club and the UCSD Go club gathered at the SDGC president’s home to try to root the human on to victory. “It was almost like a go sports bar,” reports  San Diego Go Club President Ted Terpstra, “with two big-screen TVs, a couple of Macs, iPads and a bevy of cell phones all tuned to the action. The upstairs’ TV was turned on to the DeepMind YouTube analysis by Chris Garlock and Michael Redmond 9P while downstairs some were watching the AGA YouTube channel featuring Andrew Jackson and Cho Hyeyeon 9P. Gobans were scattered around flat surfaces so that the spectators could look at variations during the match. Pizza and pop supplied by the American Go Association added to the party atmosphere. Play was well past the four-hour mark when Lee Sedol resigned and lost the  game and the match. The last of the disappointed and weary group ambled out at 12:30 a.m. PST.”
photo by Ted Terpstra

Categories: World news

AlphaGo beats Lee Sedol again to take Google DeepMind Challenge series

AGA news - Sat, 12/03/2016 - 11:37
Virtuoso go-playing AI AlphaGo has secured victory against 18-time world champion Lee Sedol by winning the third straight game of a five-game match in Seoul. AlphaGo is now 3-0 up in the series, but there’s no mercy rule here — the remaining games on Sunday and Tuesday will still be played out. AlphaGo is a program developed by DeepMind, a British AI company acquired by Google two years ago. “It’s arguable that in the first two games Lee Sedol was playing differently than his true style, trying to find a weakness in the computer,” said commentator Michael Redmond 9P. “Today Lee was definitely playing his own game, from his strong opening to the complicated moves in the final . AlphaGo was ready for everything, including the  fights, and was able to take the win. I’d like to congratulate the people who actually made this accomplishment possible, because it’s a work of art.” Korean commentator Lee Hyunwook 8 added that “Lee Sedol played well. As a professional player myself, I’d like to show my respect to his three consecutive games against AlphaGo, which played almost perfectly. Lee made a few diverse moves at the end of today’s game to understand more about AlphaGo. I look forward to remaining games as well.”
- includes reporting by Sam Byford in The Verge. Click here to see the game commentary by Michael Redmond 9P with Chris Garlock, Managing Editor of the American Go E-Journal. photo: Lee Sedol with DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis (left) and Alphabet president Sergey Brin after the third game in the Google DeepMind Challenge. 
Categories: World news

The Power Report: Iyama’s new record for prize money & other go stats

AGA news - Fri, 11/03/2016 - 15:00

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama’s new record for prize money: Iyama Yuta has set a new record for most prize money won, which is not surprising, considering he won six of the top seven titles last year, as well as the Agon Kiriyama Cup. This is the fifth year in a row he has topped the list and the fourth year in a row his total was over 100 million yen. The top ten at the Nihon Ki-in are given below.
1. Iyama Yuta: 172,124,104 yen (about $1,565,000)
2. Yamashita Keigo 9P: 42,127,900
3. Takao Shinji 9P: 31,807,992
4. Ida Atsushi Judan: 22,491,700
5. Xie Yimin, Women’s Honinbo: 21,098,245
6. Kono Rin 9P: 16,998,300
7. Kyo Kagen 3P: 15,647,697
8. Cho U 9P: 15,596,200
9. Ichiriki Ryo 7P: 15,117,497
10. Hane Naoki 9P: 13,398,000

Most wins (Nihon Ki-in)
1. Iyama Yuta, Kyo Kagen: 41-10
3. Shibano Toramaru 2P: 39-9; Ichiriki Ryo 7P: 39-19
5. Yamashita Keigo 9P: 38-22
6. Motoki Katsuya 7P: 34-12
7. Ogata Masaki 9P: 33-13; Kono Rin 9P: 33-15-1 no result; Son Makoto 4P: 33-16
10. Mutsuura Yuta 2P: 32-13; Ida Atsushi Judan: 32-22

Top woman players were:
14. Fujisawa Rina 3P: 28-23
20. Suzuki Ayumi 6P: 26-22
24. O Keii, Aizu Cup-holder: 24-14

Best winning percentage
1. Shibano Toramaru 2P: 81.25% (39-9)
2. Iyama Yuta, Kyo Kagen: 80.39%
4. Motoki Katsuya: 73.91%
5. Ogata Masaki 9P: 71.74% (33-13)
6. Cho Riyu 9P (30-12), Uchida Shuhei 7P (25-10): 71.43%
8. Mutsuura Yuta 2P: 71.11% (32-13)
9. Akiyama Jiro 9P, Terayama Rei 4P: 71.05% (27-11)

Most successive wins
1. Iyama Yuta: 24
2. Shibano Toramaru: 16
3. Ida Atsushi: 13
4. Uchida Shuhei 7P: 12
5. Shida Tatsuya 7P: 11
6. Awaji Shuzo 9P, Shida Tatsuya, Hirata Tomoya 7P: 10

Kansai Ki-in
Most wins
1. Yo Seiki 7P: 47
2. Yuki Satoshi 9P: 40

Best winning percentage
1. Furuya Yutaka 8P: 80%
2. Imamura Toshiya 9P: 78.95%
3. Hon Seisen 2P: 77.78%
4. U Bai 1P: 76.67%%

Most successive wins
1. Yun Chun-ho 3P: 16
2. Sakai Hideyuki 8P, U Bai 1P: 12
4. Yo Seiki: 11

Categories: World news

Michael Redmond on AlphaGo-Lee Sedol Games 1 & 2 (plus his advice for Game 3)

AGA news - Fri, 11/03/2016 - 11:32

Michael Redmond 9P has been providing the English game commentary for the Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match, with American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. On Friday, the break day before the match resumes on Saturday with Game 3, Redmond sat down with Garlock to recap the first two games and look ahead to the critical third game on Saturday. 

Game 1: Underestimating AlphaGo: Lee Sedol, taking black, played a really unusual opening in the first game. I think he had a plan to try to throw the computer off course by playing an opening it didn’t have in its’ database. But I’ve been talking to the Deep Mind programmers and it’s not actually a database but machine learning that recognizes patterns, so AlphaGo doesn’t need to have an exact match and it doesn’t really matter if some of the moves are slightly different, so AlphaGo can judge the situation, which is quite different from the usual computer programs and closer to the human way of thinking. So Lee’s plan to play something that AlphaGo hadn’t seen before just didn’t work. And in fact, Black 27 was an overplay and Lee got in trouble himself and I think it’s because he was playing an opening that he really wasn’t familiar with and probably underestimating AlphaGo. Even though he mostly recovered from that mistake, White 102 clearly took Lee Sedol by surprise. It’s a move I was expecting, because White had to do something like that, although of course you need the reading to back it up. It’s a move Lee Sedol should have been looking at and I think maybe one of the reasons he might not have been looking at it is that maybe he underestimated AlphaGo and wasn’t treating it like a top human player. In this game, I didn’t find anything I would call original in AlphaGo’s play, it was just plainly strong. Click here for Redmond and Garlock’s Match 1 15 min Summary.

Game 2: AlphaGo’s Exquisite Game: In the second game, AlphaGo had black, and I was looking to see how it would play. In the games with Fan Hui, I wasn’t impressed with AlphaGo’s opening; it was really too orthodox, and too simple for a game with black, because of the big komi. Black needs to play more aggressively or more of a speed-oriented game. So I was interested to see how AlphaGo had changed since last October. So it was rewarding to see that AlphaGo was playing moves that were not conventional and they were speed-oriented and putting pressure on Lee Sedol from the start of the game. And then there was the shoulder-hit at move 37, which was a move that really took me by surprise and I’m pretty sure it took Lee Sedol by surprise too. One of the programmers dug into the files and found that the possibility of playing that move was something like one in ten thousand so it was a really unlikely move but it happened to be on the edge of AlphaGo’s search and in the analysis of the possible variations, AlphaGo decided to knock it up to the move that it would choose. I still don’t really understand the mechanics of it but it’s really interesting. Not only does AlphaGo have good shape or pattern-matching, but it can also think itself out of that and find something completely different, even though it might not have had a good score in the pattern analysis. That game on the whole was an exquisite game by AlphaGo. I actually thought that Lee Sedol had a pretty good chance to win up until the middle game and the game was sort of in the balance for a while there, but then almost before you notice it, AlphaGo had very subtly built up an advantage after Lee Sedol played a few slack moves. In this game, Lee Sedol took territory in the beginning, allowing AlphaGo to sort of dance around the board and take the initiative, and that’s not really typical of Lee Sedol, so once again he wasn’t really playing his own style. Click here for Redmond and Garlock’s Match 2 90-second Summary.

Game 3: Play Your Own Game
If I were Lee Sedol I’d just play an opening I’m familiar with and I wouldn’t worry about whether AlphaGo knows the moves or not and then he should continue into the middle game along a familiar path in which case he’ll be more at home and less likely to make mistakes. When Lee Sedol plays well he’s brilliant, of course. If he plays his own game I think he’s more likely to get into the middle game with a favorable position, which is really necessary. He hasn’t done that in these first two games; he’s been going into the middle game in a fairly difficult position. If Lee Sedol has a favorable position in the middle game, that’ll be something new for AlphaGo, something we haven’t seen yet. Just as a test of the program itself, that’s something I really want to see how it handles that.

The third game in the 5-game Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match will be Saturday, March 12, (Friday night 8p PST, 11p EST). The match will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with commentary by Redmond and Garlock. And catch Cho Hyeyeon 9P’s commentary with Andrew Jackson starting at 9P PST on the AGA’s YouTube Channel. 

photos: (top right) Lee Sedol plays the first move in the first game; (middle left) Lee at the press conference after the second game

 

Categories: World news

AlphaGo – Sedol Watch Parties Popular at Seattle Go Center

AGA news - Fri, 11/03/2016 - 11:00

Over 60 people watched the broadcast of the first game between Lee Sedol and the Google Deepmind AlphaGo program at the Seattle Go Center.  They enjoyed pizza, fresh bread baked by Chris Kirschner, and some Korean take-out food.  About 25 people stayed until Lee Sedol resigned at 11:30 pm local time.  The second game attracted a smaller group — they only had two pizzas, compared to the six ordered the night before.

The watch parties attracted a few new players, most of whom were invited by go playing friends.  More noticeable were the old friends from the Eastside of Lake Washington, where the Microsoft campus is.  Rush hour traffic often makes it hard for Eastside residents to come to the Go Center for the evening, but since these games started later, at 8 pm, it was easier for them to drive.

The Seattle will have watch parties for all of the remaining games, with Dennis Wheeler as host.   “There will be three more, as Lee Sedol has committed to play the entire five-game match,” noted Go Center Manager Brian Allen.  The schedule will be posted on the Go Center Google CalendarPhotos: Left: Finishing a game on a goban as the first AlphaGo game starts, Right: Exploring variations during the 2nd game.  Photos/report by Brian Allen.


Categories: World news

AlphaGo Don’t Care

AGA news - Fri, 11/03/2016 - 08:47

by Anders Kierulf

AlphaGo is badass. Like the honey badger, AlphaGo just don’t care.

Lee Sedol may have underestimated AlphaGo in game 1, but he knew what he was up against in game 2. I watched Michael Redmond’s commentary during the game, then Myungwan Kim’s commentary this morning. The Go Game Guru commentary is also very helpful.

The tenuki at move 13: Professionals always extend at the bottom first? AlphaGo don’t care. It builds a nice position at the top instead.

The peep at move 15: This is usually played much later in the game, and never without first extending on the bottom. AlphaGo don’t care. It adds 29 later, and makes the whole thing work with the creative shoulder hit of 37. It even ends up with 10 points of territory there.

With 64 and 70, Lee Sedol made his group invulnerable to prepare for a fight at the top. AlphaGo don’t care, it just builds up its framework, and then shows a lot of flexibility in where it ends up with territory.

Lee Sedol threatens the territory at the top with 166? AlphaGo don’t care, it just secures points in the center instead. Points are points, it doesn’t matter where on the board they are.

What can Lee Sedol do in the next games? I think he needs to get a complicated fight going early in the game, start ko fights, in general increase the complexity. But I fear AlphaGo just won’t care.

Kierulf is the founder of Smart Go, “a Utah corporation dedicated to creating a strong go-playing program with a superior user interface.” In addition to creating the various SmartGo software programs, Kierulf has published dozens of go e-books. This post originally appeared on the SmartGo blog.

Categories: World news

The Power Report: 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

AGA news - Thu, 10/03/2016 - 15:00

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Okura Prizes for Pair Go founders: The Okura Prizes are awarded to persons, amateur or professional, from Japan or overseas, who have contributed to spreading go. The winners of the 45th Okura Prizes were announced on January 19. The six prize winners included Ando Takeo 7P and the founders of Pair Go, Taki Hisao and Hiroko (right, with Thomas Hsiang)

49th Kido Prizes: Though the magazine Kido is defunct, the Kido Prizes for the outstanding Nihon Ki-in players of the previous year are still awarded. The 49th Prizes were announced in the February 22 issue of Go Weekly. They went as follows: Most Outstanding Player: Iyama Yuta, Sextuple Crown; Outstanding Player: Ida Atsushi Judan; New Face: Kyo Kagen, King of the New Stars; Women’s Prize: Xie Yimin; International Prize: Ichiriki Ryo 7P; Most Wins: Iyama Yuta & Kyo Kagen (41 wins); Best Winning Percentage: Shibano Toramaru 2P (81.25%, 39 wins, 9 losses); Most Successive Wins: Iyama Yuta (24); Most Games Played: Yamashita Keigo (60).

Xie makes good start in Women’s Meijin defence: The first game of the 28th Women’s Meijin title match was held in the Arisu-kan, a building in the grounds of Heian Women’s University in Kyoto on February 28. Taking black, Xie beat Aoki Kikuyo 8P by resignation.

Meijin League: Kono wins first game
The third round of the 41st Meijin League was completed on February 25 when Kono Rin 9P (W) defeated league newcomer Uchida Shuhei 7P by resignation. Kono had a bye in the first round and lost in the second, so this is his first win.

International tournaments
4th CCTV New Year’s Cup: This tournament is organized by the CCTV station in Beijing to celebrate the Chinese New Year. This year it was held from February 9 to 11, with one player each from China, Korea, and Japan taking part. China was represented by Ko Jie, who tops the Chinese ranking system by a comfortable margin, Korea by Lee Se-dol, who is the top player so far of the 21st century, and Japan by Ichiriki Ryo 7P, who was invited in recognition of his win in the 1st Globis Cup and his three successive wins in the second round of the current Nong Shim Cup. The format is the same as the NHK Cup (30 seconds per move plus ten minutes’ thinking time to be used in one-minute units). After drawing lots, Lee was seeded into the second round. In the opening game Ko Jie (B) beat Ichiriki by resig. In the second round, Lee (B) beat Ichiriki by resig. In the final, Ko beat Lee (I don’t have details).
2016 Four Cities New Stars Tournament: This team tournament for young players (age limit 25) was held at the Korean Kiwon in Seoul from February 19 to 21. Presumably the cities were Seoul, Beijing, Tokyo, and Taipei, but the report in Go Weekly lists countries rather than cities. The teams are made up of eight players, including two female players, so it’s quite a large-scale tournament. The result was that Korea and China tied for first with two wins and one draw each, but China took precedence thanks to its higher number of individual wins (19 to Korea’s 16). With one win (ten individual wins), Japan came third, and Chinese Taipei came fourth with no wins (three individual wins). The best performance for Japan was posted by Kyo Kagen 3P, who won his three games.
Tomorrow: Iyama’s new record for prize money & other go stats

Categories: World news

AlphaGo Scores Another Win to Go Up 2-0 Against Lee Sedol in DeepMind Challenge Match

AGA news - Thu, 10/03/2016 - 11:41

AlphaGo posted a second straight win against Lee Sedol 9P on Thursday in Seoul. “Yesterday I was surprised but today it’s more than that — I am speechless,” said Lee in the post-game press conference. “I admit that it was a very clear loss on my part. From the very beginning of the game I did not feel like there was a point that I was leading.” DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis was “speechless” too. “I think it’s testament to Lee Sedol’s incredible skills,” he said. “We’re very pleased that AlphaGo played some quite surprising and beautiful moves, according to the commentators, which was amazing to see.”

The complex, tense game ran nearly five hours and appeared to offer validation of AlphaGo’s evaluative ability, the main roadblock to proficiency for previous go programs. Hassabis said that AlphaGo was confident in victory from the midway point of the game, even though the professional commentators couldn’t tell which player was ahead.

Lee, the winner of 18 world championships, must now win all three remaining games to win the million-dollar prize.

Click here for the Game 2 commentary by Michael Redmond 9p with American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. The third game in the 5-game Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match will be Saturday, March 12, (Friday night 8p PST, 11p EST). The match will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with commentary by Redmond and Garlock.
photo courtesy Handout/Getty Images 

Categories: World news

Evanston Go Club watches historic AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match

AGA news - Wed, 09/03/2016 - 21:54

The Evanston Go Club hosted a watch party for the first Alpha Go-Lee Sedol game at the home of club president Mark Rubenstein on Tuesday night. “We all feel like we’ve been part of go history tonight,” said Rubenstein. “It’s an incredible achievement, one which most of us thought was many years away, if at all. I’m stunned, and a little sad. I always liked being able to say that computers couldn’t beat the strongest humans. It’s a new world!” Watching the game were Nathan Chan, Jeff Pratt, Moon Ki Cho, and Scott Ogawa.
- photo by Mark Rubenstein

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.

Categories: World news

The Power Report: Xie defends Women’s Kisei; Ishii Kunio wins 1,000th game

AGA news - Wed, 09/03/2016 - 21:40

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.

Promotions
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

Categories: World news

Go Spotting: History Channel’s “Art of War”

AGA news - Wed, 09/03/2016 - 18:00

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.

Categories: World news
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