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Updated: 9 hours 49 min ago

Dumb Cluck? 9×9 Go Reportedly Solved

Tue, 01/04/2014 - 05:05

A team of researchers at the University of Brightloch have announced that 9×9 go has been solved. Inspired by recent improvements in computer play by Montecarlo algorithms, they hypothesized that “If a computer can play at random andplay good games, what prevents a more powerful device (like a brain) to do something similar?”

So the researchers picked a team of 100,000 chickens and taught them to play go. “It was hard in the beginning, but once a few knew how to play they started teaching others,” they report. “After a couple months all were playing as 30k players and we set them loose in a field filled with 9×9 go boards and bowls with stones. Also some grain and water.”

A month later the chickens were gone, and the same position was repeated on every 9×9 board: perfect play, with white winning by 0.5 points with 7.5 komi. The chickens had also left a note. It said “So long, and thanks for all the grain.”
- based on a report on Nordic Go Academy by RBERENGUEL; thanks to Go Game Guru, which posted it on their Facebook page

Categories: World news

This Week’s Go Calendar: Berkeley and Seattle

Mon, 31/03/2014 - 14:12

April 5-6: Berkeley, CA
Workshop with Yilun Yang 7P
Steve Burrall sburrall@comcast.net 916-688-2858

April 6: Seattle, WA
Monthly Ratings Tournament
Brian Allen manager@seattlego.org 206-632-1122 206-545-1424

Get the latest go events information.

Categories: World news

Gu Li Strikes Back, Winning Game 3 in MLily Gu vs Lee Jubango

Mon, 31/03/2014 - 02:32

Gu Li 9p (right) chalked up his first win in the MLily Gu vs Lee jubango, forcing Lee Sedol 9p to resign in game 3 on Sunday, March 30. Lee and Gu faced one another in Chengdu – the capital city of Sichuan, China – having traveled straight there after their game at the 10th Chunlan Cup two days earlier.

After Lee won game 2 of this historic jubango in February, he led the 10 game match 2-0. Since Gu lost game 2 in regrettable circumstances, many go fans reasonably surmised that Lee would have the psychological advantage going into the third game, but over the last week, Gu defeated Lee in the 4th Zhaoshang Cup (a China vs Korea team tournament) on March 23, and followed it up with another win at the 10th Chunlan Cup on the 28th, which may have helped to restore Gu’s confidence. The win is heartening not only for Gu, of course, but for go fans worldwide who are doubtless hoping the jubango will go the full 10 games.
- Based on Go Game Guru’s report, which includes the game record and An Younggil 8p’s brief analysis. 

 

Categories: World news

U.S. Go Congress Registration Opens with Special Rebate Offer

Mon, 31/03/2014 - 02:31

Registration for the 2014 U.S. Go Congress has opened with a special offer: $50 cash for using your AGA Capital One Visa credit card. Use it to pay for the Congress and you’ll get an extra $10, for a total of $60. “This year’s Congress is in New York City, one of the continent’s premier destinations,” says AGA president Andy Okun. “To help Congress attendees enjoy themselves in the Big Apple, we’re offering $50 cash walking-around money to any Congress attendee who at the time of registration shows us their AGA Capital One Visa credit card and tells us, hand on heart, they have bought something with it.” 

Possible New York City uses for this cash windfall include museum entry, cab fare, hot dogs, pretzels with mustard, lemonade, pizza slices “or oysters,” says Okun, noting that author Mark Kurlansky has argued that New York should really be called “The Big Oyster”. Oysters used to be plentiful in New York, and when European settlers first arrived, it is estimated that half of the oysters in the world were in New York’s harbors, inlets and riverbeds. Although that’s no longer the case, “$50 should get get you a dozen Blue Point oysters, a bowl of clam chowder and two beers at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station,” Okun says.
One payment per credit card. The AGA affinity card is a no fee credit card, “so it costs you nothing to apply and use the card,” says Okun. The AGA receives a one-time payment of $50 the first time you use it and a percentage of your spending on the card thereafter. Click here to apply for the card and here to register for the Congress.

 

Categories: World news

Matthew Burrall & Tai-An Cha Top Davis/Sacramento Tournament

Mon, 31/03/2014 - 02:25

Matthew Burrall 6d and Tai-An Cha 5k topped their divisions in the Davis/Sacramento Go Club’s Spring Tournament at the Arden-Dimick library in Sacramento on March 29, 2014. There was a field of 17 players ranging in strength from about 20 kyu to 6 dan. “This was the largest number of player that we have had at one of our tournaments in quite a while,” reports Willard Haynes.
photo: Matthew Burrall 6d (left) and Tai-An Cha 5k

Categories: World news

NOVA Cherry Blossom Report

Mon, 31/03/2014 - 02:20

The annual NOVA Cherry Blossom tournament was held on Saturday, March 29, at George Mason University Law School in Arlington, VA. Thirty-nine players participated, including long-distance commuter Paul Celmer from North Carolina. “A special visitor was Mr. I. Moon, Chairman of the Board of the Fairfax County Board of Education, who is promoting go and recruiting go teachers for his elementary schools,” reports organizer Allan Abramson. Reach Moon at IMoon@fcps.edu.

Winners Report:
First place: Justin Teng, 7D, 3-1; Muyuan Wang, 3D, 4-0; Julian Erville, 1K, 4-0; Darren Bias, 4K, 4-0; Barreal Anderson, 9K, 3-0; Steve Manning, 11K, 3-1; and Jonathan Luo, 15K, 3-1
Second place: Josh Lee, 5D, 3-1; Nathan Epstein, 1D, 2-1; Frank Luo, 1K, and Frederick Bao, 2K (tied at 3-1); Matt Payton, 5K, 2-2; Bob Crites, 9K, 3-1; Liam Royce, 11K, and Kevin Stefanik, 11K (tied at 2-2); and Caroline Scheck, 15K, and Sarah Crites, 18K (tied at 2-2)

Categories: World news

Go Quiz: Best Western Go Reference?

Mon, 31/03/2014 - 02:18

THE LITTLE RED BOOK: For many, this volume of the Elementary Go Series (available from Kiseido and SmartGoBooks) was the book they were waiting for – the book that taught the West how to fight. Rarely a day goes by without someone responding to a query on KGS with the simple directive “Read Attack and Defense”. When your quizmaster did a poll on the best English-language go books, Akira Ishida and James Davies’ effort received many praises. 13 out of 17 of you read the position correctly. As for those who consult his joseki dictionary regularly, you are better players than your quizmaster, for you open your go books and do not simply look at the covers, but a look at the cover of “The Dictionary of Basic Joseki” will show that it was authored by Ishida Yoshio (and translated by John Power). For your information, the two “fors” in sentence one, four and five of this week’s column are for Roland Crowl, who pointed out my egregious grammatical error in last week’s question and missed by my editor. Congratulations to Reinhold Burger of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, this week’s winner, selected at random from those answering correctly.

THIS WEEK’S QUIZ: Speaking of polls, this week, in celebration of go’s prominent role on MTV’s Teen Wolf, as covered in the E-Journal, let’s hear from you on what you think is the best Western cultural reference to go. We will limit the answers to English language and it must be something featuring or mentioning go, but not directly about go or go instruction. And it needs to be original – so the obvious choice of Hikaru No Go does NOT qualify. I will judge the best response on such objective criteria as coolness, popularity, appropriateness and correctness of the reference. This can be books, TV, movies, advertising or news events. Click here to submit your nomination; I look forward to hearing from all of you.
- Keith Arnold, HKA, EJ Quizmaster.

Categories: World news

Myungwan Kim to Comment Gu-Lee Jubango Game 3 on KGS

Fri, 28/03/2014 - 21:35

Myungwan Kim 9P will do live audio commentary on this weekend’s Lee Sedol – Gu Li Jubango on KGS.

His commentary, with James Kim 1d, will start at 8p PST (11p EST) on Saturday, March 29. As previously reported (Gu Li & Lee Sedol Face Off in Jubango Game 3 This Weekend 3/27 EJ), Go Game Guru’s An Younggil 8p will also be commenting the game on Baduk TV Live.

“This third game will be very important for Gu Li,” Kim tells the E-Journal. “If he loses it will be very difficult for him to catch up. “With Lee leading 2-0, Gu should have a lot pressure on this game and needs to overcome it. I hope Gu Li can win and make the series more exciting.” Kim notes that the two are playing a game at Chunlan Cup on Friday, March 28, which may affect the jubango game.

Categories: World news

Gu Li & Lee Sedol Face Off in Jubango Game 3 This Weekend

Thu, 27/03/2014 - 21:47

Gu Li will be looking to begin erasing his 2-game deficit Game 3 of the Lee Sedol – Gu Li Jubango this weekend. Gu beat Lee in Round 2 of the just-concluded Zhaoshang Cup on March 21 (Korea wins 4th Zhaoshang Cup by a whisker GGG 3/24/2014), and is playing him again in Round 2 of the Chunlan Cup but Lee leads 2-0 in the jubango. Live coverage with commentary of the match will start on Baduk TV three hours after the first move is played. The commentators will replay and analyze the game from the beginning and Go Game Guru’s An Younggil 8p will translate and discuss the game in English with Baduk TV Live viewers. The coverage starts at 1:00 pm Korea time on Sunday, March 30 (Midnight Sunday morning EST). You can watch the game on Baduk TV for as little as $2.70 with a Baduk TV Day Pass.
- Go Game Guru; photo: Gu draws Lee in the Chunlan Cup

Categories: World news

“New Yorker” Reports on Computer Go

Wed, 26/03/2014 - 21:23

The latest advances in computer go are covered in a new post by The New Yorker. In “The Electronic Holy War”, Patrick House reports on the Densei-sen, “or ‘electronic holy war,’ tournament, in Tokyo, where the best Go programs in the world play against one of the best humans” where Crazy Stone last March defeated Yoshio “the Computer” Ishida.

The article does an excellent job of explaining why go has been so tough for computers to crack. “Part of the difficulty for computers—and humans—is that it is often hard to determine at any given time whether a group of pieces is being surrounded or doing the surrounding, and thus who is ahead…Without a clear understanding of who is ahead, programs like Deep Blue stutter. ‘All the machinery that was built up for computer chess is pretty useless,’” (Murray) Campbell (a member of the IBM Deep Blue team says.

It also explains how “Monte Carlo” algorithms, initially developed seventy years ago as part of the Manhattan Project, have been the key to developing stronger go programs. “The better the programs got, the less they resembled how humans play: during the game with Ishida, for example, Crazy Stone played through, from beginning to end, approximately three hundred and sixty million randomized games. At this pace, it takes Crazy Stone just a few days to play more Go games than humans collectively ever have. ‘I have to be honest: I still find it kind of magical, that it works as well as it does,’ Campbell said.”

The “electronic holy war” will run once a year in Tokyo until 2017, the report continues. “This past weekend, at the second annual tournament, Crazy Stone faced Norimoto Yoda, a Japanese professional who has a reputation for slamming pieces onto the board—sometimes shattering them—to intimidate his opponent. Crazy Stone was given a four-move head start and, lacking the eyes and ears through which another player might have been intimidated, won by two and a half points. “After the match, Yoda, through a translator, told me that he was grateful for Crazy Stone because it eased up at the end and allowed the game to be closer than it actually was: the result of randomness—or, perhaps, of the beginnings of pity.”
Photograph of Rémi Coulom and Ishida Yoshio courtesy of gogameguru.com

Categories: World news

Subtitled “Tokyo Newcomer” Available Online

Wed, 26/03/2014 - 14:00

German go journalist colleague Tobias Berben recently sent a link to an English-subtitled online version of Tokyo Newcomer  (New Go Films: Tokyo Newcomer & Weiqi Wonders 5/7/2012 EJ). In Jiang Qinmin’s 2012 film, Chinese go genius Yoshiryu (Qin Hao) comes to Japan to hone his skills in the game, but finds he’s too busy earning a living to study go at all. One day, he meets an old woman hawking vegetables, who turns out to be a descendant of a prestigious go family. “Written and directed by a Mainland Chinese, but utterly Japanese in look and feel, ‘Tokyo Newcomer’ is an engaging light drama centred on a young Chinese guy’s passion for the board game of go and his assimilation into the country which has made the (Chinese-invented) game into a national expression of its mindset,” writes Film Business Asia’s Derek Elley.

Categories: World news

Go Spotting: Teen Wolf Takes Sente

Wed, 26/03/2014 - 00:19

MTV’s Teen Wolf has shattered the Go Spotting record, featuring go four weeks in a row, on a show that’s not about go.  With a viewership of 3.5 million, repeated mentions of the game, and even a summary of the main goals, local clubs could soon be seeing a surge of new players if even a fraction of those viewers become curious about go and learn to play.  This week’s episode, entitled “The Divine Move” both starts and ends with go.  Early in the episode Mrs. Yukimura (Tamlyn Tomita) advises a desperate Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) while the family is seated around a go board “he made a powerful move by splitting the two of you.”   “So what’s our move?” responds  her daughter Kira (Arden Cho), as she places a stone on the board. “The Nogitsune has had sente until this point, what you need is a ‘Divine Move’ in order to turn this game around,” responds her mother.  Stiles does find a divine move, in the story arc at least, and his friends defeat the Nogitsune at last.  Towards the end of the episode, Kira’s parents are seen picking up the pieces from the go board, drawing a conclusion to the story arc (and the season).  Full episodes of Teen Wolf can be streamed on the MTV website here. As an added bonus, in the after show (Wolf Watch) series creator Jeff Davis also talks briefly about go. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo from the MTV website: Kira places a stone on the board, while Stiles talks to Mrs. Yukimura.

 

 

Categories: World news

Your Move/Readers Write: Returning the Favor

Tue, 25/03/2014 - 23:57

“I just want to add an addendum to Bob Gilman’s efforts to bring the Cubans to the US Congress (Progress Reported on Project to Bring Cuban Delegation to U.S. Go Congress 3/8 EJ),” writes Peter Shotwell. “I organized a trip there in 2000 and more than a dozen people came (we were legal because it was an “amateur” tournament that Cubans could participate in). The Cubans treated us royally and I want to encourage anyone who hasn’t donated to the cause to think about what this means to them if not just to return the favor!” For more details on the project, email bobgilman.aga@gmail.com.

Categories: World news

This Week’s Go Calendar: Arlington, Boston, Sacramento, Cupertino

Mon, 24/03/2014 - 15:00

March 29: Arlington, VA
NOVA Cherry Blossom Festival Tournament
Gary Smith gary@novagoclub.org 703-254-6429

March 29: Boston, MA
2014 Boston Spring Go Expo
Michael Fodera mdf116@gmail.com
Tommy Liu 617-309-7912

March 29: Sacramento, CA
Davis/Sacramento Spring Quarterly
Willard Haynes willard@emeritus.csus.edu 916-929-6112

March 30: Cupertino, CA
18th Jujo Jiang Cup Youth Goe Tournament
Mingjiu Jiang mingjiu7p@hotmail.com 650-796-1602

Get the latest go events information.

Categories: World news

AGA City League Round 3 Set for March 29

Sun, 23/03/2014 - 13:00

The next round in the AGA City League is set for Saturday, March 29. Click here for the team pairings in the A League, B League and C League and catch the action live on game day at 3PM EST on Pandanet using the new GoPanda2 software. Games will be played in the AGA City League room.
- Steve Colburn, TD

Categories: World news

Nihon Kiin Organizing Special Go Camp to Celebrate 90th Birthday

Sat, 22/03/2014 - 21:40

In celebration of the 90th birthday of Nihon Kiin, a special summer go camp will be held from August 26 to September 4 in Tokyo. Included in the camp are daily pro instructions in separate dan and kyu sections, playing in the largest Japanese amateur tournament — the Takara Shuzou Cup, where the 1000+ participants will all receive special commemorative prizes — and visits to the Honinbo title ceremony, to Kamakura, site of the Go Seigen-Kitani jubango, and to Yugen no ma, the Nihon Kiin’s legendary tatami playing room adorned by a Kawabata calligraphy (right). The camp fee is between JPY 50 to 55K (about $500); housing starts at about $40 a night. The camp is recommended for players 10 kyu and up, including high dans. For further information and registration forms, contact igf@usgo.org.
- Thomas Hsiang; photo by John Pinkerton

Categories: World news

Go Quiz: Ishida’s Legacy in the West

Sat, 22/03/2014 - 20:32

We have not seen him for a while, but there was a time when Chuck Robbins of Lancaster PA was everywhere, running tournaments, Congresses, workshops and holding offices in the AGA and AGF. His 1126 rated games are the clear leader in the AGA Database, so Chuck (left) is the correct answer to last week’s quiz question. With 1072, Steve Barberi, also from Pennsylvania but now retired in Florida, is a close second. Legendary Congress Self Paired game player Martin Lebl (962) of Arizona is third and Jeff Horn (854) of California is fifth. 6 of 13 of you had the right answer, 3 choosing Lebl, 2 Horn, 1 Barberi and one sniffing out a trick question and claiming it was a 4 way tie. By the way, in 4th place with 945 is your quizmaster. We may never know who the real leader is since the records are incomplete (the AGA database goes back to 1991), but since the 1990s were the heyday of AGA tournaments thus far, we can be confident that one of these 5 is the current all-time leader. While my personal records show 319 games played before 1991, enough to pass Robbins and Lebl, Barberi was a very active player before 1991, so he may still have a lead over me. Congrats to Robert Tirak of The Dalles, Oregon, our randomly chosen winner from among those answering correctly.

THIS WEEK’S QUIZ: This week’s question was inspired by John Power’s E-Journal “Power Report” from 3/21. Most of your quizmaster’s knowledge of the contemporary Asian go world is thanks to the wonderful Mr. Power (at left in photo), whose Go News in Go World, his news updates on the Nihon Kiin website and now his Power Reports in the E-Journal provide incredibly interesting and complete info on the Japanese Go world, as well as info on China and Korea. Your quizmaster hangs on his every word, in print and in person, having shared meals with him at Congresses and in Tokyo. However, in letting us know about the retirement of Ishida Akira 9 dan, Power surprisingly failed to mention one of the player’s greatest claims to fame. Once again, no multiple choice, but this should be easy (and I promise it’s not a trick question): For what will we Western go players remember and thank Ishida Akira for? Click here to submit your answer.
- Keith Arnold, HKA, EJ Quizmaster. photo: Power (left) with Go Game Guru’s Jingning Xue and David-Ormerod in November 2013 at the 24th International Amateur Pair Go tournament in Tokyo.

Categories: World news

Maryland Open Set for Memorial Day Weekend

Thu, 20/03/2014 - 13:00

The 41st Maryland Open is coming up May 24-25 just outside Baltimore, MD. The 5-round event — 3 rounds Saturday, two on Sunday — attracts players from across the Eastern Seaboard, with prizes in all sections. “This is a very popular weekend,” warns organizer Keith Arnold, “so make reservations now!” Click here to register and for hotel and venue info.

Categories: World news

The Power Report (Part 4): Humans Beat Computers in First “Igo Electrical King Tournament”; Kataoka Scores 1,000 Wins; Retirements

Thu, 20/03/2014 - 13:00

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Humans Beat Computers in First “Igo Electrical King Tournament”: To test how close computers have come to human level at go, the first Igo Electrical King Tournament was staged in the top playing room, Yugen, at the Nihon Ki-in on February 11. Please take our word that “electrical king” (dennou) sounds better in the original.  The program Zen played best-of-three 9×9 matches with Cho Riyu 8P and Hirata Tomoya 3P, but lost both without picking up a game. However, Zen lost by only half a point in its first game with Cho, and human commentators pointed out a winning sequence that it missed in the endgame. One of Zen’s programmers commented that it would still take ten years to catch up with pros in 9×9 go.
Zen vs. Hirata Tomoya 3P: Game 1. Hirata (W) by resig.; Game 2. Hirata (B) by resig.
Zen vs. Cho Riyu 8P: Game 1. Cho (B) by half a point; Game 2. Cho (W) by resig.

More games in this tournament were played three days later on 13×13 and 19×19 boards. On the 13×13, Emura Koki (W), a former WAGC representative for Japan, twice beat Zen by resignation. On the 19×19, Zen beat Ozawa Ichiro, a prominent politician. He is dan level, but we don’t know his exact rank.

Kataoka Scores 1,000 Wins: A win on February 27 gave Kataoka Satoshi 9P (right) his 1,000th win as a pro, making him the 15th Nihon Ki-in player to reach this mark. It took him 42 years and his record was 1,000 wins, 530 losses, 4 jigo.

Retirements: Two more veteran players have retired as of March 31. They are Ishida Akira 9P and Fukui Susumu 9P. Ishida was born in Tokyo on May 23, 1949 and became a disciple of Fukuda Masayoshi 8P. He became 1-dan in 1966 and 9-dan in 1982. He won the top section of the rating tournament (Oteai) in 1972 and the 3rd and 4th King of the New Stars titles ((1978 and 1979). He played in six Meijin leagues and one Honinbo league. At his peak, when he played in the Meijin league for six years in a row, Ishida impressed as one of the top players on the go scene, but he never put it together to win a big title. Fukui was born in Tokyo on May 21, 1947 and became a disciple of Iwamoto Kaoru. He became 1-dan in 1965 and 9-dan in 1994. His older brother, Masaaki, is still active.

Categories: World news

AGA Go Camp Set for August

Thu, 20/03/2014 - 00:06

The AGA Go Camp is confirmed for this summer, reports Camp Director Amanda Miller. Camp will be held the week before the Go Congress, from August 3rd to 9th, at YMCA Camp Kresge in White Haven, PA. White Haven is about 2 hours outside of New York City, so anyone who wishes to attend both camp and congress should be able to do so easily. Miller will be joined by co-director Nano Rivera, and they invite campers of all skill levels, and between the ages of 8 and 18, to join them for a week of go-playing and fun.  More information regarding the camp will be available soon, and registration will open within the next two weeks.  Keep an eye on the camp website for details.  Those who played in the NAKC or the Redmond Cup are eligible for a $400 scholarship, and need-based scholarships will also be available. Any questions can be e-mailed to Amanda Miller at agagocampeast@gmail.com. -Story and photo by Amanda Miller

Categories: World news