David Lee Roth, wit, adventurer and often the lead singer of hard rock veterans Van Halen, has been taking go lessons from Kim Myungwan 9p, the EJ has learned. The rock legend on Monday posted a black and white photo on his Facebook page of the two discussing an early game go position. The text reads “6:34 Go lesson with Myungwan Kim; losing as usual.” Roth was lead singer of Van Halen from 1972 to 1985, released such hits as “Unchained,” “Eruption” and “Dance the Night Away,” then again in 1996, and in 2001. He rejoined the band in 2007 to tour and record to the present day. In between his stints with the band, he has had an active solo career, worked as a radio personality and an EMT, and written a best-selling and well-regarded memoir. Among the many comments fans promptly posted on his photo with Kim: “Oh Dave, you may be a loser at whatever the ***k that is, but you will remain a winner in our hearts.”
“Hey folks, you’ve had three stories about watching the AlphaGo-Lee match recently, but in none of them did you bother to give instructions for how to stream it,” writes Howard A. Landman. “I’d like to host a viewing party, but at the moment I have no idea what URL to go to or what else I’d need to do. Could you possibly give some brief how-to instructions?”
The local US times for the upcoming AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match are 8p PST and 11p EST. The first match will be Tuesday, March 8. The tournament will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with English commentary by Michael Redmond 9p with American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. It will also be broadcast on TV throughout Asia through Korea’s Baduk TV, as well as in China, Japan, and elsewhere. More details on the SmartGo website.
On Friday evening at the Gresham Hotel, in addition to the Rapid Go tournament, there will be:
The Rapid Go, Chinese Chess, and Chess tournaments will all start at 7pm.
Full information about the Confucius Cup weekend is available here.
Please come along if you can, it should be a fun event!
Two of the three go events at the IMSA Elite Mind Games ended Monday with Korean and Chinese victories, while the North American Men’s team and lone woman contender Sarah Yu 6d each took 5th place. In the course of the match, each of the three men players defeated a pro with Ryan Li 1p scoring a final round win against the young Japanese talent Mutsuura Yuta 2p.
The men’s team, comprising Li, Jiang Mingjiu 7p and Eric Lui 1p, were winless in the first three matches of the five match round robin, losing to Korea (see team photo at right), Taiwan and China. Round four was against the European Go Federation team of Fan Hui 2p, Ali Jabarin 1p and Ilya Shikshin 1p, expected to be the main competition for North America. On board three, Lui beat Shikshin while on board two, after falling behind early on, Li scrapped hard and fought gallantly, but was unable to catch up with Jabarin. The match turned then on board one, where Jiang beat Hui, recently in the news for his October match against AlphaGo, in a hard fought half-point game.
North America’s final day match against Japan could not have moved North America out of 5th but was the deciding factor in Japan or Taiwan taking 3rd place in the match. Japan, needing the win to stay on the medal stand, won by 2-1. Although Li beat the strong 16-year-old Mutsuura, Lui lost to Toramaru Shibano 2p, another 16-year-old with a strong record in his two years of pro play. Jiang meanwhile, lost to Hirata Tomoya 7p, although both a disappointed Jiang and some observers in the room thought he had a chance to win.
Li’s win was in line with the opinion expressed by the Asian team captains present, that the young AGA and EGF pros had improved significantly, approaching in strength a new Chinese pro and matching weaker Japanese pros. They mainly need more opportunities for serious tournament play in order to improve.
Korea effectively won the tournament by beating main rival China by 2-1 in round two. Both were undefeated against the other teams. Japan staked its claim on third place against main rival Taiwan in round one when Mutsuura and Shibano prevailed in their games.
In the women’s individual tournament, a 12-player double elimination, Sarah Yu lost in round one to Korea’s Oh Yujin 2p, but then won against Rita Pocsai 4d of Hungary and then Elvina Kalsberg 5d to guarantee at least a fifth place finish. Her round four match against Yu Zhiying 5p went beautifully until the players were in byo yomi and the Chinese pro took control of the game. Yu Zhiying went on to win the tournament. Yu’s last game was against Cao Youyin 3p. Cao won, taking fourth. Joanne Missingham 7p of Taiwan was third and Choi Jeong 6p of Korea took second.
A three-round pair go event started Tuesday, with Yu and Li facing off against Taiwanese teammates Missingham and Lin Li-Hsiang 6p.
- reported by Andy Okun from Huaian, Jiangsu Province, China; photo courtesy Ranka Online
In his latest Go Talk video series, Kevin Hwang interviews SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf about AlphaGo, computer go, the origins of the SGF file, and more. His February 21 interview with Hajin Lee has interesting background information on organizing the Lee Sedol vs AlphaGo match. Click here to check out the entire Go Talk series.
Inspired by the Seattle Go Club’s plans to host watching parties for the upcoming AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match, the AGA and its chapter rewards program are offering to cover up to $100 of “reasonable expenses” of AGA chapters’ AlphaGo-Lee Sedol challenge match viewing parties.
“This is a historic moment for the go community,” AGA President Andy Okun said. “Whether you’re rooting for the human to prevail or cheering AlphaGo in joyful acceptance of the advent of our new rulers, this is an event to see with fellow go players.”
Lee Sedol 9P has accepted the million-dollar challenge to play five games against the deep convolutional neural network system developed by Alphabet’s UK-based DeepMind AI lab. After the announcement last month that AlphaGo had swept European Champion Fan Hui 2p 5-0, there was an unprecedented level of news coverage. “We expect a similar level of coverage or even more when the AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match starts,” said Okun, “so your viewing party could also be a chance to get some additional coverage for the game and your chapter.”
A chapter must be current on dues and the food, non-alcoholic beverage or other expenses must be reasonable for the expected turnout (no single person viewing parties at steakhouses please) and you must send a picture or two and a few sentences about the party to the EJ at email@example.com. The last requirement is that, before the party, you reach out to a local news outlet or two to mention the party and encourage them to come and report on this “local angle” on a historic event in the development of artificial intelligence. To receive reimbursement send smart phone photos of your receipts to firstname.lastname@example.org. This offer is separate from your chapter’s rewards balance and will not count against it.
As a special free bonus for all E-Journal readers, Michael Redmond’s recent Oza game commentary against O Meien 9P appears here. Full AGA members get exciting commentaries like this every week. The game commentaries alone are worth the price of AGA membership . For youth memberships the deal is even better, just $10 a year! To sign up for the members edition, register with the AGA here .
Michael gives a summary of this powerful game, “I have Black against O Meien 9P in this game. In a fight within White’s moyo, I was successful, up to a certain point…“.
Despite being pushed to the loser’s bracket, Yu Zhiying 5P defeated Yu Jin 6D and Joanne Missingham 7P to make it into the women’s final at the IMSA Elite Mind Games, where she’ll play Choi Jeong 6P for the gold medal. In the men’s team division, North America defeated Europe 2 to 1, thanks to Jiang Mingjiu 7P’s (right) dramatic half-point victory over Fan Hui 2P and Eric Lui 1P’s win against Ilya Shikshin 1P. The match between North America and Europe attracted a lot of attention because for the first time, both teams were represented by professional players. Meanwhile, China defeated Japan 3-0, Korea defeated Chinese Taipei 2-0 and with just one round to go, the Korean team is leading with four wins while the Chinese team has three wins and one loss.
- adapted from a report on Ranka Online
by Special Correspondent Andy Okun, with reporting by Natalya Kovaleva
In the run-up to AlphaGo’s challenge match with Lee Sedol 9p in Seoul in a little over a week, go players have been worrying about the new age whose beginning might be marked by an AlphaGo victory. What will the go world be like when computers are so good? Will people still want to play go? What will change? Taking advantage of the collegiality of the IMSA Elite Mind Games in Huaian, we sought counsel from a community that has been through this before. We asked chess players how the game was affected by Garry Kasparov’s historic loss to IBM’s Deep Blue in 1997, the steady growth in strength of computer chess since, and how go players should greet the news. The general view was that go players should not be afraid of the new age, but that things will be different. There may even be some new and interesting problems to handle, as there have in chess.
“So many cheats!” said KwaiKeong Chan (right), a long time chess player, arbiter and organizer from Hong Kong. Chan is helping run the chess section of the IEMG as deputy chief arbiter. The software is so strong that it has become very easy to find new ways to cheat, Chan said. “Hiding in the toilet is primitive,” he said dismissively of a toilet-based chess scandal last year in Dubai, although he refused to detail some of the more subtle methods people use. Strong computers also are how officials crack down on cheats, he said. Chess software is so good that given a board position and an ELO rating, you can predict the exact set of moves a player of that strength will likely draw from. If a player consistently picks better moves than are likely for his or her rating, officials know to pay close attention. “You cannot play beyond yourself. It’s not humanly possible,” said Chan, who himself had designed some very early chess-playing software.
Beyond that, chess players don’t really care about computers’ strength and said go players shouldn’t either, he said. Rather, the advent of strong computer go will bring publicity to the game, as Deep Blue did for chess, Chan said. “That is always a good thing, publicity, good or bad. Publicity is what you need.” Chess is being played more than ever before, and while Deep Blue is not the main reason for that – he cited years of community effort in presenting chess well – it did produce a second surge of new players after the Bobby Fischer surge of the 1970s.
The presence of such strong computers has had other effects on how chess is played and the nature of chess expertise, players suggested. Since strong computers can provide weak and middling players with solid and accurate analysis, the role of the chess master is different than it was, said Russian player Alexandra Kosteniuk (left), a grandmaster, former Women’s World Chess Champion and author of “Diary of a Chess Queen.” The strength of players has gone up, but the best players don’t command the same respect they might have in years past because the best critique is available to everyone. “Maybe in a few years, there will be no go masters,” she said.
Shahriyar Mamedyarov, a 31-year-old Azerbaijani grandmaster and former rapid chess World Champion, said it used to be that when he was in world championship tournaments, he might have seven or eight fellow players with him helping him prepare for the games. He doesn’t need to do that now, since any questions he has or analysis he needs done can be done by computer. Valentina Evgenyevna Gunina, a three-time Russian women’s champion, said computers had raised the standard of training and that “we need to memorize much more than we did before.”
Kirsan ILyumzhinov, the controversial president of both the Federation Internationale des Echecs and the Russian Republic of Kalmykia, as well as the head of IMSA and a long time sponsor of computer go competitions, said in the early days of the computer go project, human players and human programmers would work hard to develop the computer player and make it stronger. “Now the computer develops and trains the human.”
Perhaps the bluntest argument against fear of computers learning to play our games well came from Ruslan Ponomariov (right), a Ukrainian grandmaster and FIDE World Champion from 2002 to 2004.
“What we can do?” he asked with a shrug.
photos credits: Kirill Merkurev (Chan); chessqueen.com (Kosteniuk); en.chessbase.com (Ponomariov)
After two rounds, the Korean and Japanese men’s teams are undefeated in the first International Mind Sports Association (IMSA) Elite Mind Games in Huaian, China, while North America’s sole woman player scored a win to stay alive in the women’s Individual event.
After losing to a Korean pro in round one, Sarah Yu 6d (right) of Canada beat the European team’s Rita Pocsai 4d of Hungary in round two, moving on in the double elimination tournament. Yu said she and Pocsai were well matched and that she had benefited from a few mistakes in her opponent’s endgame play. On the other hand, playing against Oh Yujin 2p in round one was daunting, the strong amateur said. “When you are playing against a pro, you just have to try to make the game last longer,” Yu said. “It forces you to play better.” In the game against Oh, “there were never any chances.”
On the men’s side, the North American men were winless against Korea and Taiwan, though Eric Lui 1p believes he had an opportunity against Lin Shih-Hsun 5p of Taiwan. Lin and Lui, who are friends, reviewed for two hours after the game. Lin made left a major group vulnerable late in the game and Lui (left) attacked but was unable to bring off the kill. “Unfortunately, I went for a small part of the group instead of trying to kill the whole group, which clearly would have been the right thing to do,” Lui said in an interview in the bright white marble lobby of the New Century Grand Hotel Huaian. While the game wasn’t over then, Lin didn’t let down his guard again and won by resignation. His game on day one against Kim Jiseok 9p was not so suspenseful. “The thing about active young pro players today is their game is so well-rounded,” Lui said. “Their game has no real weaknesses.”
On board one, Jiang Mingjiu 7p lost to Lee Donghoon 5p on the first day and Taiwan’s Chen Shih-Yuan 9p on the second. Ryan Li 1p of Canada lost to Park Jeonghwan 9p of Korea and Lin Li-Hsiang 6p. The Korean and Chinese teams are thought to be the strongest, so Korea, in addition to defeating North America, may have effectively taken the lead in the round robin tournament when it defeated China by 2-1 in the second round. Japan’s very young team, including two 16-year-old 2 dans, is also undefeated, having beaten Europe in a clean sweep and Taiwan by 2-1.
- Andy Okun, reporting from Huaian, China. For more IEMG reports, game records and the tournament contestants, go to Ranka Online’s website.
The International Mind Sports Association will hold three more IMSA Elite Mind Games in Huaian, Jiangsu Province, China over the next three years, according to IMSA Secretary General (and AGA VP) Thomas Hsiang. IMSA signed a memorandum of understanding on Feb. 28 at the first IEMG with officials from the Jiangsu Sports Bureau, the government of Huaian and the China Qiyuan (the Board and Card Games Administrative Center of China’s General Administration of Sport) under which a second, third and fourth IEMG will be held the second week of January in 2017, 2018 and 2019. “I am very grateful to our friends at the China Qiyuan for their crucial role in making the first IEMG possible, and now for adding three more rounds of IEMG,” said Hsiang. “The local organizational efforts have also been just marvelous! The past few days have been most enjoyable and I look forward to having this event become a regular fixture on the mind sports scene.” As part of the MOU, IMSA will open an office and a mind sports academy in Huaian and all the parties have agreed to work to spread mind sports generally and also to promote Huaian as the “Mind Sports City of the World.” The IEMG were in part prompted by the end of the successful four-year run of the similarly structured SportAccord World Mind Games in Beijing.
- Andy Okun, reporting from Huaian, China
If you’ve been following the E-Journal over the last several years, you will know that Cole Pruitt (right), Will Lockhart and many friends have been working on The Surrounding Game, the first major documentary about what’s “going on” in the world of go today. Here’s Peter Shotwell’s November 2015 interview with Pruitt during a visit to the Los Alamos, New Mexico labs where Pruitt was conducting labs tests for his Washington University of St. Louis PhD thesis.
Following the Seattle Go Center’s lead (Seattle Plans AlphaGo-Lee Sedol Watch Parties 2/25 EJ), the Evanston Go Club will have a watch party for the first game of the Lee Sedol/AlphaGo match. The party will be hosted by club President Mark Rubenstein at his home. The game will be shown on a 55” TV in Rubenstein’s rec room, which also has a pool table and a dartboard. “It should be a lot of fun!” says Rubenstein. “There will be plenty of go sets available for people to follow along with the game, play their own games, or both.” The party will start at 10 PM on Tuesday March 8 at 917 Maple Ave, Evanston Illinois. “This is an historic event for the go world. Come and be part of it! And please bring some liquid libations or munchies to share.” says Rubenstein. Please RSVP to email@example.com.
photo: Evanston Go Club meeting; photo courtesy Mark Rubenstein
The Seattle Go Center is planning to host watching parties for the upcoming AlphaGo-Lee Sedol 9P 5-game match, March 7-15. “We did something similar for the Jubango between Lee Sedol and Gu Li in 2014, although those games were longer,” reports club manager Brian Allen. “It was great fun. You can also play casual games at the same time.”
The first game will happen in Korea on March 9, which will be Tuesday, March 8 Seattle time. “We plan to watch it at the Go Center with our video projector,” says Allen. “The game starts at 8 p.m., and is expected to run 4 or 5 hours. Dennis Wheeler will be the host. Lee Sedol 9P, winner of the Jubango between Lee Sedol and Gu Li, and representing the human race, is confident that he can beat the version of AlphaGo that beat the 2 dan pro Fan Hui in October of last year. The big question is: how much has AlphaGo improved since then?”
Allen sent along the Harry Belafonte version of “John Henry” the “steel-drivin’ man” who so famously took on the steam engine.
Check the Seattle Go Club’s calendar for the dates of the other games, which they’ll also be watching. If other clubs plan similar events, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
photo: Frank Lam and Andrew Jackson (r) following the first Jubango game at the Seattle Go Center; photo by Brian Allen
by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal
Lead shared in Honinbo League: The first game in the fourth round of the 71st Honinbo League was played on January 7, with Ichiriki Ryo 7P (B) beating Yamashita Keigo 9P by 4.5 points. On January 14, Yo Seiki 7P (W) beat Motoki Katsuya 7P by resig. This was Motoki’s first loss, so he now shared the lead with Yo; both were on 3-1. On January 21, Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Ida Atsushi 9P by resig. On January 28, Takao Shinji 9P (B) beat Cho U by resig., so he joined Yo and Motoki in the lead. On February 4, Cho U 9P picked up his first win, beating Ichiriki Ryo 7P by resig. with white. On the same day, Motoki Katsuya 7P (B) beat Ida Atsushi Judan by resig. On February 11, Takao (B) beat Yamashita by 7.5 points. On February 18, Kono (W)beat Yo by 1.5 points. That game completed the fifth round. At present, Takao and Motoki, both on 4-1, share the lead.
Women’s Meijin League concludes: The final round of the 28th Women’s Meijin League was held on January 7. Aoki Kikuyo 8P had already won the league in the fifth round, but she won her final game as well to finish with a perfect score. Results: Aoki (W) beat Fujisawa Rina 3P by resig.; Okuda Aya 3P (B) beat Kato Keiko 6P by resig.; Suzuki Ayumi 6P (B) beat Mannami Nao 3P by 2.5 points. The title match with Xie Yimin will start in March.
“I’m reading ‘When the Emperor was Divine’ by Julie Otsuka, a small book about the forced Japanese internment during the second World War,” writes None Redmond. “At the beginning of the second chapter as the family of three arrive at the desert camp, the boy thinks he sees his father everywhere in a variety of camp activities as well as ‘Playing go with the other men in their floppy straw hats …’ I was reminded of Tom Tamura who I remember telling Peter that he had learned to play go when he was a child in the desert camp. Interesting that as a child Tom had no feeling of the camp’s restriction nor when he was an adult any resentment over his imprisonment. Peter told me that Tom said he had enjoyed being with the other youngsters there, playing football as well as learning to play a little go. It was when we lived in Santa Barbara that Peter and Tom became quite close over the go board.”
by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal
Iyama to challenge for Judan: The new tournament year at the Nihon Ki-in got off to a start on January 7. Most of the interest focussed on the semifinals of the 54th Judan tournament. The Judan is the only top-seven title Iyama Yuta doesn’t hold; if he becomes the challenger, he has a chance of achieving a simultaneous grand slam. In his semifinal, Iyama (B) beat Imamura Toshiya 9P by resignation. His opponent in the play-off to decide the challenger to Ida Atsushi will be Yo Seiki (Yu Zhenqi) 7P of the Kansai Ki-in, who won the other semifinal. Yo’s opponent, Shida Tatsuya 7P (B), forfeited the game because of an illegal move; he recaptured a ko immediately, without making a ko threat. (To be precise, Yo’s ko threat was a ko capture in a position that was a double ko; Shida, who was in his last minute of byo-yomi, should have captured the other ko.) Last year Yo lost the play-off to decide the Oza challenger to Iyama, so he was seeking revenge when the play-off (right) was held at the Kansai headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on January 21. Yo (W) took the lead when he cleverly settled a weak group, but winning the first fight is not enough to beat Iyama. The latter subjected Yo to so much pressure that eventually he slipped up in the endgame, letting Iyama stage an upset. Yo resigned after 277 moves. The title match with Ida Atsushi Judan starts on March 8.
Meijin League: The first game of the second round of the 41st Meijin League was played on January 7. Ko Iso 8P (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resignation. At this point, Ko, on 2-0, took the provisional lead. On January 11, Takao Shinji 9P (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig. and joined Ko in the provisional lead. On January 21, Cho U 9P (B) beat Uchida Shuhei 7P by half a point and Murakawa Daisuke 8P (W) beat Hirata Tomoya 7P by resig. On February 4, Takao (B) beat Hane Naoki by resig. On February 11, Cho U (W) beat Ko Iso by resig. Cho and Takao, both on 3-0, share the lead, but Murakawa, who had a bye in the third round, is also undefeated. Cho’s good results in this league are a stark contrast to his bad performance in the Honinbo League.
Tomorrow: Lead shared in Honinbo League; Women’s Meijin League concludes