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AlphaGo-Lee Sedol Match Set for March 9-15; More responses to AlphaGo win

Sunday February 7, 2016

As the go world — and indeed much mainstream media — has continued to buzz in the wake of the recent announcement of AlphaGo’s defeat2016.02.07_Fan-Hui-vs-AlphaGo of a professional go player, details of the matchup between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol have been released. The five-game match will take place in Seoul, March 9-15, with a $1 million prize — and the question of whether man or machine will prevail — at stake. We’ll keep you posted on broadcast coverage plans. Meanwhile, here’s a few of the reactions that have come in; we welcome your thoughts at our Facebook page, Twitter or at journal@usgo.org.

SmartGo’s Kierulf on AlphaGo: “Exciting times with the AlphaGo announcement!” writes SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf “If you’re in need of some more analysis and speculation on the Lee Sedol match, I’ve got you covered: Lee Sedol vs AlphaGo.” Kierulf has also written a bit about how AlphaGo works, and encouraging people to learn go now. He also reports that SmartGo has “definitely seen a spike in sales last week, subsiding again now.”

Cobb: A Flawed Test: “These sorts of tests of computer programs against pros (chess or go) all have the same flaw,” writes Slate & Shell’s Bill Cobb. “While the computer of course plays at the speed it needs to in order to use all of its resources, the pro is forced to play much faster than he/she can make use of their resources to a similar degree. For a go pro, one hour basic time is ‘lightning’ go, not a true test of the player’s ability—especially when it is followed by 30 second instead of one minute byoyomi periods. I don’t understand why people are so impressed about the computer program winning under such unfair conditions. Many strong amateurs could beat many pros under a similarly unbalanced time arrangement.” Cobb is the author of “Reflections on the Game of Go” a collection of his E-Journal columns, many of which focus on ways in which go can be related to Buddhist views of the search for enlightenment.

“Alphaville” Warned Us: The night before the announcement that a computer had won a 5-game match with no handicap against a 2016.02.07_alphavilleprofessional, I watched ‘Alphaville,’ a 1965 French film,” writes David Doshay. “In it an evil computer saps vocabulary, emotion and eventually life from the people of Alphaville. That computer’s name is Alpha-60. This program is called AlphaGo. Coincidence or conspiracy? Go and 60 look a lot alike to me …Should we warn the world?”

Learning from Chess: “Regarding Google’s AlphaGo achievement, I’d be interested in reading an E-Journal article discussing how chess software has affected online chess tournaments,” writes Syracuse go organizer Richard Moseson. “There have already been a few scandals at top chess tournaments in which players were found to be using chess playing software. How long will it be before players can use iGlasses to receive recommendations for each move?”

Moving the Goalposts: “Perhaps it is time to consider moving to the next prime number with a go board that is 23 by 23,” suggests Ronald Davis.
Update (7:08p): The source of the “Moving the Goalposts” quote has been updated.

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Leaders Emerge as Pandanet AGA City League Completes Third Round

Sunday February 7, 2016

pandalogo-4885cf7392ac5bc75a68d553b7287b04As the third round of the Pandanet AGA City League closes out, some leaders are emerging from the packs. In League A the Greater Washington and Canwa Vancouver 1 teams have always been at the top of the leader boards. Both teams are undefeated in their league. Two-time winner Los Angeles is in third place at this point. Washington DC 2 has come out strong this year, leading with three wins so far. Close behind is Washington DC 1 and San Francisco 1. League C has Atlanta 2 leading with the third round. Their opponents have some catching up to do for the last four rounds. Boston 3 is close behind Atlanta 2.

Click below to watch Hajin Lee 3p review two games from the A League. This round she looked at new 1p Eric Lui’s game against Edward Kim 7d and Bill Lin’s win over AGA professional exam contender Aaron Ye. Learn why joseki is important throughout the game in this video.

–Steve Colburn, TD

https://youtu.be/4qW58PLJZ44

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Longtime AGA Friends Hisao and Hiroko Taki and Tadaaki Jagawa win Okura Prize

Sunday February 7, 2016

Three long-term friends of the American Go Association are among the winners of the 45th Okura Prize. Hisao Taki and Hiroko Taki were 2016.02.07_pair-go-foundershonored for their founding and 27 years of support for pair go, while and Tadaaki Jagawa won for his contributions to supporting go in the United States, Europe, and Brazil. The Okura Prize was established by the Nihon Kiin in 1972 in memory of its founder and first president, Baron Kishichiro Okura. The Prize honors those who have made significant contributions to the development of go. Read more here.
photo: Hisao and Hiroko Taki at the 20th annual International Amateur Pair Go Championships in 2009, with IGF Vice President and North American representative Thomas Hsiang (left). 

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Problem of the Week

Opening Overplay

White to play