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AlphaGo-Ke Jie watch parties help build AGA chapter “strength, longevity and cohesiveness”

Saturday May 27, 2017

AlphaGo-Ke-Jie surprising move copyChapters of the American Go Association held watch parties across the country for the historic AlphaGo-Ke Jie match this week. Here are a couple of reports and photos.

At the Seattle Go Center (right), 30 people came for Nick Sibicky’s lecture on a previous game by Ke Jie, and more than 40 were in the room for the first AlphaGo/Ke Jie game.

durham-sm_1970A dozen go aficionados gathered in Durham Wednesday night (left), to review and discuss Game One. A surprise guest was Cole Pruitt, the co-director and producer of “The Surrounding Game.” Says Bob Bacon, “We devoured pizza generously provided by the AGA as we witnessed another milestone in the history of go. Events like this help add to the strength, longevity and cohesiveness of the chapters and the AGA as a whole.”

photos by Brian Allen (right) and Bob Bacon (left)

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AlphaGo defeats Ke Jie in Game 3 to sweep 3-0

Saturday May 27, 2017

AlphaGo completed its sweep of world number one professional Ke Jie 9P on Saturday, winning the third and final game of their match by resignation. Ke called it “one of the greatest matches that I’ve had.” The game once again showcased exciting and surprising moves from both sides, the first arising almost immediately on move 7, a four-space extension from the upper right in which AlphaGo played one space closer to 2017.05.27_ke-jie-hassabisthe corner than in the usual Chinese opening. White 20 was a counter-intuitive second-line probe into Black’s framework on the lower right, showcasing Ke Jie’s superb positional judgment.

When Ke Jie attained a local advantage in the centre, AlphaGo switched to build a powerful framework on the top that spurred White to invade. The action came to a head when Ke Jie sacrificed the territory on the upper side to AlphaGo, gaining initiative to pressure the lower left. After AlphaGo protected its group, the match proceeded towards the endgame. Ke Jie revived his stones in the upper left to take the territorial lead, but this sequence left AlphaGo just enough latitude to take control of his group in the centre, and White resigned after 209 moves.

“We held this event aiming to discover new insights into this ancient, beautiful game,” said DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis. “I can safely say that what has taken place since Tuesday has exceeded our highest hopes. We have seen many new and exciting moves, and we also saw AlphaGo truly pushed to its limits by the great genius Ke Jie.”

Adapted from a report on DeepMind’s AlphaGo page.

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The Power Report (2): Kono starts well in Kisei S League; Yamashita becomes Gosei challenger; Murakawa wins Gratitude Cup; 4th Aizu Central Hospital tournament; Xie and Fujisawa reach final

Saturday May 27, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Kono starts well in Kisei S League:
 Kono Rin 9P, the previous Kisei challenger, made a good start in the 42nd Kisei S League. In a game played on May 11, Kono (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke 8P by resignation. That completes the first round. Besides Kono, Yamashita Keigo and
Ichiriki Ryo started with wins and Murakawa Daisuke 8P, Cho U 9P, and So Yokoku 9P with losses.

Yamashita becomes Gosei challenger: The play-off to decide the challenger for the 42nd Gosei title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on May 18. Taking black, Yamashita Keigo 9P beat Motoki Katsuya 8P by resignation after 139 moves. Yamashita will challenge Iyama Yuta for the title. Thanks to this win, he will have played in at least one top-seven title match every year for 15 years in a row. Recently younger players have become more prominent in Japan, but Yamashita is still close to his peak at the age of 38. Motoki failed to convert his best-of-seven versus Iyama into a best-of-12. The first Gosei game will be played on June 22.2017.05.27_8okage2_06

Murakawa wins Gratitude Cup: The Gratitude Cup (O-kage-hai) is a tournament for players 30 or under and is sponsored by the souvenir shops in the sightseeing town of Ise in Mie Prefecture. The 8th Cup was held on May 14 and 15, with 16 players who had won seats in the qualifying tournament taking part. The winner was Murakawa Daisuke 8P. Taking white, he beat Ri Ishu 7P by resignation in the final, winning this title for the first time; his prize was three million yen. This year six of the players were teenagers and ten were making their debut in the main tournament. The cup is undeniably a minor title, but such prominent young players as Ida Atsushi 8P and Motoki Katsuya 8P were eliminated in the qualifying tournament.

4th Aizu Central Hospital tournament; Xie and Fujisawa reach final: This is the tournament with the second-richest prize in women’s go in Japan: seven million yen. The final was also the only two-day game in women’s go. However, some changes have been made this year. The name has been changed to the Aizu Central Hospital Women’s Hollyhock Cup. The flower concerned is the city flower of the host city, Aizu Wakamatsu. Strictly speaking, the plant, tachi-aoi, which has purple flowers, is not the same as 2017.05.27_aizuthe Western hollyhock; its botanical name is Althaea rosea. The second change is that the final has been changed to a best-of-three, and these are one-day games. Also, it has switched to the challenger system, that is, the winner this year will defend her title next year.
The quarterfinals and semifinals of the main tournament were held at the Konjakutei inn in Aizu Higashiyama Hot Spring on the weekend of May 21 and 22. The eight qualifiers wear kimonos for the games (our photo is from the welcome party held on May 20). Results in the first round, already the quarterfinals, which started at 10 A.M. on the 21st, were as follows: Xie 6P(W) beat Mukai Chiaki 5P by resig.; Fujisawa Rina 3P (W) beat Mannami Nao 3P by half a point; Makihata Taeko 4P (B) beat O Keii 2P (I don’t know the margin); Nishiyama Shizuk
a 1P (W) beat Okuda Aya 3P by 2.5 points.
The semifinals were held on the Sunday, starting at noon. Xie (B) beat Makihata by resig.; Fujisawa (W) beat Nishiyama by resig. (The time allowance in these games was one hour per player; in the final it will be three hours).
The final is scheduled for June 16, 18, and, if needed, 23.

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The Power Report (1): Iyama makes good start in Honinbo defense; Korea wins 6th Tiantai Mt. team tournament; Iyama maintains Meijin League lead

Friday May 26, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama makes good start in Honinbo defense:
 Iyama Yuta, or Honinbo Monyu, to give him the title he assumed when he qualified as Honorary Honinbo last year, made a good start in the 72nd Honinjbo title match. The challenger is Motoki Katsuya 8P, who, at 21, is six years Iyama’s junior and is the third-youngest challenger ever. If he were to win, he would be the youngest tournament Honinbo.2017.05.26-Honinbo2dayfin03
The first game was played at the Gifu Grand Hotel in Gifu City. Iyama drew black in the nigiri and scored a convincing win, securing a resignation after 147 moves. There was an interesting fight early in the game in which Iyama sacrificed some stones in exchange for a ponnuki facing the centre (on the 6th line). A ponnuki is said to be worth 30 points. By my count, White’s profit was worth 20 points or so; the professionals following the game on the spot diverged in their evaluation, some of them considering the result equal, while others
thought that White’s profit was slightly superior. This was apparently Motoki’s own opinion. Soon after, Iyama started a large-scale fight with the support of his ponnuki in the background. Motoki went wrong with White 84. Ironically, this move looked like good style but actually gave Black the chance to strike at a vital point. A white group under attack managed to live, but Black took the lead. Iyama’s endgame was then flawless, so an early resignation was unavoidable. This was a tough title-match baptism for Motoki, but at least he had a chance to get used to the atmosphere of two-day games. The second game was scheduled to be played on May 23 & 24.

Korea wins 6th Tiantai Mt. team tournament: This is a team tournament for three-woman teams from China, Korea, Japan, and Chinese Taipei. The full name is the Tiantai Mt. Agricultural & Commercial Bank Cup World Women’s Team Tournament. The 6th Cup was held in Taizhou City, Zhejiang Province, in China on May 10 to 12. Results were as follows:
Round 1 (May 10) China 2 beat Japan 1; Korea 3 beat Chinese Taipei 0
Round 2 (May 11) Korea 3 beat Japan 0; China 3 beat Chinese Taipei 0
Round 3 (May 12) Japan 2 beat Chinese Taipei 1; Korea 2 beat China 1
Placings: 1st, Korea (individual score: 8 wins, 1 loss); 2nd, China (6-3); 3rd, Japan (3-6); 4th: Chinese Taipei (1-8)

Once again, Japan was beaten by Korea and China, but there were some encouraging signs. On the top board, Fujisawa Rina had a good game against Che Cheong 7P of Korea, but missed her opportunities to wrap up the game. In the end, she lost by 1.5 points. Xie Yimin hasn’t delivered for Japan in international go, but she won her games against Lu Jia 2P of China and Zhang Kaixing 5P of Chinese Taipei. The third member of the Japanese team was Nyu Eiko 1P, who beat Zhang Zhengping 3P of Chinese Taipei.

Iyama maintains Meijin League lead: The 42nd Meijin League is looking more and more like a one-horse race. On May 18, Iyama Yuta scored his fifth straight win and leads the field by two points. Players with just two losses are Yamashita Keigo 9P (4-2), Murakawa Daisuke
(3-2), and Kono Rin 9P (3-2). Iyama will play Yamashita in June and Murakawa in July.

Recent results:
(May 11) Sakai Hideyuki 8P (W) beat Ko Iso 8P by 4.5 points.
(May 18) Iyama Yuta (W) beat Cho U 9P by resig.

Tomorrow: Kono starts well in Kisei S League; Yamashita becomes Gosei challenger; Murakawa wins Gratitude Cup; 4th Aizu Central Hospital tournament; Xie and Fujisawa reach final

 

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Familiar faces running for AGA board seats

Friday May 26, 2017

Incumbent Eastern, Western and Central board members Diego Pierrottet, Chris Kirschner and Martin Lebl have been nominated to retain their seats. Nominations, including self-nominations, may be made by full members for the region in which the member resides by June 15. Chapters should check their membership roles for recent and upcoming expirations which may affect their vote count. Nominations and questions must be emailed to elections@usgo.org. Click here for complete election information and qualifications.
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Problem of the Week

Finding the Followup

Black to play