American Go E-Journal

US Go Congress: “AlphaGo Insider” Posted; Go Talk with AlphaGo’s Lucas; Landman’s Slides; Thankful Senior; The First 21st Century Go Congress? Keith Arnold Makes His Case

Thursday August 11, 2016

More cool stuff from — and thoughts about — last week’s US Go Congress…2016.08.12_AlphaGo Insider

“AlphaGo Insider” Posted: Video of the 2016 USGC Computer Go special session on August 4, 2016, presented by Google DeepMind’s Aja Huang 7d and European Champion Fan Hui 2p. Also just posted: “The Number of Possible Go Positions”, presented by John Tromp.

Go Talk with AlphaGo’s Lucas Baker: In his latest Go Talk, Kevin Hwang talks about Alpha Go with Lucas Baker, a member of the Deepmind team; click here for the video.

Landman’s Slides: “Several people wanted the slides to my Go Congress talk,” writes Howard A. Landman. Click here to download them.

Thankful Senior: “Thank you for the Seniors Tournament this year,” writes Eric Osman. “Between that and the US open I was able to have two rated games a day without running around chasing people for a game. Having one tournament game in the morning and one in the afternoon each day was perfect.”

The First 21st Century Go Congress? Keith Arnold Makes His Case2016.08.11_us-open-DSC_0120
As director of the 2001 Go Congress, I am proud of my effort. Looking back, however, I must admit that I ushered in the new century with a very competent version of what had come before. In the years that have followed, few changes have occurred – a wonderful women’s tournament and the internet broadcast of games being the notable ones that come to mind. But it is fair to say the average attendee transported from a Go Congress ten or even twenty years ago would easily have found his way around its successors through the Twin Cities last year.

2016.08.11_blind-go-IMG_0491Boston was undeniably different. A significant transfiguration of the Self-Paired tournament, a second year of expected rather than novel substantial video coverage, a Senior Tournament, no 13 by 13, live website updates of scheduling, an insane team relay game, blindfold go exhibitions, event stamps and advanced info on the topics of pro lectures made for a very different event. And those are just the changes I can think of off the top of my head. These new visions and the wonderful forward-thinking presence of the AlphaGo team lead me to dub Boston the first 21st Century Go Congress.

I do not mean to suggest that I loved every change, or that every change should become permanent. But what I am saying is that the Boston team breathed fresh energy into a gathering that may have been suffering from a form of nostalgic inertia. No doubt critics of some of these changes will say that a big problem with the event was so many of the key organizers had never been to a Congress before. I would argue that the best thing about this year’s Congress was that so many of the key organizers had never been to a Congress before. The new ideas and energy were palpable, and the result was extremely successful. Boston was demonstrably a breakthrough, with the first big jump in attendance we have had in years.

Metaphor stretcher that I am, Boston may have thrown a lot of old Congress tea overboard, and some of it might still be good tea, but I hope it also breathes new freedom into the event, and more freedom for future organizers.
- Keith Arnold, HKA; photos by Chris Garlock

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