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“Learn Go Week” rolling in 21 countries with 60+ events; still time to join in!

Tuesday September 16, 2014

Learn Go Week started last weekend, with go players all around the world — 60 events in 21 countries  – running teaching events in their local 2014.09.16_Raleigh-go-weekcommunities. The first-ever event runs through this coming weekend, so if you want to get 2014.09.16_Learn-Go-Week-Canberra-300x401involved, you can still run a beginners’ night at your local go club this week; click here to let Go Game Guru know about it. This weekend, on September 21, 1004 go players in Korea will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most simultaneous games of Go in one place, the headline event at Seoul’s Street Without Cars festival. Last Saturday, the San Diego Go Club sponsored a go demonstration and teaching event at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park in San Diego. “Dozens of people touring the garden stopped by the koi pond site to play a game or learn the basics of go,” reports club president Ted Terpstra. And in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the Triangle Go Club of hosted Yuan Zhou to come from Maryland for a public outreach event (right) on September 13 in the community room of the Earth Fare grocery store. Zhou gave a lecture on the history and cultural aspects of go in China, and also played a simultaneous exhibition match against eight local players. “Triangle Go Club members and Zhou also chatted with onlookers about the game, played friendly demonstration games outdoors, and distributed Way To Go’ booklets,” reports local organizer Paul Celmer. Click here for Go Game Guru’s report on Learn Go Week activities thus far, including lots of cool photos of events in places like Canberra, Australia (left).

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Learn Go Week Launches Saturday: 17 Countries Participating, Plus 1,004 Koreans Attempt Guinness World Record

Wednesday September 10, 2014

With just days to go, there are now over 50 Learn Go Week events planned in 17 countries, including an attempt by 1,004 people in South Korea2014.09.09_Go-in-Japan-300x199 to break the Guinness World Record for the most simultaneous games of go in one place, on September 21. “It’s not too late to join in if you’re still thinking about it,” says organizer David Ormerud of Go Game Guru. The event officially launches this Saturday: click here to see what’s already planned and here to register your event. Go Game Guru has also prepared a handy event checklist and sample media release to promote local events. “Take plenty of photos and let’s achieve something special together!” Ormerud urges.

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Categories: Youth
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SF Organizers Get a Jump on “Learn Go Week”

Sunday August 31, 2014

The Bay Area Go Players Association and the San Francisco Go Club got a jump on Learn Go Week at the August 22-24 Japan Expo, 2014.08.31_SF-Japan-Expowhich attracted thousands of fans of Japanese culture to San Mateo, California. The BAGPA and SFGC were on hand to teach the constant stream of attendees who wanted to learn to play go.

report/photo by Steve Burrall; photo: (front to back on the right): Matthew Burrall, BAGPA president Jay Chan and SF Go Club VP Eric Branlun, all teaching beginners.

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Categories: U.S./North America
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AGF Offers Chapters Go Supplies for Learn Go Week

Tuesday August 26, 2014

AGA chapters planning to participate in the upcoming Learn Go Week (September 13-20) can not only take advantage of special deals2014.08.25_wonder-go on go supplies and equipment available to them from the American Go Foundation, but the first 20 clubs to apply will receive up to a $100 subsidy from the AGA towards AGF purchases or other expenses of Learn Go Week events. Email president@usgo.org for questions about the subsidy. Chapters can order up to 90 free copies of The Way To Go, for example, as well as up to 20 copies of The AGA Starter CD. Chapters can also order exclusive supplies at nominal cost from certain sections of the AGF Store, including Teaching EquipmentPromotional MaterialsPrizes, and Go World. “From beginners kits,  to demonstration boards and a whole lot more, we’ve got what you need to make Learn Go Week a success in your community” promises AGF President Terry Benson.
photo: Wonder Go, a set designed especially for younger learners that features hollow stones that you can fill with prizes like candy, stickers, and small toys.
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“Learn Go Week” Organizers Release “5 easy steps for running a successful Go demo”

Thursday August 21, 2014

So you want to run a go demonstration for Learn Go Week (“Learn Go Week” Planned to Launch September 13 7/19 EJ), but aren’t2014.08.21_kuro-with-rustic-sign-300x350 sure what to do? You’re not alone. Since proposing Learn Go Week in July, the folks at Go Game Guru say they’ve received more questions about this than anything else. “The good news is that it’s not that hard, and we’ll work with you to make it as easy as possible,” says GGG’s David Ormerud. They have customizable posters,brochuresprintable go sets and much more ready for you to use. Some 15 events are planned so far in half a dozen countries. Read more here.

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Categories: World
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“Learn Go Week” Planned to Launch September 13

Saturday July 19, 2014

People play go all over the world every day, but Saturday, September 13 will be different. That’s the day Go Game Guru is inviting local go organizers to participate in the launch of the first-ever Learn Go Week. “Every Go player knows that stones work better when they work together,” says GGG’s David Ormerud. “Right now we’re all doing our own things, within our own communities. We’re spread out thinly, all over the world. But if we work together, we can all be part of something bigger.” And while September 13 is the focus of the event, local organizers can also plan an event during the following week. Go Game Guru will support local efforts with adaptable go brochures, posters, checklists and information for running an event, including logistical support, inexpensive go sets, and printable go boards for organizers. While not an official IGF activity, IGF board members expressed support for the idea at last Saturday’s IGF meeting. “I think it’s a tremendously exciting idea and could be a great publicity opportunity for local chapters and clubs across the United States,” said American Go Association president Andy Okun at the World Amateur Go Championship in Korea. World Day events for a wide range of causes and activities have enjoyed various levels of popularity in recent years, generating public and media interest. “The AGA urges participation in Learn Go Week and will support our chapters in their efforts, as well as publicizing participation.”

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Categories: World
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2017 US Go Congress preview

Saturday July 29, 2017

With just a week left before the 33rd US Go Congress kicks off next Saturday at the Town and Country Resort in San Diego, California, the schedule for the week-long event is finally complete, reports Congress Co-Director Ted Terpstra. Currently there are 531 registered attendees including 26 professional go players. 2017.07.29_SD-airport-stones

There will be a ten-session Go Teachers’ Workshop for those wanting to learn the optimal ways of teaching go in the classroom. Many of the teachers’ session will be given by Myungwan Kim, 9P. Coordinating the workshop is Jonathan Hop <yithril@gmail.com>.

For young very-strong players, there will be a 10-session workshop sponsored and run by the Nihon-Kiin professionals: Yashashiro, 9P and Tsuruta 4P. Coordinating the very-strong players workshop is Ihan Lui <ihan.lui@gocongress.org>.

Each afternoon and evening after the US Open rounds (Sunday-Friday, except Wednesday), there will be lectures and game analysis by the more than 20 professional players from around the world. There will be sessions for the best players as well as the new players who are starting their climb to the top.

A special set of go classes will be given by European go teacher, In-seong Hwang <admin@yunguseng.com>. His lecture topics include Let’s get the Go-Avengers (includes Thor vs Hulk, Iron Man vs Black Widow and Captain America vs Nick Fury), Let’s make Go Easier and AlphaGo Games, the Future of Go.

“The summer in San Diego has been pleasant with almost no rain,” says Terpstra. The five-day forecast is for high temperatures of 77, 76, 77, 77, and 77 degrees, “Perfect for swimming in one of the three swimming pools at the Town and Country Resort. It should be a fine US Go Congress.”

photo: large white go stones embedded in the wall of the building next to the car rental facility at the San Diego Airport; photo by Ted Terpstra

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In surprise announcement, AlphaGo retires; DeepMind to release 50 self-play games

Saturday May 27, 2017

AlphaGo is retiring. DeepMind’s Demis Hassabis and David Silver made the stunning announcement as the Future of Go Summit wrapped up in Wuzhen, China, saying that the match against world #1 Ke Jie represented “the highest possible pinnacle for AlphaGo as a competitive program” and would be the AI program’s final match.2017.05.27_alphago

“The research team behind AlphaGo will now throw their considerable energy into the next set of grand challenges, developing advanced general algorithms that could one day help scientists as they tackle some of our most complex problems, such as finding new cures for diseases, dramatically reducing energy consumption, or inventing revolutionary new materials,” Hassabis said. “If AI systems prove they are able to unearth significant new knowledge and strategies in these domains too, the breakthroughs could be truly remarkable. We can’t wait to see what comes next.”

DeepMind isn’t leaving the go community empty-handed, however. As a “special gift to fans of Go around the world,” DeepMind is publishing a special set of 50 AlphaGo vs AlphaGo games, which Hassabis and Silver said “we believe contain many new and interesting ideas and strategies for the Go community to explore.”

And while DeepMind doesn’t plan to give AlphaGo itself a wide release, Hassabis says he’s more than happy for others to make use of DeepMind’s research themselves. Programs like Tencent’s Fine Art and Japan’s DeepZenGo have used similar deep-learning techniques to achieve around 9th-dan level, according to Hassabis. DeepMind will soon publish another paper on how it architected the latest version of AlphaGo, AlphaGo Master, and Hassabis expects other companies to learn from the new research.

Also, Hassabis said that “We’re also working on a teaching tool – one of the top requests we’ve received throughout this week. The tool will show AlphaGo’s analysis of Go positions, providing an insight into how the program thinks, and hopefully giving all players and fans the opportunity to see the game through the lens of AlphaGo. We’re particularly honoured that our first collaborator in this effort will be the great Ke Jie, who has agreed to work with us on a study of his match with AlphaGo. We’re excited to hear his insights into these amazing games, and to have the chance to share some of AlphaGo’s own analysis too.”

Read more in The Verge and on the DeepMind website. photo courtesy The Verge

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Ke Jie: AlphaGo “like a god of Go”

Tuesday May 23, 2017

Excerpted and adapted from a report in The New York Times 

“Last year, (AlphaGo) was still quite humanlike when it played,” said Ke Jie 9P after the first match against the go-playing AI Tuesday. “But this year, it became like a god of Go.”
“AlphaGo is improving too fast,” Ke said in a news conference after the game. “AlphaGo is like a different player this year compared to last 2017.05.23_24alphago-master768year.”
Mr. Ke, who smiled and shook his head as AlphaGo finished out the game, said afterward that his was a “bitter smile.” After he finishes this week’s match, he said, he would focus more on playing against human opponents, noting that the gap between humans and computers was becoming too great. He would treat the software more as a teacher, he said, to get inspiration and new ideas about moves.
Chinese officials perhaps unwittingly demonstrated their conflicted feelings at the victory by software backed by a company from the United States, as they cut off live streams of the contest within the mainland even as the official news media promoted the promise of artificial intelligence.
2017.05.23_AlphaGO_hassabis

Excerpted from Wired 
This week’s match is AlphaGo’s first public appearance with its new architecture, which allows the machine to learn the game almost entirely from play against itself, relying less on data generated by humans. In theory, this means DeepMind’s technology can more easily learn any task.
Underpinned by machine learning techniques that are already reinventing everything from internet services to healthcare to robotics, AlphaGo is a proxy for the future of artificial intelligence.
This was underlined as the first game began and (DeepMind CEO Demis) Hassabis (in photo) revealed that AlphaGo’s new architecture was better suited to tasks outside the world of games. Among other things, he said, the system could help accelerate the progress of scientific research and significantly improve the efficiency of national power grids.

DeepMind Match 1 wrap up
2017.05.23_ke-jie-hassabis“There was a cut that quite shocked me,” said Ke Jie, “because it was a move that would never happen in a human-to-human Go match. But, afterwards I analyzed the move and I found that it was very good. It is one move with two or even more purposes. We call it one stone, two birds.”
“Ke Jie started with moves that he had learned from the Master series of games earlier this year, adding those new moves to his repertoire,” said Michael Redmond 9P. “Ke Jie used the lower board invasion point similar to AlphaGo in the Masters games, and this was a move that was unheard of before then. Although this was one of the most difficult moves for us to understand, in the last month or players have been making their own translations and interpretations of it.”
“Every move AlphaGo plays is surprising and is out of our imagination,” said Stephanie Yin 1P. “Those moves completely overthrow the basic knowledge of Go. AlphaGo is now a teacher for all of us.”

photos: (top) courtesy China Stringer Network, via Reuters (middle) Noah Sheldon/Wired (bottom) DeepMind

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Hold an AlphaGo Match Viewing and Kibitzing Party

Wednesday May 17, 2017

Next week’s face off between Ke Jie 9p and DeepMind’s updated AlphaGo software promises to be more than a long-awaited grudge match (“One small bleep for a computer, one giant push for mankind,” commented AGA President Andy Okun). It will also be be a chance to think about the future of go. Moves suggested by AlphaGo have already become common in online and professional tournament play as players build, break and rebuild their opening and middle game theories. “More than anything else, then, this is a chance to learn new things about the game by analyzing, commenting on, arguing about and playing over the moves thrown off in the brawling between China’s fearsome slugger and Google’s triumph of modern engineering,” Okun said. “We should do this together.” To this end, any chapter that holds an AlphaGo viewing party during next week’s event is eligible for $100 of (non-alcohol) expenses supported by the AGA president’s discretionary chapter rewards points pool, in addition to using their own points. Since the games are in Asia and may be late at night, watching online later is fine. Conditions are that the chapter is current, that more than a couple of people attend, that it be before May 30, and that you send the EJ a notice of the event beforehand so we can put word out about it, and an account of the event and a couple of pictures. Send questions to president@usgo.org.

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Categories: Uncategorized
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