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The Power Report (2): Na of Korea wins 29th TV Asia; King of the New Stars; Promotions

Wednesday September 20, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.09.20-TV Asia winner Na

Na of Korea wins 29th TV Asia: The TV Asia tournament is a fast-go tournament for the winners and runners-up in the NHK Cup, China’s CCTV Cup, and Korea’s KBS Cup. They are joined by the previous winner if he (not yet she) is not one of the above. The tournament rotates among these three countries and this year was held in the Sun Lake Hotel in Pinghu City, Zhejiang Province on September 15~17. Results were as follows:
(Sept. 15): Round 1, Game 1) Lee Sedol 9P (Korea) beat Iyama Yuta 9P (Japan) by resig. Game 2) Ichiriki Ryo 7P (Japan) (W) beat Zhang Tao 6P (China) by resig.
2017.09.20-Shibano Toramaru(Sept. 16): Round 1, Game 3) Na Hyeon 8P (Korea) (W) beat Li Jianhao 7P (China) by 4.5 points. Semifinal 1) Lee Sedol (B) beat Li Qincheng 9P (China, 2016 winner) by resig.
(Sept. 17): Semifinal 2) Na (B) beat Ichiriki by resig. Final: Na (B, at right) beat Lee Sedol by resig. after 184 moves.
This is Na’s first win in this tournament. Lee missed out on a fifth win. Just for the record, China has won this tournament eight times to ten times each for Japan and Korea. First prize is 2,500,000 yen (about $22,700).

King of the New Stars: The first game of the 42nd King of the New Stars best-of-three title match was held at the Tokyo headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on September 18. Shibano Toramaru 7P (W, left) beat Son Makoto 5P by resig. The second game will be played at the same venue on October 2.

Promotions
To 7-dan: Kyo Kagen (for winning a place in the Kisei S League)
To 2-dan: Ito Kenryo (20 wins, as of Sept. 8)
Photos courtesy of the Nihon Ki-in

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The Power Report (1): Iyama evens Meijin Score; Iyama and Yamashita advance in Samsung Cup; Kisei leagues completed

Tuesday September 19, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.09.19-Meijin 2 Iyama looks happy

Iyama evens Meijin Score:
The second game of the 42nd Meijin title match was held at the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo, which is located in Bunkyo Ward, on September 12 and 13. The highlight of the game was a fierce fight that started on the first day. A large trade followed in which Iyama (W, right) took most of the top and Takao threatened to take most of the bottom. However, his moyo was too big. Iyama succeeded in breaking into it, so Takao resigned after White 146. This evens the score at 1-1. The third game will be played on September 21 and 22.

Iyama and Yamashita advance in Samsung Cup: The opening round of the 22nd Samsung Cup (officially, the Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance Cup World Go Masters) 2017.09.19-Samsung Iyama wins 3rd gamewas held at the Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance Global Campus in Goyang City, Gyeonggi Province on September 5 to 7. The “campus” is actually one of a number of training camps the Samsung group owns, and facilities rival those of a five-star hotel. The 1st round takes three days to play as it consists of eight double-elimination mini-leagues. There are four players in each league, and the top two players advance to the round of 16. The condition is two wins, which means a score of 2-0 or 2-1. Two Japanese players, Iyama Yuta and Yamashita Keigo 9P, scored 2-1 and made it to the next round. They were joined by seven Korean and seven Chinese players, including Ke Jie 9P and Lee Sedol 9P. The third Japanese representative, Komatsu Hideki 9P, who won a seat in the qualifying section for senior players, was eliminated with 1-2. The next round will be held on September 25.

Kisei leagues completed: The last games in the S League of the 42nd Kisei tournament were held recently. On September 7, Ichiriki Ryo 7P (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig. and Cho U 9P (B) beat So Yokoku 9P by resig. Ichiriki had already won the league in the previous round, 2017.09.19-Yamashita (R) wins third gamebut making a clean sweep of the league was undoubtedly satisfying. Cho’s win made sure that he kept his place. An important game was held on September 9 between Yamashita Keigo 9P and Murakawa Daisuke 8P. The winner would take second place in the league and, more important, gain a place in the irregular knockout to decide the challenger; the loser would lose his league place and drop to the A League. Taking black, Yamashita (right) won by 2.5 points. The final order in the S League is: 1st, Ichiriki, 5-0; 2nd, Yamashita, 3-2; 3rd, Cho U, 3-2; 4th, Kono Rin, 2-3; dropping out: Murakawa on 2-2 and So on 0-5.

Two key games in the A League were played on September 7. Takao Shinji 9P and Kyo Kagen (Xu Jiayuan in Pinyin) 4P were tied on 5-1. However, Takao was ranked number one and Kyo, as a newcomer to the league, was equal last, so to win the league Kyo needed not only to win his game but also to have Takao lose. The latter just made it: taking black, he eked out a half-point win over Yoda Norimoto 9P, so he won the league. Kyo (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig. Although he missed qualifying for the knockout, Kyo earned a consolation prize: promotion to the S League. The top two players go up, so he will be joined by Takao – except if Takao becomes the challenger and wins the Kisei title, in which case Iyama would join Kyo in the S League. The S League promotion carried with it a promotion to 7-dan.

The play-off between the winners of the two B Leagues was held on September 14. Yo Seiki 7P (W), winner of B2, beat Shida Tatsuya 7P, winner of B1, by resig. This is how the final knockout looks: C League winner Motoki Katsuya 8P vs. Yo Seiki; the winner to play Takao; the winner to play Yamashita; the winner to meet Ichiriki in the final “best-of-three”. The quotes are there because three games will never be played. Ichiriki starts with a one-win advantage, so he needs only one win; his opponent can’t drop a game, so he has to win two straight. That won’t be easy: on current form, Ichiriki could claim to be the number three player after Iyama and Takao.
TOMORROW: Na of Korea wins 29th TV Asia; King of the New Stars; Promotions
Photos courtesy of the Nihon Ki-in

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AlphaGo-AlphaGo Game 7: Go Seigen-like attachments, a 3-3 variation and a running fight

Friday September 15, 2017

“In this game we will see some Go Seigen-like attachments that White plays against a Black shimari,” says Michael Redmond 9p in his game 2017.09.15_ag-ag-thumb-7commentary on AlphaGo-AlphaGo Game 7. There’s also “an AlphaGo variation for the early 3-3 invasion, and after White makes a moyo there will be a running fight in the center.”

Click here for Redmond’s video commentary, just posted on the AGA’s YouTube channel and hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock.

The video is produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson. The sgf file was created by Redmond, with editing and transcription by Garlock and Myron Souris.

[link]

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Redmond Reviews: Michael Redmond 9P vs Kyo Kagen 4P

Wednesday September 13, 2017

“This game features a move influenced by my study of the AlphaGo games, as well as a losing move in which I pull out stones that I had 2017.09.13_Redmond Review Intro Ep7previously decided to sacrifice,” says Michael Redmond 9P in his game commentary below, which accompanies the game’s video commentary, hosted by Chris Garlock of the AGA E-Journal. “What was I thinking?” asks Redmond.

The game was played on August 31, and it was the final of the Meijin A section. Redmond’s opponent was Kyo Kagen, Chinese name Hsu Chia Yuan. “Kyo was a 4P at the time, but the following week he was promoted to 7P for entering the S league of the Kisei tournament. S is the final 6-player round-robin that decides the challenger for the title.”

[link]

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AlphaGo vs AlphaGo Game 6: Flexibility and a bias for complications

Sunday September 10, 2017

“In this game AlphaGo shows its flexibility when Black abandons a running fight and tries to control the open lower side of the board instead,”2017-09-10-alphago-game-5-video says Michael Redmond 9p in his game commentary on AlphaGo-AlphaGo Game 6. “In the second fight of the game, White deals with two weak groups masterfully. Finally, Alphago shows its bias for complications when White allows a dangerous ko in the corner.”

Click here for Redmond’s video commentary, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock. As usual, the commentary in the sgf file here includes variations not covered in the video commentary, and the sgf commentary includes additional comments transcribed from the video.

The video is produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson. The sgf file was created by Redmond, with editing and transcription by Garlock and Myron Souris.

[link]

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Power Report (3): Takao makes good start in Meijin title match; Women’s Meijin tournament gives up league; Promotions

Friday September 8, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.09.06_Takao wins Meijin 1

Takao makes good start in Meijin title match: 
The first game of the 42nd Meijin title match was held at the Conrad Osaka, a Western-style hotel in Kita Ward, on August 30 and 31. Unusually for a Japanese title game, the players were seated at a table. The big interest in this series is whether Iyama will achieve his second grand slam. He has kept all his other six titles, usually winning the title matches 2017.09.06_end of Meijin 1 Iyama Leftcomfortably, but there is no guarantee he will get another chance like this. His opponent, Takao Shinji Meijin (right), will be just as determined to defend his title, one big factor in his motivation being his age: having turned 40, he can’t count on many more chances to win a big-three title.
Iyama (left) drew black in the nigiri. Not surprisingly, the game featured continuous fighting that got more and more complicated as the game went on, making it impossible to summarize it. Takao made a very skillful sacrifice that seemed to give him the initiative in the center. He successfully parried desperate attempts by Iyama to catch up and ended up with a half-point win. The second game will be played on September 12 and 13.

Women’s Meijin tournament gives up league: The pairings for the 30th Women’s Meijin tournament were published in the latest Weekly Go issue, and it was announced that the seven-player league system adopted for the 21st to the 29th terms had been abolished. The final section of the tournament will revert to the standard knock-out format with 16 participants. The reason is that will give more players a chance to become the challenger.

Promotions
To 3-dan: Onishi Ryuhei (40 wins, as of August 22), Kikkawa Hajime (as of September 1)
To 2-dan: Oomote Takuto, Otake Yu (30 wins, both as of August 25)

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Power Report (2): Xie to challenge for Women’s Honinbo; Ichiriki to challenge for Oza and Tengen; DeepZenGo wins computer tournament

Thursday September 7, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Xie to challenge for Women’s Honinbo: 
She may have lost some titles to Fujisawa Rina recently, but there is no doubt that Xie Yimin (reverting to Pinyin spelling) remains one of the top two women players in Japan. In the final of the 36th Women’s Honinbo tournament, held on August 17, Xie (W) beat Yoshihara Yukari 6P by 5.5 points, so she has a chance to wrest back one of her lost titles. The title match starts on September 27 and features the same pairing for three years in a row.

Ichiriki to challenge for Oza and Tengen: Ichiriki Ryo made his debut in top-seven title matches when he challenged Iyama Yuta for2017.09.06_Oza chall Ichiriki left Shibano R the Tengen title last year. He won the second game but lost the match 1-3. This year he has earned himself two chances to take revenge.
First, in the play-off to decide the challenger for the 65th Oza title, held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on August 25, Ichiriki (B, at left) beat Shibano Toramaru (right) by 1.5 points. The senior player (Ichiriki turned 20 in June) prevailed over the junior one. If Shibano had won, he would have become the youngest player to challenge for a top-seven title. (By the way, after this result the two shared first place in the most-wins list, Shibano with 33-8 and Ichiriki with 33-9.) The first game of the title match will be played on October 20.
On August 31, the play-off to decide the challenger for the 43rd Tengen title was held at the Nihon Ki-in and it pitted Ichiriki against the 38-year-old Yamashita Keigo. This was the same pairing as last year, and the result was the same, a win for the younger player. Taking black, Ichiriki won by 4.5 points. The first game will be played on October 11.

DeepZenGo wins computer tournament: A new tournament, the Zhongxin Securities Cup World Electric Brain Go tournament, has been founded in China to decide the world’s top go-playing program, and the 1st Cup was held in Ordos in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region in China, on August 16 and 17. In the final, the Japanese program DeepZenGo, often referred to just as Zen, beat CGI of Chinese Taipei. With the retirement of AlphaGo, DeepZenGo can claim to be the world’s top AI go program, but in the preliminary round it actually came third, losing to both CGI, which was top with 5-1, and Absolute Art, the to Chinese program, which was 4-1. These losses led Kato Hideki, the main programmer of Zen, to make some changes in its settings, and that secured success in the final round. (Zen beat Absolute Art in the semifinal.)

Tomorrow: Takao makes good start in Meijin title match; Women’s Meijin tournament gives up league; Promotions

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The Power Report (1): Hsieh and Iyama pair win Pair Go tournament; Ichiriki wins Kisei S League; Youngest member ever of Honinbo League

Wednesday September 6, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.09.06_pair-go

Hsieh and Iyama pair win Pair Go tournament: The Pair Go World Championship Stars Tournament 2017 was held at the Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel in Shibuya, Tokyo, on August 12 and 13 and was won by the pair of Hsieh Yimin and Iyama Yuta, representing Japan. In a sense, this tournament is a successor to the Pair Go World Cup 2016 Tokyo, which was held in Shibuya last year and was a great success with go fans. It is actually in two parts. The first part, the Stars Tournament, was a mini-knockout tournament in which two pairs from Japan and one each from Korea and Chinese Taipei took part. The winners are to play the winning pair from last year’s World Cup in the second part of the tournament, called the Masters Match, in October.

The luck of the draw saw the two teams from Japan play each other in the first round. The pair of Hsieh Yimin 6P (spelling is a mixture of two romanization systems but follows the Nihon Ki-in HP) and Iyama Yuta 9P (B) beat the pair of Fujisawa Rina 3Pand Hane Naoki 9P by resig. In the other first-round game, Choi Jeong 7-dan and Park Jeonghwan 9-dan (W) from Korea beat Hei Jia-jia 7P (also known as Joanne Missingham) and Chen Shih-yuan 9P of Chinese Taipei by resig. In the final, Hsieh and Iyama (B) beat Choi and Park by resig. First prize was ten million yen. Hsieh and Iyama will meet the World Cup-winning pair of Yu Zhiying 5P and Ke Jie 9P in the Masters Match. Hei and Chen (B) beat Fujisawa and Hane by 5.5 points in the play-off for 3rd place.

Like last year, a competition in solving life-and-death problems was also held. The four human pairs competed against the Pandanet life-and-death AI program Panda Sensei in solving five problems. The time allowed for the super-difficult problems was ten minutes each. Panda Sensei won easily, like last year, with four correct solutions in the fastest time. Choe and Park came second, with one correct solution, and Hsieh and Iyama third (they solved the same problem, but the Korea pair was a little faster). What is notable, however, is that Panda Sensei was unable to solve one problem.

(Even in Japan, some fans commented that the winning team above is only half Japanese, as Hsieh is Taiwanese, but it has long been established that players can represent the country of their professional affiliation.)

Ichiriki wins Kisei S League: Two games in the S League of the 42nd Kisei tournament were held on August 10. Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig. and Murakawa Daisuke 8P (W) beat Cho U 9P, also by resig. As a result, there were four players on 2-2, namely, 2017.09.06_Honinbo league Kyo left Shibano rightKono, Yamashita, Murakawa, and Cho U, which meant that Ichiriki Ryo 7P, on 4-0, became unbeatable with one round still to be played. The other league member is So Yokoku 9P, who is on 0-4. Ichiriki secures a place in the play-off to decide the challenger; he needs only one game in the best-of-three, so he has a good chance of meeting Iyama in the title match.

Youngest member ever of Honinbo League: The four vacant places in the 73rd Honinbo League have been decided. Two of the final play-offs were held on August 17. In one, Kobayashi Satoru 9P (B) beat Terayama Rei 5P by resig.; in the other, Ida Atsushi 8P (W) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P by half a point. Kobayashi will play in his fifth Honinbo League and Ida in his fourth.
The third place was decided on August 31. Playing black, Yo Seiki (Yu Chengqi) 7P beat Yoda Norimoto 9P by 2.5 points. This will be Yo’s fourth Honinbo League.
The last place was decided on September 4, when Shibano Toramaru 7P (right) beat Kyo Kagen (Xu Jiayuan) 4P (game details not yet available to me). At 17 years nine months, Shibano is the youngest player to win a seat in the Honinbo League. He has been a pro for three years exactly, so he is also the quickest. (The record for all leagues is held by Ichiriki Ryo, who got into the Kisei League aged 16 years nine months. The new league starts in October; many fans will be looking forward to Shibano’s debut, as he is not only the strongest high-teen player in Japan but also has an aggressive, individualistic style.
Tomorrow: Xie to challenge for Women’s Honinbo; Ichiriki to challenge for Oza and Tengen; DeepZenGo wins computer tournament

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AlphaGo vs AlphaGo Game 5: An AI-like opening, then one fight at a time and a beautiful endgame

Saturday September 2, 2017

“In the opening this game looks very AI-like to me, in that I think the order of moves is not consistent,” says Michael Redmond 9p in his game 2017.09.02_alphago-game5commentary on AlphaGo-AlphaGo Game 5. “In the middle game Black controls the center of the board. Our reading skills are tested as Black invades White’s moyo, and then White lives with three weak groups inside Black’s sphere of influence. Unlike in other games we’ve seen so far in this series, the middle game fights are one at a time instead of all over the place, like in Game 2, for example. It’s more organized, you might say, so in that way, it’s easier for me to explain what’s going on. The game winds up with a very nice endgame, in fact I think it’s a beautiful endgame.”

Click here for Redmond’s video commentary, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock. As usual, the commentary in the sgf file here includes variations not covered in the video commentary, and for the first time, the sgf commentary now includes additional comments transcribed from the video. Both include the news that Redmond and Garlock are now working on an e-book about the AlphaGo-AlphaGo games. Redmond and Garlock discuss their plans for more AlphaGo-AlphaGo commentaries in this brief video.

The video is produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson. The sgf file was created by Redmond, with editing and transcription by Garlock and Myron Souris.

[link]

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Redmond AlphaGo commentaries generate big response

Monday August 7, 2017

Response to the four Michael Redmond 9P AlphaGo-AlphaGo commentaries released last week has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic, with nearly 25,000 views so far in just a week.
“I loved the master series, but this is even better,” wrote Alek Erickson7. “I have been waiting for English pro commentary on the self-play 2017.08.07_AlphaGo-Redmond-dawggames for so long.” And oncedidactic1 said the commentaries are “Really really valuable, both entertaining and enlightening, to hear Michael’s perspective on this game, which I’ve seen a lot of commentary on. I feel like Michael has wonderful insights into where alphago is at.” Bla Bla6 added that “This makes me realize that Ke Jie and the players in the Master series didn’t even come close of testing the limits of AlphaGo.”
Then on Sunday, Mr. AlphaGo himself, DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis tweeted “1st #AlphaGo vs AlphaGo Redmond commentary: https://goo.gl/unK6dy amazing game and analysis: ‘AG has invented a whole new opening theory’!”

Check out the video commentaries here, with links to the sgf commentaries (in italic):
AlphaGo vs. Alphago with Michael Redmond 9p: Game 1
Redmond’s AlphaGo-AlphaGo commentaries launched

AlphaGo vs. Alphago with Michael Redmond 9p: Game 2
AlphaGo-AlphaGo Game 2; Fighting throughout, a surprising sacrifice, a final huge ko 

AlphaGo vs. Alphago with Michael Redmond 9p: Game 3
AlphaGo-AlphaGo Game 3: Three 3-3 invasions, a big moyo and a fight that fills the center of the board 

AlphaGo vs. Alphago with Michael Redmond 9p: Game 4
AlphaGo-AlphaGo Game 4: Reminders of Go Seigen, escalating trades and semeais, and a final ko 

“If only I could ‘like’ a 100,000 times, it would not be enough,” said From Fear to Trust1, while mmKALLL said “I think my head imploded here. Crazy to think of all the 47 games ahead… Thank you!” And Tokenias3 chimed in with “That dog is cute.”

“Guys, slow down!” pleaded trucid22. “1.5 hour review each day is a bit much. I can barely keep up! Spread out the games a bit.” The next set in the series is in pre-production now so trucid22 and the rest of the AlphaGo fans have some time to catch up. We’ll keep you posted on plans for the next release.

E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock hosts the commentaries, which are produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson (who created the snazzy introduction).

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