American Go E-Journal » Columns

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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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The Power Report: Iyama sweeps Meijin League; Iyama’s winning streak ends; Ichiriki maintains lead in Kisei S League; AlphaGo book recommendation

Monday August 7, 2017

Iyama sweeps Meijin League: The final round of the 42nd Meijin League was held on August 3. The challenger had already been decided in the previous round, so the “grand finale” of the league may have been lacking in drama, but for the players hovering between demotion and retaining their league places, there would have been plenty of suspense in the day’s play.2017.08.07_iyama-42gosei
In his final game, Iyama Yuta was matched against Yo Seiki 7P, who needed to beat him to retain his place. As it turned out, Iyama demonstrated overwhelming strength in their game and won easily, so he finished with a perfect 8-0 record and Yo, who scored 3-5, will have to start over again in the final preliminary round. Iyama finished three points clear of the field. Usually the margin is just one point or, occasionally two; I can’t recall anyone else winning by three points. What’s more, he had already established this lead in the second-last round. Iyama is really head and shoulders ahead of other players in Japan. What is striking in the Meijin League chart is how little the status quo changed: the new players are out and there’s only one change in the placings from 1 to 6.
The first game of the match with Takao Shinji Meijin will be played on August 30 and 31.
Final-round results: Iyama (B) beat Yo by resig.; Cho U 9P (B) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig.; Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Sakai Hideyuki 8P by resig.; Hane Naoki 9P (B) beat Murakawa Daisuke 8P by resig. Players to drop out are Hane, Sakai, and Yo.

Iyama’s winning streak ends: In a game in the Agon Kiriyama Cup played on July 31, Iyama Yuta lost by 1.5 points to Yamada Kimio 9P (B) so his winning streak came to an end on 16.

Ichiriki maintains lead in Kisei S League: One game in the S League of the 62nd Kisei tournament was played on August 3. Ichiriki Ryo 7P (W) beat So Yokoku 9P by resig. That took Ichiriki to 4-0 and continued the sole lead he has enjoyed since the second round. In the fifth and final round he will play Kono Rin, who, on 2-1, is the only other player still in the running. League ranks will affect the outcome, as 2017.07.30_invisible-coverthere is no play-off in the Kisei leagues. If Kono beats Yamashita Keigo in this round, then beats Ichiriki in the final round, then, as the number one player, he will win the league. At this point, Cho U also has only one loss―he is also on 2-1―but, at #5, he is outranked by both Kono and Ichiriki (#4).

AlphaGo book recommendation: In a recent edition of the E-Journal (“Invisible” collects 78 AlphaGo games), there appeared a notice about the publication of “Invisible,” the first book devoted to the games between the AI program AlphaGo and human players. I would like to recommend the book. Its core is the 60-game winning streak set up by AlphaGo, playing as Master, but it also includes other games played at the Go Summit in China. I had the opportunity to proofread about half of these games before publication and it was a real pleasure. Apart from the extraordinary interest of the games themselves, I enjoyed the lucid and instructive presentation by the author, Antti Tormanen. The layout is excellent and the commentaries are clear and accessible. They focus on the innovations of AlphaGo and its dramatic divergences from established professional theory. To look at it another way, these elements of the games constitute the contributions AlphaGo can make to go theory, though it may be a while before its theoretical advances can be fully digested by mere mortals. This book makes a good start in print to that process. In passing, here are two points, among others, that struck me. Very early in the game, AlphaGo plays moves based on its ability to calculate. For example, it plays reducing moves or makes sacrifices that it’s difficult to see human players emulating―they can imitate the moves, but can they make calculations extending to the end of the game while still in the opening? Secondly, it has no ego: it’s content to win by one point and sees no need to crush the opponent. Here, perhaps, humans may not wish to emulate it.
A pdf version of Invisible is available online here or email info@hebsacker-verlag.de for details on the hardcover version.

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AlphaGo-AlphaGo Game 4: Reminders of Go Seigen, escalating trades and semeais, and a final ko

Friday August 4, 2017

“With this game I get to talk about some moves in AlphaGo’s opening that remind me of the great player Go Seigen,” says Michael Redmond 9p 2017.08.04_alphago-alphago-game4in his game commentary on AlphaGo-AlphaGo Game 4. “The territory is very close throughout the game, while fighting in the center gradually escalates with trades and semeais to be calculated and discarded, and even during a final ko to kill a huge Black group, the correct variations leads to a half point difference.”

Click here for Redmond’s nearly 90-minute video commentary, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock, and follow along with the sgf below, which as usual includes extra variations.

The video is produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson.

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