American Go E-Journal » Events/Tournaments

David Glekel 3d & Eric Hookway 10k Top Restructured 9×9 Tournament

Monday August 1, 2016

David Glekel 3d and Eric Hookway 10k came out on top Sunday night as the dan and kyu champions of the 9×9 tournament 2016.08.02_9x9-glekel-IMG_5971directed by Audrey Wang. As the tournament began, she reviewed the new double elimination structure, faster time settings (5 minutes basic time and 1 period of 10 seconds sudden death byo yomi), and adjusted komi structure. The completely new format — which was designed to complete the tournament in one evening rather than several sessions over the week of the Congress as in past years — caused some confusion for longtime players used to simply being lined up and split into tables, and “could improve in terms of overall efficiency,” said assistant TD Si Chen. “If we do double elimination again, there are definitely some things we could improve on.”  Overall, “it was a really good tournament,” said Dan Champion David Glekel, and players had a good time. The new time settings and komi structure were received well, and the champions were chosen without further playoff games needed during the week.
- report/photo by Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison

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Why We Play: Bill Phillips 1k, Jasper Emerton 7k

Monday August 1, 2016

Bill Phillips 1kBill Phillips
Age: 59
Lives in: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Years playing go: 42
Favorite thing about go: Bill learned to play go in 1974, the same year he learned to play Ultimate Frisbee- although he’s a lot more serious about go than Ultimate. That being said, he likes them for the same reasons. “Both are incredibly competitive,” he says, “But there’s also an element of compatibility and cooperation that’s required in both of them. In go, you start with an empty board and you build it up to a point where one person has a little bit more than half and one has a little bit less than half. And you want to be that one with a little bit more than half. It’s intensely competitive but it also requires this [cooperation] and respect of your opponent.” The relationships he’s built in the go community are a large part of his IMG_7704long-term go playing. “I’m also here at the Go Congress because of the people. The other thing I really love about go is that every stone is the same, it’s just the relationship with the other stones that are different. And so, the number of relationships far exceeds the number of stones. So the relationships between stones exceed the number of stones, and the relationships at the go tournaments far exceed the number of games I play.”

Jasper Emerton 7k
Age: 17
Lives in: Nashville, Tennessee
Years playing go: 1
Favorite thing about go: “When you’re playing, there’s trick moves that you can play such as snapbacks. Seeing that move before your opponent does and being able to trick them into it is my favorite thing… being able to see something that my opponent doesn’t see and taking advantage of their lack of reading.”

- report/photos by Samantha Fede, E-Journal special correspondent, reporting from the 2016 U.S. Go Congress  

 

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Michael Redmond 9P on Pro Pair Go Tsumego 6

Monday August 1, 2016

[link]

Presented here is the 6th (and last) tsumego from Michael Redmond 9P’s coverage of the challenging tsumego problems featured at the 2016 pro pair go tournament. Michael gives the detailed solution tomorrow.

The author of this tsumego is Kono Rin 6P.

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Categories: Pair Go
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U.S. Go Congress Updates: US Open/US Masters Highlights; Broadcast/Tournament Schedule

Sunday July 31, 2016

US Open/US Masters Highlights: Tournaments at this year’s Go Congress kicked off with round one of the U.S. 2016.07.31_masters-rd1-bd2-IMG_0360Open and U.S. Open Masters Sunday morning at 9a, pairings posted promptly at 8:45p. In first-round top-board action at the 2016 U.S. Open Masters, Zirui (Tim) Song 1P edged out Man Bowen 7d by 2.5 points in a 4-hour marathon on Board 1; Andy Liu 1P (left) defeated Matthew Burrall 6d (right) on Board 2, Zhaonian (Michael) Chen 7d beat Jeremy Chiu 7d on Board 3, Ryan Li 1P defeated Hugh Zhang 7d on Board 4 and on Board 5 Kenryu Ito 1P beat Lionel Zhang 7d.

In Round 2 of the Masters on Sunday night, Andy Liu 1p defeated Cheng Zhang 7d, Hanchen Zhang 1P defeated Tim Song 1P, Michael Chen 7d defeated Mengxue Luan 7d, Ryan Li 1P defeated Zhongfan Jian 7d, Tony Tang 7d defeated Danny Ko 7d and Xiannan Zheng 7d defeated Calvin Sun 1P. The E-Journal team broadcast five boards live on KGS in Round 1 (Jennie Shen 2P commented on KGS with Andrew Jackson) and six boards in Round 2 (Feng Yun 9P commented on KGS with Solomon Smilack), and Board 1 was streamed on the AGA’s YouTube channel and Twitch in the morning (commentary by Mingjiu Jiang 9P with Stephen Hu) and Board 2 in the evening (commentary by Jennie Shen 2P with Andrew Jackson).

A crosstab of results for the entire field of 346 players will be posted soon; meanwhile click here for results from US Open Round 1 and US Masters Round 1. Again this year we’ll be including game records in the crosstab; to include your game record, please email your sgf file to journal@usgo.org. Be sure all game info, including the result, is complete. Watch our websiteFacebook and Twitter feed for updates throughout each day; top-board broadcasts with professional commentary can be found on our YouTube channelTwitch and KGS.

US Go Congress Broadcast Schedule: Monday, 8/1: US Open Masters Game 32016.07.31_youtube
9:30a EST: YouTube/Twitch: Hajin Lee 3P, with Stephen Hu 6d
10:30a: KGS: Cathy Li 1P, with Justin Teng 6d

US Go Congress Tournament Schedule: Monday, 8/1
9:00a: US Open, round 2; and US Open Masters, round 3
1:00p: Under 16 Girls Championship, round 1; and Senior Cup, round 1
3:00p: Women’s Tournament, round 2; and Youth 9×9 / 13×13
7:00p: US Open Masters, round 4; and Evening League, night 2
7:30p: Lightning Tournament

Here’s a short rundown of the rest of the tournaments on the roster this week:

2016.07.31_Women's tournament game IMG_5920Women’s Tournament: Ladies compete in this four-round annual tournament; begins Sunday 7/31 at 3pm. TD: Lisa Scott2016.07.31_Evening league IMG_5958 (1)

Evening League: Evening League is a week-long ladder tournament in which players face off in serious games, competing for glory at the top of a standings page updated in real time. Players may play at any time during the week, but every night there will be a dedicated area where the standings will be projected and people can find opponents. Evening League is an evolution of the Self Paired Tournament, which it will be replacing; begins Sunday evening 7/31 at 7pm and continues every night of the week. The first night of play drew over 50 players! TD: Andrew Hall

2016.07.31_Dan division, 9x9 tournament IMG_59689×9: The battle of the tiny boards commences! This year’s 9×9 tournament is a paired four round double elimination tournament; Sunday 7/31 at 7:30pm. TD: Audrey Wang

Girl’s Tournament: The four highest rated girls under 16 years of age will face off in a two round no-handicap tournament to find first, second, third, and fourth place; begins Monday 8/1 at 1pm. TD: Gurujeet Khalsa

Senior Cup: A four-round rated tournament for players 55 and older; begins Monday 8/1 at 1pm. TD: James Peters

Lightning: A playing time of 10 minutes sudden death will test participants on their instincts and performance under pressure! Players will split into 6-person tables to play a round robin tournament for table prices. Table winners will play elimination games throughout the week to find the ultimate champion; begins Monday 8/1 at 7:30pm. TD: Keith Arnold

Crazy Go: Play Go on crazy boards, with crazy rules, against crazy people! Games include Blind Go, 3D Go, Four-Color Go, and more; begins Tuesday 8/2 at 7pm.

Amateur Team Relay Go: Players of all strengths can queue up to join one of two teams who will rotate pairs of players against each other in an ultimate pair go game! While waiting to take the place of the pair currently playing for their team, the next pair will be coached on strategy and board position by professional coaches.

Die Hard: Annual four-round tournament for those players who don’t need a Wednesday day off from Go! Wednesday 8/3 at 9am. TD: James Peters

North American Pair Go Championship: Teams of one male and one female will compete against three other teams of similar combined strength in a two-round tournament to determine table winners. At the top table, pairs will compete to win and represent the US at the International Pair Go tournament in Tokyo in the fall! Don’t afraid to get dressy folks, formal or semi-formal dress is encouraged. Thursday 8/4 at 7pm. TD: Todd Heidenreich

Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison, with additional reporting by Chris Garlock; photos by Karoline Li except for top right, by Chris Garlock

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Congress Pair Go Sign-Up Opens

Sunday July 31, 2016

Among the most popular events at the US Go Congress now underway in Boston is the annual Pair Go tournament, featuringOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA male and female pairs of players attired in their best outfits. The tournament winners go on to compete in the International Amateur Pair Go Championship in Japan over the first weekend in December. Table winners receive prizes, and there are some souvenirs provided by the Japan Pair Go Association. The tournament is unrated. Sign-up sheets are now available just outside the main playing area at the Congress (16 pairs have already signed up as of presstime). The tournament is Thursday night and TD Todd Heidenreich reminds strong player teams wishing to play for the chance to represent the United States at the tournament in Japan that there will be a play-in round for the top 8 eligible pairs in the Strong Players Room on Wednesday evening at 8pm. Heidenreich, who has been directing the Pair Go tournament for a dozen years, is looking to hand over the reins so anyone interested in finding out more about Pair Go and what’s involved in directing the tournament can contact him at todd@capitalgo.org or just stop by the E-Journal office at the Congress. “It’s a lot of fun!” Heidenreich promises.
- photo: at the 2015 Pair Go tournament; photo by Eric Jankowski

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Go Congress Evening League Melds Self-Paired and Midnight Madness, Welcomes Local Players

Sunday July 31, 2016

While this year’s U.S. Go Congress in Boston includes many longtime traditional events like the U.S. Open, Lightning Go and pro lectures, it also offers some new events. The Evening League combines the community and competition of the Midnight Madness tournament and the flexibility of the Self-Paired. “The Evening League is all about fostering competitive spirit in a straightforward and transparent format,” says TD Andrew Hall (photo). Perhaps most important, this is the first year that the Go Congress is offering evening passes to enable local players who cannot attend during the day to have a chance to play some competitive rated games while the Congress is in town.IMG_0403

Imagine a ladder. The first night of the tournament (Sunday night beginning at 7p), players will be placed in positions from the top of the ladder to the bottom in the order they register for the tournament. During the tournament, players on the ladder challenge other players who occupy higher spots. If the challenger wins, they take the defeated opponent’s ladder position and everyone else moves down one spot. The tournament will be handicapped at handicap-2, all games will be rated, and results will be updated and projected real time during the evening rounds. These live TD-facilitated sessions, every evening from 7pm to midnight, are designed to give sense of physical place and the competitive spirit provided by a tournament, but players are not restricted to scheduled play. They may play games using tournament time settings with opponents anytime during the day, much as they did in the Self-Paired. Players record the results and the date and time of the game, and these results are input into the ladder every evening at 5pm in time for that evening’s ladder to be updated with the day’s results. That evening, players continue challenging and moving up (or down) the current ladder. Players do not need to play every evening; those who do not show up to an evening round are dropped from the ladder, but can join the ladder again when they want to play, and even challenge to reclaim their previous spot. Prizes may be won in the form of individual prizes inspired by the self-paired prizes of years past, but also through achievements that are attainable by multiple players.

The Evening League provides a structured opportunity for the local go community and Go Congress attendees to mingle and compete. “It’s king of the hill style; you play to climb the ladder and defend your space at the top!” says Hall.
- Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison for the E-Journal; photo: Hall shows off Evening League playing space in main playing area in Boston University’s George Sherman Union; photo by Chris Garlock

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Standing Room Only for Young AGA Professionals

Sunday July 31, 2016

Eric LuiSunday afternoon at the U.S. Go Congress featured an unusual line-up; three homegrown American professionals conducted game reviews in Boston University’s George Sherman Union. The newest pro, Eric Lui (right), a 1 dan professional as of January this year, is soft-spoken but the room full of players hung on his every word. “Who thinks black is better? Raise your hand,” asked Lui, who was reviewing a game for Ken Koester 1d. They were discussing a sequence in the corner, ending with a liberty race in the top left. “So, it seems like Black has too many liberties [so white can’t live],” explained Lui.

Andy LiuAt the same time, Andy Liu (left), 1 dan professional, was lecturing to a room so packed that many couldn’t even get in the door. “The key to being stronger is you must, at all costs, avoid playing in the ‘red’ (or low-percentage) areas,” he told the audience, sprawled on the floor and spilling out the door. Although he was  reviewing his recent game with Lee Sedol from the Ing Cup, Liu seemed more focused on explaining the paradigm shift in measuring playing strength with the success of AlphaGo. Each point on the board has a probability distribution of how good a move it is. In the opening, most of the moves are green (i.e., having normal distributions), particularly on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th lines. You shouldn’t spend a lot of time on the opening, Liu advised, “Don’t sweat it… Don’t try to look for outliers when there are none.” Instead you should spend time when the distribution is skewed: when one move is green, and all the rest are red. How do you know what Calvin Sunareas are red and green? It’s not that easy, according to Liu. He doesn’t know and no pro does. Their play isn’t perfect. That’s why AlphaGo is so exciting; it sees these distributions. “AlphaGo has called humanity out,” Liu said, saying that now top professionals are being forced to become stronger.

Calvin Sun, 1 dan professional (right), followed his young colleagues at 3pm. His fans, sitting in the front row, were multitasking by listening and watching games on KGS. Sun, reviewing a game, spoke quietly, “This is pretty good for you. It’s joseki but nowadays white doesn’t really play this because black gets sente.” His review, targeted at 1 kyu – 3 dan players, involved discussion of different joseki variations and when to not follow the joseki.
- report/photos by Samantha Fede, E-Journal special correspondent, reporting from the 2016 U.S. Go Congress  

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Why We Play: Alexandra Patz 13k, Lee Schumacher 1D

Sunday July 31, 2016

Alexandra Patz 13k
Age: 43Alexandra Patz
Lives in: New York, NY, originally from South Africa
Years playing go: 5 years, but learned almost 20 years ago and took a break
Favorite thing about go: Alexandra likes how stimulating go is for the brain. “Very engaging,” she explained. When asked if she plays other brain games, she says, “It’s really just go, I tried chess as I child, I never really liked it, I never learned bridge. I lived in Japan for a year, so I became interested in Japanese culture. And when I moved back to South Africa, I joined a go club there.” 2016.07.31_lee-schumacherShe’s also fascinated by AlphaGo, and the deep learning involved. “[Go] is an amazing community, too,” she adds, “Clever people.”

Lee Schumacher 1D
Years playing go: Since the age of 13
Lives in: California
Favorite thing about go: “The focus, the immersion.”

- report/photos by Samantha Fede, E-Journal special correspondent, reporting from the 2016 U.S. Go Congress  

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Canwa Vancouver 1 defeats Greater Washington 3-0 to win 2016 Pandanet City League

Sunday July 31, 2016

The Canwa 2016.07.30_city-league-champsVancouver 1 team prevailed in the finals of the Pandanet AGA City League, played Saturday in Boston, MA as the 2016 US Go Congress got underway. Vancouver — Hanchen Zhang, Bill Lin, Ryan Li 2016.07.30_city-league-greater-dcand captain Cathy Li  (photo at right) — swept 3-0, overcoming a strong challenge from the Greater Washington team (left; Zirui Tim Song, Eric Lui, Yuan Zhou and captain I-Han Lui) which has now challenged for the title the last two years. Board 1 was broadcast live on the AGA YouTube Channel with Hanchen Zhang 1p vs Zirui Tim Song 1p. Ryan Li defeated Eric Lui on Board 2 and Bill Lin defeated Yuan Zhou on Board 3. Photos of the event can be found on the AGA Facebook page.
- Steve Colburn, TD; photos by Todd Heidenreich

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Huge Audience Turns Out for AlphaGo Keynote at U.S. Go Congress

Saturday July 30, 2016

With over 600 signed up, this year’s U.S. Go Congress in Boston has the most registrants in the 32-year history of the2016.07.30_aja-huang event and it seemed as though just about every one of them was crowded into the main playing area in Boston University’s George Sherman Union Saturday night as AlphaGo’s Aja Huang 7d gave the keynote address, along with Fan Hui 2P. The audience was spellbound as the two gave a fascinating insider’s look at the two-year development of the AI program that decisively defeated Lee Sedol last March and attracted global attention to the game of go.

Huang (right) gave an overview of how AlphaGo started in 2014 as a 2-man project as he and David Silver worked to explore deep learning and reinforcement learning with computer go. (Click here to see the video of the keynote speech) The policy network trained by supervised learning was developed by Chris Maddison and the team realized significant improvement in the latter half of 2014 by combining the policy network into AlphaGo. While the details are fully explained in the team’s Nature paper, Huang shared personal stories like how Fan Hui was chosen to test the program. “I 2016.07.30_fan-huisaw him at a tournament in Dublin and the top Korean players were all going out to drink the night before the tournament but he said no, he couldn’t go because he had to prepare for the games, so I knew he was very serious,” Huang laughed.

Fan Hui (left) said that he almost missed the invitation to visit the DeepMind team in London because it seemed a bit odd and he thought “it might just be spam.” In fact, “when I heard it was Google, I assumed they would be hooking me up with something like Google Glass, so when I found out they just wanted me to play a computer program I was so relieved and thought Oh, this will be easy.” In perhaps the most poignant story of the evening, Fan Hui took the rapt audience through his five secret games with AlphaGo in Fall 2015, losing every game until at the end, “my game was crushed and I thought I now knew nothing about go.” Out of those defeats, however, Fan Hui discovered even greater depths, not just to go itself, but to his own fascination and love of the game. “What AlphaGo teaches us is that you can play anywhere,” he said, as the audience erupted in applause.

After their presentation, the two took questions from the audience, many of whom wanted to know things like when an 2016.07.30_alphago-team-awardAlphaGoBot on KGS will be available and whether a strong version of the program would be available in the near future for desktops or handhelds. Most were answered cryptically with “Under discussion,” but in response to a question about how strong AlphaGo is today, Huang — who had earlier showed a graph charting improvement of one rank a month — did say that it was possible that the program could now give a professional two stones, but that this has not yet been tested. He also said that commentaries will be released soon on all five AlphaGo-Lee Sedol games, as well as three games between AlphaGo v18 (the version that played Lee Sedol).

Longtime International Go Federation and American Go Association official Thomas Hsiang presented Huang and Fan with a special award from the International Go Federation to the AlphaGo team “in appreciation for its outstanding contribution towards the development and promotion of go.”
- Chris Garlock; photos by Phil Straus
Click here to see the complete video of the keynote speechRead more about AlphaGo here and check out all our AI posts here.

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