American Go E-Journal » Events/Tournaments

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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Michael Redmond 9P on Pro Pair Go Tsumego 5 (Answer)

Saturday July 30, 2016

[link]

Presented here is the answer to the 5th tsumego from Michael Redmond 9P’s coverage of the challenging tsumego problems featured at the 2016 pro pair go tournament.

The author of this tsumego is Ohashi Hirofumi 6P.

Michael adds some clarifications about the multiple correct variations for this problem:
Despite what I said in my comments about tsumego 3, in this 5th tsumego White has a number of choices for variations to get a direct ko. There are differences such as size of territory when White lives, and whether Black gets to play the outside connection in the process, which would be important in an actual game, but not in a tsumego. Such an abundance of correct variations is generally considered a flaw, but in my opinion the high level of difficulty and the beauty of some of the variations makes it a worthy tsumego anyway. I must add that all the choices are for White several moves into the correct answer, and since Black has only one correct sequence, by the strict rules of tsumego it is a valid problem.

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Pandanet City League Finals live!

Saturday July 30, 2016

pandalogo-4885cf7392ac5bc75a68d553b7287b04The Pandanet AGA City League Finals will be broadcast shortly on Pandanet at 3PM EST. Games will be in the Main Room under the accounts for AGACL1, AGACL2, and AGACL3. The matchups will be:

AGACL1: Hanchen Zhang vs Zirui Tim Song
AGACL2: Ryan Li vs Eric Lui
AGACL3: Bill Lin vs Yuan Zhou

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Michael Redmond 9P on Pro Pair Go Tsumego 5

Saturday July 30, 2016

[link]

Presented here is the 5th 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 Ohashi Hirofumi 6P.

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US Go Congress Broadcast Schedule: Sat 7/30 & Sun 7/31

Friday July 29, 2016

In addition to broadcasting US Open Masters top-board games on KGS as usual, the E-Journal broadcasting team will 2016.07.29_kgsagain this year video stream the US Open Masters top board on both the AGA’s YouTube and Twitch channels (check out the video trailer here, both with live commentaries by professionals. Plus a couple extras as well…

Here’s the tentative line-up for this weekend’s broadcasts (plus a reminder of Saturday’s AlphaGo keynote), subject to change (we’ll keep you posted on Facebook and Twitter).

Saturday, 3:30P EST: AGA City League Finals
Pandanet
YouTube/Twitch: Jennie Shen 2P, with Andrew Jackson 4d2016.07.29_alphago

Saturday, 7p: Congress Opening Ceremony & Keynote Speeches by AlphaGo’s Aja Huang & Fan Hui 2P

Sunday morning, 9:30a EST: US Open Masters Game 1
KGS: Jenny Shen 2P, with Andrew Jackson 4d
YouTube/Twitch: Hajin Lee 3P, with Stephen Hu 6d

Sunday afternoon, 3:30p EST: Redmond Cup Game 12016.07.29_youtube
YouTube/Twitch: Jennie Shen 2p with Lionel Zhang 7d

Sunday evening, 7:30P EST: US Open Masters Game 2 
KGS: Feng Yun 9P, with Chris Garlock 3d
YouTube/Twitch: Hajin Lee 3P, with Stephen Hu 6d

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Michael Redmond 9P on Pro Pair Go Tsumego 4 (Answer)

Friday July 29, 2016

[link]

Presented here is the answer to the 4th tsumego from Michael Redmond 9P’s coverage of the challenging tsumego problems featured at the 2016 pro pair go tournament.

Michael mentions that the author of this tsumego, Oba Junya 7P, is well known for his pro level tsumego problems.

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Amateur Team Relay Go to Get Tryout at U.S. Go Congress

Thursday July 28, 2016

Team Relay Go will get a tryout next Tuesday night at the U.S. Go Congress. As previously reported (Team Relay Go the “Next Big Thing”?), Relay Go involves two teams of players playing one game. At the professional level, each team consists of a captain and 10 players; two players from each team start the game off, while the rest of their teams watch and discuss the game at a separate location. After a fixed number of moves, the next set of two players from each team tag in to continue the game and so on. “The beauty of Team Relay Go is in the team discussions of the ongoing game,” says Neil Ritter. “Players work together to understand the current board state with different views being shared and explored.”2016.07.28_Team_Relay_Go

Tuesday’s experiment is with an amateur version of Team Relay Go. “The goal is to give amateur players an idea of how a professional looks at a game,” Ritter says. The format will be a little different from Professional Team Relay Go. One game will still be played by two teams, but each team will be captained by two professional players, who will work to prepare the next pair of amateur players to be tagged into the game. The amateur players, fortified with pro knowledge, “will get tagged in and play some professional-level go … yeah, right!” laughs Ritter. “They’ll do their best and after the game is over the mess will be sorted through in review.”

There’s room for up to 48 players to participate in Tuesday’s Team Relay Go. Sign up at the ‘Events Sign Up Table’ next to Registration on Saturday, July 30, or email ritter.neil@gmail.com before midnight Monday, August 1. “This new event is only possible because of the professional players who have volunteered to be team captains,” notes Ritter, extending thanks to Mingjiu Jiang 9P, Feng Yun 9P, Yilun Yang 7P, William Shi 1P, Andy Liu 1P, Eric Lui 1P, Calvin Sun 1P, and Ryan Li 1P.

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Redmond Cup Player Profiles

Thursday July 28, 2016

With congress right around the corner, the 2016 finalists for the Redmond Cup are gearing up for the championship matches. The first match of both the Senior (under 18) and Junior (under 13) divisions will be broadcast on KGS, Sunday 8/1 at 3 pm EDT. The Senior Division Finals will also be live-streamed on the AGA’s Youtube channel with professional commentary from Jennie Shen 2p and Lionel Zhang 6d.  Tuesdays match will be commentated by Stephanie Mingming Yin 1p and Michael Chen 8d, if there is a third round in either division, Gansheng Shi 1p and Andrew Lu 7d will comment live on Thursday.  The player profiles below will help EJ readers know who is who.jeremy_chiu

Leading the Senior Division is 14-year-old Jeremy Chiu 6d, from San Jose, California. He is looking to win his first Redmond Cup title after being the runner-up in the Junior Division in 2014 and coming out in first place in this year’s Senior Division preliminaries. He first learned about go from his Chinese school when he was 5-years old, and started taking classes shortly thereafter. Currently, he studies with Mingjiu Jiang 7p, who has taught many other star US Youth players.  On Chiu’s own time, he does lots of tsumego and reviews professional games, along with playing and reviewing games on Tygem. Aside from go, he also enjoys playing the piano and violin, as well as swimming. When asked about his thoughts for the finals, Chiu told the EJ, “Albert is a very strong AlbertYenplayer, especially in the middle game, and I will need to be very careful. I hope that we will play good games in the finals.”

Albert Yen 7d, age 16, is from Chicago, Illinois, and is the defending champion in the Senior Division. He started playing go when he was 5 years old after watching Hikaru no Go and joining a local go club in Taiwan. Albert currently studies with Mingjiu Jiang 7p, and studies go by playing and reviewing slow, quality games when he has time.  Yen is also a star track-and-field hurdler at his high school. While Yen fell to Chiu in the preliminaries, Yen told the EJ, “I think our strengths are very close. I don’t want to do anything too different to prepare for the finals, so I will just remain cool and trust my abilities during the games.”

luoyi_yang

Luoyi Yang 4d, age 12 is from Toronto, Canada, and placed first in the Junior Division preliminaries this year. She started playing go at the age of 4 at a local go school in China, where she studied with Ding Lie 6p, Wang Xiangyun 2p, and Wang Chenfan 4p, two afternoons a week before moving to Canada this past year. Outside of playing go, she enjoys playing the piano and singing.AryCheng copy

Ary Cheng 4d, age 10, lives in Sunnyvale, California, and is the defending champion in the Junior Division. He started learning go at age 6 in a go class at a Chinese school, and was immediately drawn towards the game. Currently, he studies with Mingjiu Jiang 7p, and plays on IGS in addition to doing tsumego. When he is not playing go, he also enjoys playing table tennis. -Justin Teng, Redmond Cup TD.  Photos courtesy of the players.
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Michael Redmond 9P on Pro Pair Go Tsumego 4

Thursday July 28, 2016

[link]

Presented here is the 4th 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.

Michael mentions that the author of this tsumego, Oba Junya 7P, is well known for his pro level tsumego problems.

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Yang Shuang 2P Visits NOVA Go Club on Way to US Go Congress

Wednesday July 27, 2016

Last Monday, July 25th, the NOVA Go Club in Arlington, VA had a special visitor from China, Yang Shuang 2P. Ms. Shuang2016.07.27_NoVA-pro-visit (right) visited the club on her way to next week’s US Go Congress in Boston. She played a demonstration game, followed by review, with Josh Lee 6D. “We thought Josh had a chance with two stones and the additional handicap of our guest’s 31-hour flight to the DC area that day,” says Garrett Smith, “But Josh resigned after an exciting game.”
photo by Betsy Small

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