American Go E-Journal » China

MLily Cup: Setting the Stage

Wednesday August 23, 2017

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by Karoline LiIMG_0602

The 3rd MLily Cup tournament venue is the beautiful Tong Que Tai New Century Hotel International (photo top left) in Tongling City, located in Anhui province, on the Yangtze River just a few hours south-east of Hefei, the provincial capital. One block away, and visible from the hotel, is a large lake called Tianjinghu surrounded by walking paths and parks. A few tree studded walking paths cut across the center of the lake (photo right), joining the banks with several islands and peninsulas. In some areas of the park, it was easy to forget that I was walking in the middle of a city as I climbed stone paths surrounded by forest. I was able to explore the park in the early morning light, before the heat of the day set in - which made the temperature comfortable despite sky-high humidity – and found it to be a popular place for locals to jog, swim, practice martial arts, and warm up their vocal chords to get ready for the day.

fullsizeoutput_bccThe city is filled with copper and bronze statues (bottom left) that provide evidence of the city’s industry. Tongling City is named for it’s copper history, which stretches back 3500 years; Tongling was the site of the first industrial production of copper in China. As a result, it was an early center of industry and wealth in the region. Tongling’s copper continues to serve as the base of industrial copper production in China (historical information from the MLily Game Guide).
-report/photos by Li, EJ Tournaments Bureau Chief

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Ryan Li’s journey to the top 16 of the MLily Cup

Wednesday August 23, 2017

IMG_0616by Karoline Li

Official MLily Cup tournament festivities kicked off Tuesday (local time) in Tongling City with a welcome dinner attended by players and association officials. Ryan Li 1P and his partner Stephanie Yin 1P (photo at right) sat down to talk with AGA National Tournament Coordinator Jeff Shaevel (photo at left on the right) and I after dinner to discuss the upcoming match and Li’s journey to reach this moment. He was born in Beijing, and began playing go with his father around the age of five. He attended a go school a few times a week, and by the time his family moved to Canada at age eight, he had achieved amateur 4 dan status. After the move to Canada, he played mostly online. “He didn’t have a teacher,” Stephanie explained. “He practiced and learned on his own.” When I asked when he started competing seriously, he explained that for a while he only played in a few local tournaments in Ottawa, and his first big competition was the 2010 Canadian Open. “I took second to Matthew Hu,” Ryan says. “That was the year he became a professional.” He represented Canada in the Korean Prime Ministers Cup that year. “I didn’t do much between 2010 and 2012,” Ryan laughs. Then he joined the Pandanet AGA City League team captained by Cathy Li 1P, and was a North American representative to the first MLily Cup. He lost in the preliminaries of the MLily, but his City League team has won the championship three times out of five. He played in the second pro qualification tournament, then won the third tournament in 2015 becoming the fourth North American professional go player. Both tournaments were directed by Jeff Shaevel. “The tournament venue was in Boston right by the ocean, and it was beautiful,” Ryan remembered. “ “It was freezing!” Jeff laughed, and though Ryan agreed he viewed that as a positive. “Well I’m Canadian, so I like the cold.”

The last few years, Li has also been busy studying. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Toronto, and became interested in atIMG_0662mospheric sciences after an internship with a professor who worked in the field. After earning his degree he went straight into a PhD program in the field at Yale University in New Haven, CT. “Does the logic for that fit with the logic of go?” Jeff asked. “I knew you were going to ask that,” Ryan laughed. “No, they don’t really go together.” Ryan explained that atmospheric sciences involves a lot of programming, data science, and theory. “Which is easier?” Jeff pressed. “Definitely go,” Ryan answered right away. “I really enjoy playing go,” he continued, his love of the game evident. “It started as a hobby, but after all these tournaments and becoming pro, it’s beyond a hobby, but it’s still fun. It’s one of the things I enjoy most.”

Li will face Li Xuanhao 6P on August 24th (local time), at 12:30pm in the top 16 match. He has prepared for this game for months by reviewing games and competing at the US Go Congress — where he went 8-1 and took second place in the Masters — in San Diego, and is excited for the match. “I have no secret weapon,” he said with a smile. “I’m just going to play my best and try to play move by move. At this point, I’m trying to relax.” He gives a lot of credit to Stephanie Yin, who has been helping him prepare for his matches and acting as his coach. Jeff smiled as Ryan talked about his preparations and his attitude towards tomorrow’s match. “This is such a proud moment for me,” Jeff beamed. “The pro qualifiers are a big deal for us, but we’re never sure what our pros will be doing after they qualify, and to see you playing in this tournament and doing so well is the most exciting thing. Whatever happens, I’m very, very proud.”
-report/photos by Li, EJ Tournaments Bureau Chief

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Ryan Li 1P ready to face next opponent in the MLily top 16

Saturday August 19, 2017

IMG_4795Ryan Li 1P is gearing up for his next match in the  MLily Meng Baihe Cup World Go Open Tournament (MLily Cup), achieving his place in the top 16 after a stunning upset win against Chen Yaoye 9P (photo at right) in the last round on June 21st; see the story and game record here“My goal going into the match was to not let him win too easily,” Li (right) said of preparing for the June match with Chen. In an interview at the recent U.S. Go Congress, Li said that he was excited for the match against Chen as a learning opportunity since Chen is a world champion who had previously beaten Ke Jie 9P. During the match, there was a moment at the beginning of the endgame, after all the groups had been settled, when Li realized he could actually win. “He told me that it felt like his heart would pop out of his chest,” Stephanie Yin 1P said with a smile. Li remembers that his first professional go tournament was as an amateur player invited to participate in the MLily preliminaries in 2012 where he lost in the first round, and he characterizes his place in the top 16 of this year’s MLily as a life achievement. “I’ve always wanted to be in the top 16 in a professional go tournament,” he says. “I set that goal right before this tournament started, and it immediately happened. It’s just amazing.” Ryan Li is only the fourth professional go player to be certified by the AGA, winning the January 2015 pro certification tournament, and when not playing go, he is pursuing a PhD in atmospheric sciences at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Li will face Li Xuanhao 6P in Tongling, Anhui on August 24th, and he used the 33rd US Go Congress as training to prepare for the match. He won eight of nine games in the US Open Masters Division, taking second place and losing only to tournament champion Wu Hao 2P of China. On top of his Go Congress training, he has been studying his opponents’ game records for the past year, and says Li Xuanhao’s style is calm; he expects playing against Li to be difficult, and not just because of his calm, solid style. “I know him pretty well,” Ryan says. “If I were playing someone else, I could review games with him and discuss strategy, but since he’s my opponent of course that would be awkward.” What is he most looking forward to? “I’m really looking forward to all the time before the match, because I’m still in the top 16 right now,” Ryan laughs. Stay tuned for our on-site coverage of the top 16 of the MLily Cup this week.

-report by Karoline Li, EJ Tournaments Bureau Chief; photo by Stephanie Yin 1P

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Video Commentary: “Giant-Killer” Ryan Li 1P on his Mlily win against Chen Yaoye 9p

Sunday July 30, 2017

Young North American pro Ryan Li 1P takes an in-depth look at his recent win in the MLily Meng Baihe Cup World Go Open Tournament against Chen Yaoye 9p in a brand-new 75-minute video commentary hosted by American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. “The 2017.07.30_Yaoye FINALtournament was a blast,” Li says. And though it wasn’t his first international tournament, Li admits it was “a real challenge to go up against players who have a lot more tournament experience than I do.” Li credits his study of Chen’s games and strong prep support from fellow North American player Stephanie Yin. “Just as in other sports,” Li says, “I think that a strong mentality is going to give you the edge in a tournament like this.”

Li, currently pursuing a Ph.D. in earth sciences at Yale, became the fourth AGA-certified pro in 2015. He has represented North America several times and scored wins over Asian pros before, including defeating Japan’s young talent, Mutsuura Yuta 2p, in the 2016 IEMG in China.

He will face Li Xuanhao 6p on August 24 in the top 16 of the MLily Cup. The winner receives about US $260,000 USD and the runner up close to $90,000.

[link]

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Categories: China,World
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Ryan Li 1p upsets Chen Yaoye 9p to move to MLily Final 16

Wednesday June 21, 2017

American Go Association pro Ryan Li 1p, of Canada, has defeated two-time world champion Chen Yaoye 9p in the second round of the MLily Meng Baihe Cup2017.06.21_Li-Yaoye World Go Open Tournament.

Li, who the day before defeated Cheng Honghao 2p in a 363-move game, played as black against Chen. After a fierce middle game fight, Li (left) settled his groups and took a small lead. The two got into a lengthy ko fight but Li held on to win by 2.5 points at the end of the 327-move game (see game record below). The four-and-a-half-hour game was broadcast live on the AGA’s YouTube channel with commentary by Jennie Shen 2P with Andrew Jackson, and can be viewed here.

The 27-year-old Chen’s accomplishments as a pro include defeating Lee Sedol 9p in the 2013 Chunlan Cup and Ke Jie 9p, the top current player, for the 2016 Bailing Cup, as well as winning 17 other national and continental titles.

Li, who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in earth sciences at Yale, became the fourth AGA-certified pro in 2015. He has represented North America several times and scored wins over Asian pros before, including defeating Japan’s young talent, Mutsuura Yuta 2p, in the 2016 IEMG in China.

He will face Li Xuanhao 6p on August 24 in the top 16 of the MLily Cup. The winner receives about US $260,000 USD and the runner up close to $90,000.
- reported by Edward Zhang; editing by Andy Okun, sgf file produced by Myron Souris

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Categories: China
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MLily: Ryan Li 1p Vs. Chen Yaoye 9p in Second Round; AGA Broadcasts

Monday June 19, 2017

2016.04.06_Ryan-Li-1st_IEMG_-Feb-27-2016-11-038China Korean Tengen 2013The AGA Broadcast team will provide coverage of two games from Round 2 of the 3rd Lily Cup tomorrow, June 20th, starting at 10:30 p.m. PDT (UTC-7), with commentary by Jennie Shen 2p. Our very own Ryan Li 1p, winning yesterday against Cheng Honghao 2p, now faces world champ Chen Yaoye 9p. Elsewhere in the tournament, Wang Haoyang 6p scored an upset win against Shin Jinseo, the rising Korean phenom, which wins him the chance to play DeepZenGo in round 2.

Join us at http://www.youtube.com/c/usgoweb/live or http://twitch.tv/usgoweb !

 

kf_zen_01The MLily cup is the first traditional tournament in which AI players are seeded just as their human counterparts, and it may also be the last, with Tygem China News reporting that no future Chinese tournaments will allow AI entrants.

 
 
 

Here is Ryan Li’s monster 363(!) move 1st round win over Cheng Honghao 2p:

[link]

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IGF meetings kick off 38th World Amateur Go Championship in Guiyang, China

Saturday June 3, 2017

by Thomas Hsiang, special correspondent to the E-JournalThe 38th World Amateur Go Championship is being held at the five-star Guiyang Sheraton Hotel in downtown Guiyang, China.  On June 3, the first day, the International Go Federation held its annual Board and General Assembly meetings.  A number of important announcements were made by Chairman Chang Zhenming, president and chairman of CITIC 2017.06.03_wahc-igc-mtgSecurities, Inc:
  • The next three WAGC’s will be held in Tokyo May 2-9, 2018; in Matsue City of the Shimane Perfecture in 2019; and in Vladevostok, Russia, in 2020.  Maxim Volkov, president of Russian Go Federation, was on hand to celebrate the announcement.
  • IGF will host the “CITIC Securities Cup” – the First International Artificial Intelligence Go Open – on August 16-17, 2017, in the City of Ordos of Inner Mongolia, China.  16 programs will be entered into the competition from over the world.  Generous prizes will be provided.
  • IGF offers a $20,000 grant to support the First Latin America Go Congress, to be held October 12-16, 2017 in Cancun, Mexico.
  • The Second IMSA Elite Mind Games, participated by IGF, will be held December 8-16, 2017 in Huai’an City, China.  This event will continue at least through 2019.
  • The 2017 Pair Go World Cup will be held August 7-10, 2017 in Tokyo.
  • A new member, the Republic of Georgia, was admitted and is now the 77th member of IGF.
Mr. Hiroaki Dan, chairman of Nihon Kiin and vice president of IGF, made the proposal for IGF to take on surveying and building up go instructional materials for schools.  The proposal was approved unanimously by the Board and will become a priority for IGF in the next few years.  Chairman Chang made the following declaration on behalf of IGF: “In recognition of the benefit of Go in the development of intelligence and character of youths, IGF will promote Go education in schools by surveying its members for existing Go educational materials worldwide, followed by sponsoring studies that consolidate these materials to build systematic educational content and pedagogy.  We welcome active participation from IGF members.”
Mr. Chang also called on IGF to take up studies to work toward a universal ruleset and to establish a universal rating system.
After the General Assembly, the traditional ceremony to draw pairing was held.  In the evening, a lavish dinner banquet concluded the busy day.  Tomorrow the first two rounds of competition will be held.
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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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AlphaGo defeats Ke Jie in Game 3 to sweep 3-0

Saturday May 27, 2017

AlphaGo completed its sweep of world number one professional Ke Jie 9P on Saturday, winning the third and final game of their match by resignation. Ke called it “one of the greatest matches that I’ve had.” The game once again showcased exciting and surprising moves from both sides, the first arising almost immediately on move 7, a four-space extension from the upper right in which AlphaGo played one space closer to 2017.05.27_ke-jie-hassabisthe corner than in the usual Chinese opening. White 20 was a counter-intuitive second-line probe into Black’s framework on the lower right, showcasing Ke Jie’s superb positional judgment.

When Ke Jie attained a local advantage in the centre, AlphaGo switched to build a powerful framework on the top that spurred White to invade. The action came to a head when Ke Jie sacrificed the territory on the upper side to AlphaGo, gaining initiative to pressure the lower left. After AlphaGo protected its group, the match proceeded towards the endgame. Ke Jie revived his stones in the upper left to take the territorial lead, but this sequence left AlphaGo just enough latitude to take control of his group in the centre, and White resigned after 209 moves.

“We held this event aiming to discover new insights into this ancient, beautiful game,” said DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis. “I can safely say that what has taken place since Tuesday has exceeded our highest hopes. We have seen many new and exciting moves, and we also saw AlphaGo truly pushed to its limits by the great genius Ke Jie.”

Adapted from a report on DeepMind’s AlphaGo page.

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AlphaGo Pair and Team Go wrap up

Friday May 26, 2017

“Playing games like this will give us new ideas about how to play,” said Gu Li 9P, after playing in the AlphaGo-Pair Go and commentating on 2017.05.26_alphago-pair-gothe Team Go event. “It felt like four painters working together on a shared canvas,” added AlphaGo Lead Researcher David Silver, “all with different styles, all combining together to make something truly beautiful.”

In Pair Go, the first of the day’s matches on Thursday, top Chinese professionals Gu Li and Lian Xiao each had their own AlphaGo teammate, alternating moves in tag team style. In the second, Team Go, five of China’s top professional Go players had the unique challenge of working together to take on AlphaGo’s distinctive style.

2017.05.26_alphago-team-goIn Pair Go, AlphaGo and its professional teammate agreed with each others’ moves – though they surprised each other from time to time too. In a sense, the match provided a glimpse of how human experts might be able to use AI tools in the future, benefiting from the program’s insights while also relying on their own intuition. The AlphaGo/Lian Xiao Pair Go team prevailed over AlphaGo/Gu Li, winning by resignation.

Team Go provided a different but no less compelling challenge, requiring players to coordinate closely to make the most of the format. The professional teammates – Zhou Ruiyang, Chen Yaoye, Mi Yuting, Shi Yue and Tang Weixing – had access to their own study board to discuss and analyse variations, allowing them to draw on centuries of Go wisdom and styles as they debated strategies. They approached the challenge in a light-hearted manner, clearly enjoying the experience of playing together, and their resulting style was very balanced. In the end, AlphaGo, once again, won by resignation.

“AlphaGo could actually broaden the horizon of Go playing,” said Lian Xiao. “It could bring more imagination into Go.”

The final game between AlphaGo and Ke Jie will be played at 10:30p EDT Friday night; DeepMind is streaming the matches live, posting match updates and expert commentaries every day on this page and on their Twitter account, @DeepMindAI. For more details, you can visit the official event page here

- adapted from a report on the DeepMind AlphaGo website

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