by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal
The 5th Electric Sage tournament: This is a tournament in which go-playing computer programs challenge human players. The tournament is organized by the Entertainment & Cognitive Sciences Research Station at the University of Electro-Communications and was held on March 26. The Chinese program FineArt and the Japanese program DeepZenGo both played games with Ichiriki Ryo 7P and both won.
This was the first time that the games were played on even. In the previous four terms, the results had been 50-50 with programs taking four or three stones. FineArt took black against Ichiriki and secured a resignation after 157 moves. DeepZenGo took white and won by resignation after 162 moves. An interesting point came up in the endgame of FineArt’s game. It could have won big by playing a move that would have won a capturing race, but it played a small endgame move that still gave it a win. The program doesn’t “care” what the winning margin is so long as it wins.
Motoki to challenge for Honinbo: All the games in the final round of the 72nd Honinbo League were played on April 6. Three players were still in the running to win the league: Motoki Katsuya 7P on 5-1 and Ko Iso 8P and Hane Naoki 9P, both on 4-2. Motoki was in the best position, as he would qualify for a play-off even if he lost. As it happened, he was matched against Ko. Taking white, he beat him by resignation, so he avoided a play-off. On his debut in the previous league, Motoki (at left) surprised fans by taking second place; this time he improved on that and will make his title-match debut. Becoming the Honinbo challenger also earned him promotion to 8-dan (effective as of April 7).
Hane (B) beat Cho U 9P by resignation; his 5-2 score earned him second place, a big improvement on the previous league, in which he lost his place. Cho ended on 3-4 and lost his place. Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Takao Shinji Meijin by resig. The former took third place with 4-3, and the latter, the number-one ranked player in the league, lost his place with 3-3. The final game was between two players who had already lost their places: Yuki Satoshi 9P (B) beat Mitani Tetsuya 7P by 2.5 points. Yuki ended on 2-5 and Mitani on 1-6.
Motoki, aged 21 (birthday on August 2), is considered one of the contenders in the post-Iyama group, mainly because of his performance in the Honinbo League. He has won one junior title, the 9th Hiroshima Aluminium Cup in 2014. The title match with Iyama will start on May 9. At 21 years eight months, Motoki will be the third-youngest challenger, following Ida Atsushi (20 exactly) and Cho U (21 years three months). Motoki has not yet played any official games with Iyama, but he mentioned that he had lost all of the ten or so unofficial games they had played.
Iyama leads Meijin league: Not surprisingly, in view of his sextuple crown, Iyama Yuta started out as the favorite in the 42nd Meijin League and he has lived up to that billing. After five rounds, he is the only undefeated player; he has already had his bye, so his score is 4-0. His closest rival is Yamashita Keigo, who is on 4-1. The two will play each other in the 7th round, which is in June.
(March 27) Iyama (B) beat Hane Naoki by resig.; Yamashita (B) beat Kono Rin by resig.
(April 13) Iyama (B) beat Kono Rin by resig.; Yamashita (W) beat Cho U by resig.
American Go E-Journal » Japan
The Power Report: The 5th Electric Sage tournament; Motoki to challenge for Honinbo; Iyama leads Meijin league
Wednesday April 19, 2017
by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal
The Power Report: Ichiriki wins 2016 Grand Champion tournament; Yo fights back in Judan title match; FineArt wins computer go tournament
Tuesday April 18, 2017
by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal
Ichiriki wins 2016 Grand Champion tournament: The Grand Champion tournament is a special Tournament for the winners of the previous year’s titles, including the minor ones. Previously, it was known as the Go Tournaments Title Winners Tournament, but the name was changed this year (the fourth term). Actually, the full name is the Minister for Foreign Affairs Cup Minister for Education and Science’s Prize 2016 Grand Champion Tournament. Fifteen players took part, with the format being an irregular knock-out (some players were seeded into later rounds).
The semifinals and finals were held at the Nihon Ki-in headquarters in Ichigaya on March 18. In the semifinals, which started at 10 a.m.,Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Iyama Yuta by resignation after 236 moves and Ichiriki Ryo 7P (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by 7.5 points. The final was played in the afternoon on the stage in the large hall on the second floor of the Ki-in. It was a “public” game, which means that on the same stage Takemiya Masaki 9P and Yoshihara Yukari 6P gave a commentary, using a large demonstration board. Playing black, Ichiriki won by resignation after 251 moves. First prize is two million yen.
Just to mention one noteworthy result from the first round, Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Honinbo, beat Takao Shinji Meijin (she lost to Kono in the next round).
Yo fights back in Judan title match: Yo Seiki (Yu Zhengqi) 7P made a bad start in the 55th Judan title match, losing the first game to Iyama Judan on March 7. There was a gap of over three weeks before the second game, played in a pavilion at the Usa Shrine in Usa City, Oita Prefecture, on March 30. The game was plunged almost immediately into fierce fighting that spilled all over the board. Taking white, Iyama (left) completely outplayed Yo (right) and forced a resignation after 160 moves. At this point, it looked as if the match might be a repeat of the previous one between these two, the 64th Oza last year, which Iyama took with straight wins.
The third game was played at the Kuroyon Royal Hotel in Omachi City, Nagano Prefecture, on April 6. Yo (W) beat Iyama by resignation after 204 moves. In their tenth game, Yo finally picked up his first win against Iyama and also his first title-match win. Yo probably gained a lot of confidence from this game; it featured furious fighting all the way, and he managed to outfight Iyama. The next game will be played on April 21.
FineArt wins computer go tournament: The UEC Cup Computer Go Tournament was held on the campus of the University of Electro- Communications on March 18 and 19, with 29 programs from six countries competing. The final was fought between two programs of top professional level, FineArt of China and DeepZenGo of Japan, and was a convincing win for FineArt. The two finalists were chosen to play in the 5th Electric Sage tournament (see tomorrow’s EJ). In-between, DeepZenGo played in the World Go Championship, which has already been reported on in the E-Journal.
FineArt was developed by a team at the top Chinese IT company Tencent and is less than a year old. It plays on a Chinese go server and has a winning record of 75% against professionals. That indicates that it’s not quite as strong as AlphaGo/Master, but even so there has been a dramatic rise in the level of go-playing programs in general. Apparently programmers were stimulated by the success of AlphaGo last year and have strengthened their programs by incorporating the techniques of “deep learning.”
Tomorrow: The 5th Electric Sage tournament; Motoki to challenge for Honinbo; Iyama leads Meijin league
Sunday April 16, 2017
For those looking for an intensive go experience in Japan, the Kansai Kiin is organizing back-to-back events June 25 through July 17. The fifth annual Osaka Go Camp will be held June 25-July 13, followed by the second annual Japan Go Congress in Takarazuka. Click here for details on both.
“During the camp, we have league games in the mornings and full teaching programs in the afternoons by professional players every day,” says teacher and longtime US Go Congress attendee Ryo Maeda 6p. The teaching programs will be in English.
“On holidays, we will also organize some day trips to places like downtown Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and a two-day trip to Kyoto, as well as a Friendship Tournament with Kyoto go players and sightseeing including the Honinbo Jakkoji temple which is really interesting for go players.”
“I promise that everyone can improve quite a lot through the Camp and the Congress and will have a lot of fun!”
Friday March 24, 2017
Staking his claim as the best go player in the world, Park Jeong Hwan 9P of Korea has won the 2017 World Go Championship, defeating Mi Yu Ting 9P of China in the final on March 24. In third place was DeepZenGo with one win and Yuta Iyama 9P of Japan took fourth place. Details, including the tournament results table and game records, are here. The Nihon Kiin sponsored the tournament to decide “the best go player in the world.” Park called the opportunity to compete in the tournament “an honor” and said that it was “a good opportunity to improve my skills.”a good opportunity to improve my skills.a good opportunity to improve my skills.think that this is a good opportunity to improve my skills.
Wednesday March 22, 2017
Park Jeong Hwan 9P and Mi Yuting 9P are facing off for the title in the Nihon Kiin’s “World Go Championship.” The final matches are being broadcast live now (10p EST) on YouTube, with commentary by Michael Redmond 9P and Anti Tourmanen 1P. has been posted. Park Junghwan beat DeepZen and Mi Yuting beat Iyama Yuta in the second round, leaving both 2-0. Click here for Round 2 commentary (Part 1); Part 2 is here.
Tuesday March 21, 2017
Park Jeong Hwan 9P and Mi Yuting 9P prevailed in the first round of the Nihon Kiin’s “World Go Championship,” held on March 21; the video commentary by Michael Redmond and Anti Tourmanen has been posted. This round features Deep Zen Go vs Mi Yuting 9P and Park Jeong Hwan 9P vs Iyama Yuta 9P; click here for commentary Part 1 and commentary Part 2. The tournament continues through March 23 in Osaka, Japan. The Nihon Kiin is providing live commentaries on YouTube (LIVE as of 11p EST 3/21) by Redmond and Tourmanen.
Note: this post has been updated to reflect that Park Jeong Hwan won in the first round, not Iyama Yuta, as initially reported.
Tuesday March 21, 2017
by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal
Fujisawa and Hane win Pair Go: The final of the Professional Pair Go Championship 2017 was held at the Nihon Ki-in’s Tokyo headquarters on March 5. Taking black, the pair of Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Honinbo, and Hane Naoki 9P beat Suzuki Ayumi 7P and Cho Chikun, 25th Honinbo, by 1.5 points. An estimated 1350 go fans somehow managed to fit
into the Nihon Ki-in to view the tournament.
Iyama makes good start in Judan defence: The first game of the 55th Judan title match was held at Osaka University of Commerce on March 7. Winning this title last year was what secured Iyama his grand slam of the top seven titles. Having lost the Meijin title, he is now down to six, but he will looking for a chance to repeat his grand slam, so he needs to hang on to all his current titles. He faces the challenge of one of the new stars of Japanese go, Yo Seiki 7P. Aged 21, Yo is a member of the Kansai Ki-in and hails from Taiwan, where he is known as Yu Cheng-ch’i (Yu Zhengqi in Pinyin). Playing black, Iyama Yuta defeated Yo by resignation after 197 moves. Apparently Yo had winning chances in the middle game but was unable to make the most of them. The second game will be played on March 30.
Fujisawa Rina wins Women’s Meijin: The second game of the 29th Women’s Meijin title match was held at the same venue as the first Judan game on March 8. Playing white, Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Honinbo, beat the defending champion Xie Yimin by 1.5 points. This gave Fujisawa her second concurrent title and reduced Xie to three titles. She had held this title for nine years in a row but missed out on becoming the first woman to win a title for ten years in a row.
Iyama defends Kisei title: The sixth game of the 41st Kisei title match was held at Ryugon, a high-class Japanese inn in Minami Uonuma City, Niigata Prefecture, on March 9 and 10. In the middle game, Kono Rin 9P (B) launched a challenge but made a miscalculation, so at one stroke the game turned in Iyama Yuta Kisei’s favor. Kono made a fierce attack in an attempt to catch up, but was parried by Iyama. Kono resigned after 150 moves, so Iyama defended his title with a 4-2 score. Having held the Kisei title for five successive terms, he qualified for the title of Honorary Kisei (to be assumed when he turns 60 or retires, whichever comes first). He is the third player to earn the honorary title, after Fujisawa Shuko (Hideyuki) and Kobayashi Koichi. Iyama also maintained his sextuple crown. The Kisei prize money is 45 million yen (just under $400,000).
Iyama finally wins NHK Cup: The NHK Cup was the only official title that Iyama Yuta had not won. He finally put that to rights in the final of the 64thCup, telecast on March 19, when, playing white, he defeated Ichiriki Ryo by resignation after 184 moves. This was his third final, but his first for four years. It is his 42nd title, which puts him in 6th place in the all-time lists. Ichiriki also came second in the 62nd NHK Cup.
Honinbo League (March 8) Takao Shinji Meijin (W) beat Mitani Tetsuya 7P by resig.; Motoki Katsuya 7P (B) beat Cho U 9P by 4.5 points. Thanks to his win, Motoki improved his score to 5-1, giving him the sole lead. His main rivals are Hane Naoki 9P and Ko Iso 8P, who are both on 4-2. In the final round, scheduled for April 6, Motoki plays Ko and Hane meets Cho. Even if he loses, Motoki will qualify for a play-off.
Meijin League: (March 9) Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke 8P by resig. (March 13) Yo Seiki 7P (B) beat Cho U 9P by resig. Kono Rin 9P and Iyama Yuta share the lead on 2-0. Yo Seiki is in last place, but he finally picked up his first win, making his score 1-3.
Yuta Iyama, Mi Yu Ting, Park Jeong Hwan & DeepZenGo to battle in Nihon Ki-in’s new “World Go Championship” next week
Wednesday March 15, 2017
A brand-new event, the “World Go Championship”, will be held next week, March 21-23 in Osaka, Japan. Four top players, Iyama Yuta (Japan), Park Jeon Hwan (Korea), Mi Yuting (China), and DeepZenGo (representing AI) will fight it out for the title. The Nihon Kiin will provide streaming and live commentaries on YouTube by Michael Redmond and Anti Tourmanen. Click here for details and the broadcast schedule.
The Power Report: Iyama one win away from defending Kisei; Fujisawa Rina makes good start in Women’s Meijin challenge; Honinbo League
Monday March 6, 2017
Iyama one win away from defending Kisei: The fifth game of the 41st Kisei title match was held at the Tokiwa Hotel in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture, on March 1 and 2. Playing black, Iyama forced a resignation after 165 moves. That took his score to 3-2, so he is just one win away from defending his title. The game was marked by fierce fighting throughout, so it became a competition in reading. In the end, Iyama brought down a big white group. Incidentally, the game showed the increasing influence of the AI program Master in two places in the opening. Both of the moves in question were played by Iyama, but, although it didn’t come out in this game, Kono is also said to have been strongly influenced by AI go. The sixth game will be played on March 9 & 10.
Fujisawa Rina makes good start in Women’s Meijin challenge: The first game of the 29th Women’s Meijin title match was played at the Arisu Pavilion at Heian Women’s University in Kyoto on March 1. Fujisawa Rina, the 18-year-old holder of the Women’s Honinbo title, is challenging Xie Yimin, holder of the other four women’s titles. Xie has dominated women’s go in Japan for a decade and has picked up 26 titles in the process (more than twice as many as any other woman player). Fujisawa has won just three titles so far, but she has established herself as the number two woman player. The two have met twice in titles match (the 2016and 2015 Women’s Honinbo) and won one each. The Heian Women’s University includes go as a regular subject in its curriculum. It has now hosted the first game of this match for six years in a row and has also appointed Xie as a Guest Professor. Fujisawa drew black in the nigiri. In the middle game, the game seemed to tilt a little in Xie’s favor, but Fujisawa fought back and took the lead, so Xie resigned after move 217. Since this match is a best-of-three, starting with a win is a big advantage. Xie already faces a kadoban. The second game will be played on March 8.
(March 1) Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Yuki Satoshi 9P by 5.5 points; Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig. This loss cost Hane his share of the lead. Motoki Katsuya 7P has the provisional lead on 4-1; Hane and Ko follow him on 4-2.
The Power Report: China scores overwhelming win in Nong Shim Cup; Promotions; 50th Kido Prizes; Lee Sedol wins exhibition match
Thursday March 2, 2017
China scores overwhelming win in Nong Shim Cup: Thanks to seven wins in a row, the best winning streak in this tournament’s history, by their first player, Fan Tingyu, China dominated the first two rounds of the 18th Nong Shim Cup. In the last game of the second round, Korea’s Pak Junghwan finally put a stop to the streak, but both Korea and Japan were down to their last player, while China still had four. The final round started in Shanghai on February 21. In Game 10, Pak (W) beat Iyama Yuta of Japan by resignation. In Game 11, the second Fan on the Chinese team, Fan Yunruo 5P (W), beat Pak by 1.5 points, so China secured a one-sided victory. Win-loss totals were: China 8-1, Korea 2-5, and Japan 1-5. China has now won the cup four years in a row.
To 3-dan: Takahashi Masumi (40 wins; as of Feb. 3); Osawa Kenro (40 wins; as of Feb. 21)
To 9-dan: Onda Yasuhiko (200 wins; as of Feb. 14)
Iyama wins Shusai Prize: On January 31, Iyama Yuta was awarded the 54th Shusai Prize, which honors the outstanding player of the previous year. This is the fifth year in a row he has won it.
50th Kido Prizes: The magazine Kido lives on in the form of the annual Kido Prizes, awarded to the outstanding Nihon Ki-in players of the previous year. The winners for 2016 were chosen on February 13 by a panel of representatives of the go-sponsoring media.
Winners are: Most outstanding player: Iyama Yuta, for winning all top seven titles; Outstanding player: Takao Shinji, for winning the Meijin title; New face: Onishi Ryuhei, for winning the King of the New Stars; Women’s prize: Xie Yimin, for winning four women’s titles; International prize: not awarded; Most wins: Ichiriki Ryo (47); Best winning percentage: Onishi Ryuhei (39-10, 79.59%); Most successive wins: Adachi Toshimasa 4P (15); Most games played: Ichiriki Ryo (66).
Lee Sedol wins exhibition match: Lee Sedol was invited to Japan by the Japanese Shogi Federation to play a ceremonial role at the start of Electric King title match. His job was to “shake the pieces.” As far as I can work out, not being a shogi player, this is the equivalent of the nigiri for deciding black and white in a game. The Nihon Ki-in took advantage of his visit to arrange the Korea-Japan Exhibition Match between Lee and Iyama Yuta. It was played at a Tokyo hotel on February 26. Lee (B) won by resig. after 227 moves. The game started at 5:30 pm and finished at 8:34 pm.