American Go E-Journal » Japan

Nihon Kiin Announces New World Championship Will Include AI Program DeepZenGo

Wednesday November 30, 2016

The Nihon Kiin on Tuesday announced a new World Championship tournament that will include top professional players 2016.11.30_iyama-41meijin7_10and a strong AI program, to be held in Osaka in March 2017. The tournament is sponsored by NTT Docomo, Mitsui Sumimoto, Daiwa Securities, Hankyu Inc. and Nikkei Inc., and is organized by the Nihon Kiin. With a top prize of \30M (about $270K) and runner-up prize of \10M, the tournament has one of the highest prize structures among go championships.

2016.11.30_deepzengoFrom March 20-24, three top players from Japan, China, and Korea will join DeepZenGo in a four-round round-robin tournament at Nihon Kiin’s Kansai branch office. Additional playoff will be held in case of ties.

Iyama Yuta (right) has been chosen as the Japanese representative. The ‘seven-crown champion’ who holds all the major Japanese pro titles, Iyama said that he was honored to be chosen and this would be the first time in a long while that he could play in an international tournament without conflicts with the tight domestic competition schedule. He promised to do his best to get good results for Japan. Chinese and Korean representatives will be determined soon.

DeepZenGo was chosen to represent AI. Hideki Kato, DeepZen’s author, expressed gratitude to the great effort and support of the organizers and promised that DeepZenGo would work hard to improve in the next few month to achieve a good result in the tournament.
- Thomas Hsiang

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Deep Zen Go Wins Game 2; Final Game Tuesday Night

Sunday November 20, 2016

Deep Zen Go won Game 2 of the 3-game match with Cho Chikun 9P on November 20, evening the score at 1-1. “Cho played badly with White 2016.11.17_cho-deepzengoin the opening but invaded Black’s huge moyo later and had a chance to live and win the game,” Michael Redmond 9P tells the E-Journal. “With mistakes by both players in the final fight, Cho’s group died.” Watch for Redmond’s game highlights, which will be posted here when available.

The final and deciding game will start at 11p US Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, November 22. Redmond and Antti Tormanen 1P will once again provide English commentary live online.

[link]

 

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Cho defeats Deep Zen Go; Game 2 Tonight at 11

Saturday November 19, 2016

The legendary Cho Chikun 9P defeated Deep Zen Go in the first game of their 3-game match. “Zen played a pro level opening2016.11.17_cho-deepzengo and middle game, but lost in the endgame,” says Michael Redmond 9P in his game commentary for the E-Journal. (See below; click here for his AlphaGo commentaries) The program resigned after move 223. The match continues tonight, with live English commentary by Redmond and Antti Tormanen 1P on the NiCONiCO website (requires free registration). The Game 1 commentary drew 20,000 viewers, and Myungwan Kim 9P also provided commentary on the AGA’s YouTube channel. Zen is a strong go engine by Japanese programmer Yoji Ojima with cluster parallelism added by Hideki Kato. Cho Chikun 9P is sometimes referred as the 25th Honinbo, an honorific title given for winning the Honinbo title five consecutive times.

Cho Chikun 9P vs. Deep Zen Go:

[link]

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Deep Zen Go to Take on Legendary Cho Chikun 9P in 3-Game Match

Thursday November 17, 2016

In the second “Man vs. Machine” match of the year, Deep Zen Go will take on the legendary Cho Chikun 9P (honorary Meijin) in a 3-match series to be held November 19th, 20th and 23rd. Using the same deep learning system as AlphaGo, 2016.11.17_cho-deepzengoDeep Zen Go is considered the second best computer go program in the world, reaching the No.1 ranking as KGS 9-dan in September 2016. Reportedly, the program has gotten stronger since then.

Michael Redmond 9P and Antti Tormanen 1P will provide live commentaries on the matches in English on the NiCONiCO website (requires free registration; see below for direct links for each match). “From some games I saw on the net I think Zen has reached pro level,” Redmond told the E-Journal. Click here for Redmond’s commentaries on the historic AlphaGo-DeepMind match earlier this year.

The games will start at 13:00 on November 19, 20 and 23 (Japan local time), or 23:00 on November 18, 19, and 22 (US Eastern Standard Time).

Here are the links for each match with US dates/times:
November 18 (11p EST)
November 19 (11p EST)
November 22 (11p EST)

The games may also be watched on Wbaduk (Cyberoro).

THIS JUST IN (11/18 4p): Myungwan Kim 9P will also be providing commentary on the AGA’s Youtube and Twitch channels Friday and Saturday nights, beginning at 10p PST (1a Sat 11/19).

 

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The Power Report (4/4): Kono to challenge for Kisei; Tang wins Ing Cup; Tri-country Young Stars

Wednesday November 16, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2016.11.16_41Kisei challenger Kono Rin

THIS JUST IN: Kono to challenge for Kisei
The second game of the “best-of-three” play-off to decide the challenger to Iyama Yuta 2016.11.16_41 Kisei Kono beats Chofor the 41st Kisei title was held at the Nihon Ki-in headquarters in Tokyo on November 14. Taking white, Kono Rin 9P (right) beat Cho U 9P by 1.5 points. As the winner of the S League, Kono started off with a one-win advantage, so this secures him victory. He will be making his first challenge for this title. Kono’s main achievement so far has been to win the Tengen title three years in a row. The title match starts in January.

International tournaments

Tang wins Ing Cup: The final three games in the best-of-five final of the 8th Ing Cup, a tournament held only in the year of the Olympics, were held in Shanghai on October 22, 24, and 26. Tang Weixing 9P of China beat Pak Jeonghwan 9P of Korea 3-2. In the fifth game, the 23-year-old Tang (B) beat Pak by 5.5 points and won this title for the first time (I don’t have the details of the other games). The Ing Cup is known for its special rules: komi is 8 points (Black wins a draw); the time allowance is three hours, but two extensions of 20 minutes can be bought for two points each. First prize is 400,000 dollars.

Tri-country Young Stars: This is a Chinese-sponsored tournament for three young stars, one each from China, Korea, and Japan; it was held in Nanchang City in Jiangxi Province on October 24 and 25. Competing were Li Qinchang for China, Shin Jinseo for Korea, and Ichiriki Ryo for Japan. Ichiriki is the winner of the 1st Globis Cup; Li is the winner of the third Globis Cup and the 28th TV Asia Cup (both held this year); Shin came second in the 28th TV Asia Cup. The format is an irregular knockout, with lots drawn to decide the two players who meet in the first round (playing conditions follow the NHK Cup). It turned out to be Shin and Ichiriki, and the former won. Ichiriki then played Li; taking white, Ichiriki won by
resignation (he now leads Li 2-1), so he met Shin again in the final. Shin (W) won this game by resignation, and Ichiriki took second place.

Obituary: Miyamoto Yoshihisa 9P
Miyamoto Yoshihisa 9-dan of the Kansai Ki-in dies of liver-cell cancer on October 31. He was 77. Born in Hyogo Prefecture on June 16, 1939, Miyamoto became a disciple of Hashimoto Utaro. He became 1-dan in 1951 and reached 9-dan in 1970. He retired last year. He won the 30th Kansai Ki-in No. One Position title in 1986. He is the younger brother of the later Miyamoto Naoki 9P.

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The Power Report (3/4): Cho U doing well in Kisei knock-out; Women’s Meijin League; Kobayashi Satoru wins 1,100 games

Tuesday November 15, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Cho U doing well in Kisei knock-out: Until he was 30, Cho U 9P was winning titles at the same rate as Cho Chikun,
but then he was dethroned at the top player by Iyama Yuta. In recent years, he has not featured in title matches. He thought that a change of scenery might improve his form, so he returned home to Taiwan for a while with his wife, Kobayashi Izumi, and their two children. Another motive was to have his children learn Chinese. He has since returned to Japan (I don’t have any dates) and seems to have recovered something close to top form. At present, he is doing very well in the Kisei knock-out tournament that follows the leagues. On October 24, Cho, the winner of A League, defeated Yuki Satoshi 9P, the B League winner; taking white, Cho won by resig. On October 31, Cho, playing black, beat Yamashita Keigo 9P, who came second in the S League, by 5.5 points. That earned him a place in the “best-of-three” knock-out final. In the first game, played on November 10, Cho beat Kono Rin 9P, the winner of the S League, by half a point. The second game will be played on November 14; if Cho wins, he wins the final 2-0; if Kono wins, he will become the challenger to Iyama Kisei because the winner of the S League is given a one-win advantage.

Women’s Meijin League: Two games were played in the 4th round of the 29th Women’s Meijin League on October 2016.11.14_womens-meijin27. Aoki Kikuyo 8P (B) beat Sakakibara Fumiko 6P by resig.; Kato Keiko 6P (W) beat Suzuki Ayumi 7P by resig. Both Aoki and Kato improve their scores to 2-2.
On November 7, Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Honinbo, (W) beat Kato Keiko 6P by resig. and kept the sole lead on 5-0. Fujisawa has just one more game to play, against Aoki Kikuyo 8P. Even if she loses it, only one player has a chance of beating her: Okuda Aya 3P, who is ranked no. 2 to Fujisawa’s no.3. Okuda has played fewer games and is on 2-1. If she wins her next three games and Fujisawa loses hers, Okuda’s high rank will give her victory, but the odds very much favor Fujisawa. On November 10, Suzuki Ayumi 7P (W) beat Ishii Akane 2P by resignation.

Kobayashi Satoru wins 1,100 games: On November 3, Kobayashi Satoru 9P secured his 1,100th win by beating Ohashi Naruya 7P in the first round of the 42nd Gosei title; Kobayashi had white and won by resignation. With 574 losses and 1 jigo, he has a winning percentage of 65.7. He is the 11th Nihon Ki-in player to reach this landmark; at 57 years six months he is the 7th youngest, and, at 42 years seven months, the 6th quickest. His winning percentage is the 6th best. He has won ten titles, including the Kisei.

Promotion
To 3-dan: Shibano Toramaru (40 wins; as of October 21)

Third of four reports. Tomorrow: International tournaments

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The Power Report (2/4): Fujisawa Rina wins Women’s Honinbo; Takao wins Meijin title, breaks Iyama’s monopoly

Monday November 14, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Fujisawa Rina wins Women’s Honinbo: The fourth game of the 35th Women’s Honinbo title match was held at the2016.11.14_Fujisawa Rina wins game 4 Nihon Ki-in headquarters in Tokyo on October 24. Playing black, Fujisawa defeated the titleholder Xie Yimin by resignation after 147 moves. Fujisawa played positively from the opening on and held on to the initiative, but it was not clear to the spectators how she could wrap up a win. The game ended early when Fujisawa found a deadly technique for killing a corner white group. The players following the game in the anteroom had expected a ko, but Xie’s teacher, Ko Mosei 9P, suddenly exclaimed: “It’s unconditional [death]!” He added: “[If this happens,] it’d be beautiful.” Sure enough, that was how Rina played. Though his disciple lost the game, Ko seemed happy at Fujisawa’s fine play. After losing the first game, Fujisawa won three in a row to regain the title she first won two years ago. At present, she seems to be Xie’s only real rival. This victory perhaps made up for her bitter experience last year, when she won the first two games but lost the next three to Xie. Xie may have lost this title, but she still has four women’s titles to her name. (Note: in Taiwan, her name is Romanized as Hsieh I-min.)

Takao wins Meijin title, breaks Iyama’s monopoly: After starting with three straight losses, Iyama Yuta had clawed his way back into contention with wins in the fourth and fifth games in the 41st Meijin best-of-seven. In view of his bad record in the past against Iyama, Takao Shinji 2016.11.14_takao-41meijin7_09probably found this an ominous development. The sixth game was played at the Imaiso, a traditional inn in the town of Kawazu, Kamo County, Shizuoka Prefecture on October 26 and 27. Takao turned 40 on the first day of the game, but he didn’t get a birthday present from Iyama. Taking black, Iyama dominated the game and forced a resignation after 185 moves. Takao is known for his fondness for thickness, but in this game centre thickness built by Iyama played a part in his win. Takao was also handicapped by an oversight he made near the end of the game, so he resigned early. Finally, Iyama had drawn even in the title match.
The statistics were now slightly in his favor. This pattern of one player winning the first three games and the other the next three had come up in Japanese go ten times previously, and the player staging the recovery had won the seventh game six times. On the other hand, in the most recent five cases, the player who won the initial three games made a comeback and took the seventh four times. Go reporters like these kinds of statistics, but probably the players themselves don’t pay much attention to them.
The seventh game was played at the Tokiwa Hotel in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture on November 2 and 3. The nigiri was held again, and Iyama drew black. As usual, Takao built thickness on the first day, then on the second day developed it into a vast moyo based on the top left. Next, he succeeded in reducing Black’s moyo and took the lead. He then parried Iyama’s attempts to catch up by playing thickly and maintained a small lead until the end. White won by 2.5 points after 251 moves.
Takao made a comeback as Meijin after a gap of nine years; he had won the title just once, in the 31st term, and at the same time held the Honinbo title. This success was all the more welcome for Takao because he lost two Meijin challenges to Iyama 0-4. He has now won 15 titles.2016.11.14_41meijin7_11

Iyama lost his septuple crown after holding it for a little over half a year — 197 days, to be exact; he lost his monopoly of the top three titles, the Kisei, Meijin, and Honinbo, after 1113 days — he won ten successive top-three title matches. He held the Meijin title for three years in a row and earlier held it for two terms; he needs another five wins to qualify for an honorary Meijin title.
The three vacant seats in the new Meijin league have been decided. On November 3, playing black, Sakai Hideyuki beat Uchida Shuhei 7P, who had dropped out of the 41st league, by half a point. Sakai returns to the league after a gap of three years. On November 7, Hane Naoki 9P (W) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P by 1.5 points. Hane regained his place immediately after dropping out of the previous league. On November 10, Yo Seiki 7P (W) beat Hirata Tomoya 7P by half a point.
Yo will make his debut in the league. Hirata played in the previous league, but just missed out on regaining his place. He played an adventurous opening, with his first move on the 15-5 point and his third move on the 9-5 point, but Yo kept his nerve. The Kansai Ki-in has three players in the upcoming league: Murakawa Daisuke, Sakai, and Yo. The first round will be played in December.

Second of four reports. Tomorrow: Cho U doing well in Kisei knock-out; Women’s Meijin League; Kobayashi Satoru wins 1,100 games

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The Power Report (1/4): 72nd Honinbo League; Ichiriki evens score in Tengen; Iyama increases lead in Oza

Sunday November 13, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2016.11.13 Honinbo-league

72nd Honinbo League: The first round in the new league was completed on October 20 when Hane Naoki 9P (W) beat Takao Shinji 9P by resignation. Two games in the league were held on November 3. Ko Iso (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by resig., and Cho U (B) beat Mitani Tetsuya 7P by resig. On 2-0, Cho holds the provisional lead, but Motoki Katsuya 7P and Hane Naoki 9P, who are on 1-0, could catch up.

Ichiriki evens score in Tengen: Autumn is a season that called on all of Iyama Yuta’s power of endurance, as he was2016.11.13_tengen1 iyama being attacked on three sides. In the Meijin title match, he had his back to the wall. Most of Iyama’s title matches have been played with older players like Takao, who was 39 (at the start of the Meijin title match) to Iyama’s 27. However, the other two title matches are both against younger players, the 21-year-old Yo Seiki in the Oza and the 19-year-old Ichiriki Ryo in this match. The younger generation is gradually making its presence felt, so Iyama v. his juniors will surely soon become the main pattern in title matches. Already for a few years Ichiriki has been viewed as the top teenager in Japan
and recently his promise has been converted into concrete results (see my report on his winning the Ryusei). This title match would be his biggest test so far.
The first game of the 42nd Tengen title match was played at the Kashikojima Hojoen inn in Shima City in Mie Prefecture on October 21. The challenger drew white, and the game became a contest between Ichiriki’s attack and Iyama’s survival skills. In the middle game, Iyama landed a fierce counterpunch, backed up by deep reading, and at one stroke secured the lead. Ichiriki resigned after Black 139.
This was Iyama’s fourth successive win over the three title matches he was engaged in. He seemed to have recovered from his slump in the first half of the Meijin title match.
The second game was played at the Otaru Asari Classe Hotel on November 11, with Ichiriki playing black. The game was fiercely competitive, starting with a ko fight in the opening. Iyama made a miscalculation late in the middle game and resigned after 205 moves. Ichiriki evened the score and showed he posed a threat to Iyama’s sextuple crown.2016.11.13_64ouza2_05

Iyama increases lead in Oza: The result of the first game of the 64th Oza title match was given in my previous report, but I have some more details below. Challenging the 27-year-old Iyama was the 21-year-old Yo Seiki (Yu Zhengqi in Pinyin), the top player of his age group (low 20s) not only at the Kansai Ki-in but in Japan as a whole. Yo, who had black, acquitted himself very well, and the lead seesawed back and forth during some fierce fighting. After the macro endgame, the spectators all thought that Yo had the lead, but Iyama unleashed a devilish move that made the game tilt in his favor. He picked up a win by 1.5 points after 283 moves. The time allowance is three hours per player: both players were down to their last minute of byo-yomi (to which the last five minutes are allocated). Yu was satisfied that he had been able to go toe to toe with Iyama, but he will have to win games like this if he wants to take a title.
The second game was played at the Naka-no-bo Zuien inn, on November 7. Taking black, Iyama forced a resignation after 169 moves. Once again, Yo played well, and Iyama commented that he was quite worried in the middle game. In an interview after the game, he said: “With correct play by White, I might have collapsed.” The third game will be played on the 18th of this month.

First of four reports. Tomorrow: Fujisawa Rina wins Women’s Honinbo; Takao wins Meijin title, breaks Iyama’s monopoly

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Artem Kachanovskiy 1P Advances to Main Tournament in Sankei Cup

Monday November 7, 2016

Artem Kachanovskiy 1p has advanced to the main tournament in the 13th edition of the Sankei Cup. Kachanovskiy won all 2016.11.07_Artem Kachanovskyithree games in the preliminaries of the pro division to advance to the main tournament, which will take place next spring. Amongst others, Kachanovskiy defeated Sonoda Yuichi 9p in the final round by half a point. The preliminary rounds were played on October 31 November 2. This is the third time the Kansai Ki-in has invited foreign pros to play in the annual tournament sponsored by the Sankei newspaper. Europe was represented by the EGF pros Artem Kachanovskiy 1p and Mateusz Surma 1p, while Gansheng Shi 1p and Eric Lui 1p played for the AGA. The games were broadcast live on the Kansai Ki-in homepage.
Read the complete report — and check out game records — on the European Go Federation’s website. 

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Nihon Ki-in and INAF Host North American Go Instructors’ Workshop

Wednesday November 2, 2016

By Peter Schumer2016.11.02_japan-go-teachers-1

The North American Go Instructors’ Workshop was held at the Nihon Ki-in and other sites around Tokyo, Japan from October 18-25. Nine highly motivated participants from the United States and Mexico were selected to participate. The cost of travel, housing, most meals, and all the professional instruction fees were generously donated by the Nihon Ki-in and the Iwamoto North American Foundation (INAF). The workshop was a huge success and all the participants feel freshly energized and motivated to build on their new knowledge and enthusiasm for teaching go and sharing go more broadly.

Participants each gave extended lectures on their own local efforts at teaching go and spreading an awareness of the game more widely. We also visited several schools from first grade up to the university level to see go instruction both within the school curriculum as well as an after-school extracurricular activity. We learned about the history of go, go etiquette, the status of go instruction in Japanese schools, as well as the craftsmanship involved in making beautiful go boards, bowls, and stones. One highlight was learning more about the Mizuma method (Toshifumi Mizuma – 7 dan pro) for teaching beginners on small boards (6×6 and 7×7). We also had several opportunities to play simultaneous games with 2016.11.02_japan-go-teachers-2both Toshifumi Mizuma and Michael Redmond 9P. We would also like to thank Michael’s younger daughter Yumi Redmond for her expert and wonderful help with accurate real-time translations of the many lectures.

All the participants learned a huge amount from the Japanese teachers and go professionals as well as from one another. We are all re-dedicating our efforts and plan on making ever greater contributions to educating children and the public at large how to play go as well as its pleasures and importance. We hope there will be similar workshops either in Japan or elsewhere in East Asia or perhaps back home in North America. Thank you Nihon Ki-in and INAF for a wonderul workshop and experience!

photos:
top right: (left to right front): Xinming Guo, Lew Geer, Siddhartha Avilasa, Toshifumi Mizuma (7p), Peter Schumer, Ito Yasunari (manager of Nihon Kiin)
left to right back: Michael Cooley, Daniel Gentry, Ted Terpstra, Ze-li Dou, Gurujeet Khalsa, Tom Urasoe (overseas department of Nihon Kiin)

bottom left: (left to right): Lew Geer, Ted Terpstra, Siddhartha Avilasa, Michael Redmond 9P, Gurujeet Khalsa, Peter Schumer, Zi-Le Dou.

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