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Power Report (2): AlphaGo plays itself; Iyama extends lead in Honinbo title match; Yuki wins 1,200 games; 42nd Kisei S League

Thursday June 15, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

AlphaGo plays itself: As already reported in the E-Journal, AlphaGo triumphed at the Future of Go Summit held in China from May 23 to 27. At the end of the summit, the Deep Mind company announced that they were putting up records of 50 games AlphaGo played with itself on their home page. Playing itself is how AlphaGo improves. Apparently it can finish a game in about three seconds, which means it could play about 30,000 games a day. However, the 50 games mentioned above were played more slowly. The development team mentioned that theoretically the current version is about three stones stronger than the version that played Lee Sedol.  This is a detail that it’s better not to 2017.06.15_72honinbo3_10dwell on. If interested, you can find the game records here; I looked at Game 1 while confirming the address. It doesn’t look like any game record I’ve seen before.

Iyama extends lead in Honinbo title match: The third game of the 72nd Honinbo title match was played at the Shotenzan Kankiin temple in Kumagaya City, Saitama 2017.06.15_72honinbo3_12Prefecture, on June 8 and 9. Fighting started early and spread all over the board. The defending champion, Iyama Yuta or Monyu Honinbo, played black and fought with his characteristic shrewdness, securing a resignation after move 137. The challenger, Motoki Katsuya 8P, faces his first kadoban in the fourth game, scheduled for 15 and 16.

Yuki wins 1,200 games: In a game in Preliuminary A of the 43rd Meijin tournament, played on June 8 at the Kansai Ki-in, Yuki Satoshi 9P beat Mine Yasuhiro 4P and became the youngest player to win 1,200 games. He is 45 years three months old, and his winning record is 1,200 wins, 506 losses, two jigo, which gives him an excellent winning record of 70%. Until now, the age record was 48 years seven months, set by Cho Chikun. Yuki became a professional in 1984; he has won 14 titles, including the Tengen and Judan titles once each and the NHK Cup five times. He is the seventh player to reach this landmark. Top is Cho Chikun with 1,503 wins.

42nd Kisei S League: In the first game of the second round, played on June 8, Cho U 9P (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig. Both players are now 1-1. Yamashita Keigo 9P and Ichiriki Ryo 7P have one win and Murakawa Daisuke 8P and So Yokoku 9P one loss. Cho and Kono were the players who met in the playoff to decide the challenger in the previous tournament. In the A League, which has seven rounds, the only undefeated player after the completion of Round 4 is Kyo Kagen 4P. On June 1, Kyo (W) beat Takao Shinji Meijin by resig.

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Power Report (1): Iyama makes LG Best Eight; Korea wins 7th Huanglongshi Cup; Iyama edges closer to winning Meijin League

Wednesday June 14, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama makes LG Best Eight: 
The first two rounds of the 22nd LG Cup were held in Korea on May 29 and 31. Three players from Japan took part and their results were as follows.2017.06.14_LG best 8
Round 1 (round of 32, May 29). Iyama Yuta 9P (W) beat Lee Yeongku 9P (Korea) by resig.; Ida Atsushi 8P (B) beat Choe Cheong 7P (Korea) by resig.; Kang Tongyun 9P (Korea) (W) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P by resig.
Round 2 (May 31) Iyama (B) beat Zhou Ruiyang 9P (China) by resig.; Shin Jinseo 8p (Korea) beat Ida by resig.
Japan has only three seats in the round of 32 because of poor results in the past, which denied it more seeded places. Iyama has to miss some of the international tournaments because of scheduling clashes with domestic titles, but he is making an effort to make more international appearances. Reaching the quarterfinals is his best result for a while. Zhou Ruiyang was the runner-up in this title last year, so beating him is a good sign for Iyama.

Korea wins 7th Huanglongshi Cup: This is a women’s team tournament for five-player teams from China, Korea, and Japan. The format 2017.06.14_ Huanglong Korean teamis a progressive knock-out, like the Nong Shim Cup, that is, each player keeps playing till she loses a game. The first seven games were played from April 20 to 23. In the second game, played on April 20 (as of this term, two games are being played on most days), Japan picked up its only win when Nyu Eiko beat Zhou Hungyu of China. The other members of the team, Xie Yimin, Fujisawa Rina, O Keii, and Mukai Chiaki, failed to make a contribution. Korea won the tournament in the 13th game without needing to field their fifth player. They scored seven wins to five for China and one for Japan.

Iyama edges closer to winning Meijin League: An important game in the 42nd Meijin League was played recently. At this stage, only three players were still in the running to win the league: Iyama Yuta on 5-0 and Yamashita Keigo 9P and Murakawa Daisuke 8P, who were both on 4-2. On June 5, Iyama (B) beat Yamashita by resig. This improved Iyama’s score to 6-0 and put Yamashita, now 4-3, out of the running. Murakawa will play Iyama in July, but beating Iyama is not enough; he needs Yo Seiki 7P, Iyama’s opponent in the final round in August, to beat him as well while he has to beat Hane Naoki 9P in his final game to tie with Iyama.
Other recent results: (June 1) Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Hane Naoki by resig.; Murakawa Daisuke  (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.

Tomorrow: AlphaGo plays itself; Iyama extends lead in Honinbo title match; Yuki wins 1,200 games; 42nd Kisei S League

Update: This post has been updated; the spelling of the Huanglongshi Cup has been corrected.

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The Power Report: Iyama extends lead in Honinbo title match

Monday May 29, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.05.29_Hon2 Iyama

Iyama extends lead in Honinbo title match: The second game of the 72nd Honinbo title match was held at the Kumagai Family Residence in Oda City, Shimane Prefecture, on May 23 and 24. This residence is a large house that belonged to a prominent merchant family in the Edo period; it has been listed as a World Heritage Site and is now a tourist attraction. In the go world, Oda is known as the birthplace of Honinbo Dosaku. Taking black, Iyama Yuta (Honinbo Monyu) won by resignation after 110 moves. As the low number of moves would indicate, this was a one-sided win for the titleholder. Actually the challenger, Motoki Katsuya, did not make major blunders, but Iyama was able to exploit small chinks in his armor to take a firm grip upon the game. This may be more worrying for the loser than losing through an easily identified mistake. Motoki has some work to do before the third game, scheduled for June 8 & 9.

Promotion2017.05.29_O Keii
To 3-dan: O Keii (40 wins, as of May 26). O is the daughter of former Kisei O Rissei. She is a member of the Central Japan (Nagoya) branch of the Nihon Ki-in.

Brilliant shogi newcomer: A brilliant new shogi star, Fujii Sota, has been gaining attention outside the shogi media and may be of interest to go fans. In shogi, you do not become a full-fledged professional until you earn promotion to 4-dan. Fujii qualified for 4-dan about five months ago at the age of 14, which set a new youth record. Since then, he has not lost a game and is now sitting on a winning streak of 19. That includes wins over some strong players, such as Habu 9P, who is the only player to achieve a simultaneous grand slam of the top seven shogi titles. Nineteen successive wins is already the seventh-best winning streak in shogi. There is no comparable achievement in go (of course, 1-dans are fully qualified professionals in go, so it would be hard for a go debutant to match Fujii). Shogi enjoys greater popularity in Japan than go, and Fujii’s success has created quite a stir in the media. Fifty members of the press turned up to report on the game that became his 19th win, on May 25. It was significant, because he qualified for the main section of the Ryuo tournament. Seven more wins in this tournament and he would become the challenger. Some observers have commented that in strength he is already one of the top ten.

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The Power Report (2): Kono starts well in Kisei S League; Yamashita becomes Gosei challenger; Murakawa wins Gratitude Cup; 4th Aizu Central Hospital tournament; Xie and Fujisawa reach final

Saturday May 27, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Kono starts well in Kisei S League:
 Kono Rin 9P, the previous Kisei challenger, made a good start in the 42nd Kisei S League. In a game played on May 11, Kono (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke 8P by resignation. That completes the first round. Besides Kono, Yamashita Keigo and
Ichiriki Ryo started with wins and Murakawa Daisuke 8P, Cho U 9P, and So Yokoku 9P with losses.

Yamashita becomes Gosei challenger: The play-off to decide the challenger for the 42nd Gosei title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on May 18. Taking black, Yamashita Keigo 9P beat Motoki Katsuya 8P by resignation after 139 moves. Yamashita will challenge Iyama Yuta for the title. Thanks to this win, he will have played in at least one top-seven title match every year for 15 years in a row. Recently younger players have become more prominent in Japan, but Yamashita is still close to his peak at the age of 38. Motoki failed to convert his best-of-seven versus Iyama into a best-of-12. The first Gosei game will be played on June 22.2017.05.27_8okage2_06

Murakawa wins Gratitude Cup: The Gratitude Cup (O-kage-hai) is a tournament for players 30 or under and is sponsored by the souvenir shops in the sightseeing town of Ise in Mie Prefecture. The 8th Cup was held on May 14 and 15, with 16 players who had won seats in the qualifying tournament taking part. The winner was Murakawa Daisuke 8P. Taking white, he beat Ri Ishu 7P by resignation in the final, winning this title for the first time; his prize was three million yen. This year six of the players were teenagers and ten were making their debut in the main tournament. The cup is undeniably a minor title, but such prominent young players as Ida Atsushi 8P and Motoki Katsuya 8P were eliminated in the qualifying tournament.

4th Aizu Central Hospital tournament; Xie and Fujisawa reach final: This is the tournament with the second-richest prize in women’s go in Japan: seven million yen. The final was also the only two-day game in women’s go. However, some changes have been made this year. The name has been changed to the Aizu Central Hospital Women’s Hollyhock Cup. The flower concerned is the city flower of the host city, Aizu Wakamatsu. Strictly speaking, the plant, tachi-aoi, which has purple flowers, is not the same as 2017.05.27_aizuthe Western hollyhock; its botanical name is Althaea rosea. The second change is that the final has been changed to a best-of-three, and these are one-day games. Also, it has switched to the challenger system, that is, the winner this year will defend her title next year.
The quarterfinals and semifinals of the main tournament were held at the Konjakutei inn in Aizu Higashiyama Hot Spring on the weekend of May 21 and 22. The eight qualifiers wear kimonos for the games (our photo is from the welcome party held on May 20). Results in the first round, already the quarterfinals, which started at 10 A.M. on the 21st, were as follows: Xie 6P(W) beat Mukai Chiaki 5P by resig.; Fujisawa Rina 3P (W) beat Mannami Nao 3P by half a point; Makihata Taeko 4P (B) beat O Keii 2P (I don’t know the margin); Nishiyama Shizuk
a 1P (W) beat Okuda Aya 3P by 2.5 points.
The semifinals were held on the Sunday, starting at noon. Xie (B) beat Makihata by resig.; Fujisawa (W) beat Nishiyama by resig. (The time allowance in these games was one hour per player; in the final it will be three hours).
The final is scheduled for June 16, 18, and, if needed, 23.

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The Power Report (1): Iyama makes good start in Honinbo defense; Korea wins 6th Tiantai Mt. team tournament; Iyama maintains Meijin League lead

Friday May 26, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama makes good start in Honinbo defense:
 Iyama Yuta, or Honinbo Monyu, to give him the title he assumed when he qualified as Honorary Honinbo last year, made a good start in the 72nd Honinjbo title match. The challenger is Motoki Katsuya 8P, who, at 21, is six years Iyama’s junior and is the third-youngest challenger ever. If he were to win, he would be the youngest tournament Honinbo.2017.05.26-Honinbo2dayfin03
The first game was played at the Gifu Grand Hotel in Gifu City. Iyama drew black in the nigiri and scored a convincing win, securing a resignation after 147 moves. There was an interesting fight early in the game in which Iyama sacrificed some stones in exchange for a ponnuki facing the centre (on the 6th line). A ponnuki is said to be worth 30 points. By my count, White’s profit was worth 20 points or so; the professionals following the game on the spot diverged in their evaluation, some of them considering the result equal, while others
thought that White’s profit was slightly superior. This was apparently Motoki’s own opinion. Soon after, Iyama started a large-scale fight with the support of his ponnuki in the background. Motoki went wrong with White 84. Ironically, this move looked like good style but actually gave Black the chance to strike at a vital point. A white group under attack managed to live, but Black took the lead. Iyama’s endgame was then flawless, so an early resignation was unavoidable. This was a tough title-match baptism for Motoki, but at least he had a chance to get used to the atmosphere of two-day games. The second game was scheduled to be played on May 23 & 24.

Korea wins 6th Tiantai Mt. team tournament: This is a team tournament for three-woman teams from China, Korea, Japan, and Chinese Taipei. The full name is the Tiantai Mt. Agricultural & Commercial Bank Cup World Women’s Team Tournament. The 6th Cup was held in Taizhou City, Zhejiang Province, in China on May 10 to 12. Results were as follows:
Round 1 (May 10) China 2 beat Japan 1; Korea 3 beat Chinese Taipei 0
Round 2 (May 11) Korea 3 beat Japan 0; China 3 beat Chinese Taipei 0
Round 3 (May 12) Japan 2 beat Chinese Taipei 1; Korea 2 beat China 1
Placings: 1st, Korea (individual score: 8 wins, 1 loss); 2nd, China (6-3); 3rd, Japan (3-6); 4th: Chinese Taipei (1-8)

Once again, Japan was beaten by Korea and China, but there were some encouraging signs. On the top board, Fujisawa Rina had a good game against Che Cheong 7P of Korea, but missed her opportunities to wrap up the game. In the end, she lost by 1.5 points. Xie Yimin hasn’t delivered for Japan in international go, but she won her games against Lu Jia 2P of China and Zhang Kaixing 5P of Chinese Taipei. The third member of the Japanese team was Nyu Eiko 1P, who beat Zhang Zhengping 3P of Chinese Taipei.

Iyama maintains Meijin League lead: The 42nd Meijin League is looking more and more like a one-horse race. On May 18, Iyama Yuta scored his fifth straight win and leads the field by two points. Players with just two losses are Yamashita Keigo 9P (4-2), Murakawa Daisuke
(3-2), and Kono Rin 9P (3-2). Iyama will play Yamashita in June and Murakawa in July.

Recent results:
(May 11) Sakai Hideyuki 8P (W) beat Ko Iso 8P by 4.5 points.
(May 18) Iyama Yuta (W) beat Cho U 9P by resig.

Tomorrow: Kono starts well in Kisei S League; Yamashita becomes Gosei challenger; Murakawa wins Gratitude Cup; 4th Aizu Central Hospital tournament; Xie and Fujisawa reach final

 

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Early Bird Registration open for Nihon Ki-in Summer Go Camp (updated link)

Sunday May 14, 2017

The annual Nihon Ki-in Summer Go Camp is an intensive training program for non-Japanese go players who want to raise their level of play.2017.05.13_nihon-kiin-camp This year’s Camp will be held in Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo August 25-September 6. “Besides many famous professionals’ providing you with simul games, reviews and lectures, there are also lots of go events that you will participate in and enjoy during the Camp!” says the Nihon Ki-in’s Tom Urasoe. Michael Redmond 9P will be one of the camp’s main instructors, and camp participants will also enjoy Japan’s most popular amateur go tournament with over 1,500 players in Tokyo. Register before May 31 and get 15% off; click here for details. Read Peter Schumer’s report on last year’s camp here.
NOTE: links have been updated

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The Power Report (3): Mi wins Japan-China Ryusei, DeepZenGo beats Fujisawa; Kisei S League starts; Iyama leads Meijin League

Thursday May 11, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.05.11 DeepZenGo v Rina

Mi wins Japan-China Ryusei, DeepZenGo beats Fujisawa: The 3rd Japan-China Ryusei play-off was held in the Belle Salle hall in front of Iidabashi Station in Tokyo on April 29. Mi Yuting 9P, the winner of the 3rd Chinese Ryusei title, took white against Ichiriki Ryo 7P, winner of the 25th Japanese Ryusei title, and forced a 2017.05.11 JC Ryuseiresignation after 175 moves. The game started at 4 p.m. and was telecast live on the Igo Shogi Channel (left)The play-off was preceded by an exhibition game between Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Honinbo, and the program DeepZenGo (right). Fujisawa had 30 minutes followed by 30 seconds per move plus 15 minutes to be used in one-minute units. The program had just 45 minutes. The game started at 1 p.m. Taking black, DeepZenGo won by resig. after 159 moves.

Kisei S League starts: The top league in the 42nd Kisei tournament, the S League, has finally got off to a start, some weeks behind the lower A, B, and C Leagues. The members, in order of ranking are: Kono Rin 9P, Yamashita Keigo 9P, Murakawa Daisuke 8P, Ichiriki Ryo 7P, Cho U 9P, and So Yokoku 9P. The first two games were played on April 27. Yamashita (W) beat So by resig., and Ichiriki (B) beat Cho by resig.

Iyama leads Meijin League: The first two games in the sixth round of the 42nd Meijin League were played recently, and the result is that the gap at the top has widened. On 4-0, Iyama Yuta was the only undefeated player in the league, and his nearest rival was Yamashita Keigo on 4-1. However, Yamashita suffered a loss to Hane Naoki on May 4, and is now two points behind Iyama, though the latter has played two fewer games. This was Hane’s first win in the league.
(April 24) Yo Seiki 7P (W) beat Hane Naoki 7P by resig.
(April 27) Murakawa Daisuke 8P (B) beat Sakai Hideyuki 8P by resig.
(May 4) Hane Naoki 9P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by resig.; Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resig.

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The Power Report (2): Cao wins World Go Legends; Cho Chikun first to 1500 wins

Wednesday May 10, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.05.10_Cho 1500

Cao wins World Go Legends: The Japan-China-Korea World Go Legends Tournament is a special tournament (a one-off?) held in Zhejiang Province to commemorate the start of the City A League, which seems to be the most popular tournament in China. The sponsors invited a number of players who starred in international go in the late 20th century to participate. The results are given below. Long-term go fans will recognize the names, though there are some notable absentees (presumably not available). In the final, held on April 27, Cao Dayuan 9P of China (W) beat Kobayashi Koichi 9P of Japan by half a point (both these players were at their peak in the 90s). Results listed on the Nihon Ki-in homepage are given below, but are incomplete.

Round 1 (April 25). Cao Dayuan 9P (China) beat Kim Soojang 9P (Korea); Takemiya Masaki 9P (Japan) beat Liu Xiaoguang 9P (China); Ma Xiaochun 9P (China) beat Pak Seongho 9P (Korea); Yoda Norimoto 9P beat Yang Jaeho 9P (Korea); Nie Weiping (China) beat Suh Bongsoo 9P (Korea); Kobayashi Koichi 9P (Japan) (W) beat Hua Yigang 9P (China); Yu Bin 9P (China) beat Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P (Japan); Ko
bayashi Satoru 9P (Japan) beat Suh Neunguk 9P (Korea).

Quarterfinals (April 25). Yoda (B) beat Ma; Yu Bin beat (B) Kobayashi Satoru; Kobayashi Koichi (B) beat Nie; Cao (B) beat Takemiya.
Semifinals (April 26) Cao (W) beat Yoda; Kobayashi Koichi (W) beat Yu Bin.

Cho Chikun first to 1500 wins: On April 27, a win by Cho Chikun (right) against Kataoka Satoshi 9P in the second round of the 7th Masters Cup was his 1500th official win. He is the first player in Japan to reach this mark. His record is 1500 wins, 821 losses, 3 jigos, and  4 no-results, for a winning percentage of 64.6. Rin Kaiho is in second place with 1409 wins. Cho was surprised when a large of reporters came into the room, as he had had no idea he was approaching a landmark. As usual, this record generated a lot of trivia, so here goes. Cho’s age is 60 years ten months, and it took him 49 years to rack up 1500 wins. He has played games against 307 different opponents. His most frequent opponent is Kobayashi Koichi: they have played 129 games, of which Cho has won 66. He has scored most wins against the late Kato Masao, his record being 71-42-1 no result. Against Iyama Yuta, his record is a quite respectable 5-7. His top year just for wins was 2001, when he won 47 games. He has never had a minus record, the closest he came being 21-21 in 2009.

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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 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 2017.04.19_Motok L beats Ko IsoApril 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 2017.04.19_Motoki wins Hon.Leagueearned 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 in2017.04.19 Meijin League 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.
Recent results:
(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.

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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 for2017.04.18_Ichiriki wins Championship 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. 2017.04.18_Judan3 Yo (right)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

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