American Go E-Journal » Japan

Go Spotting: The Tokyo National Museum

Saturday December 10, 2016

by Erwin Gerstorfer2016.12.06_3Screen_IMG_2742A

A few weeks ago while in Tokyo I visited the Tokyo National Museum in Ueno. There I discovered three depictions of go, which was perhaps not surprising in this country with a long history of the game but nevertheless seemed quite a remarkable number for such a renowned art museum.

The first I spotted was a go scene from the Ranka story on a fan mounted on folding screens in the main building of the museum.

2016.12.06_6Kimono_IMG_2738AThen, in the next room I was amazed to find a go board in the embroidery of a kimono representing one of the Four Elegant Pastimes.

More than satisfied that I had found two go scenes, my go art day was complete when I came across one more — again on folding screens — when I went to the side building of the Horyuji Treasures.2016.12.06_10Horyuji_IMG_2760A

Due to the huge number of exhibits most visitors would probably not notice these go references, but after years of training myself to spot go in Japanese woodblock prints (Ukiyo-e) they just leapt out to me. If you too happen to visit Tokyo in the next months, try to discover them yourself, they are well worth a visit.
Erwin Gerstorfer is an avid collector of go literature and prints.

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Kim Sooyoung and Park Jongwook of Korea Win Amateur Pair Go Championship

Sunday December 4, 2016

A Korean pair won this year’s 27th International Amateur Pair Go Championship in Tokyo, besting a Taiwanese team in the 2016.12.04_us-pairfinals.  Kim Sooyoung and Park Jongwook of Korea beat Pai Shin-Hui and Huang Wei of Taiwan.  Pai and Huang had paved the way, however, by beating a strong Chinese pair in round one of the 32-pair five round event.  The US team of Jeremy Chiu and Gabriella Su (right) ended with a solid 3-2 record, losing in rounds one and three to a Japanese pair and the team from China, but beating Germany and Austria before facing a strong Russian pair, Grigorii Fionin and Elvina Kalsberg, also 2-2, in the final round.  In the 3rd edition of the World Students Pair Go Championship, North American pair Amira Song of Canada and Andrew Zalesak of North Carolina went 1-3, beating the Mexican pair but failing to beat the percentages in their other games against a Japanese pair and not one, but two, Korean university pairs.  A Japanese pair took first.
- report by Andy Okun (standing in photo); photo by Thomas Hsiang

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Cho Chikun 9p defeats AI DeepZen 2-1; Michael Redmond’s Commentary

Saturday December 3, 2016

“Zen plays well in the opening and in open areas that are difficult even for top pros to judge,” says Michael Redmond 9P in his commentary on Game 3 in the recent Cho-DeepZen match, in which Cho bested the AI program. “It makes local mistakes, a problem that seems to be a characteristic weakness of the neural network system. It is playing at a pro level, and is approaching the strength of AlphaGo that we saw in March 2016. In Game 2 I saw some patterns that Zen has been playing for years, so it has not turned into a copy of AlphaGo, but has kept it’s original ‘style’.”

Michael’s game 3 commentary:

[link]

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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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