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Gu Li & Lee Sedol Face Off in Jubango Game 3 This Weekend

Thursday March 27, 2014

Gu Li will be looking to begin erasing his 2-game deficit Game 3 of the Lee Sedol – Gu Li Jubango this weekend. Gu beat Lee in Round 2 of the just-concluded Zhaoshang Cup on March 21 (Korea wins 4th Zhaoshang Cup by a whisker GGG 3/24/2014), and is playing him again in Round 2 of the Chunlan Cup but Lee leads 2-0 in the jubango. Live coverage with commentary of the match will start on Baduk TV three hours after the first move is played. The commentators will replay and analyze the game from the beginning and Go Game Guru’s An Younggil 8p will translate and discuss the game in English with Baduk TV Live viewers. The coverage starts at 1:00 pm Korea time on Sunday, March 30 (Midnight Sunday morning EST). You can watch the game on Baduk TV for as little as $2.70 with a Baduk TV Day Pass.
- Go Game Guru; photo: Gu draws Lee in the Chunlan Cup

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“New Yorker” Reports on Computer Go

Wednesday March 26, 2014

The latest advances in computer go are covered in a new post by The New Yorker. In “The Electronic Holy War”, Patrick House reports on the Densei-sen, “or ‘electronic holy war,’ tournament, in Tokyo, where the best Go programs in the world play against one of the best humans” where Crazy Stone last March defeated Yoshio “the Computer” Ishida.

The article does an excellent job of explaining why go has been so tough for computers to crack. “Part of the difficulty for computers—and humans—is that it is often hard to determine at any given time whether a group of pieces is being surrounded or doing the surrounding, and thus who is ahead…Without a clear understanding of who is ahead, programs like Deep Blue stutter. ‘All the machinery that was built up for computer chess is pretty useless,’” (Murray) Campbell (a member of the IBM Deep Blue team says.

It also explains how “Monte Carlo” algorithms, initially developed seventy years ago as part of the Manhattan Project, have been the key to developing stronger go programs. “The better the programs got, the less they resembled how humans play: during the game with Ishida, for example, Crazy Stone played through, from beginning to end, approximately three hundred and sixty million randomized games. At this pace, it takes Crazy Stone just a few days to play more Go games than humans collectively ever have. ‘I have to be honest: I still find it kind of magical, that it works as well as it does,’ Campbell said.”

The “electronic holy war” will run once a year in Tokyo until 2017, the report continues. “This past weekend, at the second annual tournament, Crazy Stone faced Norimoto Yoda, a Japanese professional who has a reputation for slamming pieces onto the board—sometimes shattering them—to intimidate his opponent. Crazy Stone was given a four-move head start and, lacking the eyes and ears through which another player might have been intimidated, won by two and a half points. “After the match, Yoda, through a translator, told me that he was grateful for Crazy Stone because it eased up at the end and allowed the game to be closer than it actually was: the result of randomness—or, perhaps, of the beginnings of pity.”
Photograph of Rémi Coulom and Ishida Yoshio courtesy of gogameguru.com

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Go Spotting: Teen Wolf Takes Sente

Tuesday March 25, 2014

MTV’s Teen Wolf has shattered the Go Spotting record, featuring go four weeks in a row, on a show that’s not about go.  With a viewership of 3.5 million, repeated mentions of the game, and even a summary of the main goals, local clubs could soon be seeing a surge of new players if even a fraction of those viewers become curious about go and learn to play.  This week’s episode, entitled “The Divine Move” both starts and ends with go.  Early in the episode Mrs. Yukimura (Tamlyn Tomita) advises a desperate Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) while the family is seated around a go board “he made a powerful move by splitting the two of you.”   “So what’s our move?” responds  her daughter Kira (Arden Cho), as she places a stone on the board. “The Nogitsune has had sente until this point, what you need is a ‘Divine Move’ in order to turn this game around,” responds her mother.  Stiles does find a divine move, in the story arc at least, and his friends defeat the Nogitsune at last.  Towards the end of the episode, Kira’s parents are seen picking up the pieces from the go board, drawing a conclusion to the story arc (and the season).  Full episodes of Teen Wolf can be streamed on the MTV website here. As an added bonus, in the after show (Wolf Watch) series creator Jeff Davis also talks briefly about go. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo from the MTV website: Kira places a stone on the board, while Stiles talks to Mrs. Yukimura.

 

 

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AGA City League Round 3 Set for March 29

Sunday March 23, 2014

The next round in the AGA City League is set for Saturday, March 29. Click here for the team pairings in the A League, B League and C League and catch the action live on game day at 3PM EST on Pandanet using the new GoPanda2 software. Games will be played in the AGA City League room.
- Steve Colburn, TD

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Nihon Kiin Organizing Special Go Camp to Celebrate 90th Birthday

Saturday March 22, 2014

In celebration of the 90th birthday of Nihon Kiin, a special summer go camp will be held from August 26 to September 4 in Tokyo. Included in the camp are daily pro instructions in separate dan and kyu sections, playing in the largest Japanese amateur tournament — the Takara Shuzou Cup, where the 1000+ participants will all receive special commemorative prizes — and visits to the Honinbo title ceremony, to Kamakura, site of the Go Seigen-Kitani jubango, and to Yugen no ma, the Nihon Kiin’s legendary tatami playing room adorned by a Kawabata calligraphy (right). The camp fee is between JPY 50 to 55K (about $500); housing starts at about $40 a night. The camp is recommended for players 10 kyu and up, including high dans. For further information and registration forms, contact igf@usgo.org.
- Thomas Hsiang; photo by John Pinkerton

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Categories: Japan
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Maryland Open Set for Memorial Day Weekend

Thursday March 20, 2014

The 41st Maryland Open is coming up May 24-25 just outside Baltimore, MD. The 5-round event — 3 rounds Saturday, two on Sunday — attracts players from across the Eastern Seaboard, with prizes in all sections. “This is a very popular weekend,” warns organizer Keith Arnold, “so make reservations now!” Click here to register and for hotel and venue info.

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The Power Report (Part 4): Humans Beat Computers in First “Igo Electrical King Tournament”; Kataoka Scores 1,000 Wins; Retirements

Thursday March 20, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Humans Beat Computers in First “Igo Electrical King Tournament”: To test how close computers have come to human level at go, the first Igo Electrical King Tournament was staged in the top playing room, Yugen, at the Nihon Ki-in on February 11. Please take our word that “electrical king” (dennou) sounds better in the original.  The program Zen played best-of-three 9×9 matches with Cho Riyu 8P and Hirata Tomoya 3P, but lost both without picking up a game. However, Zen lost by only half a point in its first game with Cho, and human commentators pointed out a winning sequence that it missed in the endgame. One of Zen’s programmers commented that it would still take ten years to catch up with pros in 9×9 go.
Zen vs. Hirata Tomoya 3P: Game 1. Hirata (W) by resig.; Game 2. Hirata (B) by resig.
Zen vs. Cho Riyu 8P: Game 1. Cho (B) by half a point; Game 2. Cho (W) by resig.

More games in this tournament were played three days later on 13×13 and 19×19 boards. On the 13×13, Emura Koki (W), a former WAGC representative for Japan, twice beat Zen by resignation. On the 19×19, Zen beat Ozawa Ichiro, a prominent politician. He is dan level, but we don’t know his exact rank.

Kataoka Scores 1,000 Wins: A win on February 27 gave Kataoka Satoshi 9P (right) his 1,000th win as a pro, making him the 15th Nihon Ki-in player to reach this mark. It took him 42 years and his record was 1,000 wins, 530 losses, 4 jigo.

Retirements: Two more veteran players have retired as of March 31. They are Ishida Akira 9P and Fukui Susumu 9P. Ishida was born in Tokyo on May 23, 1949 and became a disciple of Fukuda Masayoshi 8P. He became 1-dan in 1966 and 9-dan in 1982. He won the top section of the rating tournament (Oteai) in 1972 and the 3rd and 4th King of the New Stars titles ((1978 and 1979). He played in six Meijin leagues and one Honinbo league. At his peak, when he played in the Meijin league for six years in a row, Ishida impressed as one of the top players on the go scene, but he never put it together to win a big title. Fukui was born in Tokyo on May 21, 1947 and became a disciple of Iwamoto Kaoru. He became 1-dan in 1965 and 9-dan in 1994. His older brother, Masaaki, is still active.

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AGA Go Camp Set for August

Wednesday March 19, 2014

The AGA Go Camp is confirmed for this summer, reports Camp Director Amanda Miller. Camp will be held the week before the Go Congress, from August 3rd to 9th, at YMCA Camp Kresge in White Haven, PA. White Haven is about 2 hours outside of New York City, so anyone who wishes to attend both camp and congress should be able to do so easily. Miller will be joined by co-director Nano Rivera, and they invite campers of all skill levels, and between the ages of 8 and 18, to join them for a week of go-playing and fun.  More information regarding the camp will be available soon, and registration will open within the next two weeks.  Keep an eye on the camp website for details.  Those who played in the NAKC or the Redmond Cup are eligible for a $400 scholarship, and need-based scholarships will also be available. Any questions can be e-mailed to Amanda Miller at agagocampeast@gmail.com. -Story and photo by Amanda Miller

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Go Spotting: Teen Wolf – Third Week in a Row

Wednesday March 19, 2014

MTV’s Teen Wolf seems to be on a go jag.  This week’s episode featured another conversation about strategy, with Kira (Arden Cho) learning about go from her mother, who even explains what the game is about, and describes territory.  Later in the episode, Kira’s father tells her that go is called Baduk in Korea, and that her mother is a very aggressive player – too aggressive for her own good.  This marks the third week in a row that go has been featured on the show, and next week’s episode is titled “The Divine Move,” which any Hikaru no Go fan will immediately recognize as a key concept in the manga.  My guess is that next weeks episode will revolve around another go match, possibly between Kira and her mother. Check out Teen Wolf on the MTV website here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.

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The Power Report (Part 3): Takao Makes Good Start To Judan Challenge; Kato Evens Score In Women’s Meijin; New Tournament Launches

Wednesday March 19, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Takao Makes Good Start To Judan Challenge: The first game of the Mori Building Cup 52nd Judan Best-of-Five Title match, to give the tournament  its full name, was held on March 4, and the challenger, Takao Shinji 9P (left), got off to an efficient start by picking up a win by a half-point margin. The first game was played, for the fourth year in a row, at the Osaka University of Commerce; the president of the university, Tanioka Ichiro, is a scholar of games in general and has recently published a book on early go history.
The defending champion, Yuki Satoshi, seemed to take a lead in the opening, but Takao narrowed the gap through tenacious play and overhauled him in the end game. Takao had white and won by half a point after 303 moves. The second game will be played on March 27.

Kato Evens Score In Women’s Meijin: It has become the custom to hold the first game of the Women’s Meijin title match in conjunction with the first game of the Judan title match; it was held at the same venue, also for the fourth year in a row, on March 5. This year Kato Keiko 6P (right) was the challenger and was playing in her first title match for five years. She had just taken the winter off to have her second child (her husband is Mizokami Tomochika 8P) and she brought her daughter with her to Osaka, so she was quite busy. Kato, who drew white, played a little erratically at the start of the game — perhaps the lack of recent match practice told on her — but she found a chink in Xie’s armor and made the game close. However, she missed a good opportunity to strike as severe blow, and Xie seized the lead once again. This time Xie played tightly and forced a resignation after 195 moves. The second game was played on another campus, that of Heian Jogakuin Daigaku in Kyoto on March 12. The name translates as Heian Women’s Academy University but in English it is known as St. Agnes’ University. This was the third year in a row that the second game of this title match had been held there, in the Arisu-kan, a traditional Japanese building. Kato followed a strategy of avoiding fighting, which is Xie’s forte, so the game was not a spectacular one. Kato’s policy worked well until she let herself down with a couple of slack moves, but she was able to stage an upset in the endgame. Xie’s losing move was, in a sense, typical of her: she chose an endgame move not for its size but because it threatened the eye shape of an enemy group. However, Kato cleverly expanded the territory of another group with a move that provided a sente threat to secure eye shape for the group under attack. Playing black, she won by 1.5 points after 253 moves. The deciding game will be played at the Nihon Ki-in on March 24.

New Tournament Launches: A new tournament, the Tournament Winners Championship, has started. It is open to all title winners from 2013 plus a player chosen by a vote by go fans (13 players in all). The winner receives the Prime Minister’s Cup and the Minister for Education and Science’s Diploma. The first two rounds were held on February 14 and 15, with Yuki Satoshi Judan (left), Yamashita Keigo Ryusei, and Kyo Kagen, Nakano Cup winner, winning places in the semifinals. There they join Iyama Yuta, holder of six titles, who was seeded. The games were played on the Net, with time of 30 seconds per move plus ten minutes of thinking time to be used in one-minute units (the NHK format).The semifinals and finals will be held at the Nihon Ki-in on March 22. The 16-year-old Kyo, who was born in Taiwan, will play Iyama in one semifinal, and Yamashita meets Yuki in the other.
TOMORROW: Humans Beat Computers in First “Igo Electrical King Tournament”; Kataoka Scores 1,000 Wins; Retirements 

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Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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