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AlphaGo-AlphaGo Game 3: Three 3-3 invasions, a big moyo and a fight that fills the center of the board

Thursday August 3, 2017

This exciting game features an astonishing three invasions at the 3-3 point, prompting Michael Redmond 9p to note that “This version of AlphaGo 2017.08.03_AlphaGo vs. Alphago Game 3will invade here at any time when there is no urgent fighting going on. AlphaGo played an early invasion at the 3-3 in just two of the 60 Master series games, but that was shocking, as it defied the common knowledge of pros that such an early invasion should be bad. In this 50-game series AlphaGo played an early 3-3 invasion about 40 times.”

Click here for Redmond’s video commentary, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock, and follow along with the sgf below, which as usual includes extra variations.

“Black plays a big moyo game, and then chases an eyeless White group into Black’s moyo, to start a fight that fills the center of the board,” adds Redmond.

The video is produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson.

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Meet the 2017 Redmond Cup Finalists

Wednesday August 2, 2017

After a preliminary tournament spanning nearly three months, Muzhen Ai 7d and Matthew Cheng 5d emerged at the top of the pack in the Senior (13-17) and Junior (12 and under) divisions respectively to compete in their first Redmond Cup Finals. However, they will face stiff competition against 4-time champion Aaron Ye 7d and 2-time champion Ary Cheng 6d, who placed second in their respective divisions. The first round of the best-of-3 Finals will take place at the 2017 US Go Congress on August 6th, with live commentary for the Senior Division by Eric Lui 1p and Julie Burrall 1d on the AGA Youtube channel. Learn more about the young finalists below:

Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 3.45.10 PM17-year old Muzhen “Alan” Ai (at left) is from Dallas, Texas and is looking for his first Redmond Cup title after barely failing to qualify for the Finals last year. Despite sweeping the preliminaries 6-0, Ai told the EJ that he was “surprised to have made the finals after not studying go for a long time.” Ai started playing go at the age of 5 in Hebei, China after his mother accidentally took him to the wrong room of an apartment, which just so happened to be a go classroom. Studying with Zhao Yuhong 5p, Ai managed to achieve 5 dan in 3 years after barely passing the promotion tournament. On the last day of the tournament, he recalls, “I left early after losing my last game and thought I had no chance to get to 5 dan. When my mom was blaming me, she received a phone call from a teacher and was told that I was the last one on the promotion list.” Having moved to the US in 2015, Ai says that he “regrets not putting enough effort into studying go when he was little” but looks forward to playing some good games in the Finals.

Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 3.44.57 PM15-year old Aaron Ye (at right) from Cupertino, California is a familiar face in the Redmond Cup, having won the Junior division title four times in a row from 2011-2014. However, this is his first Finals in the Senior Division, and he is looking to achieve the honorary title of Redmond Meijin, which is granted to those who win the Redmond Cup at least 5 times. So far, this has only been achieved by Eric Lui 1p in 2001 and Curtis Tang 8d in 2010. Going 5-1 in the preliminaries, Ye told the EJ that he is happy to have made the Finals, and would like to thank the AGF and the volunteers who run the tournament every year for so many years. In addition, he looks forward to having fun in San Diego with his go friends. When Ye was 5 years old, he stumbled upon go when a family friend’s son happened to have an extra spot in a group lesson. He currently studies with Myungwan Kim 9p and while he barely has time to play games due to schoolwork, he watches pro games while doing homework to keep himself in shape. Outside of go, Ye enjoys cooking and enjoying good food.

Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 3.44.36 PM10-year old Matthew Cheng (at left) is from San Jose, California. He is qualifying for the second time this year, but only competing for the first.  Last year he was busy attending the World Youth Go Championships as the US Junior representative and had to cede his spot in the Redmond.  Matthew started playing go at the age of 5, and first learned by watching Youtube videos and then attending a local go class. In addition to learning from several teachers in the past (currently he studies by himself over the internet), Matthew also plays on IGS/KGS, does tsumego often, and reads many Chinese and English go books. Outside of go, Matthew also enjoys playing table tennis.

Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 3.44.25 PM11-year old Ary Cheng (at right – no relation to Matthew) is from Sunnyvale, California and is the only returning finalist from last year’s tournament. Having held the Junior title for the last two years in a row, Ary is looking to defend his title once again. Ary started playing go at the age of 6 after attending a group lesson in a Chinese school, and has never stopped playing since. Currently, he is studying with Mingjiu Jiang 7p and practices by playing on IGS and doing life and death problems. Outside of go, Ary also enjoys playing table tennis.

The Redmond Cup is a premier youth tournament named after Michael Redmond 9p for dan players under the age of 18. Players compete in an online preliminary tournament in April to determine two finalists in both a Junior (under 13) and Senior (under 18) division. Finalists are given a free trip to the US Go Congress to compete in a best-of-three finals. - Justin Teng, AGA Youth Coordinator

 

 

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AlphaGo-AlphaGo Game 2; Fighting throughout, a surprising sacrifice, a final huge ko

Wednesday August 2, 2017

“In this game AlphaGo shows great flexibility in the early stages, and also its ability to calculate extremely complicated fights later in the game,” 2017.08.02_AlphaGo vs. Alphago2says Michael Redmond 9P in his commentary on Game 2 in the AlphaGo-AlphaGo self-played series. Click here for his video commentary, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock, and follow along with the sgf below, which includes the extra variations Redmond refers to in the video. “Against Black’s sanrensei, White plays two unusual moves at 10 and 16 to create a unique opening,” says Redmond. “As the fighting starts, White makes a surprising sacrifice, abandoning a group to take the offensive in the center. Fighting continues throughout the game to climax in a final huge ko.” The video is produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson.

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Redmond’s AlphaGo-AlphaGo commentaries launched

Tuesday August 1, 2017

In the first in a new series of AlphaGo video commentaries, Michael Redmond 9p, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock, reviews Game 1 of the amazing AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo selfplay games. The 50-game series was published by Deepmind after AlphaGo’s victory over 2017.08.01_AlphaGo vs. Alphago with Michael Redmond 9p Game 1world champion Ke Jie 9p in May 2017. Games 2-4 will be released this week, leading up to this year’s U.S. Go Congress in San Diego, which starts on Saturday.

“In the Master series earlier this year, AlphaGo first showed its big shimaris, and often played to dominate the center of the board in the early opening, using its famous shoulder hits to do so,” says Redmond. The Master version “had an early advantage in almost all of the games,” Redmond says, “and I was impressed with its ability to simplify complicated middle game positions and bring the game to an early outcome. Less convincing was the way Master handled complicated joseki. It also had a disturbing habit of losing several points in the endgame to win by the smallest possible margin.”

“With this new self-played series,” says Redmond, “I wanted to see how these traits had survived AlphaGo’s evolution; five months is a long period of time for a self-teaching AI. The exciting news is that Alphago has changed dramatically.” Click here, to find out how in the video commentary and see below for Redmond’s extensively commented sgf file. The videos are produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson; sgf editing support by Myron Souris.

 

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The Power Report: Iyama defends Gosei title, becomes Meijin challenger, extends winning streak

Tuesday August 1, 2017

Iyama defends Gosei title, becomes Meijin challenger, extends winning streak: Last week Iyama Yuta extended a winning streak2017.08.02_Iyama (L) defends Gosei he started on April 13 to 16 games. That indicates that this report won’t include any Iyama failures.
The second game of the 42nd Gosei title match was held in the Miyajima Hotel Makoto in Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture, on July 19. Taking black, Iyama played “steadily” and secured a resignation after 145 moves. “Steadily” was the word used by the Go Weekly reporter, but to me the game seemed very complicated. In a kind of trade, Iyama gave up a large group for the chance to attack and eventually kill a big group and a small one. Having lost the first two games, Yamashita Keigo, the challenger, was now faced with a kadoban.
The third game was played at the Hotel Nikko Kumamoto in Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture, on July 25. Playing white, Iyama forced Yamashita to resign after 206 moves and defended his title with straight wins. This was another game in which fierce fighting started early and spilled all over the board. Yamashita pushed Iyama hard but was unable to prevail. This is Iyama’s sixth successive Gosei title, equally the Gosei record set by Otake Hideo and Kobayashi Koichi,  and his 45th overall. First prize is 8,000,000 yen (at 110.63 yen to the dollar, about $72,313).
2017.08.02_meijin42_league12On July 28, Iyama met Murakawa Daisuke in the eighth round of the 42nd Meijin League (left). The game was played at the Kansai Headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in Osaka. Iyama had won all his games so far and was leading the league on 6-0. On 4-2, Murakawa was the only other player still in the running with Iyama, but he needed to win his final two games and not only beat Iyama himself, but also have him lose to Yo Seiki in the final round. If that happened, the two would meet in a play-off to decide the challenger. That turned out to be just a dream. Taking black, Murakawa played positively, launching a surprise attack on Iyama early in the game. He seemed to have good momentum in the middle game, but Iyama found a chink in his armor and forced him to resign after 146 moves.2017.08.02_Kobayashi Satoru wins Fume killer
Since losing the Meijin title to Takao Shinji about eight months ago, Iyama has done everything right, defending his other six tiles without being put under severe pressure. He can now aim at securing his second grand slam, which would be a first in board games in Japan.
Unlike the other rounds, all the games in the final round of the Meijin League are played on the same day, which is August 3 this year. This is to heighten the drama and to encourage fan interest―“If A beats B, and C loses to D, etc.”―but this year the only suspense will be whether or not Iyama finishes the league with a clean slate. The first game of the title match will be played on August 30 and 31.

Kobayashi Satoru wins Masters’ Cup: The final of the 7th Fume-killer Igo Masters Cup was held in the TV studio in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on July 22. After a long (266 moves) and fierce fight, Kobayashi Satoru 9P (B) beat Cho Chikun, Hon. Meijin, by half a point. Kobayashi (right) won this title for the second time after a gap of four years. It is sponsored by an insecticide company and first prize is five million yen. This title is open to players 50 and older who have won a top-seven title. Other senior players who have done well in the prize-money-winning list take part in a qualifying tournament for seats in the main tournament. The time allowance is one hour, with the last five minutes allotted to byo-yomi. There was a standing-room-only crowd at a public commentary given in the large hall on the second floor of the Nihon Ki-in.

2017.08.02_Shibano ToramaruShibano wins first title: One of the brightest prospects at the Nihon Ki-in is Shibano Toramaru 3P (left). Commentators have been impressed by his individualistic style and flair for fighting. Shibano won a seat in the final of the 26th Ryusei Cup, where he was matched against another young star, Yo Seiki 7P (Yu Cheng-ch’i) of the Kansai Ki-in. Playing black, Shibano won the game by resignation. He set a couple of speed records. At 17 years eight months, he became the youngest player to win the Ryusei title, breaking the record Ichiriki Ryo set last year of 19 years one month. Second, he was the fastest to win a title in which all professionals could participate, winning the Ryusei two years 11 months after become a professional. Iyama Yuta set the previous record when he won the 12th Agon Kiriyama Cup three years six months after becoming a pro. This victory also earned Shibano promotion to 7-dan (as of August 1). This set another record, as he was the fastest to 7-dan; the previous record was set by Sakai Hideyuki, who made it in three years four months.

Promotion
To 5-dan: Terayama Rei (70 wins, as of July 28)

Interesting stats: Some interesting players are featuring in the statistical contests this year. Below is the picture as of the end of July.
Most wins
1. Shibano Toramaru: 30 wins 6 losses
2. Ichiriki Ryo 29-8
3. Fujisawa Rina: 27-13
4. Iyama Yuta 26-7
5. Kyo Kagen 4P: 24-5
6. Otake Yu 1P: 21-6; Mutsuura Yuta 3P: 21-9; Mukai Chiaki 5P: 21-10
9. Terayama Rei 5P: 20-7; Motoki Katsuya 8P: 20-8; Xie (Hsieh) Yimin: 20-12; Yamashita Keigo: 20-13
One point of interest is the presence of three female players in the top 12. They are probably getting a bit of a boost from the recent proliferation of women’s titles.

Successive wins
Iyama Yuta: 16 (hasn’t lost a game since April 13).
Shibano Toramaru also had a wining streak of 16 games that came to an end during July.

Correction: In my account of the Senko Cup in my last report, I forgot to mention the location of the venue for the semifinals and finals. They were held at the Akekure inn in the town of Higashi Omi in Shiga Prefecture.

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Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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Video Commentary: “Giant-Killer” Ryan Li 1P on his Mlily win against Chen Yaoye 9p

Sunday July 30, 2017

Young North American pro Ryan Li 1P takes an in-depth look at his recent win in the MLily Meng Baihe Cup World Go Open Tournament against Chen Yaoye 9p in a brand-new 75-minute video commentary hosted by American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. “The 2017.07.30_Yaoye FINALtournament was a blast,” Li says. And though it wasn’t his first international tournament, Li admits it was “a real challenge to go up against players who have a lot more tournament experience than I do.” Li credits his study of Chen’s games and strong prep support from fellow North American player Stephanie Yin. “Just as in other sports,” Li says, “I think that a strong mentality is going to give you the edge in a tournament like this.”

Li, currently pursuing a Ph.D. in earth sciences at Yale, became the fourth AGA-certified pro in 2015. He has represented North America several times and scored wins over Asian pros before, including defeating Japan’s young talent, Mutsuura Yuta 2p, in the 2016 IEMG in China.

He will face Li Xuanhao 6p on August 24 in the top 16 of the MLily Cup. The winner receives about US $260,000 USD and the runner up close to $90,000.

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Categories: China,World
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Updates from Europe and Australia: EGF launches newsletter; What do Australian go players want?

Sunday July 30, 2017

EGF launches newsletter: The European Go Federation has launched a free twice-monthly newsletter that will include news from the European Championship, Go Congress and side events, EGF updates, announcements about big tournaments from all over the world, as well as international go news.

What do Australian go players want? If you’re a go player Down Under, the Australian Go Association wants to know what you want out of Australian club and tournament go. Click here to take their survey and let them know.

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Categories: Australia,Europe
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2017 US Go Congress preview

Saturday July 29, 2017

With just a week left before the 33rd US Go Congress kicks off next Saturday at the Town and Country Resort in San Diego, California, the schedule for the week-long event is finally complete, reports Congress Co-Director Ted Terpstra. Currently there are 531 registered attendees including 26 professional go players. 2017.07.29_SD-airport-stones

There will be a ten-session Go Teachers’ Workshop for those wanting to learn the optimal ways of teaching go in the classroom. Many of the teachers’ session will be given by Myungwan Kim, 9P. Coordinating the workshop is Jonathan Hop <yithril@gmail.com>.

For young very-strong players, there will be a 10-session workshop sponsored and run by the Nihon-Kiin professionals: Yashashiro, 9P and Tsuruta 4P. Coordinating the very-strong players workshop is Ihan Lui <ihan.lui@gocongress.org>.

Each afternoon and evening after the US Open rounds (Sunday-Friday, except Wednesday), there will be lectures and game analysis by the more than 20 professional players from around the world. There will be sessions for the best players as well as the new players who are starting their climb to the top.

A special set of go classes will be given by European go teacher, In-seong Hwang <admin@yunguseng.com>. His lecture topics include Let’s get the Go-Avengers (includes Thor vs Hulk, Iron Man vs Black Widow and Captain America vs Nick Fury), Let’s make Go Easier and AlphaGo Games, the Future of Go.

“The summer in San Diego has been pleasant with almost no rain,” says Terpstra. The five-day forecast is for high temperatures of 77, 76, 77, 77, and 77 degrees, “Perfect for swimming in one of the three swimming pools at the Town and Country Resort. It should be a fine US Go Congress.”

photo: large white go stones embedded in the wall of the building next to the car rental facility at the San Diego Airport; photo by Ted Terpstra

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More Redmond Reviews and a new AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo series

Tuesday July 25, 2017

More Redmond Reviews and a brand-new AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo series are coming soon. A brief video just released reveals that Michael Redmond 9P is2017.07.25_Redmond AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo update working on a new series of video commentaries with E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock, focusing on the AlphaGo self-played games as well as recent tournament games by Redmond himself, that have been influenced by AlphaGo. “AlphaGo jumps into the middle game pretty quickly (and) the fighting in the middle game is amazing and there are a lot of moves that took me by surprise,” says Redmond. “Michael has been working incredibly hard to explain these incredibly complicated games so stay tuned and fasten your seatbelt!” Garlock added. The videos are being produced by Michael Wanek.

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Updates: East Bay Go Club formed; Australian Go Congress set; Kiseido sale on go books

Monday July 24, 2017

East Bay Go Club formed: The East Bay Go Club has just formed and meets Thursdays from 6:30PM to 9PM “at the beautiful new Games of 2017.07.23_east-bay-clubBerkeley” at 2510 Durant Ave. (near Telegraph Ave), reports Chris Russell. More details on the club’s website.

Australian Go Congress set: The Australian Go Congress is coming up September 28 – October 1 in Sydney. 2017.07.23_australiaThe third such event includes the 2017 Australian National Championships and has an iPhone/iPad-friendly site.

Kiseido sale on go books: Kiseido is having a sale of all English-language go books ordered through their book page. Recent and recommended books include The Basics of Life and Death, Handicap-Go and the Sanrensei Opening and An Encyclopedia of Go Principles. The sale runs through August 31.

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