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The Power Report (1): Iyama closing in on Grand Slam in Judan challenge; Xie defends Women’s Meijin; Cho U wins NHK Cup

Monday April 4, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2016.04.04_judan02_Iyama

Iyama closing in on Grand Slam in Judan challenge: The first game of the 54th Judan title was played at the Osaka University of Commerce on March 8. The Judan is the lowest-ranked of the seven open titles, but this year an extraordinary amount of interest is being taken in the title match because it is the last title Iyama Yuta needs to complete an unprecedented simultaneous grand slam, that is, a genuine grand slam. Usually there would be a lot of fan support for the youthful titleholder, Ida Atsushi, who turns 22 on March 16, but probably few people want to see Iyama miss this opportunity to set a new record. Ida got black in the nigiri. In the opening, Iyama played just one stone on the right side before building a position on the left, so the game became a moyo contest. Instead of trying to save his solitary stone,
 Iyama switched to invading the top right corner. When he settled his group in sente, he got a good game. Ida later invaded White’s bottom left position; he lived, but White severely harassed his group, taking a definite lead. Ida resigned after 206 moves. The second game was played at the Yu-no-yama Hot Spring Yumoto Green Hotel in the 2016.04.04_Judan2 Iyamaa lefttown of Komono in Mie Prefecture on March 23. The first 41 moves were the same as in Game Three of the Korean Myeongin (Meijin) title match, played on January 20 between Park Junghwan (black) and Lee Sedol. Iyama had reviewed the game in a study group and concluded that the opening, in which Black built thickness, was not bad for Black and wanted to try it out in a game. Ida obviously felt that it was playable for White, though he diverged from the Korean game with move 42. In the middle game, the game seemed even, but Ida made two mistakes: playing in the wrong direction with 124, then choosing the wrong hane out of two possibilities with 134. The latter move was labeled the losing move. Ida faces a kadoban, that is, a game that could lose a series, on April 14. Iyama has now won 18 title-match games in a row.

Xie defends Women’s Meijin: The second game of the 28th Women’s Honinbo title match was held at the Osaka University of Commerce on March 9. As has been the recent practice, it was held in conjunction with the Judan title match. Playing black, Aoki Kikuyo 8P forced a resignation after 209 moves, so she evened the score. The third game was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo on March 16. In a tense endgame contest, Xie emerged the victor by half a point, so she defended her title. She has now held it for nine years in a row and it is her 23rd title overall. Xie was also recently named as a Guest Professor at the Heian Jogakuin University (Jogakuin means Women’s Academy), which was the venue of the first game. The university is also known as St. Agnes’ University and is Anglican. A game in the title match has been held at this university for five years in a row. Xie has played in all of them, and on each occasion has given students instruction in go the day after the game. Correction: The first game was played on March 3, not February 28, as given in my previous report.

Cho U wins NHK Cup: The final of the 63rd NHK Cup was telecast on March 20. The finalists were Cho U 9P, who has won this title three times, and Teranishi Rei 4P, who reached the final on his debut in this tournament. Playing with white, Teranishi perhaps took a small lead after a large-scale trade arising from a ko fight, but Cho overhauled him in the middle game. Teranishi resigned after move 211. Cho’s last NHK cup was eight years ago; this is his first title since 2012. Last year Cho moved back to Taiwan with his family, partly to give his children a chance to learn Chinese and partly to try and recover form. He “commutes” to Japan for his tournament games. His NHK win may be a sign that this decision is paying off. Apparently he plans to return to live in Japan this summer.

Tomorrow: Cho Chikun wins 2015 Title Winners Tournament; Takao becomes Honinbo challenger; Recent results

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Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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Mingyu Oh wins 2016 International Paris Go Tournament

Monday April 4, 2016

Mingyu Oh 7D won the 2016 Paris Go Tournament, held in Neuilly, Paris, France from March 26-28. 152 players competed2016.04.04-paris-tourney this year. This is the 44th edition of the event with 6 rounds and a first prize of €1000. It is the largest tournament in France and one of the major European tournaments. Mingyu Oh 7D (at left in photo) won the tournament undefeated and also recently won the Irish Confucius Cup from March 4-6. Jinwon Chae 6D took second place going 5-1 with his lone defeat to Mingyu. Thomas Debarre 6D of France placed 3rd, falling to Mingyu and Jinwon, as the highest placing European. Dai Janfu 8D of France placed 4th. Other familiar competitors attended the tournament including Cornel Burzo 6D and Cristian Pop. Next year’s tournament will be in April.
- edited by Howard Wong; with reporting by Alain Cano; photo by Jérémie Rocher

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Categories: Europe
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World Youth Goe Tourney Open for Registration

Monday April 4, 2016

32nd WYGCThe 33rd World Youth Goe Championship is open for registration, reports Mingjiu Jiang 7P.  The event is open to US citizens only. The Senior Division is for youth aged 12—15, and the  Junior for kids under 12. Players cannot be on the team, in the same age division, more than twice within 3 years. The initial qualifiers will be held on KGS with Ing rules, April 30th and May 1st.  The top two players in each division will play the final games face to face, on May 14th and 15th, at the Ing Foundation in Menlo Park, California.           Round trip airfare to Menlo Park, and lodging, will be paid by the American Ing Goe Foundation.  The final winners will then compete in the 33rd World Youth Goe Championship, to be held in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 3—8. The players’ airfare, food and lodging will be covered by the organizers.

Registration is due  by April 23, 2016.  To register, email your name, date of birth, division, rank, KGS id, phone and address to mingjiu7p@hotmail.com.  You may also call Mingjiu at (650-796-1602)
Sponsored by: Ing’s Goe Foundation. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.

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Steam moving ahead with first go client

Saturday April 2, 2016

Steam, the largest distribution platform for online games, is moving ahead with its first-ever go client. Developed by Hart Laboratories, Ancient Go was approved on March 15 through a process called Steam Greenlight, which uses community support to select games for distribution. Although a release date is forthcoming, once available Ancient Go will provide players with another digital arena in which to test their mettle. 2016.04.02_Steam Greenlight  Ancient Go
Coming on the heels of the AlphaGo – Lee Sedol series, the timing of Ancient Go’s introduction is fortuitous. Online interest in go spiked despite Lee Sedol’s 1:4 performance against AlphaGo. In Reddit’s r/baduk, members noted a 20% increase in subscribers, which grew to over 10,000 users. The Online-Go Server also noted a surge of new players. Comments left on the Ancient Go Greenlight site were enthusiastic about the new go client, which will run on Steam’s proprietary distribution system.
2016.04.02_ancient-go-preview_3DBoardBuilt on the Unreal 4 Engine, Ancient Go is visually appealing. The goban and stones are rendered well, and its interface is striking for its minimalism – perhaps even too much so. There is no window for chat and no time display is evident in the game demonstration. While the Unreal 4 Engine supports 3D graphics, there are no plans to extend 3D presentation beyond the tutorial section, at least through the initial release. Games will still be played in two dimensions. “The priority [for Ancient Go] is to be beginner friendly, rather than being feature full. The goal is “to draw in new players instead of compete with existing servers,” notes Christopher Hart, Ancient Go’s developer, who also mentioned that the client will emphasize “quick play on smaller boards.”
There are still many unknowns about Ancient Go and several potential drawbacks. Chief among these is the lack of SGF 2016.04.02_ancient-go-preview_Tutorialsupport which, although standard on all other clients, evidently did not make the “feature full” cut for the first release. Ancient Go will also only be available on Steam’s Windows-compatible platform, not its Linux or Mac OS X versions. At this time there is no information about the quality of Ancient Go’s AI. The developer has also not announced any plans to introduce life and death problems or community forum features to the client. How all of this will affect the Steam community’s response to Ancient Go is yet to be seen.
Bearing all of this in mind, the release of Ancient Go will still be cause for excitement. Steam, which is owned by the Valve Corporation, boasts some 125 million accounts and has proven a versatile platform for online gaming. Extending go to this platform is sure to introduce more people to the game, and if even only a small fraction of these develops a deeper interest in go, I think the effort will have been worthwhile. Ancient Go should prove a welcome addition to the online go community.
- Daniel Acheson
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Categories: Computer Go/AI
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Young Players Wanted for Li Min Cup First Session

Saturday April 2, 2016

Young North American players are being sought for the first session of the new Li Min Cup World Best Go Star Championship from April 25 to 30 in Hangzhou, China. Note that this a separate event from the Li Min Cup Finals, which we reported on earlier this week (AGA Seeks Young Player for Li Min Cup 3/27/2016)The events have different deadlines, structures, and compensations; most notably, players will cover all expenses to attend the first session, while organizers cover costs for the finals, so they are in fact quite different despite the title.

Eligibility: US/Canadian citizen born after Jan. 1, 1993 for amateur players and US/Canadian citizen born after Jan. 1, 1996 for professional players. Players must also meet AGA’s/CGA’s eligibility requirements too. Prizes (Pre-tax amounts): 1st round: 3,000 RMB (if you are top 32 player). 2nd round: 4,000 RMB (if you are top 16 players)

Interested players should respond before midnight April 7th. Please email cherry.shen@usgo.org

- Joel Sherman

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David Lee Roth: “Go, man, go”

Saturday April 2, 2016

Rock ‘n’ roll legend David Lee Roth is “goin’ to the world championships; Not monster truck. Not PBR. Not rodeo. All of it 2016.04.02_david_lee_roth_videomixed into one: AlphaGo versus a human being.” Former Van Halen front man Roth’s most recent addition to his hit video webcast series “TheRothShow“, features about 10 minutes of witty dialogue on go. In a witty, erudite stream of consciousness rap about go inspired by the recent AlphaGo versus Lee Sedol match, Roth — who’s been studying with Myungwan Kim 9P — explains the “infinite variety” of the game that our “kids are gonna” play and our “grandkids are gonna be able to teach.” Pointing out that go players develop their “intuitive capacity to look at something and find the solution in the board,” Roth alludes to the challenges computers face in “divergent thinking” and calls the game “gymnastics for the brain.”
- Brian Kirby
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AlphaGo on CNN

Thursday March 31, 2016

 cnn2cnn1As AlphaGo finished playing the first round of its historic matches against Lee Sedol, news media around the world was reaching out to go organizations around the world. In the US there was a large number of print and internet publications. In three cases AlphaGo was talked about on TV for the US. The Daily Show covered AlphaGo and its AI prowess. On March 9th Michael Chen met with Poppy Harlow on CNN’s Quest Means Business on CNN International. During the segment they discussed the importance of the match and some basic of the game (Transcript). On March 10th Andrew Okun was interviewed by Ivan Watson from CNN International about the second loss from the matches. Okun talks about how far go has come to get to this point (Transcript).
- Steve Colburn

 

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Go Seminar held at U.S. Army War College

Tuesday March 29, 2016

To understand how China thinks about its’ rivalry with the United States, one needs to understand the game of go. That’s 2016.03.28_Baldwin 4 GO Game Event 4 Mar 16the message Dr. David Lai, a Professor of Asian Security Affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, gave during a half-day seminar on go held March 4 at the U.S. Army War College, also in Carlisle.  More than 30 attended, about half of them U.S. Army officers.

The seminar was the idea of Colonel Jack Pritchard, Chief of the Strategic Wargaming Division of the War College. Colonel Pritchard, who had never played go, became intrigued by references to the game in literature on military and political strategy, including a monograph written by Dr. Lai titled “Learning from the Stones: A Go Approach to Mastering China’s Strategic Concept, Shias well as Lai’s recent article “China’s Moves and Countermoves in the Asia Pacific,” Parameters, Spring 2015. Col. Pritchard 2016.03.28_Baldwin 3 GO Game Event 4 Mar 16asked a member of his staff, Lieutenant Colonel Donald Travis, to organize a seminar that would introduce the game to other officers and civilians closely associated with the War College and affiliated programs.

LTC Travis, who has played go with the Carlisle Go Club, planned the event in consultation with Lai and two other Carlisle go players, Dr. Howard Warshaw and Dr. Fred Baldwin (above, right). The result was a four-hour session, divided between lectures and actual play.  Dr. Baldwin opened with a brief history of go from its Chinese origins to the present, emphasizing its appeal to strategic thinkers. Then, Dr. Lai applied go concepts more specifically to Chinese geopolitical aims. Dr. Warshaw followed this up with an explanation of the rules of go and fielded questions on go basics, including capturing, life-and-death, and scoring.

During the second half of the seminar, the officers and other go neophytes played against each other on 9×9 and 13×13 boards, during which Warshaw, Baldwin, Lai and four other frequent Carlisle-area players were available to answer questions.  Warshaw and Baldwin noted that the officers grasped the basics quickly, especially considering that none of them had ever played the game before.

The War College is the Army’s version of graduate school for senior officers, those at the rank of Lieutenant Colonels or Colonels. Speaking from a War College perspective, LTC Travis remarked that Col. Pritchard and he considered the seminar a success. He also indicated that it may be possible to incorporate an introduction to go into the school’s academic curriculum on a more systematic basis.
Edited by Noah Doss and Howard Wong; photos courtesy Donald S. Travis

 

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Categories: U.S./North America
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AlphaGo Raps

Tuesday March 29, 2016

From SNL Korea “AlphaGo” participated in a rap battle vs Block B last weekend. Can AlphaGo master freestyle rap the way 2016.03.29_ SNL Korea - Block B Show Me the AlphaGoit mastered go? Click here for Show Me the AlphaGo Part 1 and Show Me the AlphaGo Part 2.
- Steve Colburn

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Categories: Computer Go/AI,Korea
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Oh Mingyu wins 2016 Irish Confucius Cup

Tuesday March 29, 2016

The Irish Confucius Cup took place from the 4th to the 6th of March, at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin. A field of 44 players 2016.03.29_irish-reporttook part in the go competition, whilst separate Xiangqi and Chess competitions ran alongside in parallel. The field was very strong, with European professional Mateusz Surma (1-pro) in attendance, alongside the veteran height of Cristian Pop (7-dan). Visiting on the first leg of their European go holiday were former korean insei Jinwon Chae (7-dan) and the eventual winner Oh Mingyu (7-dan). Surma took second, with Pop taking third on tiebreak from Chae. Winner of the Rapid tournament was Piotr Gawron (4-kyu). The generous sponsorship allowed Ms Shuang Yang (5-pro) to visit and to give commentary to all the players, which was very much appreciated.

- Ian Davis, based on the full report from organiser Rory Wales

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Categories: Europe
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