American Go E-Journal » U.S./North America
Friday February 5, 2016
Monday February 1, 2016
Olin Waxler, in go, and Caden Rice, in chess, took top honors at a three school chess and go tourney in Portland, OR on Jan. 16, reports organizer Peter Freedman. Nineteen children participated, 8 playing go and 11 playing chess. Waxler, of Beverly Cleary Elementary, had a 3-0 record - taking first place in go for the third consecutive tournament. In second was Mason Bonner, Irvington, 2-1; Third, Oliver Kuerbis, Irvington, 1 ½ -1 ½ (one game was judged a tie by the tournament director). Caden Rice, Richmond, took the first place trophy in chess, with Dylan Nakaji, Richmond, taking second and Ai Rose, Richmond, taking 3rd. “Richmond continues its dominance in chess, and no one seems able to beat Olin in go. Irvington continues to show well in go,” adds Freedman. To add to the festivities, kids received snack packs of black and white mm’s as a door prize. – Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Peter Freedman.
Wednesday January 27, 2016
In a stunning development, the AlphaGo computer program has swept European Go Champion and Chinese professional Fan Hui 2P 5-0, the first time that a go professional has lost such a match. “This signifies a major step forward in one of the great challenges in the development of artificial intelligence – that of game-playing,” said the British Go Association, which released the news on January 27, based on findings reported in the scientific journal Nature this week (click here for the video, here for Nature’s editorial, Digital intuition and here for Go players react to computer defeat). NOTE: This story was posted at 1p EST on Wednesday, January 27; be sure to get the latest breaking go news by following us on Facebook and Twitter.
“AlphaGo’s strength is truly impressive!” said Hajin Lee, Secretary General of the International Go Federation and a Korean go professional herself. “Go has always been thought of as the ultimate challenge to game-playing artificial intelligence,” added Thomas Hsiang, Secretary General of the International Mind Sport Association and Vice President of International Go Federation. “This is exciting news, but bittersweet at the same time,” said American Go Association president Andy Okun. “I think we go players have taken some pride in the fact that we could beat the best computers. Now we’re down to Lee Sedol fighting for us.”
Google DeepMind, the British artificial intelligence company which developed AlphaGo, has issued a challenge to Lee Sedol 9P from South Korea, the top player in the world for much of the last 10 years, to play a 5-game, million-dollar in March. “I have played through the five games between AlphaGo and Fan Hui,” said Hsiang. “AlphaGo was clearly the stronger player. The next challenge against Lee Sedol will be much harder.” While Hajin Lee agreed, saying “I still doubt that it’s strong enough to play the world’s top pros,” she added “but maybe it becomes stronger when it faces a stronger opponent.” Fan Hui (left) is a naturalized French 2-dan professional go player originally from China. European Champion in 2014 and 2015, Fan is also a 6-time winner in Paris as well as Amsterdam.
Just as the Kasparov/Deep Blue match did not signal the end of chess between humans, “so the development of AlphaGo does not signal the end of playing go between humans,” the BGA pointed out. “Computers have changed the way that players study and play chess (see this 2012 Wired article), and we expect something similar to occur in the field of go, but not necessarily as assistance during play. It has been recognised for a long time that achievements in game-playing have contributed to developments in other areas, with the game of go being the pinnacle of perfect knowledge games.” Added Okun, “go has for thousands of years been a contest between humans and a struggle of humans against their own limits, and it will remain so. We still cycle in the Tour de France, even though we’ve invented the motorcycle.”
The BGA noted that that achievements in game-playing technology have contributed to developments in other areas. The previous major breakthrough in computer go, the introduction of Monte-Carlo tree search, led to corresponding advances in many other areas.
Last year, the Facebook AI Research team also started creating an AI that can learn to play go and earlier today Mark Zuckerberg reported on Facebook that “We’re getting close, and in the past six months we’ve built an AI that can make moves in as fast as 0.1 seconds and still be as good as previous systems that took years to build. Our AI combines a search-based approach that models every possible move as the game progresses along with a pattern matching system built by our computer vision team.”
Game 1 of the AlphaGo vs. Fan Hui 2P match appears above right. Click below for the match’s remaining game records:
AlphaGo vs. Fan Hui, game 2
AlphaGo vs. Fan Hui, game 3
AlphaGo vs. Fan Hui, game 4
AlphaGo vs. Fan Hui, game 5
Update (11:44pm 1/27): Myungwan Kim 9P will analyze the games played between Fan Hui and AlphaGo during a live stream on the AGA YouTube Channel and TwitchTV this Friday; more details will be posted at 7a EST.
Wednesday January 27, 2016
Tuesday January 26, 2016
- Cherry Shen
Sunday January 24, 2016
Korean pair Jeon Yujin-Song Hongsuk won the 26th International Amateur Pair Go Champion in Tokyo held December 5-6 at Hotel Metropolitan Edmont. Amy Wang 4D and Danny Ko 7D represented the United States. It was the second time the two had represented the US. “Amy represented in 2013 and I represented in 2014, so we pretty much knew the drill,” says Ko.
There were 32 teams including 12 Japanese pairs. “We drew a difficult first round match-up and fell to one of the strong Japanese pairs (7 Dan male and 6 Dan female) on Saturday morning (Dec 5). The game was somewhat competitive but we fell behind after a mid-game fight and lost about 10 points.”
After the first round, players and guests prepared for the goodwill game wearing national costumes. “Amy and I decided to wear ‘old western’ costumes. It was a great chance to meet other players and guests. I paired with a 6 Dan Japanese lady and played against Hajin Lee 3P and a Japanese 6-dan male player (left). It was my first time to play Hajin although we have been good friends for many years.”
“Sunday morning, we played Indonesia in the second round. We led the game with comfortable margin and won the game by resignation,” Ko told the E-Journal. “We drew the one of Japanese pairs (7-dan male and 5-dan female) again in the third round. The game was very competitive and both teams had many chances throughout the game. We pretty much lost the game at the last fight and lost about 5 points.”
In the 4th and 5th rounds, the US team played Mongolia and Finland. winning both games in less than 100 moves by resignation. Their 3-2 result resulted in 16th place for the US. “The result was a little disappointing since we were hoping to win four games,” says Ko. “But we played very competitively against two Japanese pairs so it was not a bad performance. Click here for complete results.
Thursday January 21, 2016
The upcoming South Central Go Tournament in Dallas February 13-14 “aims to bring together players in the south central part of the country to enjoy a weekend of competition, and to build a sense of community amongst one another,” says organizer Bob Gilman. As of January 18, 22 players have registered, 14 from Texas and 8 from other states. Find more information on Facebook. Note that there is a special rate at the Residence Inn, Plano, Texas for players coming from out of town. This rate is available through January 22. Also, provided there are sufficient registrations, players will get access to video reviews of selected games by prominent teacher In-seong Hwang. Registration for the tournament is open here. For more information comment on Facebook or write Bob Gilman.
Tuesday January 19, 2016
Registrations for the North American Kyu Championship (NAKC) are due by January 26. Any kyu players under the age of 18, from Canada, the United States, or Mexico are welcome to join. Junior (under 13) and Senior (under 18) players will compete with each other, but crystal trophies will be awarded to both the best Junior player and the best Senior player in each bracket – all the way down to double digit kyu. The winner of the top bracket will also be allowed to join the Redmond Cup, a youth tournament traditionally only open to dan players. Thanks to the AGF, any participant who competes in every round, win or lose, will be eligible for the choice of a $400 scholarship to the summer AGA Go Camp or a $200 scholarship to the 2016 Go Congress. All four rounds will be held on KGS on January 30. For more details, visit the NAKC’s official Rules and Format page. To register, click here. -Story and photo by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth editor. Photo: Kyu players honing their skills at the 2015 US Go Congress in St. Paul.
Monday January 18, 2016
In the handicap section Sam Tregar 5k, Luke Weatherby 8k and James Acres 1k all had perfect 3-0 records with Tregar winning the title on tie-breaker over the 18 contestants.
Players came from as far as Los Angeles and Phoenix, to enjoy a day of fierce competition. The tournament was co-hosted by the San Diego Go Club and the UCSD Go Club.
An added bonus was that newly minted AGA pro Eric Lui 1P dropped in to observe, comment and join half the contestants for the post-games dinner at a local Japanese restaurant.
- report/photos by Ted Terpstra; (top left) Mark Lee (left) playing Weihan Huai (with Eric Lui watching, back, second from right); (top right) Mark Lee (left) receiving his cash prize from Ted Terpstra (president, SD Go Club); (bottom right) Group shot of 2016 SD Go Championship. (bottom left) Sam Tregar (right) Handicap-section winner.
Your Move/Readers Write: Weiqi Teacher Needed in Maryland; Go Photo; Turing, Mrs Morcom and Go; Taranu’s Timing; Wrong Rank; Go in WSJ
Monday January 18, 2016
Weiqi Teacher Needed in Maryland: The Hope Chinese School is looking for a go teacher for a Saturday afternoon class, reports Edward Zhang. “It’s a great school with several hundred students registered.” The class is at Winston Churchill High School, 11300 Gainsborough Road, Potomac, MD 20854. Hourly rate is at least $23; contact Ms. He 703-585-7164.
Turing, Mrs Morcom and Go: “Not sure if anyone has submitted this one,” writes John Hager, “but in the book ‘Alan Turing: The Enigma‘ (chapter 3) it mentions that Turing taught his friend’s mother, Mrs. Morcom, to play go. “Also mentioned (is that) not much go (was) played at Princeton when Alan Turing was in residence.”
Speaking of Princeton, we have it on good authority that this year’s New Jersey Open — the 57th — will be held March 19-20; details should be posted on our calendar soon.
Taranu’s Timing: “Aren’t you forgetting Romania’s Catalin Taranu?” writes Michael Alford. (Our “Finland’s Tormanen becomes pro shodan, 12/30 Power Report” said that Tormanen “is the first Westerner to become a professional at the Nihon Ki-in since the late Hans Pietsch 6P in 1997.”) “I think Catalin became Nihon Kiin pro in 1998. Catalin is 5p.”
The Igo Nenkan (the Yearbook put out by the Ki-in) just gives 1997 as the year both Pietsch and Taranu became pros. Go World 79 (page 9) has more details. Catalin Taranu won the qualifying tournament at the Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in and became pro 1-dan in April (probably as of April 1, as that is the usual practice, but this is not specified). Go World says: “Catalin was followed by Hans Pietsch at the Tokyo branch of the Nihon Ki-in. . . . Hans was given special permission to become professional shodan and he made his debut in late April.” So Hans is the most recent before Antti, though just by a matter of weeks. Btw, Catalin, like Michael Redmond, became pro the legitimate way, strictly through competition. (They are the only two. None of the Western pros at the Korean Ki-in made it through competition.) Hans Pietsch, Manfred Wimmer, and James Kerwin were all given special permission to become pro. However, the probationary status is regularized when you gain promotion, as Wimmer and Hans did. Hans earned promotion to 4-dan on merit.
– John Power
Wrong Rank: “…this is mostly tongue in cheek,” writes Keith Arnold. “In your nice thank you article (AGA Pro Tourney: Final Results and Team Credits) you got one of the ranks wrong. You list ‘Eric Lui 7d’…missed your first chance to say ’1p’ Had to do it.”
Go in WSJ: “Here’s a nice article freshly enpixellated in the Wall Street Journal on go and computers,” writes Matt Bengtson.