American Go E-Journal » U.S./North America

International Collegiate Go Tourney July 7-13

Friday February 12, 2016

InternationalCollegiateTournamentLogo.pngThe Ing Foundation will be hosting the 2016 International Collegiate Go Tournament, at the University of Toronto, Mississauga, in Canada this summer, reports Michael Fodera of the American Collegiate Go Association. The event starts on July 7th and will finish on the 13th, and is open to any current, future, or recently graduated college student (both undergraduate and graduate) who will or has attended school in 2016. All costs related to room, board, tours, and travel during the event will be covered by the Ing foundation. The student is responsible for getting to and from the tournament site (both international and domestic travel costs), and for any personal expenses such as souvenirs, and entertainment during the course of the trip.

“This is a truly unique experience as the Shanghai Ing Foundation does not spare any expense during the planning of this event,” reports Fodera.  More information, including rules and registration, can be found on the ACGA website here. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor

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Skyping in to the Go Club

Monday February 8, 2016

2016.02.08_evanston-skypeWhat do you do when you have the flu and can’t make it to the go club? That’s what Skype was invented for, says Evanston Go Club president Mark Rubenstein. “This was Kiren Polara’s idea,” says Rubenstein. “He was at home with the flu, but didn’t want to miss the club meeting. So he suggested we use Skype and KGS to let him attend virtually. It worked out really well; he got to play and watch all night long. It got me thinking about more ways we can use technology to engage more players.” The Evanston Go club has been meeting every week for nearly 20 years. Their next tournament will be March 5. “Sorry, no virtual games at the tournament, you have to attend in person!” said Rubenstein.
photo by Mark Rubenstein

 

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Categories: U.S./North America
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Leaders Emerge as Pandanet AGA City League Completes Third Round

Sunday February 7, 2016

pandalogo-4885cf7392ac5bc75a68d553b7287b04As the third round of the Pandanet AGA City League closes out, some leaders are emerging from the packs. In League A the Greater Washington and Canwa Vancouver 1 teams have always been at the top of the leader boards. Both teams are undefeated in their league. Two-time winner Los Angeles is in third place at this point. Washington DC 2 has come out strong this year, leading with three wins so far. Close behind is Washington DC 1 and San Francisco 1. League C has Atlanta 2 leading with the third round. Their opponents have some catching up to do for the last four rounds. Boston 3 is close behind Atlanta 2.

Click below to watch Hajin Lee 3p review two games from the A League. This round she looked at new 1p Eric Lui’s game against Edward Kim 7d and Bill Lin’s win over AGA professional exam contender Aaron Ye. Learn why joseki is important throughout the game in this video.

–Steve Colburn, TD

https://youtu.be/4qW58PLJZ44

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Longtime AGA Friends Hisao and Hiroko Taki and Tadaaki Jagawa win Okura Prize

Sunday February 7, 2016

Three long-term friends of the American Go Association are among the winners of the 45th Okura Prize. Hisao Taki and Hiroko Taki were 2016.02.07_pair-go-foundershonored for their founding and 27 years of support for pair go, while and Tadaaki Jagawa won for his contributions to supporting go in the United States, Europe, and Brazil. The Okura Prize was established by the Nihon Kiin in 1972 in memory of its founder and first president, Baron Kishichiro Okura. The Prize honors those who have made significant contributions to the development of go. Read more here.
photo: Hisao and Hiroko Taki at the 20th annual International Amateur Pair Go Championships in 2009, with IGF Vice President and North American representative Thomas Hsiang (left). 

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School Team Tourney – Registration Open

Friday February 5, 2016

SchoolTeamTournamentThe 2016 American Go Honor Society School Team Tournament (SST), North America’s premier K-12 team go tournament, will be held on the weekend of April 2-3 on KGS. All public or private institutions in the US, Canada and Mexico, from kindergarten to high school, are allowed to form teams of three to compete. Contrary to the previous tradition of hosting the event over two weekends, this year’s SST will take place during only one; there will be 2 rounds on each day, with the first starting at 9 AM PST (12 PM EST) and the second at 1 PM PST (4 PM PST). “Great prizes -including full scholarships to the AGA Summer Go Camp – are provided for the top places of each rank division, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to play together with your classmates and fight for glory,” says AGHS Promotion Head Stephen Hu. Tournament rules are posted on the AGHS website, and the registration form can be found here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Announcement and image by Stephen Hu.
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Waxler, Rice, Top Portland Chess and Go Tourney

Monday February 1, 2016

unspecifiedOlin 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.

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Game Over? AlphaGo Beats Pro 5-0 in Major AI Advance 

Wednesday January 27, 2016

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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.”

2016.01.27_hui-fanGoogle 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.”

In a related story, computer scientist John Tromp last week revealed the number of legal go positions, “weighing in at 9*19=171 digits.” Read more here.

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.

 

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Players Wanted for Chunlan Cup Online Playoffs

Wednesday January 27, 2016

The AGA has received a request to send a professional player to China for the 11th Chunlan Cup Selections March 25-28. Opening ceremony is on March 25th. This is the first section of the tournament and players will participate in the other sections if they advance on a date TBA. Airfare, food and lodging will be covered by the organizers. In addition, the minimum prize, for those who lose in the first round, is $2,000 pre-tax. The online play-offs will take place on the weekend of Feb. 20-21 on KGS. Eligibility: US/Canadian citizen, professional player, must meet AGA/CGA eligibility requirements. Must be able to play in the online tournament. Interested players should respond with their names, best form of contact, and KGS IDs before Feb. 10th. If there are multiple interested players, an online play-off will be held. Please send email responses and questions to cherry.shen@usgo.org
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U.S. Rep Sought for Bailing Cup

Tuesday January 26, 2016

Online play-offs to determine the U.S. rep to the 3rd Bailing Cup will take place on the weekend of February 6-7 on KGS. The AGA has received a request to send an amateur player to Beijing, China (China Qiyuan) for the 3rd Bailing Cup in March 11-15th. All expenses (travel, lodging, local transportation, and food) will be afforded by players. Players will compete in one of 48 pools and will qualify for the major competition if they take the top place in their assigned pool.

Eligibility: US/Canadian citizen, must meet AGA/CGA eligibility requirements. Must be able to play in the online tournament* and the major tournament sections if player advances. Interested players should email their names, best form of contact, and KGS IDs to cherry.shen@usgo.org before January, 31st. If there are multiple interested players, an online play-off will be held. Dates for the first, second and third rounds are June 28th to July 2nd. The fourth round will be held August 25th to 30th and the final competition will be September 20th to 22th and December 14th to 17th

*Note: This selection tournament applies to amateurs only.  Any professional players may directly register with Bailing Cup and participate in the preliminary round.
- Cherry Shen
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Amateur Pair Go report

Sunday January 24, 2016

Korean pair Jeon Yujin-Song Hongsuk won the 26th International Amateur Pair Go Champion in Tokyo held December2016.01.24_pair-go2 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.”

2016.01.24_pair-go1After 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.

 

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