American Go E-Journal » World

Is AlphaGo the Master? Mystery Player Sweeps Top Pros

Wednesday January 4, 2017

Is AlphaGo the Master? A mysterious online player has been making huge waves by defeating dozens of top professionals2017.01.04_alphaGo-Master on go sites in Asia in recent days. “Master” first appeared on December 30, 2016 (Beijing time), registering from Korea. Achieving 30 consecutive wins against many former and current world go champions, Master defeated Park Junghwan four times and Ke Jie twice. After that, Master appeared on a different go site and logged another 20 consecutive wins. That made it 50 games in a row with no losses.

While the essentially universal consensus is that this is another AI player, it’s hotly debated whether this is a new edition of AlphaGo or not. More and more seem to believe it is. There’s been no official statement from the AlphaGo team thus far, and Aja Huang cryptically responded “interesting” to speculation that AlphaGo is Master. Adding fuel to the rumors, ScienceNews tweeted “AlphaGo: Now I am the master” promoting it’s Year in review: AlphaGo scores a win for artificial intelligence story on December 29, just before Master first appeared.

On January 4 (local time), the sina.com news site was ready when Master resurfaced. It broadcast the games live, accompanied with anonymous commentaries. The Taiwanese player Zhou Junxun 9p tried first with a strategy of playing “Symmetry Go” or “Imitation Go.” But Master’s superb opening (Zhou’s own impression after the game) thwarted that effort, notching win #51.

The Chinese player Chen Yaoye 9p was the next challenger. But his computer disconnected and Chen was not able to continue. There were sarcastic comments among viewers that Chen had inadvertently broken Master’s win streak, since a game dropped after only a very few moves was technically ruled a draw.

The next two games, against Fan Tingyu 9p and Huang Yunsong 6p, resulted in Master’s 52nd and 53rd consecutive wins and are posted below. Master’s 59th and 60th (and last) games against Zhou Ruiyang 9p and Gu Li 9p also appear below.
- Ze-Li Dou, with additional reporting by Zhiyuan “Edward” Zhang

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Categories: Computer Go/AI,World
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Mark Your Calendar: 2017 Go Events

Thursday December 29, 2016

Cuba: As previously reported, Cuba will host a International Conference of Mind Sports in May 2017. For those interested 2016.12.28_-cuba_tourism_photo_of_a_streetin participating beyond just joining in on the competitions, the call for papers to present a workshop is open until January 31. In addition, I-Dared Travels has developed a program that includes the conference and three additional days for traveling and getting to know a bit of Eastern Cuba. Click here for details.

Australia: The third Australian Go Congress has been announced for September 28 through October 1, 2017 in Sydney. The Australian Go Championships will be the central event at the Congress. In addition, a one day ‘kyu’ tournament will enable younger players to take part and enjoy the experience of being part of a major international event. The organizing committee is also planning other events including Pair Go and Lightning Go, with details to be released in the coming months.

Also coming up in 2017: European Go Congress 2017, Canadian Open 2017, Osaka Go Camp/Japan Go Congress and the US Go Congress. More details here.

 

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Perez Wins Latin American Youth Tourney

Wednesday December 7, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 5.36.40 PMAbel Perez, of Venezuela, took top honors  in the Liga youth tourney, held on OGS. The event is an annual tournament league for players under the age of 18 from all over Latin America. Liga started this year in April and concluded in November; 7 rounds were played each month. There were 24 players from Venezuela, México, Chile and Ecuador. Some games were reviewed by Ignacio Iglesis, a 2 dan go streamer for the Spanish speaking community, on his youtube channel Estudiando Go con Ini. The final matches in round 7 were very competitive as 4 countries had at least one player at the top boards, the winners were: 1st place- Abel Pérez, Venezuela; 2nd place: Leonardo Valdovinos, México; 3rd place: Benjamín Mimiza, Chile; 4th place: Joaquín Proaño, Ecuador; 5th place: Lilian Zavala, México.  See full results here.

“The dedication and motivation of the 3 chilean players that took part at the league inspired other kids to become more engaged with go, and it’s very likely that we will have 10 players for next years’ league,” says  Sebastián Montiel, Chilean go teacher at Club de Go Aonken. “This was the first time that we organized a tournament as a league system for Latin American youth, and it was quite a great success.” Co- organizer Diego Albuja, Ecuadorian go teacher at Academia de Go, told the Journal: ” I’m delighted that the league tournament concluded so satisfyingly, it depended not only on the guidance of the go instructors, but also on the commitment and will to participate of the young players, this indicates to us as organizers that there is great potential for the youth go scene in Latin America. With this league tournament a very active player in Ecuador, Joaquín Proaño leaves the youth division as he turned 18, and we are glad to see he will continue his path at go as an amateur player.”

“All our players had a rich and fun experience making connections with opponents from the Latin American region,” says Siddhartha Avila, Mexican Go teacher at Dojo de Go. “Leonardo Valdovinos played the game for the top place,  even though it was intense and he came in 2nd,  he learned a lot from it. Another highlight was Lilian Zavala, as there are few female players we are proud to see that she continues getting to the top places in local and regional tournaments. These kinds of online tournaments for youth are relatively new for the countries in our region, but play a key role for the development of go. Our event joins the efforts of other Latin American tournaments, like the recent 1st Pandanet Go Latin American Team Championship  which kicked off with 10 teams on November 20th, or the annual online tournament “Torneo Iberoamericano de Go por Internet” which was held for the 18th time this year, with a total of 92 registered players between almost all the countries affiliated with the Iberoamerican Go Federation . -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor, with Siddhartha Avila.  Photo: Club members of Chile’s Club de Go Aonken, in the computer lab at Escuela Juan Williams.

 

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Latest Attempt to Create International Map of Go Clubs

Tuesday November 29, 2016

There have been a number of attempts to create an international map of go clubs, so that instead of each country maintaining a separate map, there can be one reliable map of go clubs which transcends national boundaries.2016.10.156_Go clubs

One such project is being developed by a member of the German Go Federation (Deutsche Go-Bund). It is open-source and based on free data (OpenStreetMap and umap), so even if the creator were to disappear, it could be taken over and continued with minimal effort, and it would never incur licensing costs of any kind.

The database is currently located hereand the map (which is updated regularly from the database, and therefore
doesn’t include recently-added clubs) is here. The source code is at GitHub here  and here.

The map can be freely embedded on any website, and a few regional, local and national sites are already using it to display their country’s clubs, but at the moment, although European and South American coverage is quite good, the coverage of US clubs is rather sparse, and the Far East isn’t really covered at all.

You can look for your local club by sorting the list here (for example by ZIP code), and if your club is not there, you can add it here. Clubs can be added, removed and edited by all users of the site, and registration is free, but requires authentication via a third-party account: at the moment, GitHub, Google, Facebook and VK are supported.

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Categories: World
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Seminar on Strategy Games at Cambridge Not Child’s Play

Wednesday October 19, 2016

 

IMG_20161002_113336An international seminar on strategy games was held at Cambridge University, England, on October 1st and 2nd. Organized by ChessPlus, and co-sponsored by Google’s Deepmind, the event drew about 40 teachers from 15 countries, who shared their expertise on teaching go, chess and other games in schools. The first day began with a compelling presentation from Dr. Barry Hymer, Professor of Psychology in Education at the University of Cumbria, in Lancaster. Hymer provided a brief introduction to mindset theory, and what it does and doesn’t say about achievement as it relates to strategy games. He contrasted two different mindsets: fixed vs. growth. Those with the former believe intelligence is a fixed trait that can’t be changed, while those with the latter believe intelligence is cultivated through learning. Dr. Hymer’s chart (below, at right) shows how these mindsets play out. All of us exhibit some of both types of mindsets at times, and in different areas.

Hymer also expounded on some mindset myths, which included the belief that natural ability and talent don’t exist, or that they don’t matter, and that hard work guarantees ultimate success. Instead, multiple factors come into play to create success, including what Hymer calls metacognitive strategies (how we think about thinking). Hymer noted Gary Kasparov, from the chess world, felt the same way: “It’s not enough to work hard and study late into the night. You must also become intimately aware of the methods you use to reach your decisions.” In a later presentation, Hymer discussed some educational studies with a few surprising results, including that praising students does not lead to any greater level of excellence or even motivation. Negative feedback also does not help.Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 3.31.47 PM Instead, Hymer advocates engaged, attentive, and non-judgmental feedback, which he said helps create self-motivated students who then cultivate the love of learning for themselves. These types of students outperform all other categories by as much as 30%, said Hymer. An example of this from the go community would be the kinds of questions one asks in a teaching game: “What were you hoping to achieve when you went here? How do you think your opponent might respond? Were there other places you thought of playing, and why?” Getting a student to think about how they reached their decisions is key to creating autonomous learners in Hymer’s approach.

Hymer’s presentation was followed by an equally engaging one from Jorge Nuno Silva, of the University of Lisbon (Portugal). Professor Silva gave a lecture on the intellectual history of games in education. Drawing on games from across the centuries (most now completely forgotten) Silva illustrated how and why games are important to learning. Along the way he fascinated the audience with stories of strange and interesting games, including Rythmomachia: ”Invented as a pedagogical game, to help the teaching of Arithmetic, in the 11th century. Even the setup of the pieces on the board was an important experience. It was popular everywhere where Boethius’ Arithmetic was taught. It vanished, naturally, in the 17th century, as mathematics developed in a different way. Chess then took over.”jorge

The seminar continued with presentations from teachers and specialists from all over the world. Daniela Trinks of Myongji University in Korea spoke on the didactics of go, and Stefan Löffler spoke on the didactics of chess. Mads Jacobsen, from Denmark, spoke about the extraordinary success of chess programs in his country, where 30% of all schools have chess as a scheduled activity. Toby Manning of the British Go Association, and Paul Barchilon of the American Go Foundation both spoke on efforts to introduce go to more schools in their respective countries. “The beautiful rooms of Cambridge University provided a wonderful environment for these two days of learning, teaching, discussing, inspiration and forming cooperations,” said Daniela Trinks. “The success of this seminar proves once more that chess and go teachers shouldn’t see each other as rivals but as colleagues who have a lot in common. By sharing our experiences we can learn from each other, improve teaching praxis and develop more successful educational programs at schools in the future.”

The main organizers were John Foley, Stefan Löffler, Rita Atkins and John Upham from Chessplus. The seminar was sponsored by DeepMind, and supported by the British Go Association, the European Go Federation, the European Go Cultural Centre, the American Go Foundation and the UK Backgammon Federation. An online documentation of the seminar, including videos, photos and presentation files is planned. Interested readers can see the program, and associated slideshows, for all segments highlighted in blue on this page. -Story and photos by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Top: Seminar participants take a break on the lawn at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge;  Lower right: Slide from Dr. Barry Hymer’s presentation; Lower left: Professor Jorge Nuno Silva shows the board for Rythmomachia.

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AGA Broadcast Friday Night: Ke Jie 9p vs Won Sungjin 9p in Bailing Cup

Thursday August 25, 2016

Myungwan Kim 9p and the AGA’s Andrew Jackson will commentate the first game in the Bailing Cup semi-finals this Friday, August 26, starting at 10:30p (PDT). Friday’s game will be the first game of a best-of-three match featuring Ke Jie 9p versus Won Sungjin 9p. watch the action live on the AGA’s YouTube channel or Twitch. Ke Jie 9p, one of the strongest players in the world at the moment, is known for his intense fighting and this match is sure to be exciting.
- Michael Wanek

 

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Correction: Kim Broke WYGC Record in 1985

Thursday August 25, 2016

2012.04.27_janicekim-2008-10-sf“Congratulations to Aaron Ye on the WYGC (EJ 8-13)” writes eagle-eyed reader Keith Arnold, “he may be the first to finish third, but he is not the first to finish in the top three. Janice Kim took second place in the World Youth Championship in 1985.” Arnold also noted that Bellamy Liu tied for third place back in 1995, and that several contestants besides Calvin Sun had also placed fourth in the past.  “Keith, repository of go lore, is correct in all things,” responded Janice Kim 3p when asked for comment, “I myself wasn’t sure if he had the year right, so I had to go look at the trophy. The year before (’84) I came in 9th, interestingly, my recollection is that Lee Chang-ho 9 dan came in 3rd, and Ryu Shi-hoon 9 dan came in 4th (he was a Korean insei who went to Japan and even won a title there). Kim Young-hwan (not sure what dan he is now) won. The next year when I came in second, Kong Byung-ju (again, not sure what dan he is now) won. The Korean insei system got started around 1980-81, and that first cohort was a POWERHOUSE, headed by Yoo Chang-hyuk 9 dan, the oldest of us. I think I was riding the wave of that team, and see sometime soon something similar for young US go players. I should note that I was studying in Korea, but representing the US, and in those early days the insei system in Korea wasn’t really formalized.”

“To be an insei (or ‘wonsaeng’ in Korean) back then you just kind of had to show up and ‘represent yourself,’ as one might say,” Kim continues. “When Kong Byung-ju came to Seoul, one of the older pros had him take 2 stones against Yu Chang-hyuk, who had already been granted professional 1 dan status for coming in 2nd in the World Amateur Championships a bit earlier. I think Yu was 18, making him one of the oldest of us, he was pretty strong already, in just a couple of years he was challenging Cho Hoon-hyun 9 dan in title matches. That strong younger generation coming in with the lower dan ranks, was one of the reasons why Korean low-dans were globally feared back then.”

“I remember distinctly when Yu was playing this 2-stone evaluation game with Kong, they went to just the early middle game, and then Yu Chang-hyuk said “Andennundayo,” basically, it’s not happening, I can’t give him two stones. That was enough to put Kong Byung-ju at wonsaeng 3 kyu or ‘gup’, in A League. The games that A Leaguers or lower-dan pros played in the wonsaeng study room were fascinating to watch, they were all even, and I remember once a huge, complex capturing race with big eyes, where one side had over 20 liberties, the other, one less, although I wasn’t able to see that before the resignation came. I could not believe my own eyes that a player short a liberty so far down a twisting path would resign at that point, certain of defeat. It’s informed my go sensibilities to this day what it means to be truly strong, although many people would look only at the loss.”

“When Kong and I played in the final at the World Youth, I think I believed I could win, but maybe subconsciously didn’t, I used to watch everyone’s games and wonder inside if I could possibly be playing at that level. Afterwards we went to the top of the hotel we were staying at in Taipei, and tried to drink the beer they had given us at the banquet out of our trophies. I have never cared for beer though, even under such circumstances, so we ended up just singing instead.”

-Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor

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Ye Breaks Through in WYGC

Saturday August 13, 2016

IMG_7137Aaron Ye 7d has finally broken the glass ceiling at the World Youth Goe Championships (WYGC) by becoming the first American player to place in the top three at the event.   Now in its 33rd year, the event has been run by the Ing Foundation for decades, and invites strong youth from all over the world to compete. Ye first attended the event in 2011, competing in the Jr. Division when he was just nine years old, and placing fourth overall.  Calvin Sun, now 1P, also competed in the event for years as a child, and had also placed fourth when he was 13 (on his sixth attempt).  China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan have shut everyone else out until this year, when Ye’s determination and effort finally paid off.  Now 14, Ye has been at the top of the US youth go scene for years, winning the Redmond Cup several times, and putting up a strong fight in the AGA pro certification leagues, as well as dominating other youth events and leading in many AGA tournaments.

The WYGC was held August 4th-7th in Tokyo this year, at the Nihon Kiin.  Ye reached the semi-finals by edging out Takei Taishen 7D of Japan by a hairs-breadth 3rd tier tie breaker (SOSODOS). After losing to the tournament’s champion Jiang Qirun 2P of China, Ye went on to take 3rd place by defeating Ahn Dongjun  5D of Korea. The USA junior player, nine-year-old Matthew Cheng 2d faced a tough choice this year, as he also won the Redmond Cup qualifiers and could have had a free trip to the US Go Congress to compete at the finals. Unfortunately, the WYGC and the Congress were both held the same week this year, so Cheng had to choose one over the other. Cheng did well at the WYGC though, “placing 7th in an outstanding performance by a player who learned go from a you-tube video a scant three years ago,” said Team Leader Mike Bull. Cheng also managed to draw matches with three of the four strongest players in his division in his first three games of the tournament. -Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor, with Mike Bull. Photo by Abby Zhang: Ahn Dongjun 5d (l) vs. Aaron Ye 7d (r).

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Iberoamerican Go Championship Extends Invitation to Players Worldwide

Saturday August 13, 2016

The Venezuelan Go Association, in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan, will host the 18th Iberoamerican Go 2016.08.13_IberoamericanChampionship October 7-9 at the 5-star Pestana Caracas Premium City and Conference Hotel in Caracas, Venezuela. “We would very much like to have a lot of participants from every country,” says Loli Puerta of the Asociacion Venezolana de Go.
The 7-round Swiss-paired tournament will be played using WAGC rules, with players playing even games with 6.5 komi. Trophies will be awarded to the top three players. Games will be played on all three days of the tournament, with a city tour following the closing ceremony on Sunday. Lunch will be provided on each day.
To register, contact the Organizing Committee by October 4th with your name, rank, country, and age. Include photo identification. The registration fee is $30. Transportation to and from the airport will be provided. Any questions about the event may also be directed to the Organizing Committee in either English or Spanish.

- edited by Brian Kirby

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Categories: South America,World
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US Players Invited to Malaysia Int’l Amateur Go Championship

Saturday August 13, 2016

The “Ipoh Wei Qi Enterprise” has formally extended an invitation to AGA players, and to amateurs worldwide, to sign up for2016.08.13_MIAGC the Malaysia International Amateur Go Championship, or MIAGC. The championship will consist of three sessions, including two online selection sessions, denoted Preliminary and Semi-Final by the organizers, and a final session March 11-16, 2017 at the Syeun Hotel, in Ipoh, the capital city of Perak, Malaysia. Early Bird registration offers a discount of 20 Malaysian Ringgits, bringing the price from 180 to 160, roughly $40 USD. If more than five people register together, there is a 20% discount. The preliminary rounds will be held on OGS throughout October, and the semi-finals online November 16 through December 15. Those who win 5 of 10 matches in October’s preliminary will qualify for the semi-final, and players winning 6 of 10 matches in the semi-final will secure a place in the final until all the places are taken. Unique to this tournament is the ability to buy back in, should one lose early. The prize for the champion will be 50,000 RM minimum, or roughly $12,500 USD, and depending on registration totals may be raised. Click here for tournament information and registration.
- edited by Noah Doss

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