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AlphaGo – Sedol Watch Parties Popular at Seattle Go Center

Friday March 11, 2016

Over 60 people watched the broadcast of the first game between Lee Sedol and the Google Deepmind AlphaGo program at the Seattle Go Center.  They enjoyed pizza, fresh bread baked by Chris Kirschner, and some Korean take-out food.  About 25 people stayed until Lee Sedol resigned at 11:30 pm local time.  The second game attracted a smaller group — they only had two pizzas, compared to the six ordered the night before.

The watch parties attracted a few new players, most of whom were invited by go playing friends.  More noticeable were the old friends from the Eastside of Lake Washington, where the Microsoft campus is.  Rush hour traffic often makes it hard for Eastside residents to come to the Go Center for the evening, but since these games started later, at 8 pm, it was easier for them to drive.

The Seattle will have watch parties for all of the remaining games, with Dennis Wheeler as host.   “There will be three more, as Lee Sedol has committed to play the entire five-game match,” noted Go Center Manager Brian Allen.  The schedule will be posted on the Go Center Google CalendarPhotos: Left: Finishing a game on a goban as the first AlphaGo game starts, Right: Exploring variations during the 2nd game.  Photos/report by Brian Allen.

Sedol AlphaGo first game at SGC adj
AlphaGo 2nd game

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Myungwan Kim 9P to Comment Live on Nongshim Cup Starting March 1

Friday February 26, 2016

Myungwan Kim 9P will be providing live commentary in the Nongshim Cup starting Tuesday, March 1st.  The game will begin at 10p PST (1a 3/2 EST) and commentary on the AGA’s YouTube channel will begin at 10:30p PST 1:30a 3/2 EST, UTC-8).  2016.02.26_Nongshim10BracketsThe Nongshim Cup is a win-and-continue team match between Japan, China, and Korea.  On Feb 29th, Gu Li — on a 3-game winning streak after beating Choi Cheolhon, Kono Rin, and Park Jungwhan — will face Japan’s next player, Murakawa Daisuke.  Lee Sedol will face the winner of that match up, and the AGA will continue to broadcast games as long as Lee keeps winning; the remaining games are scheduled for March 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.
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Categories: China,Japan,Korea,World
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Life Sports Invites Kids to Japan

Wednesday February 24, 2016

0720152216Three children from North America are being invited to Japan, for international friendship matches. The sponsors of the trip are paying all expenses while in Japan, and a stipend of 100,000 yen (around $893 at press time) for airfare. Fifty-four children under the age of 13, and at least ten kyu, are being invited from ten countries: Japan, China, Korea, France, Germany, Russia, Mexico, Thailand, Canada, and the US. The kids will stay at the Maisima Lodge, in Osaka Bay, and will have opportunities for cultural exchanges as well as for playing go. The AGA will select three kids, two from the US and one from Canada, based on participation points earned from attending various AGA events. The matches will be held July 25-28, and AGA Go Camp Director Fernando Rivera will lead the team. All expenses are paid for the kids, but parents who wish to come will need to pay their own travel and lodging expenses. If you are interested in attending, please fill out the form here. Any questions should be addressed to youth@usgo.org. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Participants at last year’s Life International Go Meeting. The event is sponsored by Life Sports Foundation, and NPO Life Kids Go Club, with the cooperation of the Nihon Ki-in and the Kansai Ki-in.

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Man vs. Machine: Lee Sedol to Face AlphaGo March 9-15 in Seoul

Monday February 22, 2016

The legendary Lee Sedol, the top go player in the world over the past decade, will take on computer program AlphaGo in a landmark five-­match, million-dollar tournament March 9-15. AlphaGo’s 5-game sweep of professional Fan Hui 3P2016.02.22_Lee-Sedol-Myeongin-300x200 2016.02.22_alphago-546x480rocked the world in late January (Game Over? AlphaGo Beats Pro 5-0 in Major AI Advance  1/27/2016 EJ)

“Regardless of the result, it will be a meaningful event in baduk (Go) history,” said Lee Sedol (left). “I heard Google DeepMind’s AI is surprisingly strong and getting stronger, but I am confident that I can win, at least this time.” AlphaGo has been developed by Google DeepMind, whose CEO and co-founder Demis Hassabis said “Go is the most profound game that mankind has ever devised. The elegantly simple rules lead to beautiful complexity. Go is a game primarily about intuition and feel rather than brute calculation which is what makes it so hard for computers to play well. We are honoured and excited to be playing this challenge match against Lee Sedol, a true legend of the game, and whether we win or lose, we hope that the match will inspire new interest in go from around the world.”

AlphaGo will play Lee Sedol in a five-­game challenge match to be held from Wednesday, March 9 to Tuesday, March 15 in Seoul, South Korea. The games will be even, with $1 million USD in prize money for the winner. If AlphaGo wins, the prize money will be donated to UNICEF, STEM and go charities.

“The whole world is interested in this event as this is the first stage where humans and computers are competing in intelligence,” said Park Chimoon, Vice Chairman of the Korean Baduk Association. “I am proud that this historical stage is baduk (Go). I hope Lee Sedol 9 dan will win this time in order to prove humans’ remarkable intelligence and preserve the mysteries of baduk.”

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Categories: Computer Go/AI,Korea,World
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IMSA Elite Mind Games Begin Feb. 25 in Huai’an, China

Sunday February 21, 2016

The first IMSA Elite Mind Games (IEMG) are being held from February 25 to March 3 at the New Century Hotel Huaian, China. A re-branded 2016.02.20_IEMG_logo_240pxevent of SportAccord World Mind Games, IEMG will feature five mind sports: go, chess, bridge, draughts, and xiangqi. Thirty top players from around the world will be competing for total prize money of 200,000 EUR in three medal events: Men’s Team, Women’s Individual, and Pair. The International Mind Sports Association is organizing the event and Ranka Online  will provide full coverage of the event.
- adapted from a report in Ranka Online, which includes the list of players, tournament outline and schedule.
See also Strong North American Go Team Headed for Huai’an for Inaugural IMSA Games.

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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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AlphaGo-Lee Sedol Match Set for March 9-15; More responses to AlphaGo win

Sunday February 7, 2016

As the go world — and indeed much mainstream media — has continued to buzz in the wake of the recent announcement of AlphaGo’s defeat2016.02.07_Fan-Hui-vs-AlphaGo of a professional go player, details of the matchup between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol have been released. The five-game match will take place in Seoul, March 9-15, with a $1 million prize — and the question of whether man or machine will prevail — at stake. We’ll keep you posted on broadcast coverage plans. Meanwhile, here’s a few of the reactions that have come in; we welcome your thoughts at our Facebook page, Twitter or at journal@usgo.org.

SmartGo’s Kierulf on AlphaGo: “Exciting times with the AlphaGo announcement!” writes SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf “If you’re in need of some more analysis and speculation on the Lee Sedol match, I’ve got you covered: Lee Sedol vs AlphaGo.” Kierulf has also written a bit about how AlphaGo works, and encouraging people to learn go now. He also reports that SmartGo has “definitely seen a spike in sales last week, subsiding again now.”

Cobb: A Flawed Test: “These sorts of tests of computer programs against pros (chess or go) all have the same flaw,” writes Slate & Shell’s Bill Cobb. “While the computer of course plays at the speed it needs to in order to use all of its resources, the pro is forced to play much faster than he/she can make use of their resources to a similar degree. For a go pro, one hour basic time is ‘lightning’ go, not a true test of the player’s ability—especially when it is followed by 30 second instead of one minute byoyomi periods. I don’t understand why people are so impressed about the computer program winning under such unfair conditions. Many strong amateurs could beat many pros under a similarly unbalanced time arrangement.” Cobb is the author of “Reflections on the Game of Go” a collection of his E-Journal columns, many of which focus on ways in which go can be related to Buddhist views of the search for enlightenment.

“Alphaville” Warned Us: The night before the announcement that a computer had won a 5-game match with no handicap against a 2016.02.07_alphavilleprofessional, I watched ‘Alphaville,’ a 1965 French film,” writes David Doshay. “In it an evil computer saps vocabulary, emotion and eventually life from the people of Alphaville. That computer’s name is Alpha-60. This program is called AlphaGo. Coincidence or conspiracy? Go and 60 look a lot alike to me …Should we warn the world?”

Learning from Chess: “Regarding Google’s AlphaGo achievement, I’d be interested in reading an E-Journal article discussing how chess software has affected online chess tournaments,” writes Syracuse go organizer Richard Moseson. “There have already been a few scandals at top chess tournaments in which players were found to be using chess playing software. How long will it be before players can use iGlasses to receive recommendations for each move?”

Moving the Goalposts: “Perhaps it is time to consider moving to the next prime number with a go board that is 23 by 23,” suggests Ronald Davis.
Update (7:08p): The source of the “Moving the Goalposts” quote has been updated.

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Chinese Professionals React to the Historic AlphaGo Win

Friday January 29, 2016

 The following is translated by Jennie Shen 2P from a WeiqiTV video2016.01.29_Fan-Hui

Liuxing 7p: before the games, what were you expecting?
FanHui 2p: I was thinking about how to torture/destroy the program, and see how many handicap stones I could give to it.
Liuxing 2p: if you play AlphaGo again, do you have confidence?”
FanHui 2p: I can’t tell you this, it’s a secret. but I can tell you how I felt when I was beaten up by AlphaGo. The first game, I wanted to play a peaceful game, but AlphaGo played an endgame tesuji, I found out I didn’t have a chance. The second game, I was thinking, maybe AlphaGo is just good at endgame, so I should fight. I got a good result after the avalanche joseki, but screwed up at the lower right corner… So, later, I realized, well, humans have emotions, the emotions will effect the game a lot, but this guy (AlphaGo) doesn’t have emotions, nothing affects it, it won’t make mistakes. The 3rd and 4th game, I was already completely destroyed mentally, no confidence at all. Lots of people asked me these questions: were you in bad shape? is this your full strength? some people even asked if I was sandbagging? here’s what I want to say: for humans playing Go, lots of things matter, like emotions, mentality, we can’t play our full strength. I tried my best…but it’s really really painful every time when I lost to Alphago. I felt like the world was turned upside down, it’s ridiculous.”
Shiyue 9p: When I saw the news yesterday, I couldn’t believe it was true. But the 5 games impressed me a lot, I think AlphaGo has pro level, but still there’s a distance from top pros. I don’t know how does machine study by itself, but I know it studies and improves, I think it won’t be easy for Lee Sedol in March. To us pros, we can learn from the program. If the program gets to top level, I will try different moves to play it, programs are tools, depends on how we use these tools. Some people think Go is culture, it’s mysterious, they don’t want to see AI beats human, some people think we can see a bigger picture and the depth of Go with program’s help. It’s our choice.
If AI beats humans, what does this mean to us?
LiZhe 6p: if AI beats human, maybe in March, maybe within a year, it will change the human Go world. We need to face these big changes. For example, as the competition Go weakens, people might focus more on the culture of Go. In the future, AI will help us to learn Go skills, people will start to think about what Go brings to us? Go will become a way of communication.
Kejie 9p : The 5 games were not that impressive, but the scary part is, AI improves. I use to think AI can never beat human, at least it won’t happen within 10 years. but this is unbelievable. When I was looking at the games, I didn’t know which is human, which is machine, I can’t tell the difference, AlphaGo has very good sense of balance. I think Lee Sedol will win the match in March. I really want to play Alphago, not just me, all the active Chinese pros want to play it. I have confidence to win now, but it’s hard to say later. I will still play Go even if AI beats human in the future.
Check out Myungwan Kim 9Ps January 28 commentary on the AlphaGo-Fan Hui games on the AGA YouTube channel.

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Myungwan Kim 9P to Analyze Fan Hui-AlphaGo games this Friday

Thursday January 28, 2016

Myungwan Kim 9P will analyze the Fan Hui-AlphaGo games on the AGA YouTube and TwitchTV channels this Friday at 9p EST (6p PST). And for the first time, the broadcast will be simulcast on weiqitv.com in China. Yesterday’s news2016.01.28_nature-cover that Google’s go-playing AI, AlphaGo, had swept Fan Hui 2P 5-0 rocketed around the world, receiving international coverage including write-ups in the New York Times, Bloomberg News, the BBC, Wall 2016.01.28_myungwan-kimStreet Journal, MIT Technology Review, Wired, NPR and blowing up on the AGA’s  Facebook and Twitter feeds.

“I was shocked at how Alphago played,” Kim (left) told the E-Journal. “It played like a human professional. I am sad that this computer program might beat me, but I don’t think it can beat Lee Sedol. I will tell you why in my commentary.” 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 match in March. Andrew Jackson will host the livestream broadcast.

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

Wednesday January 27, 2016

[link]

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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