Saturday December 17, 2016
Top European players on AlphaGo and the future of go: “I was in shock,” says Thomas Debarre 6d of France. “I felt a bit disappointed with the quality in the sense that not one game was countable at the end,” said Merlijn Kuin 6d of The Netherlands. “The 21st century is and will be ‘the age of go,” says Mateusz Surma 1p of Poland. “The future of go isn’t easy, but not because of AlphaGo,” says Diána Kőszegi 1p of Hungary (photo). Kim Ouweleen interviews with top European players on AlphaGo and the future of go are available on the European Go Federation’s website.
BGA Go Crossword: “I see from your recent item, Catching Up: Obama on go, AlphaGo helps predict the future, and more, that Roy Laird is a crossword fan,” writes British Go Journal Editor Bob Scantlebury. “Others with a love of crosswords as well as go may like to check if their British Go Association (BGA) membership is up to date if they have one (or sign up , if not), as the upcoming Winter edition of the quarterly British Go Journal (BGJ) will feature a bumper, go-themed 19×19 competition cryptic crossword.” But be warned, Scantlebury says, “this is a British-style cryptic crossword, as featured in UK broadsheet dailies — and with a difference.” The BGJ is free to BGA members; the Winter edition will be out in early January and sent out in hard copy, as well as being available in pdf online to those who are members.
Go in New Master of Orion: “I was recently playing the new Master of Orion video game, a remake of the renowned turn based strategy classic video game,” writes Guillermo Molano. “This game takes place in a fictional galaxy where many races compete while expanding by colonizing solar systems. While playing I found a solar system named Go, another one named Fuseki, and a last one named Tesuji. I don’t know if there are more systems with more Go references. Perhaps its not that surprising since Master of Orion is a strategy game and it was developed by a studio in Argentina. That country has the strongest players in all Latin America.”
Wednesday October 5, 2016
“My God! It’s full of water.” “Do you know what this quote is referencing?” asks Austin Harris. “It is written on our 26th Go Congress water bottle from Colorado Springs in 2010. We assume it’s referencing something funny that happened at the previous Go Congress. We’ve been dying to know. Any clues? Or anybody else that might know?”
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your answers/guesses.
Tuesday July 19, 2016
Pokemon Go?! “I thought I was into real go but they stole the name!! How disappointed was I?” writes Ted Terpstra after reading about Pokémon Go in The New York Times recently .
Senior Invitation in Sunnyvale: “I would like to encourage go players 50 and older to meet at the Sunnyvale, CA, Senior Center on Thursdays between 2:30pm and 5:30pm,” writes Jean DeMaiffe, responding to our Beginner at 80, Still Playing at 90 7/10 EJ post. “The Senior Center chess players have graciously agreed to share their playing room with us. For now, I am providing two go sets plus a few books, all of which are stored with the chess players’ equipment.” Although DeMaiffe, who’s taught beginners for years, says she won’t always be able to attend, “if a go player contacts me in advance, I will happily make an effort to attend any particular meeting.” Reach her at 408-930-5888 or email@example.com.
UPDATE (7/29): This invitation has been retracted due to circumstance beyond DeMaiffe’s control; we regret any inconvenience.
Monday June 27, 2016
E-Journal Forum (Part 2): In another response to Eric Osman’s query about a forum for responses to articles in the E-Journal, Steve Colburn also notes that the AGA has a sub forum on Lifein19x19.com. “This is for AGA stuff much like there is for other organizations. There are a few AGA officials who also read/comment on Reddit.”
Where’s the 2015 Yearbook? “I tried looking through the AGA website to find the archived zip file with all of the yearbook 2015 sgf files,” writes AGA member Shane, “but I’m having a difficult time locating it on your website. The news article doesn’t seem to link me to where to find the file and a website search for ‘year book’ didn’t yield much better results. Help?” In a related email, Dan writes “I am a member who cannot figure out how to download the 2015 Go Yearbook. Please advise.”
The Yearbook is only for AGA members, so it’s not posted on the website; look for your June 22 Member’s Edition of the E-Journal, which contains individual links to the game commentaries published in 2015, as well as in a handy zip file.
Wednesday June 15, 2016
Redmond Responds: “Andrew Feenberg (Rational Play? The Master of Go vs. AlphaGo) clearly knows his stuff,” writes Michael Redmond 9P, “but I think it’s confusing that he leaves the challenger’s name as Otake. I was told that Kawabata just happened to choose that name, and it probably has nothing to do with Otake Hideo, who was a young player at the time. The challenger was Kitani Minoru, of course.” Redmond adds that he disagrees with Feenberg’s comment that “in the case of the actual match the inferior player wins through manipulating the new meta-rules and upsetting his adversary rather than through superior play.” Redmond says that “I would not call Kitani or AlphaGo the inferior player,” and adds that “I think most pros would agree with me when I say it was Honinbo Shusai who tended to manipulate the old traditions to take more advantage than any of his predecessors did. The new rules were in part an attempt to keep the match fair.”
Feenberg Strikes a Chord: “Andrew Feenberg‘s article, Rational Play? The Master of Go vs. AlphaGo, struck a chord in me,” writes Joel Sanet. “I can remember decades ago feeling great admiration for Otake Hideo when he said that he would rather lose the game than play an ugly move. Today I am learning how useful the empty triangle can be.”
Tuesday June 14, 2016
Where’s the 2015 Yearbook? “Last year you published the 2014 Member’s Edition Collection of Games, including a zip file of all files,” writes Joe Maia. “I didn’t find a similar page for the 2015 Game Collection. Are here any plans for a game collection (with zip file) for the 2015 Game Collection?”
The online 2015 Yearbook — the Member’s Edition Collection of Games, Commentaries & More — is in production now; members should keep an eye out for a notice about publication soon. If you want to get the Yearbook and the weekly Member’s Edition, click here to join the AGA now.
Seeking Go Players in CA: “Trying to find Igo players (any strength) in Marin County, California,” writes Myoun Korin, “Cities like San Rafael, Corte Madera, Mill Valley, Fairfax,etc.”
Click here for Where to Play Go across the US, including clubs in California.
Monday June 13, 2016
More AlphaGo effect: “My uncle teaches math at Colorado Mesa University and asked me to give a presentation about go and AlphaGo,” writes Sirocco Fury Hamada. “Dr. Edward Bonan-Hamada’s mathematical modeling class at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, CO is interested in mathematically modeling human reasoning. He asked me to teach his students about go so they could understand it and think about the math behind AlphaGo. It was a small class, just seven students, but they asked great questions and are very interested in go now. A lot of them expressed interest in wanting to learn more about it and playing it online or with each other. AlphaGo is creating interest in go in unusual (or not) places!”
Go classifieds work: “The classified ad you ran for me (books, semiprecious stones, and kaya bowls for sale) was an unqualified success,” writes Donald Garratt. “All the items have been sold! Thank you. I will contact you in the future when I am ready to sell some more go equipment.”
Saturday May 14, 2016
(Things got extra busy here at EJ Central and we fell behind a bit in posting your letters and tips; here’s a batch of recent items sent in)
“On page 331 of ‘Caliban’s War’ by James Corey, “It’s like playing Go. It’s all about exerting influence. Controlling the board without occupying it.” - Peter Freedman
“Sam Hinkie, the controversial GM of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76′ers, just announced his resignation with a 13-page letter that references AlphaGo at one point.” Hinkie wrote “Watch what’s happening with the collaboration between IBM’s Watson and M.D. Anderson or
Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo. It won’t be just an ancient board game that’s disrupted. It’s also anything but a game to Lee Sedol.” Here’s a link to the full letter.” - Freeman Ng
“Although this is a chess article — Historical Chess Ratings – dynamically presented — there is also a short film on Go,” writes Michael Bacon.
“I wonder if the journal team can do a bit of digging and find out more information about this display in Italy,” suggests Ramon Mercado.
Sunday March 6, 2016
“Apples and oranges,” writes Chris Uzal in response to our 2/29 report, Chess Players Counsel Calm As Computers Close in on Go “Chess has not come to terms with the fact that the game is over. Kasparov lost almost 20 years ago. The most recent computer cheating scandal was last year. Chess players have been facing a brute force program whenever a computer is on the other side of the board. Go players will be facing an artificial intelligence. Chess players can give their judges tools to show the best move for a certain rating. Go players will not be able to distinguish human moves versus artificial intelligence moves. Judges will have no such tools. Go players online may soon be faced with a situation that any game slower than blitz will not be accepted. Go players who want a slow, deep game won’t bother with humans once they can gain access to the likes of AlphaGo. Human to human, real-life games will be either very casual, teaching or tournament. Go will become a more philosophical and sublime endeavor. Not necessarily a bad thing. There are too many players using their rank as a measure of mental prowess. People either do not know or do not care about the ancient greats like Shusaku or the not so ancient Go Seigen. Those are just ghosts if they are known at all. AlphaGo would be a welcome symbol of the summit for the game of Go. If you’re not AlphaGo, and you’re not, get back to studying life-and-death. Bottom line: I look forward to playing, losing and learning in the new artificial intelligence era.”
The first game in the Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match will be Tuesday, March 8, 8p PST (11p EST). The match will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with English commentary by Michael Redmond 9p with American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock.