American Go E-Journal

Gu Li & Lee Sedol Face Off in Jubango Game 3 This Weekend

Thursday March 27, 2014

Gu Li will be looking to begin erasing his 2-game deficit Game 3 of the Lee Sedol – Gu Li Jubango this weekend. Gu beat Lee in Round 2 of the just-concluded Zhaoshang Cup on March 21 (Korea wins 4th Zhaoshang Cup by a whisker GGG 3/24/2014), and is playing him again in Round 2 of the Chunlan Cup but Lee leads 2-0 in the jubango. Live coverage with commentary of the match will start on Baduk TV three hours after the first move is played. The commentators will replay and analyze the game from the beginning and Go Game Guru’s An Younggil 8p will translate and discuss the game in English with Baduk TV Live viewers. The coverage starts at 1:00 pm Korea time on Sunday, March 30 (Midnight Sunday morning EST). You can watch the game on Baduk TV for as little as $2.70 with a Baduk TV Day Pass.
- Go Game Guru; photo: Gu draws Lee in the Chunlan Cup

Categories: World
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“New Yorker” Reports on Computer Go

Wednesday March 26, 2014

The latest advances in computer go are covered in a new post by The New Yorker. In “The Electronic Holy War”, Patrick House reports on the Densei-sen, “or ‘electronic holy war,’ tournament, in Tokyo, where the best Go programs in the world play against one of the best humans” where Crazy Stone last March defeated Yoshio “the Computer” Ishida.

The article does an excellent job of explaining why go has been so tough for computers to crack. “Part of the difficulty for computers—and humans—is that it is often hard to determine at any given time whether a group of pieces is being surrounded or doing the surrounding, and thus who is ahead…Without a clear understanding of who is ahead, programs like Deep Blue stutter. ‘All the machinery that was built up for computer chess is pretty useless,’” (Murray) Campbell (a member of the IBM Deep Blue team says.

It also explains how “Monte Carlo” algorithms, initially developed seventy years ago as part of the Manhattan Project, have been the key to developing stronger go programs. “The better the programs got, the less they resembled how humans play: during the game with Ishida, for example, Crazy Stone played through, from beginning to end, approximately three hundred and sixty million randomized games. At this pace, it takes Crazy Stone just a few days to play more Go games than humans collectively ever have. ‘I have to be honest: I still find it kind of magical, that it works as well as it does,’ Campbell said.”

The “electronic holy war” will run once a year in Tokyo until 2017, the report continues. “This past weekend, at the second annual tournament, Crazy Stone faced Norimoto Yoda, a Japanese professional who has a reputation for slamming pieces onto the board—sometimes shattering them—to intimidate his opponent. Crazy Stone was given a four-move head start and, lacking the eyes and ears through which another player might have been intimidated, won by two and a half points. “After the match, Yoda, through a translator, told me that he was grateful for Crazy Stone because it eased up at the end and allowed the game to be closer than it actually was: the result of randomness—or, perhaps, of the beginnings of pity.”
Photograph of Rémi Coulom and Ishida Yoshio courtesy of gogameguru.com

Subtitled “Tokyo Newcomer” Available Online

Wednesday March 26, 2014

German go journalist colleague Tobias Berben recently sent a link to an English-subtitled online version of Tokyo Newcomer  (New Go Films: Tokyo Newcomer & Weiqi Wonders 5/7/2012 EJ). In Jiang Qinmin’s 2012 film, Chinese go genius Yoshiryu (Qin Hao) comes to Japan to hone his skills in the game, but finds he’s too busy earning a living to study go at all. One day, he meets an old woman hawking vegetables, who turns out to be a descendant of a prestigious go family. “Written and directed by a Mainland Chinese, but utterly Japanese in look and feel, ‘Tokyo Newcomer’ is an engaging light drama centred on a young Chinese guy’s passion for the board game of go and his assimilation into the country which has made the (Chinese-invented) game into a national expression of its mindset,” writes Film Business Asia’s Derek Elley.

Categories: Go Art,Go Spotting
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Go Spotting: Teen Wolf Takes Sente

Tuesday March 25, 2014

MTV’s Teen Wolf has shattered the Go Spotting record, featuring go four weeks in a row, on a show that’s not about go.  With a viewership of 3.5 million, repeated mentions of the game, and even a summary of the main goals, local clubs could soon be seeing a surge of new players if even a fraction of those viewers become curious about go and learn to play.  This week’s episode, entitled “The Divine Move” both starts and ends with go.  Early in the episode Mrs. Yukimura (Tamlyn Tomita) advises a desperate Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) while the family is seated around a go board “he made a powerful move by splitting the two of you.”   “So what’s our move?” responds  her daughter Kira (Arden Cho), as she places a stone on the board. “The Nogitsune has had sente until this point, what you need is a ‘Divine Move’ in order to turn this game around,” responds her mother.  Stiles does find a divine move, in the story arc at least, and his friends defeat the Nogitsune at last.  Towards the end of the episode, Kira’s parents are seen picking up the pieces from the go board, drawing a conclusion to the story arc (and the season).  Full episodes of Teen Wolf can be streamed on the MTV website here. As an added bonus, in the after show (Wolf Watch) series creator Jeff Davis also talks briefly about go. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo from the MTV website: Kira places a stone on the board, while Stiles talks to Mrs. Yukimura.

 

 

Your Move/Readers Write: Returning the Favor

Tuesday March 25, 2014

“I just want to add an addendum to Bob Gilman’s efforts to bring the Cubans to the US Congress (Progress Reported on Project to Bring Cuban Delegation to U.S. Go Congress 3/8 EJ),” writes Peter Shotwell. “I organized a trip there in 2000 and more than a dozen people came (we were legal because it was an “amateur” tournament that Cubans could participate in). The Cubans treated us royally and I want to encourage anyone who hasn’t donated to the cause to think about what this means to them if not just to return the favor!” For more details on the project, email bobgilman.aga@gmail.com.

AGA City League Round 3 Set for March 29

Sunday March 23, 2014

The next round in the AGA City League is set for Saturday, March 29. Click here for the team pairings in the A League, B League and C League and catch the action live on game day at 3PM EST on Pandanet using the new GoPanda2 software. Games will be played in the AGA City League room.
- Steve Colburn, TD

Nihon Kiin Organizing Special Go Camp to Celebrate 90th Birthday

Saturday March 22, 2014

In celebration of the 90th birthday of Nihon Kiin, a special summer go camp will be held from August 26 to September 4 in Tokyo. Included in the camp are daily pro instructions in separate dan and kyu sections, playing in the largest Japanese amateur tournament — the Takara Shuzou Cup, where the 1000+ participants will all receive special commemorative prizes — and visits to the Honinbo title ceremony, to Kamakura, site of the Go Seigen-Kitani jubango, and to Yugen no ma, the Nihon Kiin’s legendary tatami playing room adorned by a Kawabata calligraphy (right). The camp fee is between JPY 50 to 55K (about $500); housing starts at about $40 a night. The camp is recommended for players 10 kyu and up, including high dans. For further information and registration forms, contact igf@usgo.org.
- Thomas Hsiang; photo by John Pinkerton

Categories: Japan
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Go Quiz: Ishida’s Legacy in the West

Saturday March 22, 2014

We have not seen him for a while, but there was a time when Chuck Robbins of Lancaster PA was everywhere, running tournaments, Congresses, workshops and holding offices in the AGA and AGF. His 1126 rated games are the clear leader in the AGA Database, so Chuck (left) is the correct answer to last week’s quiz question. With 1072, Steve Barberi, also from Pennsylvania but now retired in Florida, is a close second. Legendary Congress Self Paired game player Martin Lebl (962) of Arizona is third and Jeff Horn (854) of California is fifth. 6 of 13 of you had the right answer, 3 choosing Lebl, 2 Horn, 1 Barberi and one sniffing out a trick question and claiming it was a 4 way tie. By the way, in 4th place with 945 is your quizmaster. We may never know who the real leader is since the records are incomplete (the AGA database goes back to 1991), but since the 1990s were the heyday of AGA tournaments thus far, we can be confident that one of these 5 is the current all-time leader. While my personal records show 319 games played before 1991, enough to pass Robbins and Lebl, Barberi was a very active player before 1991, so he may still have a lead over me. Congrats to Robert Tirak of The Dalles, Oregon, our randomly chosen winner from among those answering correctly.

THIS WEEK’S QUIZ: This week’s question was inspired by John Power’s E-Journal “Power Report” from 3/21. Most of your quizmaster’s knowledge of the contemporary Asian go world is thanks to the wonderful Mr. Power (at left in photo), whose Go News in Go World, his news updates on the Nihon Kiin website and now his Power Reports in the E-Journal provide incredibly interesting and complete info on the Japanese Go world, as well as info on China and Korea. Your quizmaster hangs on his every word, in print and in person, having shared meals with him at Congresses and in Tokyo. However, in letting us know about the retirement of Ishida Akira 9 dan, Power surprisingly failed to mention one of the player’s greatest claims to fame. Once again, no multiple choice, but this should be easy (and I promise it’s not a trick question): For what will we Western go players remember and thank Ishida Akira for? Click here to submit your answer.
- Keith Arnold, HKA, EJ Quizmaster. photo: Power (left) with Go Game Guru’s Jingning Xue and David-Ormerod in November 2013 at the 24th International Amateur Pair Go tournament in Tokyo.

Categories: Go Quiz
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Maryland Open Set for Memorial Day Weekend

Thursday March 20, 2014

The 41st Maryland Open is coming up May 24-25 just outside Baltimore, MD. The 5-round event — 3 rounds Saturday, two on Sunday — attracts players from across the Eastern Seaboard, with prizes in all sections. “This is a very popular weekend,” warns organizer Keith Arnold, “so make reservations now!” Click here to register and for hotel and venue info.

Categories: U.S./North America
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The Power Report (Part 4): Humans Beat Computers in First “Igo Electrical King Tournament”; Kataoka Scores 1,000 Wins; Retirements

Thursday March 20, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Humans Beat Computers in First “Igo Electrical King Tournament”: To test how close computers have come to human level at go, the first Igo Electrical King Tournament was staged in the top playing room, Yugen, at the Nihon Ki-in on February 11. Please take our word that “electrical king” (dennou) sounds better in the original.  The program Zen played best-of-three 9×9 matches with Cho Riyu 8P and Hirata Tomoya 3P, but lost both without picking up a game. However, Zen lost by only half a point in its first game with Cho, and human commentators pointed out a winning sequence that it missed in the endgame. One of Zen’s programmers commented that it would still take ten years to catch up with pros in 9×9 go.
Zen vs. Hirata Tomoya 3P: Game 1. Hirata (W) by resig.; Game 2. Hirata (B) by resig.
Zen vs. Cho Riyu 8P: Game 1. Cho (B) by half a point; Game 2. Cho (W) by resig.

More games in this tournament were played three days later on 13×13 and 19×19 boards. On the 13×13, Emura Koki (W), a former WAGC representative for Japan, twice beat Zen by resignation. On the 19×19, Zen beat Ozawa Ichiro, a prominent politician. He is dan level, but we don’t know his exact rank.

Kataoka Scores 1,000 Wins: A win on February 27 gave Kataoka Satoshi 9P (right) his 1,000th win as a pro, making him the 15th Nihon Ki-in player to reach this mark. It took him 42 years and his record was 1,000 wins, 530 losses, 4 jigo.

Retirements: Two more veteran players have retired as of March 31. They are Ishida Akira 9P and Fukui Susumu 9P. Ishida was born in Tokyo on May 23, 1949 and became a disciple of Fukuda Masayoshi 8P. He became 1-dan in 1966 and 9-dan in 1982. He won the top section of the rating tournament (Oteai) in 1972 and the 3rd and 4th King of the New Stars titles ((1978 and 1979). He played in six Meijin leagues and one Honinbo league. At his peak, when he played in the Meijin league for six years in a row, Ishida impressed as one of the top players on the go scene, but he never put it together to win a big title. Fukui was born in Tokyo on May 21, 1947 and became a disciple of Iwamoto Kaoru. He became 1-dan in 1965 and 9-dan in 1994. His older brother, Masaaki, is still active.

Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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