American Go E-Journal

Steam moving ahead with first go client

Saturday April 2, 2016

Steam, the largest distribution platform for online games, is moving ahead with its first-ever go client. Developed by Hart Laboratories, Ancient Go was approved on March 15 through a process called Steam Greenlight, which uses community support to select games for distribution. Although a release date is forthcoming, once available Ancient Go will provide players with another digital arena in which to test their mettle. 2016.04.02_Steam Greenlight  Ancient Go
Coming on the heels of the AlphaGo – Lee Sedol series, the timing of Ancient Go’s introduction is fortuitous. Online interest in go spiked despite Lee Sedol’s 1:4 performance against AlphaGo. In Reddit’s r/baduk, members noted a 20% increase in subscribers, which grew to over 10,000 users. The Online-Go Server also noted a surge of new players. Comments left on the Ancient Go Greenlight site were enthusiastic about the new go client, which will run on Steam’s proprietary distribution system.
2016.04.02_ancient-go-preview_3DBoardBuilt on the Unreal 4 Engine, Ancient Go is visually appealing. The goban and stones are rendered well, and its interface is striking for its minimalism – perhaps even too much so. There is no window for chat and no time display is evident in the game demonstration. While the Unreal 4 Engine supports 3D graphics, there are no plans to extend 3D presentation beyond the tutorial section, at least through the initial release. Games will still be played in two dimensions. “The priority [for Ancient Go] is to be beginner friendly, rather than being feature full. The goal is “to draw in new players instead of compete with existing servers,” notes Christopher Hart, Ancient Go’s developer, who also mentioned that the client will emphasize “quick play on smaller boards.”
There are still many unknowns about Ancient Go and several potential drawbacks. Chief among these is the lack of SGF 2016.04.02_ancient-go-preview_Tutorialsupport which, although standard on all other clients, evidently did not make the “feature full” cut for the first release. Ancient Go will also only be available on Steam’s Windows-compatible platform, not its Linux or Mac OS X versions. At this time there is no information about the quality of Ancient Go’s AI. The developer has also not announced any plans to introduce life and death problems or community forum features to the client. How all of this will affect the Steam community’s response to Ancient Go is yet to be seen.
Bearing all of this in mind, the release of Ancient Go will still be cause for excitement. Steam, which is owned by the Valve Corporation, boasts some 125 million accounts and has proven a versatile platform for online gaming. Extending go to this platform is sure to introduce more people to the game, and if even only a small fraction of these develops a deeper interest in go, I think the effort will have been worthwhile. Ancient Go should prove a welcome addition to the online go community.
- Daniel Acheson
Categories: Computer Go/AI
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Young Players Wanted for Li Min Cup First Session

Saturday April 2, 2016

Young North American players are being sought for the first session of the new Li Min Cup World Best Go Star Championship from April 25 to 30 in Hangzhou, China. Note that this a separate event from the Li Min Cup Finals, which we reported on earlier this week (AGA Seeks Young Player for Li Min Cup 3/27/2016)The events have different deadlines, structures, and compensations; most notably, players will cover all expenses to attend the first session, while organizers cover costs for the finals, so they are in fact quite different despite the title.

Eligibility: US/Canadian citizen born after Jan. 1, 1993 for amateur players and US/Canadian citizen born after Jan. 1, 1996 for professional players. Players must also meet AGA’s/CGA’s eligibility requirements too. Prizes (Pre-tax amounts): 1st round: 3,000 RMB (if you are top 32 player). 2nd round: 4,000 RMB (if you are top 16 players)

Interested players should respond before midnight April 7th. Please email cherry.shen@usgo.org

- Joel Sherman

David Lee Roth: “Go, man, go”

Saturday April 2, 2016

Rock ‘n’ roll legend David Lee Roth is “goin’ to the world championships; Not monster truck. Not PBR. Not rodeo. All of it 2016.04.02_david_lee_roth_videomixed into one: AlphaGo versus a human being.” Former Van Halen front man Roth’s most recent addition to his hit video webcast series “TheRothShow“, features about 10 minutes of witty dialogue on go. In a witty, erudite stream of consciousness rap about go inspired by the recent AlphaGo versus Lee Sedol match, Roth — who’s been studying with Myungwan Kim 9P — explains the “infinite variety” of the game that our “kids are gonna” play and our “grandkids are gonna be able to teach.” Pointing out that go players develop their “intuitive capacity to look at something and find the solution in the board,” Roth alludes to the challenges computers face in “divergent thinking” and calls the game “gymnastics for the brain.”
- Brian Kirby

AlphaGo on CNN

Thursday March 31, 2016

 cnn2cnn1As AlphaGo finished playing the first round of its historic matches against Lee Sedol, news media around the world was reaching out to go organizations around the world. In the US there was a large number of print and internet publications. In three cases AlphaGo was talked about on TV for the US. The Daily Show covered AlphaGo and its AI prowess. On March 9th Michael Chen met with Poppy Harlow on CNN’s Quest Means Business on CNN International. During the segment they discussed the importance of the match and some basic of the game (Transcript). On March 10th Andrew Okun was interviewed by Ivan Watson from CNN International about the second loss from the matches. Okun talks about how far go has come to get to this point (Transcript).
- Steve Colburn

 

Chinese masterpiece, “Go Fundamentals” translated into English

Thursday March 31, 2016

Qing dynasty go saint Shi Xiangxia’s masterpiece, Go Fundamentals (Yili Zhigui Xubian), has been translated into English by 2016.03.29_go-fundamentalsRuoshi Sun 4d. Originally published in 1778, the book covers 12 topics, using 257 variations from six different games. Unique to this work, Go Fundamentals includes three poems on go theory. Notably, Shi’s “Guiding Formulas for Important Positions” is seen by some as “one of the most important literary works in go history, not only for its technical value but also for its literary beauty”. To top it off, translator Ruoshi Sun has enhanced Shi’s work by including illustrative examples from the Google Challenge Match between Lee Sedol and AlphaGo to demonstrate “how the profound principles of this great master can be applied even to this day.” The book is available from CreateSpace and Amazon.
- Brian Kirby

Go Spotting: BugCat-Capoo

Thursday March 31, 2016

I was looking at manga online when I happened across this comic strip style manga called BugCat-Capoo,” writes Taylor 2016.03.28_BugCat-CapooLitteral. “It’s a very interesting series and had this cute scene of BugCat ‘playing Go’ against his dog friend.” This particular sequence, or chapter, is titled “Go Experts” and portrays BugCat and the dog pretending to play a heated game of go to the befuddlement of their caretaker. BugCat thinks of an impressive move only to realize that it was a mistake when his friend sabotages his plan. He gets mad and throws a tantrum, ruining the game, while his friend calmly watches.
- edited by Crystal Lin & Joel Sherman

Categories: Go Spotting
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Go Seminar held at U.S. Army War College

Tuesday March 29, 2016

To understand how China thinks about its’ rivalry with the United States, one needs to understand the game of go. That’s 2016.03.28_Baldwin 4 GO Game Event 4 Mar 16the message Dr. David Lai, a Professor of Asian Security Affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, gave during a half-day seminar on go held March 4 at the U.S. Army War College, also in Carlisle.  More than 30 attended, about half of them U.S. Army officers.

The seminar was the idea of Colonel Jack Pritchard, Chief of the Strategic Wargaming Division of the War College. Colonel Pritchard, who had never played go, became intrigued by references to the game in literature on military and political strategy, including a monograph written by Dr. Lai titled “Learning from the Stones: A Go Approach to Mastering China’s Strategic Concept, Shias well as Lai’s recent article “China’s Moves and Countermoves in the Asia Pacific,” Parameters, Spring 2015. Col. Pritchard 2016.03.28_Baldwin 3 GO Game Event 4 Mar 16asked a member of his staff, Lieutenant Colonel Donald Travis, to organize a seminar that would introduce the game to other officers and civilians closely associated with the War College and affiliated programs.

LTC Travis, who has played go with the Carlisle Go Club, planned the event in consultation with Lai and two other Carlisle go players, Dr. Howard Warshaw and Dr. Fred Baldwin (above, right). The result was a four-hour session, divided between lectures and actual play.  Dr. Baldwin opened with a brief history of go from its Chinese origins to the present, emphasizing its appeal to strategic thinkers. Then, Dr. Lai applied go concepts more specifically to Chinese geopolitical aims. Dr. Warshaw followed this up with an explanation of the rules of go and fielded questions on go basics, including capturing, life-and-death, and scoring.

During the second half of the seminar, the officers and other go neophytes played against each other on 9×9 and 13×13 boards, during which Warshaw, Baldwin, Lai and four other frequent Carlisle-area players were available to answer questions.  Warshaw and Baldwin noted that the officers grasped the basics quickly, especially considering that none of them had ever played the game before.

The War College is the Army’s version of graduate school for senior officers, those at the rank of Lieutenant Colonels or Colonels. Speaking from a War College perspective, LTC Travis remarked that Col. Pritchard and he considered the seminar a success. He also indicated that it may be possible to incorporate an introduction to go into the school’s academic curriculum on a more systematic basis.
Edited by Noah Doss and Howard Wong; photos courtesy Donald S. Travis

 

Categories: U.S./North America
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AlphaGo Raps

Tuesday March 29, 2016

From SNL Korea “AlphaGo” participated in a rap battle vs Block B last weekend. Can AlphaGo master freestyle rap the way 2016.03.29_ SNL Korea - Block B Show Me the AlphaGoit mastered go? Click here for Show Me the AlphaGo Part 1 and Show Me the AlphaGo Part 2.
- Steve Colburn

Categories: Computer Go/AI,Korea
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Oh Mingyu wins 2016 Irish Confucius Cup

Tuesday March 29, 2016

The Irish Confucius Cup took place from the 4th to the 6th of March, at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin. A field of 44 players 2016.03.29_irish-reporttook part in the go competition, whilst separate Xiangqi and Chess competitions ran alongside in parallel. The field was very strong, with European professional Mateusz Surma (1-pro) in attendance, alongside the veteran height of Cristian Pop (7-dan). Visiting on the first leg of their European go holiday were former korean insei Jinwon Chae (7-dan) and the eventual winner Oh Mingyu (7-dan). Surma took second, with Pop taking third on tiebreak from Chae. Winner of the Rapid tournament was Piotr Gawron (4-kyu). The generous sponsorship allowed Ms Shuang Yang (5-pro) to visit and to give commentary to all the players, which was very much appreciated.

- Ian Davis, based on the full report from organiser Rory Wales

Categories: Europe
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Kenzo Meier captures 2016 Levallois Tournament

Tuesday March 29, 2016

At the beginning of March the Go players of the Ile de France region were faced with a difficult choice: a weekend of quiet 2016.03.29_tournoi de Levalloiscontemplation before the debut of the AlphaGo – Lee Sedol match, a plane trip to Dublin and the Confucius Cup, or a ride on the Paris Metro to the Levallois tournament.

As with previous years, the tournament was held in the in the College of Anatole France, beside the metro station of the same name. 71 players, ranging from 25-kyu to 6-dan, took part in 4 rounds of competition. They came not just from Ile de France, but from distant and intriguing lands such as Italy, Luxembourg, and Auvergne ( where, just so you know, they even have black cathedrals). Also of note was the fact that this year there was a relatively high number of female players – almost 10% of the field.

Reigning champion Junfu Dai was unable to defend his title, which left Kenzo Meier (6-dan) of Paris Ouest the favorite. Indeed, he made short work of his opponents, finishing with a flawless score of 4/4. The Italian Alessandro Pace (4-dan) finished in second with 3/4, ahead of Mathieu Daguenet (3-dan) on SOS. Let’s hope that the great atmosphere will be repeated next year for the 20th edition!

- Ian Davis, based on the original article in Revue Française de Go by Louise Roullier; photo: Alessandra Pace contre Kenzo Meier (photo : Jean-François Le Galiard)

Categories: Europe
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