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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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Categories: Computer Go/AI,World
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Your Move/Readers Write: Pro Tourney Highlight Videos a Hit

Wednesday January 6, 2016

“I like the You Tube highlights from the qualifier games,” says Bob Gilman. “These analyses of important situations provide insights in a readily 2016.01.07_Round 5 Highlightsdigestible form. Longer game commentaries are good to have also, but they demand a big time commitment to watch, and it’s easy to forget many of the points made. I hope you continue to do features like these.”

“Just wanted to compliment the short videos,” writes Keith Arnold. “While there is some suggestion that they were born of necessity and bad internet connection, I actually think they have been uniformly excellent, informative and just right for busy modern life and short attention spans.”

The latest batch of pro tourney game highlights includes Sarah Yu (W) vs Manuel Velasco (B)Ben Lockhart (W) vs Aaron Ye (B) and Jeremy Chiu (W) vs Eric Lui (B), all from the fifth round of the round robin.

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“Celestial Arsenal” Translation Released

Friday January 1, 2016

Sun Ruoshi has just released “The Celestial Arsenal,” his English translation of the late Ming dynasty classic “Xianji Wuku.” Originally 2016.01.01_The Celestial Arsenalcompiled around 1629, “The Celestial Arsenal” comprises a collection of hundreds of famous games, corner and side josekis, opening and invasion patterns, and over 400 life-and-death problems. Lu Xuanyu, a famous collector of go manuscripts, carefully selected and edited material from several famous go manuals and game records into eight scrolls: Gold, Rock, Silk, Bamboo, Gourd, Earth, Leather and Wood. This translation, however, is on 500 paper pages. The cover features two problems from the book; White to live on each side of the board. The book is available on Amazon and CreateSpace.

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Your Move: Famous Quote Mystery Deepens

Saturday November 28, 2015

The mystery deepens about the source of the quote about “if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play go”2015.11.27_Brettspiele der Völker (“Who Really Said Famous Go Quote? 11/21 EJ).

“I was a friend of Ed Lasker in the latter part of his life (we played chess together – I wasn’t playing go then),” writes Mike Ryan. “Although he told me a fair amount about his involvement with go, and various things he and his cousin Emmanuel did in that respect, he never once mentioned that quoted idea. I tend to think that neither he nor Emmanuel said that.”

Thomas Rohde in Germany thought that he’d tracked the quote to Emanuel Lasker’s 1930 book “Brettspiele der Völker: Rätsel- und Mathematische Spiele” (“Board Games of the Peoples – Riddles and Mathematical Games”), but had to order a copy of the book to confirm it. Meanwhile Erwin Gerstorfer, who has “Brettspiele der Voelker” in his collection “checked the complete chapter about Go (as well as the introduction chapter) and if I did not overlook something, then there is unfortunately no reference to the quote that we are interested in.” When Rohde’s copy arrived he confirmed that the quote isn’t there but in an online history of European go he found a reference to Emanuel Lasker that reads “In another publication he says: When there are other intelligent beings in the universe, than they maybe know chess, but surely Go.” “I wonder which ‘other publication’ this may be,” says Rohde.

“This is the original German quote,” Rohde adds: “Wenn es im Universum noch irgendwo intelligente Lebewesen gibt, dann kennen sie vielleicht Schach, höchstwahrscheinlich jedoch Go,” which Rohde translates as “If somewhere in the universe there are [other] intelligent beings, then maybe they know Chess, but most probably [they know] Go.”

 

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Go Spotting: Vagabond Manga; The Uncommon Series

Monday November 9, 2015

Vagabond Manga: “A favorite coffee barista of mine suggested I read the manga Vagabond, a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by2015.11.09_Vagabond21 Takehiko Inoue,” writes Devin Fraze. “It portrays a fictionalized account of the life of Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, based on Eiji Yoshikawa’s novel Musashi. In Volume 6, go is being played by the hero’s love interest. Unfortunately more of the game play is not shown as her opponent “accidentally” knocks over the board.

2015.11.09_vagabond-seriesThe Uncommon Series: One of the protagonists in The Uncommon Series is an avid go player. “The thriller trilogy follows a pair of entrepreneurs that drop out of college to found a new tech startup and get caught up in an international conspiracy along the way,” author Eliot Peper tells the E-Journal. “James Chen is the protagonist who’s a go enthusiast. He’s Chief Technology Officer of the startup in the book and the brains behind the whole operation. He develops a complex algorithm that identifies fraud in large financial datasets, allow law enforcement to take down money laundering rings, etc. He loves go because it’s all about pattern recognition and is the perfect analog for the breakthrough software he’s developing. He even uses online go players to train the software’s artificial intelligence routines. As the startup in the book skyrockets from garage to IPO, they have to use his technology and their own wits to take down a major cartel that’s in bed with the big banks and government regulators.”2015.11.09_vagabond-series
Spotted go somewhere? Let us know by emailing us at journal@usgo.org!

 

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Why We Play: Edward Zhang 6d

Wednesday October 28, 2015

Age: 362015.10.28_Edward Zhang-self
Years playing go: 26
Lives in: McLean, VA
Home club: Capital Go Club

Life is unpredictable: could be great, could go south. Playing go for nearly three decades has taught me strategies that have benefited me tremendously in my current career in financial planning. Reading out the variations helps me understand which is a manageable trade and which is an unfavorable battle. It’s also important to keep a couple byo-yomi periods for the uncertainties at the end. That said, it’s still impossible to predict a go game or life, but we can always plan to avoid the unnecessary pains, taking only the calculable risks.

Why do you play? Tell us in 100 words or less your favorite thing about the game of go, include your name, age, how long you’ve played go, where you live and your home go club, and email to journal@usgo.org. Be sure to include a current photo!

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Qiu Jun 9P and Lian Xiao 7P Advance to Chang Qi Finals

Tuesday September 29, 2015

Qiu Jun 9P and Lian Xiao 7P won their Chang Qi Cup semifinal third-round decider matches Monday to advance to the tournament’s final 2015.09.28_Qiu-Lian-collagerounds later this year. The games followed the pattern of the first two matches, with Lian Xiao (right) defeating Li Qincheng 1P in just 161 moves, while Qiu Jun (left) prevailed over Tuo Jiaxi 9P in yet another marathon match — this one 331 moves — in which he used a ko threat to cleverly bring a group of dead stones back to life, forcing a resignation for the first time in the series.

Game records: Rd3 QiuJun v. TuoJiaxi, Rd3 LianXiao v. LiQinCheng (also available on KGS, look under ChangQi1 and ChangQi2); special thanks to the Chinese recording team, who generously broadcast the games on KGS as well as on their Chinese servers.

Special bonus: click here to see the video of E-Journal’s Steve Colburn demonstrating the custom-built Ing table with built-in go board and stones, shot by Andrew Jackson.
- report, photos/collage by Chris Garlock

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Your Move/Readers Write: A chess players discovers iGo; Searching for a go book:

Monday September 28, 2015

A chess player discovers go: “I was a chess player my whole life,” writes David Coffin. “I’m 31 years old and just starting out in the game of 2015.09.28_Cambodian_Chess_with_Western_setiGo. I call the game iGo cause I heard the Japanese call it iGo. I am amazed by the depth of the tactics in this game. It’s this tactical thinking and the great tradition of the game that keep me coming back. I’ve read a couple of the Janice Kim books and plan on finishing her series. I get the American Go eJournal every day and read about the game. Thanks for your commitment to this board game.”
We love to hear from readers! Write us at journal@usgo.org

Searching for a go book: “I discovered go in a local bookstore in Cleveland, where I also found a board and pieces, in a classic games book for kids,” writes Sharon Cenna. “The shelf also contained a wonderful, hard -back, oversized volume, with history of go in Asia, including many interesting art reproductions.It was quite large, with many pages. I couldn’t afford it at the time, circa 2006, and I’m trying to locate it now. If anyone knows which book this is, and where to find it, I would deeply appreciate any help you might offer.”
Email any tips/suggestions to journal@usgo.org.

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Qiu Jun 9P and Li Qincheng 1p Even the Score in Chang Qi Cup Semifinal, Forcing Monday Deciders; Seo Joon Jung Wins Inaugural American Chang Qi Tournament

Sunday September 27, 2015

Qiu Jun 9P and Li Qincheng 1p evened their Chang Qi Cup semifinal matches Sunday, defeating Tuo Jiaxi 9P (left, below right) and Lian Xiao 7P, respectively, to 2015.09.27-qiuforce third-game deciders on Monday (these should be broadcast live on KGS, IMG_7597starting at 9:30a EST). Once again the two younger players, Li and Lian — who are good friends as well as fierce competitors — finished first, with Li winning by resignation not long after the lunch break, while the Qiu-Tuo game again went the distance, a 7-hour, 231-move marathon that drew nearly 300 spellbound viewers on KGS (Qiu is at right, in light shirt) . There were also professional game commentaries broadcast on the AGA’s YouTube channel, which are available for review. Here are links to the four Round 1 and 2 game records: Rd1 LiQinCheng v. LianXiao , Rd1 TuoJiaxi v. QiuJun , Rd2 LiQinCheng v. LianXiao , Rd2 TuoJiaxi v. QiuJun . (you can also find them on KGS; look under ChangQi1 and ChangQi2)

In the inaugural American Chang Qi amateur tournament, Seo Joon Jung (right in photo above left) prevailed over Evan Cho in a dramatic final round Sunday afternoon, with Cho taking second place. Other top winners and a complete cross tab will be published later this week.

“This was a wonderful event that showed off the Ing Foundation’s commitment to go in North America, the strength of the North American go community and the vibrant go life here in Boston,” said American Go Association President Andy Okun.

This pro matches were played live at the Student Organization Center at Hilles, Harvard University, in Cambridge, MA, and were sponsored by the American Collegiate Go Association and the Shanghai Ing-Changki Weiqi Education Foundation in conjunction with the Chinese Chang Qi Cup and the American Go Association. The Changqi Cup is one of China’s most generously sponsored tournaments, with a winner’s prize of about $70,000 USD. It’s jointly hosted by the Chinese Go Association and the Shanghai Branch of the Ing Foundation. The tournament first started in 2004 in memory of Ing Chang-ki.
- report by Chris Garlock; photos by Chris Garlock (right) and Andy Okun (left), Photo at left: Will Lockhart, Cole Pruitt, Liu Siming and  Seo Joon Jung

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Categories: U.S./North America
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Why We Play: Michael Albert 8k

Wednesday September 23, 2015

Age: 212015.09.24_Michael-Albert
Years playing go: 7
Lives in: Richfield, Minnesota
Home Club: Twin Cities Go Club

“Before I started playing go, I was constantly bullied and abused. Once I discovered Hikaru No Go, I have not looked back. Since I started playing go my life has changed. I play not only to better myself as a human being but to communicate with others who do not speak my language. It is because of go I now have friends from all over the world: China, Japan, Korea and Mexico, just to name a few. I play go because it saved my life. I play go because it lets me be me.”

Why do you play? Tell us in 100 words or less your favorite thing about the game of go, include your name, age, how long you’ve played go, where you live and your home go club, and email to journal@usgo.org. Be sure to include a current photo!

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