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School Team Tourney – Registration Open

Friday February 5, 2016

SchoolTeamTournamentThe 2016 American Go Honor Society School Team Tournament (SST), North America’s premier K-12 team go tournament, will be held on the weekend of April 2-3 on KGS. All public or private institutions in the US, Canada and Mexico, from kindergarten to high school, are allowed to form teams of three to compete. Contrary to the previous tradition of hosting the event over two weekends, this year’s SST will take place during only one; there will be 2 rounds on each day, with the first starting at 9 AM PST (12 PM EST) and the second at 1 PM PST (4 PM PST). “Great prizes -including full scholarships to the AGA Summer Go Camp – are provided for the top places of each rank division, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to play together with your classmates and fight for glory,” says AGHS Promotion Head Stephen Hu. Tournament rules are posted on the AGHS website, and the registration form can be found here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Announcement and image by Stephen Hu.
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Waxler, Rice, Top Portland Chess and Go Tourney

Monday February 1, 2016

unspecifiedOlin Waxler, in go, and Caden Rice, in chess, took top honors at a three school chess and go tourney in Portland, OR on Jan. 16, reports organizer Peter Freedman.  Nineteen children participated, 8 playing go and 11 playing chess. Waxler, of Beverly Cleary Elementary, had a 3-0 record - taking  first place in go for the third consecutive tournament. In second was Mason Bonner, Irvington, 2-1;  Third, Oliver Kuerbis, Irvington, 1 ½ -1 ½ (one game was judged a tie by the tournament director). Caden Rice, Richmond, took the first place trophy in chess, with Dylan Nakaji, Richmond, taking second and Ai Rose, Richmond, taking 3rd.  “Richmond continues its dominance in chess, and no one seems able to beat Olin in go. Irvington continues to show well in go,” adds Freedman. To add to the festivities, kids received snack packs of black and white mm’s as a door prize. – Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Peter Freedman.

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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

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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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Problem of the Week

Opening Overplay

White to play