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AlphaGo Zero-AlphaGo Master: Two openings, less variety

Saturday November 11, 2017

“In the set of 20 games between AG Zero and AG Master, there are pretty much just two openings — i.e. identical moves for about the first 202017.11.11_ag-ag-zero-opening moves — one with Zero as Black and one with Master as Black,” says Michael Redmond 9p in this first commentary on the recently released AG Zero games. “This provides an opportunity to examine how Zero differs from Master, as well as how Master differs from earlier versions. ”

“When AGMaster plays against AGZero, it does not show the variety that it had before,” says Redmond. “As AG does not change within a version, I find it hard to accept that it apparently does not have the option to play moves that it played before in identical board positions. In the ‘Master series’, 60 games played against top pros in Dec 2016 to Jan 2017, Master could play the 3-4 point as it’s first move in about 1/4 of the games when it had Black. Incidentally, AGKeJie also could play the 3-4 point in some of it’s games. The fact that Master repeats the same opening every time in these games against AGZero bothers me and makes me question, is this truly the same version of AGMaster that played the Master series, and if so, what caused it to play the same opening every time in this series, when it was allowed to have variety in previous games with identical board positions? The difference in calculated winning percentage between A and B should be extremely small and I would expect it to have little or no effect on the ultimate win-loss record. This set of games would be much more valuable if Master had been allowed to vary in it’s choices for moves.”

Click here for Redmond’s video commentary, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock, and see below for the two sgf commentaries. Note that these commentaries focus only on the two openings; watch for a full-game Zero-Master commentary next week. Click here for a playlist of all the Redmond AG commentaries.

Video produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson. The sgf files were created by Redmond, with editing and transcription by Garlock and Myron Souris.

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The Power Report (2 of 2): Rin Kaiho receives decoration in autumn honors; Ichiriki to challenge for Kisei

Saturday November 11, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.11.10_Rin Kaiho

Rin Kaiho receives decoration in autumn honors:
Rin Kaiho (Lin Haifeng) 9P has been awarded a decoration by the Japanese government in the autumn honors. Rin (right) was one of the top players in the second half of the 20th century. He has scored 1400 wins as a professional, behind only Cho Chikun, and has won 35 titles, including the Meijin eight times, the Honinbo and Tengen five times each (he is Honorary Tengen), and the Oza, Judan, and Gosei once each. He is a disciple of Go Seigen, who received the same decoration, and has many Taiwanese disciples (though born in Shanghai in 1942, he is a citizen of Taiwan), including Cho U. The success for which Rin is best remembered is defeating Sakata Eio, 2017.11.10_Ichiriki L Yamashita Rconsidered almost invincible at the time, and becoming Meijin at the age of 23, then a youth record. Twenty-six Nihon Ki-in players have received a total of 37 decorations.

Ichiriki to challenge for Kisei: The first game of the play-off to decide the challenger for the 42nd Kisei title was held at the Tokyo headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on November 9. Taking white, Ichiriki Ryo (left), the winner of the S League, defeated Yamashita Keigo 9P (right), second in the same league, by resignation after 216 moves. As the S League winner, Ichiriki starts the play-off with a one-win advantage, so this win made him 2-0 and made him the challenger to Iyama Yuta Kisei. That means that the two will meet in three successive title matches, making a super-series best-of-17 (a minimum of ten games will be played). Ichiriki is the youngest player to challenge for the Kisei title. Becoming the challenger earned him promotion to 8-dan (as of (November 10). The first game of the title match will be played on January 18 and 19.

Promotion: To 2-dan: Hirose Yuichi (30 wins, as of Nov. 3)

Correction: this post has been updated to reflect the fact that Rin Kaiho has born in 1942, not 1952. 

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AlphaGo-AlphaGo Game 15: New, different and possibly bad

Friday November 10, 2017

“I don’t like to call it weird, but in this game we’re going to see some new and different stuff that AlphaGo is doing with the joseki that I don’t 2017.11.10_ag-ag-thumb-15really understand and I don’t like it,” says Michael Redmond 9p in his commentary on Game 15. “It’ll be interesting to see if eventually I change my mind, but for now I’m going to say it’s a bad move.” Redmond adds that “We’ll also see another typical AlphaGo move later in the game that’s pretty exciting too.”

Click here for Redmond’s video commentary, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock. Click here for a playlist of all the Redmond AG commentaries.

And keep an eye out here and on the AGA YouTube channel for the launch of Redmond’s commentaries on the AlphaGo Zero-Master games, coming very soon!

The Game 15 video is produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson. The sgf file was created by Redmond, with editing and transcription by Garlock and Myron Souris.

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The Power Report (1 of 2): Shibano sets Meijin League record; 73rd Honinbo League; Xie takes lead in Women’s Honinbo

Friday November 10, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.11.10_Ichiriki right

Shibano sets Meijin League record:
The play-offs to decide the vacant seats in the 43rd Meijin League were held at three different venues on November 2. Usually games are played on the home ground of the senior player; by coincidence, all three play-offs featured members of the same institution, so no one had to travel. In Nagoya, at the Central Japan headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in, Hane Naoki, who was bounced out of the previous league, was matched against a fellow Nagoya player, Hirata Tomoya 7P. The latter was seeking to make a comeback after a gap of one term. Taking white, Hane won by resignation; he will play in his ninth league. This is the third year in a row Hane has regained his seat immediately after dropping out. In Osaka, the Kansai Ki-in players Yo Seiki (Yu Chengqi) 7P and Yuki Satoshi 9P were competing for a place. Taking black, Yo won by resignation. There was a big contrast in form between these two. Yo was leading the lists for most wins, best winning percentage and most games played at the Kansai Ki-in by a long way. Yuki has been the main title contender at the Kansai Ki-in for more than a decade, but this year, regardless results in games still to be played, he has lost a majority of his games for the first time in his career. This difference was reflected in the result: taking black, Yo won by resignation.

2017.11.10_Xie takes leadThe most spectacular pairing was in Tokyo, with the two hottest stars of the post-Iyama generation playing each other. Ichiriki Ryo (above, right) turned 20 on June 10; Shibano Toramaru turned 18 on November 9. Ichiriki won last year’s Ryusei tournament and is at present challenging Iyama Yuta for the Oza and Tengen titles. Shibano won this year’s Ryusei tournament in August, then in September set a record for the youngest player to win a seat in the Honinbo League. In August, however, he lost the play-off to decide the Oza challenger to Ichiriki. In the play-off for the Meijin League seat, Shibano (W) beat Ichiriki by resignation, so he took revenge. In the process he set another record, becoming, at 17 years 11 months, the youngest player to win a seat in the Meijin League.2017.11.10_Old Inn Kaneyu

73rd Honinbo League: The first game of the second round was played on October 2. Ida Atsushi 8P (W) beat Ko Iso 8P by 7.5 points. With two wins, Ida has made a good start.

Xie takes lead in Women’s Honinbo: The third game of the 36th Women’s Honinbo title match was played at the Old Inn Kaneyu (at right; “Old” is part of the name) in Noshiro City, Akita Prefecture on October 4. Taking black, Xie Yimin (left), the challenger, beat Fujisawa Rina by resignation after 167 moves. She now leads the match 2-1. The fourth game will be played on November 17.

Tomorrow: Rin Kaiho receives decoration in autumn honors; Ichiriki to challenge for Kisei

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Redmond announces new series on AlphaGo Master vs AG Zero

Saturday November 4, 2017

“We were expecting DeepMind to make some sort of an announcement (about a new version of AlphaGo),” says Michael Redmond 9p, “But 802017.11.04_agzupdatethumb games was a big present.” (Self-taught AlphaGo Zero bests all previous versions in record time Redmond discusses AlphaGo Zero with the E-Journal’s Chris Garlock in a brief video announcing the launch of a new series of game commentaries. DeepMind released four sets of games for the self-taught AI, including training games, games against the Fan Hui version, the Lee Sedol version and the Master version, which defeated 60 top human opponents earlier this year. “I’m going to be looking at the games where Master plays Zero, mainly because Master is such a popular version of AlphaGo,” Redmond says. Master’s tactics, including big shimaris and emphasizing the center “people wanted to play, but were afraid because that way of playing is weak in territory. Master showed us some successful ways…and is still having an effect on how professionals play. So it’s going to be really interesting to see Master playing against a stronger version of AlphaGo.”

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AlphaGo-AlphaGo Game 14: A double kakari and a new joseki

Saturday November 4, 2017

“In this game we’re going to see a double kakari against a star point, a first for this series of games,” says Michael Redmond 9p in his game 2017.11.03_AG-14commentary on Game 14. “In the Master vs. human series back in January, Master would play away when the opponent played a kakari against a star point, sometimes. Now we’ll get to see how Master plays this with White, and it has a special move. Its a new joseki that actually make s some sense, so it’s going to be interesting.”

Click here for Redmond’s video commentary, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock.

The Game 14 video is produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson. The sgf file was created by Redmond, with editing and transcription by Garlock and Myron Souris.

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The Power Report: Iyama defends Meijin, achieves second Grand Slam; Iyama makes good start in Oza; Iyama extends lead in Tengen; Yamashita makes Kisei playoff; Fujisawa evens score; First round completed in 73rd Honinbo League

Sunday October 29, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.10.29_42 Meijin5 Iyama

Iyama defends Meijin, achieves second Grand Slam: The fifth game in the 42nd Meijin title match was held at the Atami Sekitei inn (below left), one of the traditional venues for the Meijin, in Atami City in Shizuoka 2017.10.29_43meijin5_8Prefecture on October 16 and 17. After winning the first game in the match, the defending champion, Takao Shinji Meijin, had lost three in a row, so he faced his first kadoban. The game got off to a stormy start, with Takao, who had white, capturing a large group of Iyama Yuta’s. Actually Iyama (right) could have made a second eye, but he didn’t like the result, so instead he discarded the group and tried to squeeze on the outside as compensation. As usual, it was a fierce game, and the lead switched back and forth. In the end, Iyama set up a ko to kill the white group surrounding his “captured” group, and Takao had to resign when he ran out of ko threats.

2017.10.29_42meijin5 TakaoLosing this title to Takao (left) last year cost Iyama his simultaneous grand slam, the first in Japanese go history. In the meantime, he defended his other six titles, so regaining the Meijin gave him his second grand slam, a first for. This is a first for go or shogi. Iyama maintained the first one for 197 days. Fans will be looking forward to his extending this. This is his 46th title, which leaves him in sixth place, one behind Kato Masao.

This success earned Iyama a report in the nightly news, which also revealed in passing that his tournament prize money now amounted to 1,000 million ten (about $9 million).

Iyama makes good start in Oza: Just three days after regaining his grand slam, Iyama was busy with maintenance, meeting the challenge of Ichiriki Ryo 7P for the 65th Oza title. The first game was played at the Yokohama Royal Park Hotel in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, on October 20. Iyama drew white. The game started with a fierce struggle for the initiative, and fighting continued to the end. Iyama was able to take an edge, leading Ichiriki to resign after 168 moves. The second game is scheduled for November 18.1 Oza1 Ichiriki right

Iyama extends lead in Tengen: The second game of the 43rd Tengen title match was played at the Hotel Emisia Sapporo in Sapporo City, Hokkaido, on October 27. Taking white, Iyama Yuta secured a resignation after 162 moves, making the game almost the same length as the Oza one reported above. Ichiriki Ryo (right) faces his first kadoban in the third game, scheduled for November 24. As least he has the better part of a month to consider how to righten his ship in his double challenge.

Yamashita makes Kisei playoff: The third game in the knock-out to decide the challenger in the 42nd Kisei tournament was played on October 27. Motoki Katsuya 8P had done well, moving up from bottom of the knock-out, as C League winner, past the B and C League winners, but his run came to a stop when he met Yamashita Keigo 9P, second-place-getter in the S League. Taking black, 2017.10.29_female-honinbo2 FujisawaYamashita won by resig. He will meet Ichiriki in the final, though the latter starts with a one-win advantage.

Fujisawa evens score: The second game of the 36th Women’s Honinbo title match was held at the Izanro Iwasaki inn in2017.10.29_female-honinbo2 Izanro Iwasaki_8 the town of Miasa in Tottori Prefecture (at right, with the Mitoku River flowing in front of it). Taking black, Fujisawa Rina (left), the defending champion, forced Xie Yimin, the challenger, to resign after 205 moves. This evened the score at 1-1. The third game will be played on November 4.

First round completed in 73rd Honinbo League: With the two results given below, the first round of the new league has now been completed. Of the four newcomers to the league, only Ida Atsushi has won a game. Besides the players below, Motoki Katsuya and Yamashita Keigo have won a game. The others to have lost a game are Kobayashi Satoru and Shibano Toramaru.
(Oct. 19) Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resig.
(Oct. 26) Ida Atsushi 8P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by 3.5 points.

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AlphaGo-AlphaGo Game 13: The large knight’s move enclosure workout

Sunday October 29, 2017

“This is a very different game, in that there are three corner enclosures,” says Michael Redmond 9p in his game commentary on AlphaGo-2017.10.27_AG-13AlphaGo Game 13. “Black isn’t playing a kakari, which is different from what human players do now. So we’re going to have kind of a workout in how to deal with the large knight’s move enclosure.”

Click here for Redmond’s video commentary, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock.

The Game 13 video is produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson. The sgf file was created by Redmond, with editing and transcription by Garlock and Myron Souris.

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The Power Report (Part 3 of 3): Record age gap in women’s game; Mutsuura wins Agon Kiriyama Cup; Tengen title match starts

Wednesday October 18, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Record age gap in women’s game: On October 5, Sugiuchi Kazuko 8P played Ueno Asami 1P in the preliminary round of the Women’s Hollyhock Cup. Playing white, Ueno beat Sugiuchi by resig. This game set a record for the biggest gap in a women’s game: Ueno is 15 and Sugiuchi is 90. Go Weekly gave the age gap as 75 years. Sugiuchi was born on March 6, 1927 and Ueno on October 26, 2001, so, to be precise, the difference is 74 years seven months. Sugiuchi is probably2017.10.18_Kiriyama L Mutsuura R Takao the oldest active female professional ever. Her husband, Sugiuchi Masao 9P, is still playing at the age of 96 (he turns 97 on October 20). It’s hard to imagine this is not a record for male professionals.

Mutsuura wins Agon Kiriyama Cup: The final of the 24th Agon Kiriyama Cup was held at the Kyoto headquarters of the Agon sect of Buddhism on October 7. Playing in his first big final, Mutsuura Yuta 3P (white, left in photo at right) defeated Takao Shinji Meijin (at right). Takao resigned after 210 moves. Mutsuura is a member of the Nagoya or Central Japan branch 2017.10.18_Tengen1 L Ichiriki R Iyamaof the Nihon Ki-in. He was born on May 1, 1999, so yet another strong teenager has emerged in Japan. At 18 years five months, he is the third-youngest player to win an open title. His success earned him promotion to 7-dan (as of October 8).

Tengen title match starts: The final quarter of the tournament year in Japan features two title matches, the Tengen and the Oza, between Iyama Yuta and Ichiriki Ryo, so in effect they are playing a best-of-ten. Ichiriki is also the favourite to challenge for the Kisei title, so it could become a best-of-17. The first game in the 43rd Tengen title was played at the Hotel Foresta in Toyoda City, Aichi Prefecture, on October 11. Taking black, Iyama (at right, photo at left) played aggressively, but Ichiriki held his own in the fighting. In the end, however, Iyama’s good judgment enabled him to draw ahead. Aiming at an upset, Ichiriki started a ko fight at the end, but Black had more ko threats, so he resigned after 273 moves. The second game will be played on October 27. The first Oza game is scheduled for October 20.

Promotion: To 2-dan: Hoshiai Shiho (30 wins, as of Sept. 26)

Correction: This post has been updated to reflect that Mutsuura was born in 1999, not 2009.

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The Power Report (Part 2 of 3): Motoki does well in Kisei knock-out; Chinese pair wins world championship; New Honinbo league starts

Tuesday October 17, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Motoki does well in Kisei knock-out: The first game in the irregular knock-out among the various league winners in the 42nd Kisei tournament was played on October 2. Motoki Katsuya 8P, winner of the C League, beat Yo Seiki (Yu Chengqi) 7P, winner of the play-off between the winners of the two B Leagues. Motoki followed up this success by beating the winner of the A League, Takao Shinji Meijin, on October 12. Taking black, Motoki won by resignation. Next, he will meet the second-place-getter in the S League, Yamashita Keigo.

Chinese pair wins world championship: The second part of the Pair Go World Championship 2017 was held at the Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel in Shibuya, Tokyo, on October 5. The winning pair in the Stars Tournament, held at the same venue on August 12 and 13, that is, Xie Yimin 6P and Iyama Yuta 9P, representing Japan, met the reigning Pair Go world champions, Yu Zhiying 5P and Ke Jie 9P of China, in the Masters Match. The Chinese pair earned their title in the Pair Go World Cup 2016 Tokyo. Playing white, Yu and Ke defended their title, forcing Xie and Iyama to resign after 198 moves. Like the final in the August event, the game was played in the Noh Theater in the basement of the hotel.
A unique event, the Go AI Research and Goodwill Game by the Pair Go Format, was held on the previous day. Xie, Iyama and the program DeepZenGo were matched against Yu, Ke and DeepZenGo. To fit the Pair Go format, the human players on each team played as one member of the pair with the AI program; they were free to consult each other and together played every second move for their side. This was a lighthearted event, with the players occasionally bursting into laughter. Xie, of course, could also follow what the Chinese players were saying, which she said made the game even more fun. Just for the record, this game was also won by the Chinese pair.

New Honinbo league starts: The first two games in the 73rd Honinbo League were played on October 5. Yamashita Keigo 9P (B) beat Kobayashi Satoru 9P by resig. and Motoki Katsuya 8P (W) beat Shibano Toramaru 7P, also by resig. So far, October has been a good month for Motoki, the previous Honinbo challenger.

Tomorrow: Record age gap in women’s game; Mutsuura wins Agon Kiriyama Cup; Tengen title match starts

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