American Go E-Journal » Korea

Lee Sedol drops to AI player in final career match

Saturday January 11, 2020

South Korean Go icon Lee Sedol closed out his illustrious career last month in a three-game match with home-developed artificial intelligence (AI) program HanDol, according to a report by the Yonhap News Agency.

Lee, who turned pro at 12 and went on to capture 18 international and 32 domestic titles, defeated HanDol in the opener of the best-of-three match in Seoul, playing with a two-stone advantage. The second match was played without any handicap, and HanDol was victorious. In the decisive third game, HanDol, developed by South Korea’s NHN Entertainment Corp., took down the 36-year-old master after 181 stones in Lee’s final match, held in his hometown of Sinan, 400 kilometers south of Seoul.
“I should have done better early, and then the (final game) would have played out much like the first one,” Lee said. “To be honest, I don’t think HanDol is particularly strong when playing with an advantage. I think some of the younger players would have beaten HanDol.”

Looking back on his career, Lee said, “I’ve enjoyed this ride. In the past, I used to say, ‘Baduk is my life,'” he said. “But now, I think there’s more to my life than baduk. I take away a lot of fun memories. Even though I lost today, I was happy to have played a good match.”

Note: This post has been updated to clarify the game sequence.

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Lee Sedol retirement reported worldwide

Wednesday November 27, 2019

Lee Sedol plays the first move in the first game of the AlphaGo series

Korean Go champion Lee Sedol has officially retired. “The 36-year-old, who scored 18 victories in international competitions and 32 victories in domestic events, submitted his letter of retirement to the Korea Baduk Association (KBA), which oversees Go professionals in South Korea, on Nov. 19, terminating his legendary 24-year career,” reports the Yonhap News Agency. In an interview with the Korean news agency earlier this week, Lee attributed his desire to retire to the rise of AI and the invincibility of programs such as AlphaGo, stating that “with the debut of AI in Go… even if I become the number one, there is an entity that cannot be defeated.” Lee’s retirement and his AI-based reasons were reported internationally by the media with American media such as Vice, the Guardian, Business Insider, and others reporting the story.

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Kim In Kuksu International Baduk Championship seeks players

Thursday August 29, 2019

If you’re a male Go player born before December 31, 1969 or a female player born before December 31, 1989, the 13th Kim In Kuksu International Baduk Championship could be just the ticket! The tournament is set for October 25-28 and all you have to do is get yourself to Gangjin-gun, Jeollanam-do, South Korea and the Korea Baduk Association will cover your room and board, ground transportation in Korea and sightseeing costs for the participants during the period of the event. AGA president Andy Okun has been there before and calls it “an amazing Go trip and culinary delight; not to be missed!” For details and to register, email assam1023@nate.com

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Kuksu Mtn. a hit with kids

Wednesday August 28, 2019

Children compete at the Kuksu Mountains Tournament in Korea.

The Sixth Kuksu Mountain International Baduk Festival was held in Korea August 2-7, in Jeollanamdo. Children from ten countries attended, in teams of varying sizes, and local Korean children participated as well. The US sent three kids: Jiayang Su, Henry Lyman, and Sun Lee.

“Henry and Jiayang won all of their matches and got a special certificate,” reports his mother Christin Lyman. “The team got to play a simul with a pro. They had 3 pros playing 8 kids each. The closing ceremony was amazing with traditional folk performances (dancing and singing). We visited Lee Sedol’s birthplace (a remote island called Sinan), a celadon museum (Gangin is the celadon capital of Korea), and a water park that was lots of fun for the kids.”

Jiayang Su, Sun Lee, and Henry Lyman, representing the US in Korea.

Sponsored by the Korean Baduk Association, the Kuksu Mountains event has been drawing lots of kids in a spirit of international cooperation. Children attended from China, Japan, Russia, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, the US, the Philippines, Thailand, Mexico and Korea this year. – Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor. Photos by Christine Lyman.

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IMSA World Masters Championship report

Sunday May 19, 2019

The 2019 IMSA World Masters Championship was held in Hengshui, China, from May 13 to 18. The Championship included five sports, Go, Chess, Bridge, Draughts, and Xiangqi, which in total offered 99 medals in 17 disciplines, with 170 players from 47 countries participating.
In Go, Men’s team (round-robin), Women’s team (round-robin), and Pair Go (bracket-tournament) competitions took place. Players were invited from six regions – China, Korea, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Europe, and North America. North America was represented by Ryan Li 1P, William Shi 1P, and Eric Lui 1P in Men’s, Shirley Lin 1P and Gabriella Su 6D in Women’s, and Eric Lui 1P and Shirley Lin 1P in Pair Go. 
The competition results are as follows:
Men’s Team
1st: China; 2nd: Korea; 3rd: Japan; 4th: Chinese Taipei; 5th: Europe; 6th: North America
Women’s Team: 1st: Korea; 2nd: China; 3rd: Japan; 4th: Chinese Taipei; 5th: North America; 6th: Europe
Pair Go (6 pairs from each region plus 2 wildcard pairs selected by drawing): 1st: Korea (Choi Jeong & Shin Jinseo); 2nd: Chinese Taipei – wildcard (Pai Hsin Hui & Lin Li Hsiang); 3rd: Chinese Taipei (Jiajia Missingham Joanne & Wang Yuan Jyun); 4th: Europe (Natalia Kovaleva & Ilya Shikshin); 5th: China (Yu Zhiying & Mi Yuting)6th: Europe – wildcard (Ariane Ougier & Pavol Lisy); 7th: Japan (Eiko Nyu & Daisuke Murakawa); 8th: North America (Shirley Lin & Eric Lui).
– Hajin Lee

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Kuksu and X’ian International youth go tournaments

Monday March 25, 2019

Screen Shot 2019-03-23 at 2.04.15 PM “We have been invited to send teams to two youth tournaments in Asia,”  reports AGA President Andy Okun. “With all expenses paid for kids once they arrive, this is an  an incredible go-related cultural experience for the price of round trip air fare.”  The Kuksu Mountain tournament will be held August 2-7, in scenic Jeollanamdo Province, South Korea.  Youth teams will be attending from all over the world, and participants will compete in multiple tournaments, with prizes in various rank brackets.  Go related side events and local tourism are part of the program as well.  Organized by the Korean Baduk Association, the popular event will be held for the sixth time this summer.  Any AGA youth 18 and under are eligible to attend, and a team leader is also sought.  Accompanying adults are welcome as well, but are asked to pay a $270 fee to help cover costs (as is the team leader). If you are interested in the event, or would like more information, fill out the application form here.

IMG_0704The X’ian Education Bureau is organizing an international tournament as well, for youth aged 13-18.  A four person team will be selected for this event.  The date is not set yet, but it is expected to be in mid-late August.  X’ian was the former capital of China and is rich in history and culture, and the famed terracotta army is nearby as well.  The event will include three days of competition and two of sightseeing and cultural exchange.  12-14 teams are expected to participate.   As with the Kuksu participants must pay their own airfare.  There is a $200 charge per person as well, and then all other expenses are covered.  The application form is here-Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor.  Photos: Top: 2018 Kuksu tournament; Bottom: A few members of the life-size Terracotta Army, of which there are 8,000. Photo by Paul Barchilon.

 

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Cho Hunhyun 9P’s memoir published in English

Friday January 18, 2019

“I don’t know anything else but Go…However, it doesn’t mean I don’t know about life.” Thus begins “Go with the Flow: How the 2019.01.17 Go With The FlowGreat Master of Go Trained His Mind,” the memoirs of Cho Hunhyun, one of the greatest go masters in history, now published in English and available on Amazon. A Korean professional since the age of nine, Cho has won 1,935 matches and amassed 150 professional titles, more than any player in the world. He’s held all of the open tournaments in Korea three times, in 1980, 1982 and 1986, and has won 11 international titles, third most in the world behind Lee Chang-ho (21) and Lee Sedol (15).

A bestseller in Japan and China as well as Korea, “Go with the Flow” breaks new ground for go books. “We in the West now have many books and teachers that can instruct us how to play the game,” writes AGA president Andy Okun, “but few that tell us what it is like to be a top Go player.” Cho “does this with great openness,” Okun continues, “telling us his emotions, his feelings and perceptions, as he goes through the very taxing life necessary to have a chance to be a champion…What emerges is the portrait of a remarkable man, who had a rich, full life and wide-ranging interests, but all concentrated in a sense by the lens of Go. It was a joy to read.”

Cho’s memoir also includes “many episodes about players who earned Cho’s respect,” writes Michael Redmond 9P, “giving us a fascinating collection of stories about the best Go players of the 20th century…This book can be enjoyed by anyone who has an interest in Go or Asian culture.”

“The strength to think,” writes Cho, “is the only beacon that helps one get through life. Along the journey, we learn more about ourselves.”

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November 5th designated Baduk Day in South Korea

Monday October 15, 2018

November 5th has been designated “Baduk Day” in South Korea. The Korea Baduk Association made the announcement earlier 2018.10.14_baduk-daythis month, following the resolution to establish “Baduk Day” at a cabinet meeting chaired by President Moon Jae-in at the Blue House on October 8. November 5th was the day that “Hanseong Kiwon,” the predecessor to the current Baduk Association, was created at Namsan-dong in Seoul by the late Cho Nam-chul, the pioneer of modern baduk. The Korea Baduk Association will be holding a commemorative ceremony to celebrate the first Baduk Day next month at the National Assembly Members’ Office Building.
KoreaBizWire; image: WBaduk

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Baduk bodybuilder on staying sharp and fit

Sunday June 17, 2018

Kim Yeo-won, a commentator for baduk, also known as go, is living a double life as a fitness queen, reports the Korea JoongAngDonald Trump,Kim Jong Un Daily.

The 31-year-old commentator, best known for reporting on the 2016 match between Korean grandmaster Lee Se-dol and computer program AlphaGo, has begun competing on the bodybuilding stage. Last month, she won second place in the bikini competition at the Olympia Amateur Asia Grand Prix, one of the world’s biggest bodybuilding competitions.

“Baduk and exercising are similar in that they both make you push yourself beyond your limits,” Kim said during an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo, where she spoke about fitness and baduk. Click here for her interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily.

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3rd International Baduk Chunhyang Tournament

Sunday June 17, 2018

The Jeollabuk-do Baduc Association (affiliated with the Korea Baduk Federation) is inviting amateur baduk players to participate in this event, to be held July 20-24, 2018 in the Republic of Korea. The main event is for women only, who will not only receive room and board but also 50% reimbursement for international airfare. Chun Hyang is a female character in a famous story that’s been told for thousands of years in the city of Namwon; she represents intelligence, and the tournament is being held to find brilliant female Baduk players. There is a limited division for men, but without the airfare reimbursement. Please note that these dates overlap the U.S. Go Congress and it will not be possible to attend both.
The deadline to apply is June 23. For more information, or to apply to participate, please contact tournaments@usgo.org.
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