Members of the Evanston Go Club took the game of go to Anime Central last weekend, teaching hundreds of attendees how to play, reports club president Mark Rubenstein. “This event is so much fun!” said Rubenstein. “We were there for 14 hours on Friday and 12 hours on Saturday, and we were teaching non-stop. I’m sure many of the kids we taught will continue to learn and play.” Evanston Go Club has been teaching go for many years at ACEN, the largest anime convention in the midwest, with over 31,000 attendees last year. “I think I’m finally catching up on my sleep now!” mused Rubenstein four days after the convention.
Nineteen go players showed up the San Diego Go Club’s Spring 2016 Go Soiree, an informal quarterly gathering of players from all the go clubs in San Diego County, with other visitors from southern California. The match of the day featured AGA president Andy Okun matched up with UCSD freshman Weihan Huai, a 2-dan professional from China. Okun fought gamely but was no match for the student in a handicapped game.
The go party was at the club president’s house which gave the players the opportunity to peruse a 200+ go book library and borrow tomes that would improve their game. After playing for five hours, players socialized over pizza provided under the AGA rewards program.
- report/photos by Ted Terpstra. photos: (right) action shot of a game and problem analysis; (left) Weihan Huai (left) and Andy Okun
Some years ago, Dutch computer scientist John Tromp (right) and his colleagues reported that the longest possible game of go would last longer than the universe is likely to. Now, the culmination of their work on Go Combinatorics—the science of counting—is reported on in Peter Shotwell’s latest essay, “John Tromp and the Big Numbers of Go: The Possible Positions, Games and the Longest.” One finds that the number of possible games “is more than a googolplex, which is a number that cannot physically be written down in the available space of the universe.” Also, with highly advanced computer power since that last report, Tromp and his team finally found the exact 171-digit number for 19 x 19 boards. “A 13×13 board has as many possible positions as the approximately 1080 atoms in the universe and the ‘L19’ number is more than 1090 times greater than this.” In other words, as one science writer quipped, “Saying that there are more go positions or games than atoms in the universe is like saying the national debt is more than a penny.”
Eastern and At-Large board members Gurujeet Khalsa and Ed Zhang have been nominated to retain their seats while Bob Gilman has said he will not run to retain his central region seat. Nominations, including self-nominations, may be made by full members for the region in which the member resides or nationwide for the At-Large seat and must be received by June 15. Nominations and questions must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for complete election information and qualifications.
Alistair Wall (2d Wanstead) won all his games to win the 38th Bracknell, the first time he has won the event. He beat Christian Scarff, Jim Clare and last year’s winner Des Cann. Also winning all three were Eric Hall (5k Swindon) and John Cassidy (8k Belgium). Among the 26 players taking part were Be Gei’s two very young daughters, playing their first game not among the family. Bournemouth won the team prize. As usual there was the fun selection of side events set by organiser Ian Marsh. The 13×13 was easy to judge as nobody entered and the Go puzzle competition was won by Peter Collins, the only player brave enough to enter. The caption competition was won by Neil Cleverly, Paul Barnard was best at paper folding and Tony Atkins made the best jumping frog.
- British Go Association website
A report on this year’s Globis Cup appeared earlier this month in the E-Journal (China’s Li wins 3rd Globis Cup 5/9). Here is a commentary on the final, based on Go Weekly and the live commentary by O Meien 9P (click on link below). This year the finalists were Li Qincheng 1P of China (aged 17) and Kyo Kagen (also known as Hsu Chiayuan or Xu Jiayuan) 3P of Japan (aged 18). In the nigiri, Li drew black. Playing conditions are the NHK format (30 seconds per move plus ten minutes). As last time, O was assisted by Mannami Nao 2P.
This tournament was founded to give young Japanese players more experience against top-level competition. In China and Korea, it’s not unusual for a teenager to be winning top titles. The best example of that is Ke Jie 9P of China. He is still only 18 (he turns 19 on August 2), but he has already won three international titles. So far, no teenager in Japan has won a top domestic title; the biggest prodigy, of course, has been Iyama Yuta, who started winning titles when he was 16, but he did not win a top-seven title, the Meijin, until he had turned 20. Why the difference? In my view, the explanation is simple: the Korean and Chinese players come out of a much bigger pool, because of the much greater popularity of go among young people in these countries.
Teams from Virginia and Maryland will face off on Thursday, May 26 as Edward Zhang 6d and the Capital Go Club host a Team Relay go event and a simul with Qiao Shiyao 1P in McLean, VA. “Team Relay Go features excitement, suspense, substitutions, timeouts and coaching,” Zhang says. “Let’s learn together!” The evening begins at 6:30p with a simul with Qiao Shiyao 1P, who took second place in the 2004 National Women Go Individual Competition, first in the 2008 Ing Cup University Championship and was a special envoy and teacher for thef Chinese Go Association at the 2010 US Go Congress. Each Team needs 6-8 players and 1-2 coaches. Sign up FREE today at email@example.com with name and strength. The simul teaching game is free, first come first serve, AGA membership required. Event location: 2010 Corporate Ridge, Ste 700, McLean VA.
photo: Team Relay Go, Team Europe, 2013. Photo: Sohu Sports
With this year’s US Go Congress in Boston on track to be the largest-ever, American Go Association president Andy Okun wants to hear from communities that would like to put on a Congress in the coming years. “We are trying to fix a venue for a California Congress in 2017, but we need to look further ahead, or possibly consider returning to one or two of our successful Congress sites from the past.” Interested chapters should contact Okun at firstname.lastname@example.org; a future Congress organizers meeting will be held in Boston as well.
photo: at the 2015 US Go Congress in Minneapolis/St Paul; photo by Chris Garlock
More pros and their lecture topics have just been announced for this year’s US Go Congress, set for July 30- August 7 in Boston, MA.
Feng Yun 9P will talk about: “Invading,” Jennie Shen 2P will co-host with Myungwan Kim 9P, and they will have a joint session on “AlphaGo 5 games summarized commentary” and William Shi 1P will talk about “Star point josekies and recent developments (strong kyu to weak dan)” and “Avalanche Opening Joseki (lower dan and up)”
UCLA triumphed earlier this month in the Collegiate Go League (CGL) Season Five Championships, defeating U Toronto to claim first place. The winners took home $250 to spend on their club. Although UCLA was unable to overcome Ryan Li 1P on Toronto’s first board, their second and third boards won the day. Cornell University took third place.
YouTube commentary on the final was provided by Gansheng Shi 1P and Michael Gallucci.
At the National Cherry Blossom Festival Sakura Matsuri on April 16. DC area go club volunteers have supported the Sakura Matsuri Go Workshop every year since 1998.
- report/photos by John Goon; collage by Chris Garlock
Eric Zhang 5d swept all four games to win the at the 2016 North Carolina Spring Go tournament “on a beautiful Sunday,” reports Tournament Director Jeff Kuang. A total of 28 players turned out May 15 to enjoy the competition.
Here are the tournament results. Open section: Eric Zhang 5d (4-0), Brian Wu 1d (3-1). 1-7kyu: Daniel Evan 1k (3-1), Adam Bridges 3k (3-1), Bob Bacon 6k (3-1). 8-12kyu: S. Y. Teague 8k (3-0), Alex Kuang 10k (3-1). 14kyu and up: Justin Su 21k (3-1), Ganning Xu 15k (2-1), John Schollenberger 14k (2-2).
photo: Ellen Zeng 10k and William Daland 8k concentrate
What the AI Behind AlphaGo Can Teach Us About Being Human: AJA HUANG DIPS his hand into a wooden bowl of polished black stones and, without looking, thumbs one between his middle and index finger. Peering through wire-rim glasses, he places the black stone on the board, in a mostly empty zone, just below and to the left of a single white stone. In Go parlance it is a “shoulder hit,” in from the side, far away from most of the game’s other action. Across the table, Lee Sedol, the best Go player of the past decade, freezes. He looks at the 37 stones fanned out across the board, then stands up and leaves…Read the rest of Cade Metz’ report in Wired. photo by Geordie Wood
A glimpse inside AlphaGo? “Here’s a picture of the machine Google used in the match against Lee Sedol,” writes Steven Schmeiser. “It turns out that they were using custom designed chips that are optimized for machine learning.”
Google supercharges machine learning tasks with TPU custom chip
Go Commentary: Lee Sedol vs AlphaGo – Game 1: If there’s any recent game that needs no introduction, it’s this one. On March 9, 2016, the computer Go program ‘AlphaGo’ defeated Lee Sedol 9p in the first game of the Google DeepMind Challenge Match. Go Game Guru’s Youngil An takes a look at the game.
Lee Sedol overtaxed? In a related story, Gordan Castanza reports that “I just learned from KBS News (Korean Broadcast System) this morning that Lee Sedol has left the Korean Baduk Association over the issue of its imposing a 20% ‘tax’ on him.” Stay tuned for more details as they become available.
Pre-registration for next weekend’s annual Maryland Open has topped 20 and will feature a strong Open section, including Xinying Jiang 7D, Zhaonian Chen 7D, Zhengbokang Tang 7D, Calvin Sun 1P, Shiyao Qiao 1P, Xiaocheng Hu 6D, Willis Huang 6D, Edward Zhang 6D and Justin Teng 6D.
One of the oldest chapters in the American Go Association, the Gilbert W. Rosenthal Memorial Baltimore Go Club has sponsored the Maryland Open go tournament every Memorial Day weekend for 43 years. Details and register here.
photo: at the 2012 MD Open; photo by John Pinkerton
The design committee of the Santa Monica Coffee Cup has finally chosen this year’s theme color, along with the colors for the next two years after. The eponymous “Coffee Cup” to be awarded to the first place winners in each division, as well as the tiles awarded the placers, for the 10th Annual Santa Monica Coffee Cup will be painted “fulvous,” a kind of dark yellow with some brown in it, said tournament organizer and AGA president Andrew Okun. “There were good arguments for mikado and sarcoline, but fulvous won the day.” The 2017 theme color will be something between glaucous and Nattier blue, followed by sang-de-boeuf in 2018.
Oh, and the tournaments itself will be June 11. The three-round AGA-rated go tournament is held, courtesy of owner Pam Stollings, at the UnUrban Coffeehouse in Santa Monica, CA. Check in starting at 9 a.m., rounds at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., prize giving around 5:30 p.m. Prizes will also include coffee, go books, bacon-flavored toothpicks and UnUrban T-shirts. Help is gratefully accepted for setting up and clearing up. Preregistration is essential as the field must be held to 64 players at most. Please register immediately.The 2017 and 2018 tournaments have not had their dates fixed yet, but the organizers will seek to hold them on the usual middle weekend of June. Please contact Okun at email@example.com if you know whether or not “mikado” should be capitalized in the sentence above, or have other questions about the tournament.
The last round of the Pandanet AGA City League is this Sunday, May 22nd. Each of these teams has played six exciting rounds so far with one more and the finals to go. Play starts at 3pm EST/12pm PST on Sunday unless otherwise noted on the schedule pages. Schedules: A League / B League / C League
Vancouver has climbed slightly ahead of Greater Washington in the A League. They are 5-1 each against the rest of the field. With two professionals for each team (Chinese and American professionals), play has shown the strength of their players. Los Angeles has been hot on their heels all year with Boston one game behind them.
Washington DC 2 has taken a commanding lead all year with their undefeated streak. Edmonton has taken one loss this year. We’ll have to see who leads the middle of the pack between Washington DC 1, New Jersey, and San Francisco 1.
The C League is led by Atlanta 2, followed by Boston 3, and Atlanta 1.
The Brooklyn Go Club hosted its annual event at the Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom) Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on April 30 and May 1. “A fair amount of interest was sparked by Alphago,” reports Barbara Calhoun.
photo by Calhoun
Tournament details for this year’s US Go Congress — July 30-August 7 in Boston — are still in development, but in addition to the US Open and US Open Masters, players can already look forward to favorites like the Diehard, Lightning, Crazy Go, and Pair Go tournaments. Some new excitement has been added for all levels in the form of Relay Go tournaments, where teams of players will switch off playing games of pair go, with an added element being that the teams that are currently not playing are able to discuss and strategize. One tournament will be open to all, and one will be an exciting US-China team showdown featuring professional and very strong players that promises to be an exciting addition to Go Congress events. A new Evening League will be a week-long ladder tournament, combining elements of the Self-Paired tournament and Midnight Madness and giving players the opportunity to self-pair and play rated games throughout the day. Stay tuned for further updates as we get closer to game-time.
- Karoline Li, EJ Congress Team (if you’re interested in being on this year’s team, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
photo: at the 2015 US Open; photo by Chris Garlock