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Updated: 1 hour 12 min ago

In Memoriam: Horst Sudhoff

Tue, 22/03/2016 - 02:52

by Allan Abramson

Horst Sudhoff, long-time friend of the U.S. Go Congress and go players all over the world, died at 84 on Saturday, March 18, peacefully and surrounded by his family, in Bochum, Germany.

We met at his first U.S. Go Congress. He loved to play rapid games, and we quickly became partners, playing late into the night during the week. He attended 20 straight Congresses. After each one, he drove thousands of miles in a few weeks, hitting virtually all of the tourist sights in nearby states. Horst touched every state but Alaska and Hawaii, and delighted in sharing what he saw in story after story.

Horst’s joy in go was unlimited. He once he told me that he had memorized over 10,000 tesuji. Indeed, his game was full of aggressive tesuji, and it took me several years to learn the patience to counter with a late probe at a weakness. He was about five Dan when we first met, able to give me three stones and still make me feel silly.

We talked about go, travel, business, investing, Germany, and his family. Pride in his children was foremost, and he never tired of relating all of their educational and professional accomplishments. My wife Helga and I visited the family in Bochum, and our families formed a lasting bond.

At his 20th Congress Horst said that it would be his last, and that it was time to explore more of Europe. So, to memorialize his final Congress, we agreed to play 100 “serious” games, and finished the last as appetizers were served at the banquet. We laughed, looked at each other, and declared that it would be a long time before anyone else came close to this record (or would want to)…

Later, we invited him to the 2009 Congress in Washington, DC, but when he arrived it was clear that Horst had some health problems. Sudden low blood pressure made it hard to walk, so after a while in the hospital undergoing diagnosis, he was flown home and his travels were over. We visited him in Bochum again, and his spirit remained high, along with his unbounded joy in life.

Horst Sudhoff was outgoing and warm with everyone, and made friends in many countries. Anyone who would like to contribute memories, stories, or photos may send them to me at allango1@verizon.net for a memory book for his family.

Allan Abramson is a longtime Northern Virginia go organizer and former president of the American Go Association. photo (top right): Horst Sudhoff shows off his sheaf of Self-Paired Tournament wins at the 2002 U.S. Go Congress (photo by Phil Straus); left: at the Abramson home in 2009; photo by Allan Abramson

Categories: World news

Mark Lee wins New Jersey Open; fourth tournament win this year

Mon, 21/03/2016 - 01:39

Mark Lee scored a perfect 5-0 record to win the 2016 New Jersey Open championship March 19-20 at Princeton University. Lee (right), who lives in Los Angeles, has been having a good year, winning the Jin Chen Open on January  3, sweeping the Southern Cal Go Championship March 5-6 and winning the San Diego tournament in January. Zhaonian (Michael) Chen was second, Zhongxia (Ricky) Zhao third, Alan Huang fourth and Yunxuan Li fifth. Click here to view all player standings, ratings and pairings. A total of 155 players registered, and as many as 142 played in each round in the 2-day tournament held in Princeton, New Jersey. Click here to see tourney photos on the AGA’s Twitter feed.  The Princeton student go club organized this event with support from alumnus adviser Rick Mott and the Feng Yun Go School; Paul Matthews was the tournament director. “Thanks to Chris Garlock and John Pinkerton for broadcasting boards 1 and 2 on KGS,” said Matthews.

Winning 4 or 5 games at any level in this tournament is hard because players were matched by ratings which were dynamically updated, says Matthews.

5 game winners: Warren Chen 4k; Olaf Witkowski 2k; Tevis Tsai 7k; Alana Noehrenberg 20k. 4 game winners: Saki Fujita 6d; Yong Chen 4d; Yuming Zhu 4d; Yong He 3d; Bryan Lim 2d; Alex Wong 4k; Shen Wan 4k; Preston Peng 4k; Bob Crites 6k; Valdas Savukynas 7k; Terri Schurter 9k; Sarah Crites 10k; Alexandra Patz 11k; Daniel Bhatti 11k; Manan Singh 14k; Eric Swain 15k; Tzu Hung (Jeffery) Yeh 16k; Yu Zhongling 18k; Peter Noehrenberg 20k

The use of Fischer time controls and online preregistration enabled precise control of round times.

- report/photo by Chris Garlock, with additional reporting by Paul Matthews
NOTE: this post has been updated to reflect Mark Lee winning the Jin Chen Open on January  3.

Categories: World news

Volunteer Opportunities at the E-Journal!

Sun, 20/03/2016 - 16:21

Be a part of the team that produces the most widely read English-language go publication in the world: volunteer at the American Go E-Journal! We have opportunities for writers, editors and artists, as well as game recorders for our online broadcasts. This is a historic moment in the history of go, with the recent AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match generating coverage and interest around the world. If interested, email journal@usgo.org and include your relevant experience.

Categories: World news

Latest AlphaGo news coverage

Sun, 20/03/2016 - 16:02

AlphaGo and Artificial Intelligence: One may easily imagine a future in which the only available careers are as artists, mathematicians, and prostitutes. One may imagine a slightly more distant future where even these careers have been automated. (Huck Bennett)

AlphaGo and the future of Artificial Intelligence
BBC Newsnight

Reddit “Ask Me Anything” with six go professionals and organizers who were involved with the match in Korea last week between Google’s AlphaGo AI and Lee Sedol 9p: Michael Redmond 9p; Myungwan Kim 9p; Hajin Lee 3p; Andy Okun (AGA President); Chris Garlock (AGA VP Communications, commented games on the official Deepmind stream); Andrew Jackson (AGA VP Operations, commented games on the AGA stream)

BBC World News interview with Francis Roads

Achievement Unlocked: Google AlphaGo A.I. Wins Go Series, 4-1
NPR

Don’t Forget Humans Created The Computer Program That Can Beat Humans At Go
FiveThirtyEight

“Sedol is my champion” tees available; Stefano Giurin has released a tshirt commemorating the first — and only — game won by Lee Sedo against AlphaGo. Click here for details.

The New York Gambit
Not about go or AlphaGo but an interesting read.
The New York Times

South Korea trumpets $860-million AI fund after AlphaGo ‘shock’
Nature

AlphaGo and the Limits of Machine Intuition
Harvard Business Review

Five Lessons from AlphaGo’s Historic Victory
MIT Technology Review‎

Why AlphaGo Is Not AI
IEEE Spectrum

Categories: World news

Ideas for Adding Buzz to Your Go Club Program

Sun, 20/03/2016 - 14:00

If you’re looking to add some excitement, ‘zip’ or ‘buzz’ to your go club program, GoClubsOnline’s Robert Cordingley has some suggestions. “One way is to run face-to-face tournaments in which players compete to win prizes, improve their ratings or just accumulate accolades!” says Cordingley. Another idea is running a Pair Go tournament. A popular feature of the annual US Go Congress, “Pair Go might be a little daunting for a club to run but is now much easier because they are supported in the latest release of GoClubsOnline,” says Cordingley. From registration to forming teams, calculating team ratings and generating pairings, GoClubsOnline gives TDs the tools they need. Click here for details.

Categories: World news

Mark Lee and Michael Chen lead hunt for New Jersey championship

Sat, 19/03/2016 - 22:47

Leading contenders for this year’s New Jersey Open championship are Mark Lee 7d and Michael Chen 7d, both 3-0 after the first day of play. Eric Lui 1P and Zhengbokang Tang 7d are also in the mix at 2-1. The first round of the Open began promptly at 10a on Saturday, thanks to required online pre-registration. The 154 players got three rounds in by 6p, helped along with Fischer timing, and will return for the two final rounds on Sunday.

Click here for tourney data, including round-by-round pairings/results, and updated player ratings. Click here to see tourney photos on the AGA’s Twitter feed.
report/photo by Chris Garlock; photo: TD Paul Matthews assists with counting Chinese-style

Categories: World news

Matthew Cheng Tops Davis-Sac Spring Tourney

Sat, 19/03/2016 - 21:41

The Davis/Sacramento Go Club held its Spring Tournament at the Arcade library in Sacramento on March 5th. There were eleven players, most from the San Francisco Bay area. Matthew Cheng 2D (right) won Division I, and Tai-An Cha 4K (won Division II for the 12th time in our last 15 tournaments. Both players had 3-1 records.
- Willard Haynes

Categories: World news

AlphaGo-Lee Sedol Match: Game Records

Sat, 19/03/2016 - 06:48

The complete SGF game records for the incredible display of go prowess from the recent AlphaGo vs. Lee Sedol 9p match appear below:
AlphaGo vs. Lee Sedol 9p, Game 1
AlphaGo vs. Lee Sedol 9p, Game 2
AlphaGo vs. Lee Sedol 9p, Game 3
AlphaGo vs. Lee Sedol 9p, Game 4
AlphaGo vs. Lee Sedol 9p, Game 5

The E-Journal has extensively covered this now world famous historic match. For a starting point on post-match coverage and references, click on this E-Journal article .

For extensive and insightful commentary on the games, also visit the YouTube channel: AlphaGo vs. Lee Sedol 9p , in which Michael Redmond 9p analyzes every facet of the games with E-Journal Editor Chris Garlock.

Categories: World news

Hikaru no Go a Hit With Grade Schoolers

Fri, 18/03/2016 - 23:00

“I want to offer a huge thank you the AGF,” writes third grade teacher Ben Ellenwood, from Portland, OR.  “I can’t tell you how into these books the kids are!  There is a sign up list half a page long and one student has already read 4 of them. We will take good care of them and they will be well loved.”  All 23 volumes of Hikaru no Go are available for free, to schools and libraries, from the American Go Foundation.  AGA chapters can also now order the sets as long as they are for club (and not personal) use. More info on Hikaru is here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo by Ben Ellenwood.

 

Categories: World news

2016 Go Congress Registration Opens

Fri, 18/03/2016 - 05:08

Registration for this year’s US Go Congress — July 30-August 7 in Boston, MA — is now open: click here

“The organizers of the Boston Go Congress are very excited to welcome all attendees,” says Director Walther Chen. “We’ll be doing our best to provide lots of fun go activities and an overall great experience.”

Check back regularly for more updates on tournaments, activities, attending pros, and more.

Important: this year, the policy for minors is more stringent, please contact the registrar directly at registrar2016@gocongress.org to make sure that you have completed all procedures before Go Congress.

Categories: World news

AlphaGo-Lee Sedol Match: Game 5 News Coverage

Fri, 18/03/2016 - 05:03

Chris Garlock will discuss the AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match Friday March 18 on the “World’s Finest Show” on WCHE 1520 AM, tune in worldwide via the listen live button at the top. Garlock commented the match with Michael Redmond 9P.

In Two Moves, AlphaGo and Lee Sedol Redefined the Future
Wired

AlphaGo seals 4-1 victory over Go grandmaster Lee Sedol
The Guardian

Game over! AlphaGo takes the final victory against Go champion Lee Sedol to finish the $1 million contest 4-1
The Daily Mail

AlphaGo defeats Lee Sedol 4–1 in Google DeepMind Challenge Match
GoGameGuru

What we learned in Seoul with AlphaGo
- Demis Hassabis, CEO and Co-Founder of DeepMind

 

 

Categories: World news

AlphaGo Watching Parties in SF & AZ

Thu, 17/03/2016 - 03:10

The Arizona Go Club met at Old Chicago Restaurant for pizza and wings “to view the burial of human superiority in go, otherwise known as Game 3 of the AlphaGo v. Lee Sedol match,” reports Martin Lebl. “Viewing was successful, although humanity lost, as many have predicted after game 1 and game 2 of the match.” Having watched the first two games at Denny’s, the viewing party for the deciding game was upgraded to Old Chicago “due to their better tasting food, and availability of appropriate liquid refreshments for a wake,” Lebl adds. “The final burial came at 1:30 local time, when AlphaGo decisively proved not only could it fight complicated ko fight, but would convert it into more complicated and bigger ko fight in the process, if given half a chance. Fun was had by all.”

“Here’s a picture of us watching game two of the incredible Alphago vs. Lee Sedol match at Noisebridge hackerspace (left) in San Francisco,” reports Mishal Awadah. The SF Go club is offering a 10 week beginners go class starting on March 20th for anyone interested in learning the game.

And Lee Schumacher sent in this shot of a watch party at the Google Mt. View campus (right). 

Categories: World news

New Jersey Open This Weekend; Pre-Registration Required

Thu, 17/03/2016 - 03:03

The New Jersey Open will be held this weekend in Princeton, New Jersey in the Frist Campus Center. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required this year: register here by Thursday, March 17. When you arrive, there will be a check-in sheet at the registration desk and initial pairings will be posted. Check your name off on the list. DO NOT START PLAY until the designated start time of 10 AM. Announcements and attendance check will begin at 9:50. If you are not there, you will be removed from the first round. Cell phones don’t work at the site, but if you’re lost or late, call 609-851-6351 during the last half hour of check-in. Trains from NY/Phila arrive at 9:36. We suggest a taxi to Frist in order to arrive on time.
- Rick Mott, Princeton Go Club
NOTE: top boards will be broadcast on KGS by Chris Garlock (just returned from the Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match in Seoul) and John Pinkerton

Categories: World news

New 10-Week Beginner Class at SF Go Club

Wed, 16/03/2016 - 03:33

The SF Go Club is starting a new 10-week beginner’s course this Sunday, March 20th, club president Mishal Awadah told the EJ. “This is a new approach to teaching and we hope to have a great class of beginners’ learn the basics of the game together.” More information about the course as well as a flyer for distribution can be found at http://sfgoclub.com/go-for-beginners/. Topics include the rules, capturing stones, eyes and living groups, shape, ladders, ko, seki and sente vs. gote. The lessons run from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. each week.

Categories: World news

AlphaGo Edges Lee Sedol in Game 5 to Win Google DeepMind Challenge 4-1

Tue, 15/03/2016 - 15:58

After a loss in Game 4 of the Google DeepMind Challenge, and a move early on that looked like a mistake, but could have been a creative and effective new move, AlphaGo on Tuesday won Game 5 against the legendary Lee Sedol 9P. This final game of the match was close until the very end, with commentators going back and forth about who was leading. But after 280 moves, down a couple points, Lee resigned, giving the Google AI program a 4-1 match record and achieving a major milestone for artificial intelligence a decade earlier than many predicted.

“It was difficult to say at what point AlphaGo was ahead or behind,” said English commentator Michael Redmond 9P. “AlphaGo made what looked like a mistake with move 48, similar to the mistake in Game Four in the middle of the board. After that AlphaGo played very well in the middle of the board, and the game developed into a long, very difficult end game…AlphaGo has the potential to be a huge study tool for us professionals, when it’s available for us to play at home.” Korean commentator Kim Seongryong 9P added that “Just like the scientists, go players are always trying to find new methods and approaches. And we are so happy when we find them. This Challenge Match has brought us go players to new areas we’ve never explored. We are now seeing a lot more interest in playing go. And even in one week, I feel like my go playing has improved.”

“I just want to say thanks to the entire DeepMind AlphaGo team,” said Chris Garlock, Managing Editor of the American Go E-Journal, and the other half of the English commentary team. “This match… the drama, the historic aspect, the quality of the games, the brilliance of AlphaGo, the brilliance of Lee Sedol, and then the amount of media coverage. This is a gift to go. This is going to do a lot to bring go to new audiences. We could not have dreamed this up any better, and the match delivered beautiful games. This match has done what go always does: brings people together in friendship and cooperation, and that, like the game itself, is beautiful.”

With AlphaGo’s victory, Google DeepMind will donate the $1 million in prize money to UNICEF, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) charities, and go organizations.

Click here for complete game commentaries, as well as brief game highlights for each round.
photos: (top right) Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis with Michael Redmond (l) and Chris Garlock (r); (middle left) AlphaGo team takes a bow.

Categories: World news

School Teams Tourney Deadline March 23

Tue, 15/03/2016 - 02:19
The registration deadline for the School Team Tournament (STT) is right around the corner. “The STT is one of the most interactive and competitive tournaments for students in high school or below,” says American Go Honor Society President Yunxuan Li. “It draws many schools every year and has always been enjoyed by young players. All you need to do is gather 3 players from your school and sign up to compete!” To register, click here.

Registration will end March 23, and the tournament will take place on KGS on April 2 & 3. The 1st round starts at 9am PST, and the 2nd  at 1pm. Rounds 3 and 4 follow the same schedule the next day. Time settings are 45 minutes main time and 30 seconds of byo-yomi 5 times. Please remember to indicate your accurate AGA rank or your KGS rank. If you register with your KGS rank, please make sure you have at least 10 games on your account before the tournament. “Which team will be the next to win top honor for their school this year? We will find out soon,” adds Li.

Categories: World news

Michael Redmond on AlphaGo, Lee Sedol and Honinbo Shuwa

Mon, 14/03/2016 - 09:52

by Chris Garlock

During a long walk around Seoul on Monday — the day off before the Google DeepMind Challenge final game Tuesday
between Lee Sedol 9P and AlphaGo — Michael Redmond 9P was still thinking about the game from the previous day, in which Lee had finally snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. In reviewing the game carefully, he was convinced that Lee’s “brilliant” move 78 — which had won the game — didn’t actually work. Somehow, though, it had prompted a fatal mistake by AlphaGo, which top members of the DeepMind team were still trying to understand, and had reviewed key points with Redmond after the match and then again at breakfast Monday morning. While Redmond was fascinated with the move’s many complicated variations and trying to understand what had happened to AlphaGo, he was also thinking about Honinbo Shuwa, the 19th century Japanese professional go player admired by modern professionals for his light, flexible play, and mastery of “amashi,” taking territory early and then invading or reducing the opponent’s resulting area of influence. Which is exactly the strategy employed by Lee Sedol against AlphaGo in the fourth game on Sunday. “Shuwa would just jump into huge moyos and lay waste to them,” Redmond said as we walked past the Changgyeonggung Palace. “He’d just be kind of floating around there and still taking territory while being attacked. It was just sort of impossible to kill Shuwa’s stones.” Lee Sedol was doing things a little differently, Redmond noted. “He was taking profit and taking profit and then invading at the last minute. He’s been trying this strategy since Game 2 and it hasn’t been working but it finally did in Game 4.” In the final game, in which Lee will take black, “I think that Lee has the idea that he can use the amashi style, which is usually used when playing white, to take territory, allow AlphaGo to build a big moyo and then jump in.”
Garlock is the Managing Editor of the American Go E-Journal. photo: Redmond (left) with DeepMind team members David Silver (next to Redmond), Chris Maddison (second from right) and Thore Graepel (far right), reviewing Game 4 Sunday night.
Click here for Redmond’s Match 3 Game Highlights and here for the Match 4 Livestream commentary by Michael Redmond 9P with Chris Garlock. Click here for complete commentaries on games 1-4, as well as brief game highlights for each round.
The fifth and final game in the 5-game Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match will be Tuesday, March 15, 1P KST (Monday night 9p PST, midnight EST). The match will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with commentary by Redmond and Garlock. And catch Myungwan Kim 9P’s commentary with Andrew Jackson starting at 10P PST on the AGA’s YouTube Channel. 

Categories: World news

Lee Sedol Notches Win Against AlphaGo in DeepMind Challenge Game 4

Sun, 13/03/2016 - 15:10

Lee Sedol 9P made a comeback Sunday after three consecutive losses, to beat AlphaGo in the fourth game of the Google DeepMind Challenge. Playing as white, Lee won by resignation after 180 moves. AlphaGo held a strong position for the first half of the game, but commentators noted that Lee Sedol played a brilliant move 78, followed by a mistake by AlphaGo at move 79. “Today’s game was another example of AlphaGo playing a very interesting, good game,” said English commentator Michael Redmond 9P. “However, move 78 by Lee Sedol was really brilliant — and enabled him to win.“ Song Taegon 9P, the Korean commentator, said that “It seems Lee Sedol can now read AlphaGo better and has a better understanding of how AlphaGo moves. For the 5th match, it will be a far closer battle than before since we know each better. Professional go players said that they became more interested in playing go after witnessing AlphaGo’s innovative moves. People started to rethink about moves that were previously regarded as undesirable or bad moves. AlphaGo can help us think outside of the box.“ As in the previous games in this match, Lee used up all of his time and two periods of byō-yomi overtime, playing nearly two hours on his last period. With the match score 3-1, AlphaGo has already secured victory in the Google DeepMind Challenge Match, but Sunday’s loss heightens the drama going into the final game, Game Five, which will be played on Tuesday, March 15 at 1pm KST.
photo (left): AlphaGo’s Demis Hassabis and David Silver review Game 4 with Michael Redmond 9P; photo by Chris Garlock. photo (right): Lee Sedol, courtesy Geordie Wood for Wired.
Click here for Michael Redmond’s Match 3 Game Highlights and here for the Match 4 Livestream commentary by Michel Redmond 9P with Chris Garlock. Click here for complete commentaries on games 1-4, as well as brief game highlights for each round.
The fifth and final game in the 5-game Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match will be Tuesday, March 15, 1P KST (Monday night 9p PST, midnight EST). The match will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with commentary by Redmond and Garlock. And catch Myungwan Kim 9P’s commentary with Andrew Jackson starting at 10P PST on the AGA’s YouTube Channel. 

Categories: World news