Ke Jie 9p defeated Lee Sedol 9p in the final game of the 17th Nongshim Cup on March 5, enabling Team China to take the Cup back home for another year. While Korea has dominated this event, winning it 11 times, China now has five wins; Japan has won it only once. The Nongshim Cup is a team event between China, Japan and Korea, sponsored by the Korean instant noodles company. Lee Sedol had scored three consecutive wins, beating Gu Li, Lian Xiao and Iyama Yuta. The match against Ke Jie was Lee’s fourth in as many days and though some worried that he’d be tired going into the final round, others said it was a great opportunity for Lee because of his form’s sweeping upturn. Although Ke Jie was the last man standing for China, his head-to-head record against Lee was 7-2 and he demonstrated a superior sense of balance in the Nongshim final, resolving a tense middle game with a trade and employing his excellent endgame technique to close out the win.
- adapted from a longer report on Go Game Guru, which includes more details, game commentaries and more photos.
Can machines overtake human intelligence? A breakthrough moment for that answer may come this week when the world champion of the ancient board game go takes on an AI program developed by Google. Korean Lee Sedol and AlphaGO will go toe-to-toe in the ultimate man versus machine battle. In this Arirang News video, Kim Ji-yeon reports on how the human champion thinks the match will play out.
The go world was shocked and intrigued in January, when news broke of DeepMind AlphaGo’s victory over top European pro Fan Hui 2p. Since the publication of DeepMind’s paper in Nature, and the release of the game records, professionals around the globe have had time to analyse AlphaGo’s play in more detail, and a consensus has emerged that although AlphaGo’s victory over top European pro Fan Hui 2p was a great advance in computer go ability, DeepMind would not be celebrating victory if it had been a top professional sitting across the go board back in October. This week we’ll find out.
- adapted from reports by the Arirang News and Go Game Guru.
The first game will be Tuesday, March 8, 8p PST (11p EST). The match will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with English commentary by Michael Redmond 9p with American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock.
The latest results of the Confucius Cup Go tournament are available here.
Koreans Park Jeonghwan 9p and Choi Jeong 6p defeated the Chinese team of Tang Weixing 9p and Yu Zhiying 5p to take first place in the three round pair go competition at the IMSA Elite Mind Games in Huaian.
Playing for North America, the Canadian team off Ryan Li 1p and Sarah Yu 6d, took sixth place overall, losing to Ilya Shikshin 1p and Natalya Kovaleva 5d. Li and Yu lost in round one to the Taiwanese team of Joanne Missingham 7p and Lin-li Hsiang 6p, but scored a win in round two against Ali Jabarin 1p of Israel and Elvina Kalsberg 5d of Russia.
Japan secured third place with Tomoya Hirata 7P and Hoshiai Shiho 1P defeating Missingham and Hsiang.
- Andy Okun, Special Correspondent for the E-Journal, with reporting by Hajin Lee
photo: Pair go top medalists with Pair Go founder Mrs Taki and local CP official
The world is surely converging…years ago after reading about David Lee Roth’s “Brown M&M” strategy for finding an indicator in a complex system, it seemed like the best tool I had ever heard of for approaching the opening in go, a simple and elegant way to understand opening theory, and apply it in real games. (Van Halen Frontman David Lee Roth Taking Go Lessons from Myungwan Kim 3/2 EJ)
Roth’s idea is genius: with an arena rock concert to set up in four hours, how to know with reasonable certainty that every technical specification in a 1000-page manual has been met? Answer: Insert a clause somewhere in the middle that there will be a bowl of M&Ms in your dressing room, with the brown ones picked out. No M&Ms, or brown M&Ms, no show.
The beauty of David Lee Roth, is to actually follow this, and knowing it’s beyond explanation or legal argument, just smash some stuff and refuse to go on. The one time he went on anyway when there were brown M&Ms, part of the set collapsed.
One of the brown M&Ms in go are those pesky third line stones lined up in one direction on one side of the board. I can use no other analysis tool, and so far accurately determine whether the opening is a fail or not. Here, I’ll show you :)
Once, I explained to Kim Myung-wan 9 dan David Lee Roth’s brown M&M strategy and how it applies to go. He may have thought I was kidding, but appeared to good-naturedly accept it as just another example of how go is really at the center of things, after all. Hmmmm, like the chocolate inside that thin, thin colorful shell that melts in your mouth, not in your hand…
My hat is off to David Lee Roth, a great musician whose thought truly spans our odd global modern age, and Kim Myung-wan, a great player of games, who may not know he is the David Lee Roth of the game world. (Sorry!)
PS. In regard to the other news items I’ve been reading — let’s not get carried away, folks. I’m sure that when Asians first started seeing Westerners play go, they were intrigued, and opinions were all over the place. But no one thought that a Westerner winning a game against a top Asian, or setting up a match with the expectation of winning, meant that Westerners had “surpassed” Asians, or it was only a matter of time. Even if it were so, Asians will probably not stop playing go, of course. And of course, someone will probably make some where-are-you-going-with-this case for Westerners to be inherently better at go playing. The show goes on, with me smashing up dressing rooms in my mind.
AlphaGo viewing party in San Juan, Puerto Rico: Tuesday night (March 8th), meeting at 23:30 AST (one half hour before game start) in Old San Juan. Contact Ryan Grant <email@example.com> for details.
David Lee Roth, wit, adventurer and often the lead singer of hard rock veterans Van Halen, has been taking go lessons from Kim Myungwan 9p, the EJ has learned. The rock legend on Monday posted a black and white photo on his Facebook page of the two discussing an early game go position. The text reads “6:34 Go lesson with Myungwan Kim; losing as usual.” Roth was lead singer of Van Halen from 1972 to 1985, released such hits as “Unchained,” “Eruption” and “Dance the Night Away,” then again in 1996, and in 2001. He rejoined the band in 2007 to tour and record to the present day. In between his stints with the band, he has had an active solo career, worked as a radio personality and an EMT, and written a best-selling and well-regarded memoir. Among the many comments fans promptly posted on his photo with Kim: “Oh Dave, you may be a loser at whatever the ***k that is, but you will remain a winner in our hearts.”
“Hey folks, you’ve had three stories about watching the AlphaGo-Lee match recently, but in none of them did you bother to give instructions for how to stream it,” writes Howard A. Landman. “I’d like to host a viewing party, but at the moment I have no idea what URL to go to or what else I’d need to do. Could you possibly give some brief how-to instructions?”
The local US times for the upcoming AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match are 8p PST and 11p EST. The first match will be Tuesday, March 8. The tournament will be livestreamed on DeepMind’s YouTube channel with English commentary by Michael Redmond 9p with American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. It will also be broadcast on TV throughout Asia through Korea’s Baduk TV, as well as in China, Japan, and elsewhere. More details on the SmartGo website.
On Friday evening at the Gresham Hotel, in addition to the Rapid Go tournament, there will be:
The Rapid Go, Chinese Chess, and Chess tournaments will all start at 7pm.
Full information about the Confucius Cup weekend is available here.
Please come along if you can, it should be a fun event!
Two of the three go events at the IMSA Elite Mind Games ended Monday with Korean and Chinese victories, while the North American Men’s team and lone woman contender Sarah Yu 6d each took 5th place. In the course of the match, each of the three men players defeated a pro with Ryan Li 1p scoring a final round win against the young Japanese talent Mutsuura Yuta 2p.
The men’s team, comprising Li, Jiang Mingjiu 7p and Eric Lui 1p, were winless in the first three matches of the five match round robin, losing to Korea (see team photo at right), Taiwan and China. Round four was against the European Go Federation team of Fan Hui 2p, Ali Jabarin 1p and Ilya Shikshin 1p, expected to be the main competition for North America. On board three, Lui beat Shikshin while on board two, after falling behind early on, Li scrapped hard and fought gallantly, but was unable to catch up with Jabarin. The match turned then on board one, where Jiang beat Hui, recently in the news for his October match against AlphaGo, in a hard fought half-point game.
North America’s final day match against Japan could not have moved North America out of 5th but was the deciding factor in Japan or Taiwan taking 3rd place in the match. Japan, needing the win to stay on the medal stand, won by 2-1. Although Li beat the strong 16-year-old Mutsuura, Lui lost to Toramaru Shibano 2p, another 16-year-old with a strong record in his two years of pro play. Jiang meanwhile, lost to Hirata Tomoya 7p, although both a disappointed Jiang and some observers in the room thought he had a chance to win.
Li’s win was in line with the opinion expressed by the Asian team captains present, that the young AGA and EGF pros had improved significantly, approaching in strength a new Chinese pro and matching weaker Japanese pros. They mainly need more opportunities for serious tournament play in order to improve.
Korea effectively won the tournament by beating main rival China by 2-1 in round two. Both were undefeated against the other teams. Japan staked its claim on third place against main rival Taiwan in round one when Mutsuura and Shibano prevailed in their games.
In the women’s individual tournament, a 12-player double elimination, Sarah Yu lost in round one to Korea’s Oh Yujin 2p, but then won against Rita Pocsai 4d of Hungary and then Elvina Kalsberg 5d to guarantee at least a fifth place finish. Her round four match against Yu Zhiying 5p went beautifully until the players were in byo yomi and the Chinese pro took control of the game. Yu Zhiying went on to win the tournament. Yu’s last game was against Cao Youyin 3p. Cao won, taking fourth. Joanne Missingham 7p of Taiwan was third and Choi Jeong 6p of Korea took second.
A three-round pair go event started Tuesday, with Yu and Li facing off against Taiwanese teammates Missingham and Lin Li-Hsiang 6p.
- reported by Andy Okun from Huaian, Jiangsu Province, China; photo courtesy Ranka Online
In his latest Go Talk video series, Kevin Hwang interviews SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf about AlphaGo, computer go, the origins of the SGF file, and more. His February 21 interview with Hajin Lee has interesting background information on organizing the Lee Sedol vs AlphaGo match. Click here to check out the entire Go Talk series.
Inspired by the Seattle Go Club’s plans to host watching parties for the upcoming AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match, the AGA and its chapter rewards program are offering to cover up to $100 of “reasonable expenses” of AGA chapters’ AlphaGo-Lee Sedol challenge match viewing parties.
“This is a historic moment for the go community,” AGA President Andy Okun said. “Whether you’re rooting for the human to prevail or cheering AlphaGo in joyful acceptance of the advent of our new rulers, this is an event to see with fellow go players.”
Lee Sedol 9P has accepted the million-dollar challenge to play five games against the deep convolutional neural network system developed by Alphabet’s UK-based DeepMind AI lab. After the announcement last month that AlphaGo had swept European Champion Fan Hui 2p 5-0, there was an unprecedented level of news coverage. “We expect a similar level of coverage or even more when the AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match starts,” said Okun, “so your viewing party could also be a chance to get some additional coverage for the game and your chapter.”
A chapter must be current on dues and the food, non-alcoholic beverage or other expenses must be reasonable for the expected turnout (no single person viewing parties at steakhouses please) and you must send a picture or two and a few sentences about the party to the EJ at firstname.lastname@example.org. The last requirement is that, before the party, you reach out to a local news outlet or two to mention the party and encourage them to come and report on this “local angle” on a historic event in the development of artificial intelligence. To receive reimbursement send smart phone photos of your receipts to email@example.com. This offer is separate from your chapter’s rewards balance and will not count against it.
As a special free bonus for all E-Journal readers, Michael Redmond’s recent Oza game commentary against O Meien 9P appears here. Full AGA members get exciting commentaries like this every week. The game commentaries alone are worth the price of AGA membership . For youth memberships the deal is even better, just $10 a year! To sign up for the members edition, register with the AGA here .
Michael gives a summary of this powerful game, “I have Black against O Meien 9P in this game. In a fight within White’s moyo, I was successful, up to a certain point…“.
Despite being pushed to the loser’s bracket, Yu Zhiying 5P defeated Yu Jin 6D and Joanne Missingham 7P to make it into the women’s final at the IMSA Elite Mind Games, where she’ll play Choi Jeong 6P for the gold medal. In the men’s team division, North America defeated Europe 2 to 1, thanks to Jiang Mingjiu 7P’s (right) dramatic half-point victory over Fan Hui 2P and Eric Lui 1P’s win against Ilya Shikshin 1P. The match between North America and Europe attracted a lot of attention because for the first time, both teams were represented by professional players. Meanwhile, China defeated Japan 3-0, Korea defeated Chinese Taipei 2-0 and with just one round to go, the Korean team is leading with four wins while the Chinese team has three wins and one loss.
- adapted from a report on Ranka Online
by Special Correspondent Andy Okun, with reporting by Natalya Kovaleva
In the run-up to AlphaGo’s challenge match with Lee Sedol 9p in Seoul in a little over a week, go players have been worrying about the new age whose beginning might be marked by an AlphaGo victory. What will the go world be like when computers are so good? Will people still want to play go? What will change? Taking advantage of the collegiality of the IMSA Elite Mind Games in Huaian, we sought counsel from a community that has been through this before. We asked chess players how the game was affected by Garry Kasparov’s historic loss to IBM’s Deep Blue in 1997, the steady growth in strength of computer chess since, and how go players should greet the news. The general view was that go players should not be afraid of the new age, but that things will be different. There may even be some new and interesting problems to handle, as there have in chess.
“So many cheats!” said KwaiKeong Chan (right), a long time chess player, arbiter and organizer from Hong Kong. Chan is helping run the chess section of the IEMG as deputy chief arbiter. The software is so strong that it has become very easy to find new ways to cheat, Chan said. “Hiding in the toilet is primitive,” he said dismissively of a toilet-based chess scandal last year in Dubai, although he refused to detail some of the more subtle methods people use. Strong computers also are how officials crack down on cheats, he said. Chess software is so good that given a board position and an ELO rating, you can predict the exact set of moves a player of that strength will likely draw from. If a player consistently picks better moves than are likely for his or her rating, officials know to pay close attention. “You cannot play beyond yourself. It’s not humanly possible,” said Chan, who himself had designed some very early chess-playing software.
Beyond that, chess players don’t really care about computers’ strength and said go players shouldn’t either, he said. Rather, the advent of strong computer go will bring publicity to the game, as Deep Blue did for chess, Chan said. “That is always a good thing, publicity, good or bad. Publicity is what you need.” Chess is being played more than ever before, and while Deep Blue is not the main reason for that – he cited years of community effort in presenting chess well – it did produce a second surge of new players after the Bobby Fischer surge of the 1970s.
The presence of such strong computers has had other effects on how chess is played and the nature of chess expertise, players suggested. Since strong computers can provide weak and middling players with solid and accurate analysis, the role of the chess master is different than it was, said Russian player Alexandra Kosteniuk (left), a grandmaster, former Women’s World Chess Champion and author of “Diary of a Chess Queen.” The strength of players has gone up, but the best players don’t command the same respect they might have in years past because the best critique is available to everyone. “Maybe in a few years, there will be no go masters,” she said.
Shahriyar Mamedyarov, a 31-year-old Azerbaijani grandmaster and former rapid chess World Champion, said it used to be that when he was in world championship tournaments, he might have seven or eight fellow players with him helping him prepare for the games. He doesn’t need to do that now, since any questions he has or analysis he needs done can be done by computer. Valentina Evgenyevna Gunina, a three-time Russian women’s champion, said computers had raised the standard of training and that “we need to memorize much more than we did before.”
Kirsan ILyumzhinov, the controversial president of both the Federation Internationale des Echecs and the Russian Republic of Kalmykia, as well as the head of IMSA and a long time sponsor of computer go competitions, said in the early days of the computer go project, human players and human programmers would work hard to develop the computer player and make it stronger. “Now the computer develops and trains the human.”
Perhaps the bluntest argument against fear of computers learning to play our games well came from Ruslan Ponomariov (right), a Ukrainian grandmaster and FIDE World Champion from 2002 to 2004.
“What we can do?” he asked with a shrug.
photos credits: Kirill Merkurev (Chan); chessqueen.com (Kosteniuk); en.chessbase.com (Ponomariov)
After two rounds, the Korean and Japanese men’s teams are undefeated in the first International Mind Sports Association (IMSA) Elite Mind Games in Huaian, China, while North America’s sole woman player scored a win to stay alive in the women’s Individual event.
After losing to a Korean pro in round one, Sarah Yu 6d (right) of Canada beat the European team’s Rita Pocsai 4d of Hungary in round two, moving on in the double elimination tournament. Yu said she and Pocsai were well matched and that she had benefited from a few mistakes in her opponent’s endgame play. On the other hand, playing against Oh Yujin 2p in round one was daunting, the strong amateur said. “When you are playing against a pro, you just have to try to make the game last longer,” Yu said. “It forces you to play better.” In the game against Oh, “there were never any chances.”
On the men’s side, the North American men were winless against Korea and Taiwan, though Eric Lui 1p believes he had an opportunity against Lin Shih-Hsun 5p of Taiwan. Lin and Lui, who are friends, reviewed for two hours after the game. Lin made left a major group vulnerable late in the game and Lui (left) attacked but was unable to bring off the kill. “Unfortunately, I went for a small part of the group instead of trying to kill the whole group, which clearly would have been the right thing to do,” Lui said in an interview in the bright white marble lobby of the New Century Grand Hotel Huaian. While the game wasn’t over then, Lin didn’t let down his guard again and won by resignation. His game on day one against Kim Jiseok 9p was not so suspenseful. “The thing about active young pro players today is their game is so well-rounded,” Lui said. “Their game has no real weaknesses.”
On board one, Jiang Mingjiu 7p lost to Lee Donghoon 5p on the first day and Taiwan’s Chen Shih-Yuan 9p on the second. Ryan Li 1p of Canada lost to Park Jeonghwan 9p of Korea and Lin Li-Hsiang 6p. The Korean and Chinese teams are thought to be the strongest, so Korea, in addition to defeating North America, may have effectively taken the lead in the round robin tournament when it defeated China by 2-1 in the second round. Japan’s very young team, including two 16-year-old 2 dans, is also undefeated, having beaten Europe in a clean sweep and Taiwan by 2-1.
- Andy Okun, reporting from Huaian, China. For more IEMG reports, game records and the tournament contestants, go to Ranka Online’s website.