BGA Newsletter 231 June 2017

Contributions for the Newsletter are always welcome, both from our members and others. We ask that they be Go-related and “newsy". The place for debate and general discussion is currently Gotalk; however, an introduction to a new topic is fine in the Newsletter. Instructions: Please use plain text not file-attachments. Keep it brief, and give web-links and contact details. It's good to include pictures. If they are on the internet, send me the URL. If not, attach the picture files to your email. Send your contribution to to arrive by the first day of the month.

Contributions to the British Go Journal are also welcome from players of all grades, see British Go Journal Article Guidelines and contact The next Journal copy-date is not yet decided.

Jil Segerman, Newsletter Editor


The full set of recent news items, including further details of some of the items shown here, are on our News Pages, and on News Headlines.

AlphaGo retires from competitive play

President Roger Huyshe writes:

DeepMind's AlphaGo defeated the world number one Ke Jie, and has brought completely new knowledge to the Go world. DeepMind’s Demis Hassabis and David Silver made the stunning announcement as the Future of Go Summit wrapped up in Wuzhen, China, saying that the match against world #1 Ke Jie represented “the highest possible pinnacle for AlphaGo as a competitive program” and would be the AI program’s final match.

So how strong is AlphaGo? Silver revealed that DeepMind had measured the handicap needed between different versions of the software. AlphaGo Fan could give four stones to the previous best software, such as Zen or CrazyStone, which had reached 6d. AlphaGo Lee, in turn, could give AlphaGo Fan three stones, and AlphaGo Master, which at the new year achieved a 60-game undefeated streak against top pros before coming to this challenge, is three stones stronger than AlphaGo Lee. This isn’t directly comparable with human handicaps ‘though as it seems that part of the gap is due to new versions of the program learning the weaknesses of predecessors. [Roger: OK, just what are the weaknesses of AlphaGo Lee?]

DeepMind isn’t leaving the go community empty-handed, however. As a “special gift to fans of Go around the world,” DeepMind is publishing a set of 50 AlphaGo vs AlphaGo games, which Hassabis and Silver said “we believe contain many new and interesting ideas and strategies for the Go community to explore.”

Also, Hassabis said that “We’re also working on a teaching tool – one of the top requests we’ve received throughout this week. The tool will show AlphaGo’s analysis of Go positions, providing an insight into how the program thinks, and hopefully giving all players and fans the opportunity to see the game through the lens of AlphaGo. We’re particularly honoured that our first collaborator in this effort will be the great Ke Jie, who has agreed to work with us on a study of his match with AlphaGo. We’re excited to hear his insights into these amazing games, and to have the chance to share some of AlphaGo’s own analysis too.”

This was not the only new information Silver revealed about system. The version playing Ke Jie is so much more efficient that it uses one tenth the quantity of computation that Alphago Lee used, and runs on a single machine on Google’s cloud.

“The research team behind AlphaGo will now throw their considerable energy into the next challenges, developing advanced general algorithms that could one day help scientists as they tackle some of our most complex problems, such as finding new cures for diseases, dramatically reducing energy consumption, or inventing revolutionary new materials,” Hassabis said.

BGJ 179 Now Available in Members Area

The Spring 2017 edition of the BGJ is now available for members to read.

UK Go Challenge Finals/Mindsports Academy 1st UK Mindsports Youth Championships

Mindsports Academy are hosting a multi-sport event at Stoke City's football ground on Saturday 8th July, including Chess, Go, Scrabble and Bridge. The Go section consists of the regular UK Go Challenge Finals in the usual age groups, but with an extra under-21 section. All games are played on 13x13. The event will be free entry and prizes will be given to the best boy and girl in each age group, as well as the UK Go Challenge overall winner title. Check for details on the websites or email

Last Chance for Youth Residential Trip

Combining some serious study with outdoor and social activity, this is aimed at ambitious young players at any level. Bookings must be in by 16th June. See the Flyer

Monthly 13x13 Tournaments in London

Central London Go Club has started a series of monthly rapidplay 13x13 tournaments on Saturday afternoons. The BGA Events Calendar gives dates and information. Please email or phone 07789738854 to secure a place, as the number of participants is very limited. The info link for the first tournament (just gone) gives the entry fee £10 and mentions cash prizes for the winner and runners up. In addition, organiser Colin has emailed: "We have adopted the Xinyi Lu 13x13 trophy, courtesy of Andrew Kay. The winner of the cup will be determined by the person who wins the tournament the most times throughout the year."

Pair Go Annual Report

The annual report on Pair Go activity in Britain, and elsewhere, is available online in pdf format.


  • Welsh Open, Saturday 24th - Sunday 25th June, Barmouth
  • Mindsports Academy youth event (UK Go Challenge Finals), Saturday 8th July, Stoke.
  • Central London Monthly 13x13 Tournament, Saturday 8th July
  • Belfast, Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd July
  • European Go Congress, Saturday 22nd July - Sunday 6th August, Oberhof, Germany
  • Leo Phillips Isle Of Man Go Festival, Sunday 30th July - Friday 4th August
  • Central London Monthly 13x13 Tournament, Saturday 12th August
  • Arundel, Sunday 13th August
  • Youth Training Residential, Monday 14th - Wednesday 16th August, Caythorpe Court, South Lincolnshire
  • Mind Sports Olympiad, Go 19x19 Sunday 20th August, London
  • Mind Sports Olympiad, Go 9x9 and 13x13 Monday 21st August, London
  • Central London Monthly 13x13 Tournament, Saturday 9th September
  • Penzance (Cornwall), Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th September
  • Strong Players' Training Weekend, Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th September, Letchworth
  • Swindon, Saturday 30th September
  • Northern, Saturday 14th October, Stockport
  • Central London Monthly 13x13 Tournament, Saturday 14th October
  • Wessex, Sunday 29th October, Bath
  • Three Peaks, Saturday 4th November - Sunday 5th November, Ingleton
  • Manchester 'Doki Doki' (Japanese Festival) , Saturday 11th November


  • London Open, Thursday 28th – Sunday 31st December
  • Isle of Skye, Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th March


The European Go Federation's Tournament Calendar includes the Major European Tournaments and a World Tournament Calendar

Last updated Wed Feb 07 2018.
If you have any comments, please email the webmaster on web-master AT britgo DOT org.