AlphaGo – How Google’s AI Defeated the European Go Champion

I felt compelled to return from my over-long hiatus to share some exciting news: Google DeepMind recently announced that their artificial intelligence program AlphaGo has defeated Fan Hui 2p, three-time European Go Champion, in five games out of five. This is the first time a computer has won against a professional Go player in an even game (without a handicap).

If someone had told me five years ago or even yesterday that a computer program would be capable of winning an even game against a professional Go player in 2016, I would have said it’s impossible, and that is not a word I use often! Remarkably more complicated than chess, developing a competitive Go program has been a major challenge in 21st-century computer science and artificial intelligence studies. The number of possible Go games far exceeds the number of atoms in the observable universe. A brute-force approach to solving Go is unfeasible. Rather than narrow focus on local regions of the board, good gameplay requires accurate assessments of the entire game situation and intuitive judgements, which humans have excelled at — until now.

So, how did Google do it?
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Missing the Obvious

“Oops, I didn’t even see that move.”
“I misread that.”
“Wait a minute, that stone moved!”

I often find myself saying something like this when I lose a game. As I have mentioned previously, I believe that a lot of games at my level are lost because of simple reading mistakes. Reading Go moves in situations you’re unfamiliar with can feel like trying to read a challenging book in a different language or dialect, but like reading a book, it is something that becomes better with practice.

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Free, Useful Resources For Go Players

I was talking with someone on KGS recently who was interested in improving. As I mentioned all the different free, online resources I knew of, I was surprised at how few of them the new player had heard about. It occurred to me there must be many other Go players out there who simply aren’t aware of what’s available to them. In this article I will list some of the lesser- and not-so-lesser-known resources and websites that are both very helpful and free for you to use.

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Website Updates

A few new features have been added to the website. This is just the beginning – watch for more over the coming weeks! All About Go is still all about you, the Go community – your feedback and suggestions are very important and very much appreciated.
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One Year of All About Go!

It’s been one year since first launched. I am amazed at how successful this project has been. In one year All About Go has had over 26,000 page views and I have heard only positive feedback from experienced Go players and beginners alike. Many thanks go to everyone who has supported and contributed to this website.

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