Archive for the ‘General’ Category

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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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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Happy New Year!

I would like to wish Go players worldwide a happy and successful new year. This is a perfect time to reflect on what the game means to us, and what we hope to achieve.

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Pay Attention

Last Sunday I competed in the 2nd Canada West Go Open tournament. I scored three wins and two losses, not bad. However, I was slightly annoyed; I feel those two losses could have easily been avoided. In the first one, I made an oversight about the life of a large group and played a greedy endgame move instead of saving it. In the other game I lost, I “hallucinated” and thought I had killed a group, letting it try to make eyes in my territory, when it actually was able to escape. After this tournament it occurred to me that I didn’t lose these games because of a lack of skill – the positions were relatively easy to read out – but rather because I stopped paying as much attention to the game as I should have. I believe such mistakes are quite common at this single-digit-kyu level. It seems that often, close games are not won or lost because of a brilliant move or superior tactics, but because of a fatal oversight or mistake that can be exploited by the opponent. How can we avoid these situations (and stop losing won games)? Pay attention…

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“You win.”

What? Did I hear that correctly? Although it was over two months ago, I can remember quite clearly my reaction when Seung-Hyun Park (Korean 6P) finished counting the score and told me I had won in a simultaneous game with him at the 33rd Canadian Open. That was my first real game with a professional player. Sure, I had a six-stone handicap and he was playing between eight and eleven other players during our game, but it was a proud moment for me and I felt a strong sense of confidence in my games throughout the day. Overall it was a very motivating experience – what motivates you?

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