2018 U.S. Go Congress launches in Williamsburg

2018 U.S. Go Congress launches in Williamsburg

Sunday July 22, 2018

Heavy daylong rains may have slowed the arrival in Williamsburg, VA of some of the hundreds of go players at the 2018 U.S. Go Congress, but it didn’t dampen their spirits in the slightest, as old friends and new connected and hit the boards. New York City swept DC in the finals of the Pandanet City League — watch for full details soon — and the first round of the 9×9 tournament was held after the opening ceremonies. The U.S. Open commences at 9a sharp Sunday morning; watch live on Twitch (https://www.twitch.tv/usgoweb) or YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR3qjXCiYEokW7bW3HkFzfg) and there will also be live pro commentary on KGS. Plus check out lots of photos and reports on Facebook and Twitter and the free Congress mobile app not only has all the information attendees need — including latest schedule updates, pairings and more — but a cool social stream as well, where we’ll be posting additional photos and reports, handy for anyone in the world who wants to see what’s going on at this popular event. photo: a fife and drum corps welcomes go players to historic Williamsburg.
report/photo by Chris Garlock
http://www.usgo.org/news/2018/07/2018-u-s-go-congress-launches-in-williamsburg/

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AlphaGo and the Hand of God

I watched the eagerly anticipated documentary movie AlphaGo

on Netflix (https://www.netflix.com/title/80190844) last night. The IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6700846/) gives it a rating of only 8.1. I would give it a 9.9, but then I have never jumped through the hoops required to rate a movie on the website. This reminds me of David Spinks, who lived and worked at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center,

as he did jump through the hoops and relished arguing about how to rate a movie. Upon learning I would rate it so highly David would, no doubt, exclaim, “What? Have you lost your mind? Nobody rates any movie higher than a 9.5!”

I spent an inordinate amount of time watching each and every game during March of 2016 while greatly enjoying the commentary of 9 dan Michael Redmond,

an American who is the highest ranking Western player ever, and Chris Garlock, the editor of the American Go Journal.

If I had to use only one word to describe the movie it would be “poignant.” Many people with no interest in the game of Go, or any game for that matter, would have little, if any, interest in watching a movie, especially a documentary, about a mere game, possibly considering it dry and uninteresting. They would be sorely mistaken. Games are played by human beings and we humans are emotional creatures. Only a psychopath could watch this movie without having feelings evoked. When something is gained something is also lost. The computer program known as AlphaGo gained a victory for artificial intelligence when man lost yet another battle with a machine.

Lee Sedol,

a 9-dan, the highest rank, professional Go player, who has won 18 World Titles, and is considered to be one of the all-time great Go players, lost the match to AlphaGo, 1-4, but won our hearts. Lee Sedol said, “I want my style of Go to be something different, something new, my own thing, something that no one has thought of before.” Unfortunately it was the silicon monster that showed something new, something that no one had thought of before. It is now known all the world over as “Move 37!” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNrXgpSEEIE)

“In Game Two, the Google machine made a move that no human ever would. And it was beautiful,” writes Cade Metz in Wired.

The move reminded me of the great Go Seigen,

considered to be one of the strongest players of all time, if not the greatest, because it was played on the inside, near the middle of the board, a type of move he made famous.


Lee Sedol vs AlphaGo Move 37 reactions and analysis

In the movie one hears, “Move 37 begat move 78.” From the aforementioned Wired article: “But in Game Four, the human made a move that no machine would ever expect. And it was beautiful too. Indeed, it was just as beautiful as the move from the Google machine—no less and no more. It showed that although machines are now capable of moments of genius, humans have hardly lost the ability to generate their own transcendent moments.” (https://www.wired.com/2016/03/two-moves-alphago-lee-sedol-redefined-future/)

Move 78 has become known as the Hand of God move.


Lee Sedol Hand of God Move 78 Reaction and Analysis

Lee Sedol won the fourth game, striking a glorious blow for humans. Unfortunately he lost the final game in a close, hard fought battle. It may have been the last game a human will ever win against any program as the next incarnation of AlphaGo beat the current world No. 1 ranking player Ke Jie,

3-0 in the Future of Go Summit in Wuzhen, China, played on 23, 25, and 27 May 2017.

Before the match it was commonly accepted that it would be at least a decade before any program was able to challenge the best human players. Beating Kasparov at Chess was considered child’s play to beating a human at Go. “The Game of Go is the holy grail of artificial intelligence. Everything we’ve ever tried in AI, it just falls over when you try the game of Go.” – Dave Silver Lead Researcher for AlphaGo

While watching the movie the thought crossed my mind that what I was watching was a watershed moment in the history of mankind, analogous to Neal Armstrong’s “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

“We think of DeepMind as kind of an Apollo program effort for AI. Our mission is to fundamentally understand intelligence and recreate it artificially.” – Demis Hassabis Co-Founder & CEO, DeepMind

A comment from a member of the AlphaGo team has stuck with me: “We do not understand enough about Go to understand what AlphaGo is doing.” I cannot help but wonder if, in the future when programs are exponentially more powerful, humans will allow the programs to make decisions for them while not understanding why those decisions have been made…

This is a great movie. The Chess player IM Boris Kogan said, “The measure of a man is how he comes back after a defeat.” In the two months after Lee Sedol lost to the computer program known as AlphaGo he won every match he played against human opponents.

We have truly entered a Brave New World.

Google’s AlphaZero destroys Chess

The headline of the American Go E-Journal reads:

Google’s AlphaZero destroys highest-rated chess engine in 100-game match

Thursday December 7, 2017

Chess changed forever today. And maybe the rest of the world did, too.

Chris Garlock writes the AGEJ and this is his take on the development:

“A little more than a year after AlphaGo sensationally won against the top Go player, the artificial-intelligence program AlphaZero has obliterated the highest-rated chess engine.

Stockfish, which for most top players is their go-to preparation tool, and which won the 2016 TCEC Championship and the 2017 Chess.com Computer Chess Championship, didn’t stand a chance. AlphaZero won the closed-door, 100-game match with 28 wins, 72 draws, and zero losses.

Oh, and it took AlphaZero only four hours to “learn” chess. Sorry humans, you had a good run.

That’s right — the programmers of AlphaZero, housed within the DeepMind division of Google (https://deepmind.com/), had it use a type of “machine learning,” specifically reinforcement learning. Put more plainly, AlphaZero was not “taught” the game in the traditional sense. That means no opening book, no endgame tables, and apparently no complicated algorithms dissecting minute differences between center pawns and side pawns.

This would be akin to a robot being given access to thousands of metal bits and parts, but no knowledge of a combustion engine, then it experiments numerous times with every combination possible until it builds a Ferrari. That’s all in less time that it takes to watch the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The program had four hours to play itself many, many times, thereby becoming its own teacher.”

The article (http://www.usgo.org/news/2017/12/googles-alphazero-destroys-highest-rated-chess-engine-in-100-game-match/) continues with a comment from the ‘Deep Thinking’ Garry Kasparov from an article by Mike Klein at another website.

Thomas Magar posted a comment on the USCF forum under the thread, AlphaZero – first true AI in chess? (http://www.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=23721&start=15), which gets right down to it; cuts to the chase, or gets to the heart of the matter. No matter how one puts it, this is the $64,000 Question (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_$64,000_Question):

“Think of the endless possibilities for silicon based cheating. It is going to be a challenge for the anti-cheating committees to compare games and catch someone who is using a new algorithm based on AlphaZero. The unique and paradoxical moves may not be comparable to known move selection by present programs. If the chips are small enough, virtually anything could become the device that can be used to generate moves quietly, stealthily, and effectively.”

Could this be the end of Chess?

Chess Spotting

Chris Garlock writes the American Go E-Journal for the American Go Association, which is frequently sent to my inbox, as it will be to anyone who requests it because it is free. (http://www.usgo.org/news/)
One of the features is called, “Go Spotting.” Readers who spot Go on the internet, in books, or movies, etc., notify Chris and he posts it.

US Chess does not have an E-Journal, thus there is no “Chess spotting.” I frequently find Chess mentioned in various places and would like to begin a “Chess Spotting” feature. If you spot Chess featured anywhere and would like to share, please send it along to xpertchesslessons@yahoo.com and it will be posted here.

An article at The Hardball Times, published today, begins:

“Baseball does not change.

Yes, the rules change; the bats change; the fields, the uniforms and the broadcasts change. The pitchers throw differently, and the hitters don’t swing the same. The gloves have changed shape, and the umpires call the games in a new way.

But, since 1871–since before 1871–the ancient Spirit of Pitchers has sat in the same spot, unmoving, across from the timeless Spirit of Batters, and they have played their unending game of chess in the exact same way, no change.”

https://www.fangraphs.com/tht/there-is-no-juiced-ball-no-steroid-era/