AlphaGo beats Chinese grandmaster

By Li Qiaoyi in Wuzhen Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/25 21:13:39

Machine wins three-game Go series after defeating Ke Jie in close game

Chinese Go player Ke Jie analyses the game after the second match against artificial intelligence program AlphaGo in Wuzhen, east China's Zhejiang province, May 25, 2017.(Xinhua/Xu Yu)

The second game of Chinese Go grandmaster Ke Jie versus Google's AlphaGo AI series, as part of the Future of Go Summit in Wuzhen, East China's Zhejiang Province, ended Thursday with Ke chunking up the sponge well ahead of his allotted time.

The 19-year-old world Go champion, playing white in the second game, was generally considered to have played perfectly against the Go-playing machine before a sudden twist cost him the game.

"He had many chances in this game. It was a very close game," Demis Hassabis, co-founder and CEO of Google DeepMind, the developer behind the AI, told a postgame press conference on Thursday.

For the first 15 moves, and even the first 100 moves, Ke played perfectly, he said, citing AlphaGo's valuation system.

"[There was] so much fighting all over the board. It's the kind of thing that AlphaGo often finds difficult, so I think it's amazing that Ke pushed the game into this kind of position," stated Hassabis.

Apparently, Ke improved his strategy in the second game and his attempt to confuse AlphaGo in more complex tactical situations has worked fairly well without showing any conspicuous weak points until the very last part of the game when a ko threat for black was evacuated by AlphaGo and eventually led to the failure, Liu Zhiqing, head of the Computer and Go Research Center at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The result means that the outcome of the high-profile matchup has already been decided as AlphaGo beat Ke in two of the three games. Nevertheless, there's still plenty of speculation about whether the human player could score a point in the final game on Saturday.

Ke seems to still have plenty of fight in him. "The strategy I used in this game was pretty good. The result is regrettable, though," he told reporters, noting that "today's game makes my blood boil."

"Theoretically there's a chance that Ke could capitalize on AlphaGo's weaknesses, which might change the final result, but the odds are very small," Li Zhe, a six-dan professional Go player, told the Global Times on Thursday.

There's still hope for Ke in the third game, but humans are too prone to make mistakes and once there's an apparent error, it will be fatal, Liu said.

Li, who said that he also hopes to play against AlphaGo and use the AI as a tool to review games and improve his skills, revealed that he looks forward to seeing more disruptive moves by AlphaGo as well as a pair Go on Friday in which two Chinese professional Go players - Gu Li and Lian Xiao - face off against each other with both accompanied by their AlphaGo teammate. The pair Go might feature fiercer rivalry.

A team Go will also be held on Friday in which five Chinese professional Go players challenge the AI program.

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