S. Korean Go master says he expected AlphaGo’s victory vs. Ke Jie

May 23, 2017

SEOUL, May 23 (Yonhap) — South Korean Go master Lee Se-dol said Tuesday that AlphaGo defeated Chinese Go player Ke Jie just as he’d expected.

Google’s artificial intelligence program defeated Ke, the world No. 1 in the ancient board game, by a half point in 289 moves in the first round of a special Go event named “The Future of Go Summit” in Wuzhen, China. The second game will be played on Thursday before the event wraps up on Saturday.

Lee was the first human to face AlphaGo. The 34-year-old lost 4-1 to AlphaGo in a five-round Go tournament last March in Seoul, but still remains the first and only Go player to beat Google’s human-like algorithm.

“I think Ke made some good unexpected moves in his game, but overall it was a complete loss,” Lee said in a phone interview with Yonhap News Agency. “In the end, the game turned out as I expected.”

Lee previously said AlphaGo became too strong for humans with its upgrades. The Google program posted 60 consecutive wins online against top Go players from South Korea, China and Japan from December to January.

Lee, however, said he believes the 19-year-old Chinese Go player will do better in the next game.

“He just finished the first game with black stones,” he said. “Since he will play the second game with white stones, he will do better.”

Lee, a ninth-dan player who turned pro at 12, said Ke should play aggressively from the start.

“When AlphaGo gets into a good rhythm, it’s really difficult to beat,” he said. “He should make some moves in the early stages of the game.”

Lee also said Ke should have used his allocated time of three hours wisely. When AlphaGo was declared the winner, Ke had 13 minutes and 17 seconds left on his clock.

“I noticed that Ke Jie had a lot of time,” he said. “He should have used his time in the early part of the game.”

Go, known as “baduk” in Korea, originated in China more than 2,500 years ago. It involves two players alternately placing black and white stones on a checkerboard-like grid of 19 lines by 19 lines. The object is to claim larger territories than one’s opponent by surrounding vacant areas of the board with one’s own stones.

In this file photo taken on Dec. 13, 2016, South Korean Go master Lee Se-dol speaks in an event hosted by the Korea Baduk Association (KBA) in Seoul. (Yonhap)In this file photo taken on Dec. 13, 2016, South Korean Go master Lee Se-dol speaks in an event hosted by the Korea Baduk Association (KBA) in Seoul. (Yonhap)

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