alphago vs ke jie: Game #2

press release

Photo courtesy of Google


Ke Jie plays a virtually perfect first 50 moves, testing AlphaGo’s limits in “a game of the future”

Wuzhen, China (May 25, 2017) — In the second game between Ke Jie and AlphaGo at the Future of Go Summit, both sides played incredibly complex and beautiful Go of the highest caliber. According to AlphaGo’s estimation of the match, the program assessed Ke Jie’s first 50 moves as virtually perfect, and the first 100 moves were the finest anyone has ever played against the Master version of AlphaGo.

Walking onto the stage at the post-match press conference, Ke Jie said, “I’m putting my hand on my chest, because I thought I had a chance. I thought I was very close to winning the match in the middle of the game, but that might not have been what AlphaGo was thinking. I was very excited, I could feel my heart thumping!”

Demis Hassabis, CEO and Co-Founder of DeepMind, quickly agreed with Ke Jie’s assessment. “The first 100 moves were the best anyone’s ever played against the Master version. Our hearts were fluttering as well! I’d like to reiterate what an honor it is to play with a genius like Ke Jie. This is called the Future of Go Summit, and today I think we saw a game from the future.”

Following the match, Chinese Go master Nie Weiping, said “With this game, it’s like AlphaGo has provided a gift for all professional Go players in the world.”

Dave Silver, lead researcher for AlphaGo at DeepMind, explained how we had estimated Ke Jie’s stellar play. “We can always ask AlphaGo how well it thinks it’s doing during the game. And when we asked today, AlphaGo thought it was perfectly balanced. If anything, AlphaGo thought Ke Jie had come out better in the opening. It was only towards the end of the game that AlphaGo thought it would win.”

Compared to the first game on Tuesday, which AlphaGo won by just half a point, Michael Redmond, a 9 dan Go player and an official English language commentator explained, “[Today Ke Jie] changed his tactics to make the game as complicated as possible. This must’ve been something that he planned in advance — it’s kind of a test to see if this would maybe be a weakness and I think this is a test that AlphaGo really needs.”

Redmond, the only westerner to have reached the grade of 9 dan, described AlphaGo’s playing style today as “the most complicated fighting game that I’ve seen it play against a human. Ke Jie was trying to make the game really complicated. It was a really complicated fight and that was what Ke Jie was aiming at.” Ultimately, he said, “Ke Jie was basically testing AlphaGo’s fighting strength, and it turns out AlphaGo didn’t make any mistakes.”

AlphaGo’s technique floored many other commentators as well. Hajin Lee, a former 4 dan player, and Stephanie Yan, a 1 dan player who both served as English-language commentators, complimented AlphaGo’s ability to combine different Go strategies. “AlphaGo is very good at balancing the territory, human players couldn’t manage that 100 percent. It’s very easy to continue to be territorial or continue to be influential. It’s a little bit counterintuitive to go back and forth between these two strategies,” said Lee. Yan added, “When we’re learning Go, our teachers always tell us to keep our thoughts and ideas consistent, this is one of the most interesting things for our human players to learn from AlphaGo.”

Kim Sung Yong, a 9 dan player and Korean language commentator, added an analogy of his own. “AlphaGo showed the definition of ‘mind-blowing’ play today. When human artists start drawing landscapes, they keep drawing a landscape no matter what happens during the process. However, AlphaGo can quickly switch from drawing a landscape to drawing a portrait. Human players have their own style of Go playing. AlphaGo has no fixed style and is so flexible.”

Hirofumi Ohashi, a 6 dan player and Japanese language commentator, also noted the masterful gameplay in this match. “We have never seen any match in the past with this much scuffle. I was very surprised at the ability of Ke Jie and the amount of preparation he put in. His moves at the beginning were extraordinary and it appeared the match would be a close one, but AlphaGo once again showed off its evolution.”


Pregame Interview

“AlphaGo became its own teacher, we got AG to play itself millions of times. We used this data to train it."

“AlphaGo thinks there's a slight advantage to the player playing white.” (Background: Ke Jie is famous for playing as White)

“AlphaGo prefers playing on the sides.”

- David Silver, Senior DeepMind Researcher and AlphaGo lead

Game Commentary

“There’s a lot of new moves AlphaGo has played, and some of them are very hard to interpret. [...] AlphaGo is looking at the whole board position at a time.”

- Michael Redmond, 9D and English language commentator

“From the beginning we got really excited about AlphaGo’s 3-3 point - it was the exact formation that Ke Jie used in the first match.”

- Hajin Lee, 4D and English language commentator

"AlphaGo advances rapidly, by learning from AlphaGo, human players are making huge progresses as well."

- Gu Li, 9D and Zhang Xuan, 8D Chinese language commentators

“Ke Jie was playing perfectly in the first 30 moves {...} he was trying to make the game really complicated. It was a really complicated fight and that was what Ke Jie was aiming at.”

- Michael Redmond, 9D and English language commentator

"The nature of the Go can be described as an accumulation of the effectiveness of each move, and that is something AlphaGo is really good at."

- Zhang Xuan, 8D and Chinese commentator


See here for official Google photos of Game #2

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