The Seven Homunculi of Go: The Satyr of Disagreement



Some of my losses follow a certain pattern:

I surround a relatively large territory and judge it as secure. My opponent invades it anyway. I get annoyed at my opponent’s stubbornness. My opponent destroys my big territory. I lose what is supposed to be a won game. Continue reading


The Seven Homunculi of Go: The Beast of Uncertainty


In the third volume of the Learn to Play Go Series by Janice Kim and Jeong Soo-hyun, we learn the proper and improper mindset in the game of Go. More than an intellectual game, I think Go is a spiritual and philosophical endeavor too for serious players. I want to be a serious player, amateur I may be, and I look at the game as a battle for my mental, spiritual, and psychological growth (Deep I know, but that is how I see the game).

On the downfall of a player, Kim and Soo-hyun lists seven dangers. These seven dangers remind me of the seven homunculi (named and inspired by the seven deadly sins) in my favorite anime Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa. Indeed, as scary and menacing as the seven villains Ed and Al have to face, I also struggle against these seven nemesis every time I place or click a stone on the goban. Continue reading

3 Questions Maybe AlphaGo Can Answer (If It Gets Strong Enough)



A few hours from now, AlphaGo will face Lee Sedol in the first of a five-match series. Man vs. Machine. Human’s Glorious Mind vs. Artificial Intelligence. Humanity’s last stand against our machine overlords (exaggeration intended). Last time, I talked about how this event will be the victory of the human mind no matter result. While I believe Lee Sedol will win the $1 Million and probably defeat AlphaGo 5-0, I am still excited at how AlphaGo will perform against one of the top Go players today. However, if AlphaGo does defeat Sedol, then things will get more interesting in the Go world.

If AlphaGo learns the game better than any human being can, then maybe, just maybe (programmers help me on this), AlphaGo can answer the following questions: Continue reading

AlphaGo and the Human Mind’s Victory



Final board position Game 1. AlphaGo (White) vs Fan Hui (Black). AlphaGo wins by 2.5 points.

My fascination with Go began after I read an article about the four-stone handicap game between Crazy Stone, a computer program, and Yoda Norimoto, a 9 dan professional. Although Crazy Stone won, the four-stone handicap belittles this victory. RĂ©mi Coulom, programmer of Crazy Stone, predicted hesitantly that computers might defeat humans without handicap after ten years. He said this in March 2014.

Come October 2015, AlphaGo defeats a professional Go player in an even game, five to nothing. Continue reading