March 21, 2017 10:51 am JST

Human Go masters, AI begin world championship

DeepZenGo competing with players from Japan, South Korea and China

Three Go masters and the developer of an AI competitor pose for a photo before the start of the World Go Championship.

OSAKA -- Go professionals from Japan, South Korea and China and a computer are facing off in a tournament this week, as artificial intelligence continues to demonstrate strength in the complex board game developed more than 2,500 years ago.

The Japanese Go organization Nihon Ki-in is hosting the World Go Championship starting Tuesday at its Kansai headquarters, with cooperation from Nikkei Inc.

"Given who I'm up against, the competition will be stiff," said Yuta Iyama, the Japanese master, at a news conference Monday. "But if I give it my best, I've got a shot at victory."

"Winning won't be easy" for the artificial intelligence program DeepZenGo, said developer Hideki Kato, but he added that he'd like the computer to chalk up at least one win.

The games will be limited to three hours and follow Japanese rules. Players will face off in a round robin beginning Tuesday and ending Thursday, and the winners will advance to playoffs on Friday.

On Tuesday, Iyama will compete against Korean master Park Jeong-hwan, while China's Mi Yuting takes on DeepZenGo. Iyama will play Mi on Wednesday, while Park challenges the AI program. On Thursday, Iyama will face the computer as Park and Mi compete.

(Nikkei)

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