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Puzzle Games (Games) Entertainment Games

Mysterious Tartrate Conquers All At Go 65

Rubyflame writes "As noted on the Sensei's Library resource for the ancient Chinese boardgame Go, Tartrate, a very strong and mysterious Go player, has recently returned to the Kiseido Go Server (KGS) after a long absence. The game records can be found here. Tartrate first appeared in March, and has yet to be defeated - his identity is unknown." This intriguing story is a little reminiscent of Bobby Fischer's online chess appearances - the Go players on KGS even log their Tartrate number: "tartrate has a tartrate number of 0. If you have played a game with tartrate, your tartrate number is 1. If you have played a game with someone whose number is 1, your number is 2, and so on."
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Mysterious Tartrate Conquers All At Go

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  • Re:sgf (Score:5, Informative)

    by Deternal ( 239896 ) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:32AM (#7890233) Homepage
    you can download his games as SGF files and view them from the KGS archives if you want :)
  • Sai? (Score:2, Informative)

    by fstrauss ( 78250 ) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:49AM (#7890360) Homepage
    This reminds me of Sai playing online via Hikaru in Hikaru No Go [xmp.net].
  • Re:AI? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:52AM (#7890382)
    He's beaten a 6-dan professional.
  • Re:AI? (Score:5, Informative)

    by fstrauss ( 78250 ) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:54AM (#7890390) Homepage
    Go has a rating system which briefly is explained as follows:

    Begginers start at about 30kuy, as you get better your kuy rating decreases. 1kuy is better than 2kuy. Better that 1kuy is 1dan, dans count upwards to about 7dan. Better than that you start with pro ratings which are not easy to come by.

    AI is far from beating pros at Go
    The best go playing software is rated about 12kuy.

    In otherwords, there are people in my local go club who would beat the best go playing ai :)
  • Re:AI? (Score:2, Informative)

    by sgf ( 1581 ) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @09:57AM (#7890420) Homepage
    'Too good'? The best go programs are still very weak compared to humans. These programs can be defeated by not particularly strong amateurs (unless Tokyo is keeping something secret from the rest of the world).

    The relatively simple search techniques used in chess can't be applied to go, as the number of possible moves makes the space too big, so it may stay like this for some time (although some novel ideas are being tried). Tools like online joseki dictionaries could be useful (at least for an amateur), but that wouldn't help him with any of his reading.

    My guess is a pro. They're just scary.
  • by kenthu ( 48376 ) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @10:34AM (#7890721)
    On the other hand, another page [game-club.com] says go got started in China:
    One of the oldest strategy game in existence is the game called GO. It came to existence over 3000 years ago in China where it was given the name, "Wei-chi".

    Eh. Never know who you can trust on the internet.
  • by cthulhubob ( 161144 ) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @10:44AM (#7890805) Homepage
    Go was brought to the west via contact with Japan - that's why it's called "Go" here. The game is known as "Igo" in Japan, "Wei qi" in China, and "Paduk" in Korea. The technical terms used in the west are also all Japanese terms (most amateur go players in the US will know what "miai", "hane", "tengen", "joseki", and "aji" mean, for example), even though China and Korea have their own equivalents.

    Evidence shows that go was originally brought to Japan via Buddhist monks from China though. Evidence of go in China predates written records, so it's not certain whether it originated there or was brought from elsewhere.
  • by Deternal ( 239896 ) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @10:46AM (#7890823) Homepage
    It is true that Go is often times mistaken for a Japaneese game.

    It is also likely that it wouldn't have proliferated as far into the west as it have today if it wasn't for the Japaneese interest in the game.

    The game is between 2000 and 4000 years old and stems from China. The first written sources on the games history stem from about 500 bc wherein among others Konfutse wrote about the game.

    Konfutse did not believe the game helped anything, whereas the Taoists believed that it was a means to contemplation and selfunderstanding.

    In the T'ang dynasty (618-906) the game is recognized as something which should belong to common knowledge.

    About the year 700 the game comes to Japan. Where it later would be deemed as part of necessary training for samurais. Thru Go, they thought, warriors could practice tactical and strategic training which could be used in real life battles.

    On a more domestic (for me) note, the first Go club in Denmark was established in 1970 :)
  • Re:AI? (Score:2, Informative)

    by eoyount ( 689574 ) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @11:02AM (#7890996)
    The word is kyu, not kuy.
  • by BeProf ( 597697 ) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @11:40AM (#7891381)
    Another reason that Go is known as a Japanese game is the fact that the standard rule set we use today was developed in Japan during the Tokugawa period.

    I'm not certain, but I believe that what was added in Japan was the handicapping system and the half-point komi to prevent ties.
    In Korea, for instance, I know that the work 'baduk' is used to refer to Japanese-rules Go, but another word is used to refer to 'old' Go.
    I don't know about China.
  • by TerryAtWork ( 598364 ) <research@aceretail.com> on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @11:44AM (#7891424)
    This guy is nothing but some 9 Dan pro slumming. No big deal. The REAL big deal would be if it was a program. That would be UBER-REVOLUTIONARY as programs famously suck at Go.

    To cover my ass though - a 9 Dan pro is God Almighty at Go. I will never beat one. I saw a 9 Dan pro play a 6 Dan amateur on a Go server. He spotted the amateur 9 stones and was behind all the way to the end where he pulled ahead and just beat the guy by 3 stones. He knew all along what he was doing. It was slick as hell.

    Here's the kicker though - while he was doing this he was also playing another guy at the same time. That's right - he was playing two games at ther same time and he STILL beat a 6 Dan amateur with a 9 stone handicap. Amazing.

  • Re:AI? (Score:2, Informative)

    by spottedkangaroo ( 451692 ) * on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @11:44AM (#7891427) Homepage
    More than that. gnugo supposedly plays around 10kyu, but I (18kyu) can beat it by exploiting it's weakneses. Because it always plays the same.

    Tartrate beats all sorts of opponents and never loses. I don't think we have computers that good yet. "They say it will be 100 years ..." -- Hikaru No Go.

  • Re:AI? (Score:3, Informative)

    by rodentia ( 102779 ) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @11:47AM (#7891482)
    An average amateur player with a year or two of experience can beat any go AI.

    The 15-12k rating of Many Faces and others is highly suspect. A few games against the machine and you can see how to beat it. Keep many open positions and don't pursue local conflicts. It is very easy to maintain sente against any of the programs. Against anyone with knowledge of the machines' style, it rates closer to 24-20 kyu.
  • Re:AI? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anm ( 18575 ) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @02:44PM (#7893424)

    I've seen some amazing Go games in my life (while I lived in Tokyo) and I know that the Go mojo is not something you're going to just up and code without being really, really good yourself

    Not necessarily. Pick of a copy of Blondie24: Playing at the Edge of AI (ISBN: 058-3743638-9346720). It details how a couple of grad student wrote a genetically design neural network to play very good checkers online. Not only did the programmer not know how to play good checkers, but they were very careful to not design hints into the system.

    Now, checkers is a lot simpler than go, but the possibility that it could be done is not impossible. The size of the board the number of possible and number of moves per turn would grow the problem significantly, but the students in the book worked off a single PII 400 throughout their entire project. The design detailed in the book would be very easy to distribute (the neural net evaluate each possible board position at the next turn, multiple machines could evaluate multiple boards in parallel).


In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982