Posté par northlecale le 16 juin 2022

It has been a long time since I wrote anything on this page, which is a probably an accurate reflection of me having nothing interesting to say. So far this year the most significant moment has been the death of John Gibson. I found that rather difficult to absorb. It was a long time since I had seen him. My memory is still that of a healthy old and bearded jolly rip off merchant, but I was well aware that he had been in ill health for a long time. It’s very sad to lose him, he was clearly one of those who’ve done the most for the game in Ireland.  On IRLchess you can find a nice game of his against John Doyle here .

Apart from that, well the gradual death of the COVID-19 pandemic offers some hope of returning to a real life tournament sometime. For the moment, nothing scheduled on that front though. The local Go club recommenced, and I’ve been quite pleased to be able to start to teach somebody to play in french, although I pathetically forget important parts of the vocabulary. To keep myself busy I have found nothing new to translate, so I decided to create a concise introduction to the game instead. My aim is to be able to set down something better than Arthur Smith’s effort.

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Not again

Posté par northlecale le 31 décembre 2019

It’s that time of year when we celebrate that the earth revolves around the sun in a regular manner. As Australia descends into Abominable Hell, Bonkers Boris brexits his way out of Brussels, and I suppose I’d better stop there with the alphabetical fetish. What did 2019 bring for Irish Go. We have a new champion in the shape of Matei Garcia who managed to take down James Hutchinson by 2 games to 1. Something of a surprise to me, but then he’d already upset Roman Pszonka in a play-off match to reach the final. More noteworthy is that the Top 8 has switched to using a knock-out format. That is a return to how things used to be at the very birth of the Irish Go, and probably a damn sight more pragmatic if you care about getting the competition played in real match conditions in real time. The other thing to take note of is that Confucius Cup is also set for its 2020. Less important news, the internet Go scene rumbles on. Ireland are kicking ass in no uncertain measure in League C, and the Correspondence Championship is moving with the times over to OGS.

For myself, very little is new. I began playing around with Nim recently, which has led me down the merry path of creating diagramming software again. Haven’t yet gotten beyond basic SVG representations yet, but it’s a start anyway. Have to get in a token PGETC game or to, personal life probably precludes any real hope of tournament play this year.

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Posté par northlecale le 13 août 2019

This year I took part in my third European Go Congress. In the run-up to the event, we were struck by an evil 40+ heatwave from global warming inc, and worse still, the sudden realisation that the Pair Go event had already taken place in week one. The schedule had changed rather considerably since we booked all those months ago, and week two was looking rather iron deficient. This was down to a few factors, the European Championship essentially happening in only the first week, and the big compositional change in the organisation. Still, the Rapid, the Weekend, and the Main were still there for us to play in. I had one of those tournaments were I felt I deserved to lose every game which I won, and deserved to win every game which I lost. That has to indicate some kind of crisis in my play, but I can’t agree on what the problem or the cure is. Outside of my own head, some other bad things are going on. The EGCC is going to close down, there is no venue for the EGC in 2021, and the EGD manager just stepped down from their post. Good things – or are they strange things – there is going to be a Women’s World Amateur Championship again, and there is a bonus international Pair Go event in Japan.

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Murphy’s Law

Posté par northlecale le 10 mai 2019

The Transatlantic Professional Go Team Challenge is a win and continue event between the two newest professional Go organisations. For the past few years some of us have been thinking that it would be nice for the two baby organisatons to have a competition. Now it is finally happening in the evervescent location of KGS.

I expected Europe to be wiped out, but instead Mateusz Surma won the first three games. When it came time to play game four something bad happened. The subsequent melodrama has been quite entertaining in itself. What actually happened then? Well Mateusz was won on the board with about 10 moves left, when he lagged out. He claims that he played with over 10 seconds remaining, but that his move was lost in the ether.

There is a Proctor sitting with each player to check that they don’t cheat during the game. It isn’t clear if the proctor is monitoring the clock, but you’d imagine that they would be watching the game. There doesn’t appear to have been a referee as such. What would you do here? What would Sai do? As far as I can see there are 4 options.

1 Take the win on time, because lag doesn’t matter.
2 Resume the game because the clock was faulty.
3 Rematch.
4 Double Default both players.

Options 3 and 4 are diplomatic options. Options 1 and 2 are basically saying that you’re either a rules freak or a stickler for the spirit of the game. I would favour 2 as the best solution, but a diplomatic solution cannot be bad in such circumstances.

What has actually happened? Well of course North America are initially declared the winners. Europe protested, a new decision was given, and North America have appealed that. We don’t know what the new decision was, but you have to imagine that it was either 2, 3, or 4. The final decision will be made face to face over at the IMSA games in the People’s Republic of China. We all await the result with bated breath.
The moral of the story? When you organise a tournament, always be prepared for the worst eventuality or it will surely happen.

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Posté par northlecale le 24 décembre 2018

The disco lights are flashing and the dispassionate American narrator has begun talking.  I have very few plans for Go this year. PGETC has so far failed to produce anything significantly motivating. The second game of this year lasted for just 1 corner, and the third didn’t even happen. Perhaps it is safe to expect a little more from the remainder, but I’m not particularly optimistic. I plan to use LZ6 to plot some things related to my ICC games this year. Updating the table relating to this event can still prove to be the most substantial piece of activity I’ll undertake in 2019. My main activities for 2019 will undoubtably be reading, which is a much neglected pleasure I have been able to reactivate, and trying my hand at screenplay for the sheer heck of it. Exploding cows are a must there.

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Chess Knots

Posté par northlecale le 11 novembre 2018

As the FIDE World Championship kicks off again, I have treated myself to the small indulgence of reading through a few chess websites. ChessHistory, by the quasi existent Edward Winter, is still going strong. It’s latest foray being the noting down of small mentions of ‘chess shirts’. Leaving aside those banal parts, it does do a most excellent line in furiously pedantic History Master seconded from the English Lit. department. I don’t believe that anything close to it exists in the world of Go, would that obsession might permit such a beast on our terrain. Leaving chess aside, as one must, I have as always skimped on my planned attempts at improving at Go. My latest serious game consisted of a dreamy effort against Georgia in the PGETC. There, I believe my opponent nodded off during the middle game, allowing me to progressively re-enter the game and then kill all his stones. This is (at least roughly) what LeelaZero tells me in as many words. Still some practice needed then at the opening in particular it seems. For that I have been referring to Dave de Vos’s videos on YouTube. A pretty damn fine resource actually, as nobody else is really cataloging opening theory these days. For this year there looks to be little left. A match with Bulgaria, some New Year’s resolutions to break, and a project to find.

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The Power Report

Posté par northlecale le 16 juillet 2018

My opinion of organisations is probably shaped by those I grew up with. Chess Associations being filled with old men, with occaisonal slightly bitchy tendencies, but basically the best interests of the game and the players at heart – that’s kind of what I expect. I had that, or something close to that with the BGA and the IGA. It was a bit of a culture shock to learn what the hell was going on with Italian Go in the days of the Soletti show. (https://www.eurogofed.org/egf/agm2000.txt for example) This was something which it actually took a police arrest to bring to an end. I’ve now seen a kind of deja-vu with the situation in Romania Go.


My translation, which isn’t a great translation, but it does give the basic idea, is this:
« In my point of view, Sora and Bordea are toxic to the Go Community of Romania. I don’t want them in my events, or to play with them, and if I am drawn against them I won’t show up. » Now, these two guys are the President and the Secretary of the Association. So back story time. A few years ago there was a group of people who hand theirs hands on the tiller, and where milking the government funding whilst not promoting the game (pretty much) at all. After quite a difficult fight, they were ousted. Trouble is, nobody really wanted to replace them. Bordea was part of the old regime. The ins and outs of the current regime aren’t totally clear to me yet, but it seems like the old ways came back into being. You can tell that’s the case when somebody comes out with some shit to question if Catalin Taranu can be a national trainer. Anyway, the lesson seems to be clear. If you care about the game, you have to care about the organisation. If you don’t look after it, don’t be surprised if somebody dicks around with it, and don’t be upset either, not unless you realise that you were partly to blame.

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Messing about in boats

Posté par northlecale le 29 mai 2018

I’ve clearly read too much Wind in the Willows recently. Mention boat people and Mr ‘Ratty’ Water Rat »Messing about in boats » springs to mind.  Somewhere in that observation, there is a connection to an interview with Michael Thai Trung King in the Irish Times. Apparently he was one of the sons of that generation, one of the first to gain a PhD, and unquestionably the first to represent Ireland at the WAGC. The latter of course isn’t covered in the interview, which took place a few years earlier. See Ranka for the interview with James Davies.

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Cheating! Or not!

Posté par northlecale le 30 mars 2018

Heh! That’s not a nice topic to blog about Mister. Yes, you’re right on that, but it is a topical one. There is an accusation that some cheating has gone on in the PGETC. An observer from one team, who was using Leela to analyze all the games, noticed that one guy in the other team was always playing Leela’s move. It is one of the inevitable things about having really good software that you can easily use for live game analysis, and indeed for live cheating.

  1. Take the new Lizzie program, still in 0.x development stage but very powerful given that you can live sync to LeelaZero.
  2. Then you can just as well use classic Leela 11
  3. Or indeed hook up any other AI to Sabaki, GoGUI, or whatever.

In short, if you fancy cheating, you’ve got everything going for you.

In Chess a guy called Ken Regan came up with a powerful detection model. It’s not a very easy task to prove that somebody cheated. You have to show (obviously) that somebody is playing at a different level to what they normally would. You cannot simply say that so-and-so played 5 moves in a row like Zen. Ken specifically warns us against the belief that a move that is given a clear standout evaluation by a program is much more likely to be found by a strong human playerSEE HERE . Where he talks about how certain forced games can have as their characteristic a higher level of AI choices.

Using the GoR calculator on the EGD website, I did find that the player in question had an increase of about 50 points (half a rank) if it were a level A event – which is half a stone. Looking a bit further, I found that if I moved his rating up to 2600 (+ 2 ranks), I got roughly that his performance was as it was expected to be. That might look like a good piece of evidence. Well actually it alone doesn’t prove anything other than that he played well on the internet for that PGETC season.

In his defense you have to note two things:

  1. The player is clearly improving in over the board play.
  2. They openly admit to studying with Leela (Classic). Not just studying with, extensively studying with for 2 years, with witnesses to back them up.

Whilst we wait for the statistical analysis to play out, I repeat what I’ve said earlier on here. If you want to spend time studying Go with a computer, then there’s never been a better time to do it.

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TD Tools

Posté par northlecale le 19 février 2018

If helping out with the preparations for the Confucius Cup (Irish Chess and Go Congress) has given me anything, it has given me an interest in tournament draw utilities.  Well actually that’s something of a lie. I’ve always had a vague interest in that direction. I have a bit of a train spotty love of reading over old tournament result tables to see who finished in what position, and who beat who. It started with Chess tournaments, but it has continued into Go tournaments as well. Should I be seeking medical help over this? There are some who might consider it necessary, but I tend towards regarding it as a harmless little obsession that has the beneficial side effect of producing good documentation of the tournament activities of the various Go organisations I might try to assist.

For that end, I put together this little tool h92html, which although it isn’t very clever, does let me quickly put an end to missing tournament results tables on the IGA website. There are increasingly a lot of them. After running registrations for the Open and the Rapid through GoDraw and OpenGotha, I’ve also realised that there are other utilities that can be useful. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a xml2gdi to dispense with the need for that, and indeed to run the same draw in both. Hmm, perhaps not very nice, but it can still be a funky little utility if you don’t want to deal with GoDraw having bad to super-bad support for non UK players. Beyond that I’ve also got the mild itch to reboot Ire, luckily I am too busy.

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