Thursday, November 24, 2011

Olympiad finishes, 4th and 5th places for Fuego on large board sizes

First, the good news: Timo Ewalds' program Castro defended its title in the game of Havannah. This brings our total to three Gold medals. Congratulations Timo!

The Go competitions did not go so well. Fuego got 4th on 13x13 and 5th on 19x19. I believe that Fuego had chances in several games, but it showed a disturbing tendency to suddenly tenuki (play elsewhere) in the middle of a critical fight. I am not sure if it is a bug, or what else was going on. The last game of the tournament, against undefeated winner Zen, is a good example. Fuego put up a good fight in the center, and seemed to have Zen's groups in some trouble. Then suddenly at move 122 Fuego switched elsewhere, and completely collapsed as a result. Not good.

The game records for 13x13 and 19x19 are on KGS. Overall, the level of competition was very tough. Zen won all its games on 13x13 and 19x19, and is the undisputed number one. Erik van der Werf's Steenvreter made a strong comeback with two silver medals. The open source program Pachi, running on a large cluster, is a serious contender in every tournament now. The German program Gomorra is also greatly improved, and last year's 9x9 winner MyGoFriend can now play on the large board as well. It seems like several of the programs implemented new techniques described in our postdoc Aja Huang's recent PhD thesis. Ironically, these are not included in Fuego yet.

Next up: the UEC cup in early December. Fuego surprisingly won that event last year, but it will be extremely difficult to repeat that success.

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