Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fuego won the 4th UEC Cup

Miracles do happen. Fuego just won the 4th UEC Cup, a 19x19 only competition, by beating Aya in the semifinals and Zen in the final. Fuego lost one game in the preliminaries against Olympiad 19x19 winner Erica, and won the rest - 5 games in the preliminaries and 4 in the knockout stage. Compares well with the Kanazawa Olympiad 19x19, where Fuego had 3 wins and 4 losses.

Rich Segal again got us access to a big shared memory machine at IBM, running 112 threads. He stayed up late nights to operate the machine, and restarted several times when the fragile connection to Japan failed.
The UEC cup is currently the largest computer Go tournament, with 28 programs participating this year. 6 of the 8 programs from Kanazawa participated as well. Missing were MoGo and Gomorra. The top three programs from Kanazawa, Erica, Zen and Many Faces as well as Aya were the favorites. myGoD was a modified version of Fuego (details unknown). The organizers decided to let it participate on day 1 but that it could not proceed to day 2.

Zen went undefeated on day 1. All the other favorites managed 5 wins out of 6, with the exception of Many Faces, which was unlucky with the parings and lost to both Aya and Erica. Fuego lost in round 4 against Erica, but won all other games and safely qualified in third place for the second day, the knockout competition among the top 16 programs.

The pairing brought Fuego beatable opponents for knockout rounds 1 and 2. Katsunari is a strong classical program which is good in making safe territories. However, Fuego captured some stones in the center and won by about 10 points. The match against PerStone in round 2 was relatively easy, and suddenly Fuego was in the semifinals! Fuego was paired against Aya, while Zen played Erica. Fuego played a strong game and won. I believe it is the first win against Aya in a serious 19x19 tournament game.

More was to come. Zen overcame Erica in the other semifinal, getting its 9th straight win in this tournament. And the final game began as expected/feared, with Fuego playing several weak moves and Zen pulling ahead. Then in the middle game, Fuego played some all or nothing moves to try to catch up, and a big fight erupted on the top edge of the board. Zen lost its way and Fuego captured many stones there. But the game was not over since Zen had a large framework on the lower side. Fuego invaded, both programs misplayed the fight, but eventually Fuego created a two eyed group there. In the end, Fuego even connected out its dead group on the left and Zen resigned after that. Wow.

Both finalists played exhibition games against professionals with 6 stones handicap. Zen beat Kaori Aoba* 4 Dan and Fuego lost against Meiko Tei* 9 Dan. These are the latest in a series of man-machine competitions which are summarized on Nick Wedd's
Computer Go Info site.

I believe we were extremely lucky to win this competition. Still it is nice to see that we have a chance even against the top programs.

* A note about Japanese names: in Japan, they are given as last name followed by first name. So Aoba sensei would be written as Aoba Kaori and Tei sensei would be Tei Meiko.


  1. Fuego-Aya game was really interesting. I'm looking forward to playing with Fuego in other tournament again! ^^

  2. Yes, it was very exciting and I am proud of that game. It's the best I have seen from Fuego. I am also looking forward to many more battles with Aya :)