issenllo: strawberry thief print from William Morris (Default)
[personal profile] issenllo
Title: On fingertips we painted stars
Series: Hikaru no Go
Disclaimer: Characters are the creation of Hotta and Obata
Notes: Purely a riff on recent RL news.

Touya Akira-sensei, three-time holder of the prestigious Meijin title, obligingly agreed to take this reporter's call at the unsociable hour of 9pm (Tokyo time) to comment on the news of Lee Se-dol's second shocking loss to AlphaGo, in a series of games that has riveted the igo world.

"It was a remarkable game," Touya-sensei said of the first game, "and it showed great complexity and was beautifully played. I was surprised at how natural AlphaGo's game was. Lee-sensei played very well, with very few mistakes. What was unexpected was that AlphaGo in turn, made mistakes too."

What mistakes, this reporter asked.

"I'll explain in detail in my commentary!" This declaration was not from Touya-sensei, but Shindou Hikaru-sensei, current holder of the Honinbou title and previous holder of the Ing Cup. Shindou-sensei is known in igo circles as Touya-sensei's long-time rival and friend, and it is not unheard of for him to drop in on Touya-sensei to study igo or have a friendly match together. Shindou-sensei, as it transpired, had arranged to meet Touya-sensei to discuss the AlphaGo games that evening, and arrived in time to hear Touya-sensei's remarks.

"To be frank," Shindou-sensei went on, and it is another thing that he is well-known for, his frankness about other Go players, which have led to no little controversy in recent years, "I am extremely thrilled that a machine that started at a low level could proceed to teach itself to the extent that it could beat Lee." AlphaGo's programming was trained by observing recorded history games, about 30 million moves in all, before it proceeded to play against itself and increased its Go-playing capability that way.

Shindou-sensei, who famously burst onto the Japanese Go scene as a twelve-year-old more than a decade ago, was rumoured to have been self-taught after picking up elementary igo skills at a school near his home. Does Shindou-sensei see a parallel in his experiences with AlphaGo?

"Oh, no! You've got it wrong," Shindou-sensei exclaimed. "I did have a- I had good teachers, and I learnt plenty from my friends at the Ki-in. Of course, I taught myself by replaying old games, but all pros do that, you have to be able to do self-study if you really want to increase your level."

What did he think of Lee's games against AlphaGo?

"I wish I could play against AlphaGo," Shindou-sensei said without hesitation. "I've played with Lee before and he's a really skilled player with a comprehensive grasp of the game. I'd really like to play against an opponent that has beaten him twice already."

Was Shindou-sensei not concerned that he might be beaten by AlphaGo?

"That hasn't been decided yet," Shindou-sensei replied.

At that, this reporter could hear Touya-sensei's exclaimation of "Shindou!" in the backgound. Touya-sensei had very clearly been listening in on our conversation and just as clearly, was displaying his well-known restraining influence on Shindou-sensei's impulsive comments.

Perhaps prodded by his partner, Shindou-sensei went on, "It may be that Go has entered the machine age, as chess did with Big Blue all those years ago. But Big Blue's success against- what, Touya? Right, against Kasparov. It did not stop people from learning and playing chess, and it did not diminish chess players' enjoyment of the game. I doubt that the situation will be different for Go players. People will still be attracted to Go and will still enjoy playing it. Personally, I feel that there is something-" he paused for a long while, "-miraculous, about the fact that even a machine, though it doesn't have the consciousness to know it - yet - is able to create beauty in the form of a Go game."

A surprisingly poetic summation from a master player who has been more popularly known for his bluntness.

"Shindou and I look forward to observing the remaining games," Touya-sensei said after he took back control of the phonecall. "We hope that both players will continue to play well."

The phonecall then ended as both pros were anxious to go over the second AlphaGo-Lee game, which was completed only hours ago. However, Shindou-sensei has said that he will make his commentary on the games public as soon as possible, something which is certain to delight Go players in Japan and elsewhere.

Date: 2016-03-11 05:50 am (UTC)
flonnebonne: (Default)
From: [personal profile] flonnebonne
I like that you chose to do it as an article ^^ You've done such a good Shindou here. No maudlin at all. I feel a bit better now about Lee Se-dol's losses. And ain't that what fiction is for?

Date: 2016-03-11 09:12 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] fromastudio
YESSS I have been wanting consolatory hikago fanfiction after the recent match, thank you for amply supplying. I love Hikaru's words here.

Date: 2016-03-11 04:49 pm (UTC)
sputnikhearts: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sputnikhearts

Date: 2016-03-13 07:37 pm (UTC)
sputnikhearts: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sputnikhearts

Date: 2016-03-13 10:06 pm (UTC)
lanerose: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lanerose
This was kind of exactly what I was hoping someone would write and you have made my day by doing so!!! <3 Love it~~!!!


issenllo: strawberry thief print from William Morris (Default)

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