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Top Go players from Japan, China, S. Korea to compete against AI

Ninth-dan Yuta Iyama shows off the framed "Monyu" symbol of his 26th generation of the Honinbo qualification in Kita Ward, Osaka, on Sept. 9, 2016. (Mainichi)

The Nihon Ki-in (Japan Go Association) announced on Nov. 29 that it will hold the "World Go Championship" in March next year in which top Go players from Japan, China and South Korea will compete against artificial intelligence (AI) software.

    The first-prize winner will receive 30 million yen. From Japan, 9th-dan Yuta Iyama, who holds the Honinbo qualification and six major titles, and "DeepZenGo," a Go software developed in Japan, will take part in the championship. It has not been decided on who will take part in the event from China and South Korea.

    The championship will be held at the Nihon Ki-in Kansai general headquarters in Osaka's Kita Ward from March 21 to 23. League matches involving all players will be held to decide the order of their rankings.

    Go games involve complicated developments and it has been deemed more difficult for AI software to beat top-level Go players as compared with Shogi and Chess. In March this year, "AlphaGo" software developed by an AI development unit of Google Inc. beat 9th-dan Lee Se-dol, one of the world's top Go players from South Korea, attracting global attention. It will be the first time for Iyama to compete against AI software.

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