dearest Ke Jie, what have we done?
two whole millennia dedicated
to finding the Hand of God;
we created the rest of him
from black and white stones
on a grid of polished bamboo.
the standard goban for any
high-ranking championship
is always a 19x19 grid.
the goban itself is actually
slightly oblong, to give the
illusion of a perfect square
when being used for play.
in the first match of the
Future of Go summit,
I don’t know precisely
what kind of stones and board
Ke Jie and AlphaGo played
on—I like to think the stones
were yunzi, single convex.
Chinese players prefer the
stability of flattened pieces.
Ke Jie, playing black, lost
to AlphaGo by a half point
in the first match. the next two
games he resigned after a
combined eight hours of play,
the bamboo goban now broken
down into the bits of separate .sgf files.
but Ke Jie left his human ambiguity
resting on the board. if you don’t
count AlphaGo’s extra 7.5 points
of komi, Ke Jie technically won
Match One.
                  of course,
                                   the pros
love to remind me that AlphaGo
plays without risk. a computer
wouldn’t seek domination,
                                          only
             most
                            surefire
victory.