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Why Chinese Go Players Don’t Win Anymore

“Wa country Fate rises and falls, and so does its fate in Go. So said Marshal Chen Yi, a Chinese Civil War soldier. He was fond of playing the ancient board game in which opponents capture territory by placing black and white pieces on a 19×19 square. His observations sounded right. During the second half of the 20th century, Economically prosperous Japan dominates the international game of Go, and Go players have won many of the most important trophies over the past two decades as China has flourished.

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But in recent years, Chinese players have lost more than won. The month was another low, with no Chinese players reaching the semi-finals of the prestigious Samsung Fire Cup for the first time since 2000. South Korea, another passionate country for the sport, took all the top spots (Shin Jin-seo won on 8 November). Marshal Chen’s aphorisms have begun to appear on online Go forums in China. “The country has not been lucky this year,” wrote one frustrated fan. “You can gross domestic product So are numbers. “

Some people in China attribute the lack of trophies to the attitude of players and coaches towards artificial intelligence (artificial intelligence). In 2016, a computer program developed by Google called AlphaGo defeated South Korean Go master Lee Sedol. The following year, it beat China’s Ke Jie, who was the best player in the world at the time. Since then, many international players have used computers to help them train.But Chinese players haven’t embraced artificial intelligence According to Stephen Hu, a Beijing-based lecturer whose company is developing a Go learning app, that’s as much as there are South Koreans.Mr Ke, still the best player in China, had complained artificial intelligence Training skills, saying they sullied the aesthetics of the game.

Chinese players face greater challenges amid the government’s “zero covid” policy, which relies on lockdowns and travel restrictions to prevent a massive outbreak of covid-19. Before the pandemic, elite Go players traveled most of the time to play in domestic tournaments, where they gained valuable experience performing under pressure. However, in the past three years, due to the control of the new crown epidemic, many games have been canceled. Corporate sponsorships, which have been hard to attract, have dried up, largely because of the recession.

Covid-related travel restrictions have also made it more difficult for national teams to meet and analyze opponents’ styles of play. “It has been difficult for us to concentrate on training,” China’s head coach Yu Bin said in September. China’s disappointing record at the game of Go may not inspire the same level of frustration as invasive apps, domineering epidemic workers and draconian restrictions. But for some, it’s another reason to be frustrated with the zero-coronavirus policy.

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