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S. Korean Go player celebrates his first win over Google AI

All News 18:42 March 13, 2016

By Joo Kyung-don

SEOUL, March 13 (Yonhap) -- After proving that the human-like algorithm is not invincible, South Korean Go player Lee Se-dol said Sunday he is very happy and described his victory as "priceless."

"It's my first time getting this kind of congratulations from people by just winning a single game," Lee said after the match.

At the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul on Sunday, Lee beat AlphaGo, the artificial intelligence (AI) program designed by Google's London-based firm DeepMind, for the first time at the special man-versus-computer Go tournament called Google DeepMind Challenge Match. The self-learning program dropped its black stones in 180 moves. The five-round Go tournament is now 3-1.

"If I was leading 3-0 and lost one, it would have been really painful to me," he said. "But after suffering three straight losses and then winning one, I feel so happy about it."

Lee, who has won 47 Go events including 18 international trophies, said that his victory on Sunday could be his most precious one.

"This victory I'm not going to change it with other ones," he said. "It's a priceless victory."

The 33-year-old South Korean had already lost the series win and US$1 million to AlphaGo after suffering three straight defeats earlier. Lee will play his final match against AlphaGo on Tuesday.

DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis congratulated Lee for his victory.

"Lee has proved why he is such a legend," the Briton said. "Because of Lee's fantastic plays, it (AlphaGo) was pressurized to make some mistakes."

Google co-founder and Alphabet president Sergey Brin said he is really looking forward to watching the next game.

"We are very impressed and excited to have this match. And huge congratulations to Lee Se-dol," he said. "I will be excited to watch the last game on Tuesday although I will be in California."


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