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Go master Lee Se-dol eager for rematch with AlphaGo

All Headlines 16:47 March 21, 2016

JEJU ISLAND, South Korea, March 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Go master Lee Se-dol said Monday he'd like to have a rematch with AlphaGo, Google's artificial intelligence program that recently beat him at his own game.

"I will have to consider it carefully, but if AlphaGo wants a rematch, I'd like to face it again, on the condition that it will take place in the near future," Lee told Yonhap News Agency on Jeju Island. He'd spent the past six days here on vacation with his family.

"I figured out AlphaGo to some degree during our last meeting," the 33-year-old added.

AlphaGo defeated Lee, a ninth-dan with 18 international titles, in four out of five matches in the historic man-versus-computer showdown earlier this month. Lee had confidently predicted a 4-1 or 5-0 victory for himself, but lost the first three matches against the self-learning program.

Lee, who turned pro at 12, admitted he'd lost a bit of drive in the ancient board game -- called "baduk" in Korea -- but playing AlphaGo has rekindled the fire in him.

Immediately following the Lee-AlphaGo series, the Korea Baduk Association asked Demis Hassabis, the CEO of Google DeepMind which designed AlphaGo, for a rematch, but Hassabis said nothing had been decided regarding AlphaGo's next steps.

While the officials were trying to decide when or if Lee and AlphaGo would square off again, the player himself took his mind off the board game.

"Jeju is such a beautiful place that the whole island is a great tourist destination," Lee said. "If I don't play baduk, I will have to find something that will allow me to be with my family all the time."

If Lee might have been recognizable to only avid Go fans before, his match against AlphaGo turned him into a household name, an almost iconic figure who represented mankind against the computer. His newfound fame apparently prevented him from seeing the island as much as he'd like -- he's said to have spent most of his time at his hotel -- but Lee said he still enjoyed being with his family.

"I just loved spending time with my daughter here," Lee said. "I've been coming here to relax since I was young. I've been to virtually every corner of the island."


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