South Korean Baduk Champion Achieves 1st Win Over Google AlphaGo Program

Michael Song, March 14, 2016, 8:58 a.m.

Baduk or go champion Lee Se-dol won his first victory against Google's AlphaGo program on Sunday after conceding three matches to the proto-machine intelligence. Lee beat AlphaGo with his 180th move in the fourth round of a best-of-five match at the Four Seasons Hotel in Gwanghwamun, Seoul.

Reporters gave him a standing ovation when he turned up in the press room after the match. Google DeepMind's Demis Hassabis and David Silver also congratulated Lee on his victory. But Lee's win against the 1,202 CPU computer came too late to turn the tables in the series, where the victor was already determined on Saturday. 

Lee's fans nonetheless breathed a sigh of relief that some degree of human honor was restored by the winner of 47 titles including 18 world championships. Sunday's match was AlphaGo's worst in the series. The program seemed to lose control in the middle of the game and some experts believe it had reached its limits. 

Spectators were intrigued because AlphaGo, playing black, made exactly the same first 10 moves as in the second match of the series. When Lee placed his 180th move, a pop-up window suddenly appeared in the middle of the TV monitor saying "AlphaGo resigns" and, "The result 'W+Resign' was added to the game information."  AlphaGo's prize money of US$1 million will be donated to charity. 
If Lee can also win the fifth match on Tuesday he stands to take home $190,000. 

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