Google's AI Just Won Its Second Match Against Go World Champion Lee Sedol

Image by Linh Nguyen
Image by Linh Nguyen

In the second of a series of matches, Google’s AI has again beaten the world champion of Go, Lee Sedol. The best-of-five tournament now requires the AI to win just once more to be crowned champion.


Despite the first game, played yesterday, being described as “close” by Google, the AI is clearly giving the current world champion a run for his money. Quite literally: The overall winner of the five-game series will walk away with $1 million.

AlphaGo won by resignation after 211 moves, in a game where the contenders switched tactics. Sedol was aggressive yesterday, but took a more conservative approach today, as Korean Go commentator Yoo Changhyuk explained in a press conference after the match:

During the first match, Lee Sedol made difficult moves to agitate AlphaGo, but failed to do so. Today, he tried the opposite — he played safe and entered the endgame. While using his byō-yomi [extra time] periods, he made some mistakes, which I think caused the defeat.

The AI, called AlphaGo, already beat the three-time European Go champion Fan Hui over the course of five matches. But Sedol was largely considered to be a much harder challenge, having dominated the world of Go for much of his professional career.

But the chances of a victory for Sedol are slipping from his grasp. Three more games remain to be played, on the 12th, 13th and 15th of March. Sedol will have to win all of them to beat AlphaGo.


Der Weiße Engel

And what exactly can an AI do with $1 million?