David Silver (Team manager of AlphaGo team @ Deepmind) shows the graph… AlphaGo (Version #18) which won against Sedol Lee 9P in March 2016 (result of five round match: 4:1) is four stones stronger than Version #13, which has beaten Fan Hui 2P Dan in October 2015.
First tks to David Ormerod and Younggil An (8p) for the detailled report which was available on GoGameGuru shortly couple of hours after Le Sedol resigned in his first game (of 5) against the AI computer AlphaGo. MySRS Blog got some of the photos from there documenting the event in Seoul (South Korea).
It was a short night in Europe from 8th to 9th March 2016 as the live stream started at 04:00 am GMT on Youtube. Regularly playtime 2 hours per player with bio-yomi 3x 60 seconds and Chinese rules. The Go world got under shock today when Lee Sedol resigned as black after a playtime of 95 minutes. AlphaGo won w+ res. (roughly with 2.5-3.5 points ahead).
You can download the Kifus in SGF format which had been re-streamed on Wbaduk, IGS-Pandanet and KGS server from here.
Most impressive for MySRS Blog was the perfect time management of AlphaGO… till 35 minutes playtime both, Lee and AG (AlphaGo) had shown nearby same speed… in the middle game AG slowed down heavily… swapping into the end game AG still just 5 minutes on the clock in reserves, while Lee had 20 minutes available. It seems AG knows exactly to calculate the investment of time for each move. It seems impossible for a human to be so accurate managaing own efficiency during a four hours game.
The 9th March seems to be a bad day for human mankind !
9 Pro Dan Michael Redmond did an excellent job reviewing the game for beginners and people who never played Go – with a live commentary being assisted by moderator Christopher Garlock, chief editor of the American Go E-Journal (eZine magazine of AGA – American Go Association).
In peak the live stream noticed nearby 100,000 viewers, impressively in the world of Go over last years we have noticed 2-3,000 virtually watching a high class game. When publisihng this post it counted more than 870,000. At least AlphaGo can help the global GO community to attract the fascinating board game to new and upcoming players.
The American Go Association (AGA) serviced it’s own live streaming on Youtube, too… with commentator Myungwan Kim (9P Dan) which might be interesting for more experienced players having some basic Go experiences.
Bookmark the time schedule for live streaming following games:
It will become some exiting five days from 9th March 2016 on in the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul (Korea) which can be seen as a historical moment in GO history. March 2016 will proof if a highly skilled human player can be beaten by a Go computer. Lee Sedol (born 1983) from South Korea who picked up the challenge is seen as the world best Professional Go player these days (rank: 9P Dan).
The eldest board game in the world (more than 2,000 years old with origin in Ancient China) can be played since 2015 by Artificial Intelligence (AI) called AlphaGo. Its a new self-learning mashine based on a neuronal net which was developed by Deepmind Technologies, a British corporation which was founded in 2010 and now is being owned by Google.
The Go world around the globe is heavily exicting since January 2016 after the results had been published in Nature (edition: 28th Jan 2016) about the five days fight of European Go Champion Fan Hui (2P Dan) who lost 0:5 against AlphaGO in October 2015. You can download all 5 games as SGF (zipped / unzipped). The astonishing result is seen as a seriously test for the developers of Deepmind around founder Demis Hassabis.
Lee Sedol announced end of February 2016 during a press conference (see pictures) that he is very confident to win 5:0, at least his personal target is 3:2 which would be a big disapointment for him personally (see translation of the interview in the Lifein 19×19 Forum).
On 9th March 2016 starts the live stream of first day on Youtube
at 04:30 am CET / 13:00 KST (= 8th March 20:00 PT / 23:00 ET)
I fell over Dario’s lectures firs time in the Forum of lifein19x19. The topics of Dario give a different perspective onto GO and own person.
Born in 1933 (Trieste/Italy), Dario Colombera studied at the University of Padova (Italy) Natural Science with graduation in 1963. He taught chemistry, geography, mathematics, and biology in two schools of Cervignano (Liceo Malignani) and Padua (Liceo e Scuola media clericali). For nearby 20 years (1965-1984) Dario was lecturer for the University of Padova with courses and lessons of Cytology, Histology and Embryology, General Zoology, Human Biology and several other practical courses. In 1984 he became full professor of Histology and Embryology at the University of Padua.
Dario’s academic researches have been mainly devoted to the investigation of evolutionary tactics and strategies from two different points of view:
1. Comparing the morphology of the chromosomes of several marine invertebrates and advancing some general hypotheses about chromosome evolution;
2. Analyzing the evolutionary significance of tactical and strategic behaviours in mankind.
Beyond his academic activities he is fond of GO (7 kyu), oil painting, languages and biological gardening.
With his life experience and scientific background Dario might give Go players a different approach to the method of a qualitatively playing, as given with following 1:1 reprint.
… with courtesy to scientist Dario Colombera
LVII 57th EUROPEAN GO CONGRESS (EGC)
OLTSZIN, POLAND. 2013
author: Dario Colombera
Since the laws of life are worldly known and easy to understand, our refusal to consider them in our everyday lives, although the evident, ongoing global mass extinctions, cannot be only due to ignorance or stupidity, but to a kind of diffuse mental illness. Therefore, the initial aim of this research was to find out the basic cognition, which is necessary to individuate and solve our primary existential problems. The most astonishing result of this investigation was the discovery of an innovative discipline, totally deduced from the acquisitions of modern zoology, with which every person may individuate and cure the usual but unknown insanity of his mind. Go, interpreted as an evolutionary model, is one of the basic element of this discipline.
Since then, I try to divulge it, in order to convince everybody that we shall be capable to maintain our status and richness if and only if the achievements of modern zoology, i. e. the laws of life, will be all worldly understood and respected.
As naturalist and searcher for inner truth, I have deeply pondered about the fundamental causes of our present ecological disasters, existential difficulties and ethical debasements. At present, I believe that the primary reason of our present world-wide crises is due to the fact that we disregard the point, that in condition of extreme selective pressures, too low or too high, our minds become irrational and out of any conscious control. Moreover, we are more or less rational and clever, when we are dealing with contingent matters, but our selection of interests and aims are usually irrational, since it is based on uncontrolled emotions, out of date traditions and conditioned wishes.
It follows, that we do not pay the due attention to the present global environmental degradation, which admonishes us to reconsider all aspects of our civilization in biological terms, with a scientific attitude and as soon as possible. Of course, the knowledge of the laws of life gives us all the necessary tools to understand and solve our present cultural inadequacies and ecological troubles [1, 2]. But, besides this and very unexpectedly, general zoology also provides us the fundamentals of an inner discipline, which allows us to optimize all our behaviours and to stop the subconscious activity of our minds, thus healing our objective but ignored mental insanity . Of course, it is only after a sound mental rehabilitation, that we shall be able to face our actual severe ecological and cultural problems.
This inner discipline is easy to follow and very safe, since it is based on scientific achievements and can be easily practiced with a scientific attitude. I have already collected some evidence, that this discipline allows everybody to verify if his social, cultural and religious traditions are intrinsically sound in evolutionary terms. These censorious approach can be applied in whatever contest, since the laws of life prove that what is advantageous at one level of organization, is positive at all levels.
Now let see some few discoveries of general zoology and consequent implications [1, 2]:
I. Acting in the present instant is the only certain possession and duty of all living beings. Moreover, they and we are dynamic entities which can never stop acting.
II. If living beings do not behave in the present instant, with their utmost commitment, efficiency, prudence and energy’s saving, they and we shall extinguish.
III. In nature, infinitesimal advantages are enough, in order to overcome whatever competitor.
IV. In condition of low selective pressure, all living beings degenerate, firstly psycho-physiologically and then genetically. As far as people are concerned, we ignore that we can stop the ceaseless subconscious activity of our minds by a steady concentration on a determined object. Concentration is a well-known behaviour, which we commonly practice in our everyday lives, but regrettably we ignore its therapeutic benefit on our psyche. It follows that we never concentrate for the due time, which is necessary for repressing the subconscious activity of our minds.
V. In order to survive, we must know our habitats and then we should accordingly plan our lives with sound evolutionary strategies. Unfortunately, modern languages do not describe our real environments anymore and even to know and dominate the environment is useless, if we do not live alert at every present instant, instead of going around dreaming with open eyes most of our time.
VI. An over whole evolution is the most rewarding strategy in the long term, whereas specialization and parasitism lead to extinction. Today we cannot renounce to specialization, but we should not forget, that in condition of high selective pressure, we must be ready to face the most disparate difficulties.
VII. In natural conditions, predators and preys, bacteria and their hosts, harmoniously evolve together, both increasing their freedom from the environment.
VIII. Every person is unique at a genetic level and has his own peculiar vision of reality, his own niches and his own optimal evolutionary path.
IX. Happiness is a must in the struggle for life. From immunology we know that the immune system of a sorrowful animal does not function properly. From our lives we know that falling in love gives us the uttermost enthusiasm, joy and courage.
From these few observations, a very efficient inner discipline can be easily deduced , which allows us to survive in conditions of extreme selective pressures, either too low or too high. Another great novelty of this discipline is that we are not requested to change our style of life, our existential aims or our faiths. We are allowed to pursue all our previous habits and traditions, but with total involvement, utmost attention, extreme perseverance and absolute detachment from results. Even if poorly practiced, it offers immediate and crucial advantages. Moreover, faith, prophets and gurus aren’t anymore necessary, since it has been deduce from the laws of nature. Moreover, when you scientifically evaluate the outcomes of your discipline, you become the master and the teacher of yourself. In an age of massive ethical decadence, to be independent from prophets and leaders, offers a decisive existential advantage. I have already verified that this discipline is easy to practice and that its benefits are immediate. Even re-birthing, intended as freedom from subconscious conditioning, can be achieved in very short times, weeks or months. I call it “The Multiple Middle Path”, because everybody can practice it as he likes and because it is at the reach of normal people. It suggests two tactical and two strategic behaviours:
1. Live paying attention to what you do in the present instant.
2. Optimize all your behaviours, expressing in the order: highest efficiency and maximal saving.
3. When an inner stimulus pushes you to start a new action, stop for seven breaths.
4. Optimize your plans of actions, adopting the strategies that Go demands.
The effectiveness of these four disciplines is highly enhanced, when they are harmoniously practiced together, so as our existential needs and adaptive evolution demand.
As far as I know, it is the first time that an inner discipline springs out from a western culture, thus being rational, scientific and based on modern biology. For honesty and convenience, I must remember that these four disciplines are separately taught in the old Hindu tradition (see: tantra and karma yoga teachings) and in the Chinese culture (see: Tao Te Ching and Wei Qi). But, because they are foreign, ancient, disjointed, somehow hidden and devoid of any biological justification, we missed them.
The first discipline suggests: live paying extreme attention to what you do in the present instant. In the tantric tradition  we find an interesting practical indication: “When you’re busy, be careful about what you are doing in the pause between the two breaths “. The practical usefulness of this suggestion can be easily verified. The existential, perceptive and adaptive advantages of this discipline are numerous and determinant . I just remember a few:
(I). On the contrary of all the other inner disciplines I know, it is easy to practice and quick to accomplish. It gives us immediate existential advantages and the silence of the subconscious mind occurs in weeks or months instead of years.
(II). We increase our capability to perceive infinitesimal fractions of time.
This implies a better perception of the reality, thus giving us immediate existential advantages. In general, it speeds up our reaction to stimuli, it improves our memory and it sharpens our senses and mental concentration.
(III). We reduce the subconscious activity of our minds, much more than practicing our usual attention. Under normal conditions, our concentration is shattered by the dreaming-like activity of our mind so that, for long periods of the day, we lack free will and self-consciousness. On the contrary, this extreme attention stops our usual subconscious mental activities and concomitant useless contractions of voluntary muscles. Moreover, it offers us a new perception of our reality and sooner or later new larger mental paradigms are achieved.
(IV). We immediately optimize whatever action.
I do not know any other discipline, which improves so much and so quickly all aspects of our life. I have already tested its usefulness, by practicing some sports, learning languages, doing asanas and facing very severe existential stresses. You will surely improve all your capabilities much better and safer than by taking drugs.
(V). This is the only discipline I know, which doesn’t require extra times.
It seems a trivial advantage, but ask a Westerner to “meditate” for just a few hours a day or to practice daily asanas (postures)! He just hasn’t time. Moreover, by means of this discipline you can reevaluate those events that you normally consider as boring and useless.
(VI). We learn to utilize those small fractions of time, which you have previously neglected, such as: waiting for the bus, for the green traffic light, for your computer’s programs to start, and so on. Times previously disregarded, because they seemed too short, turn to be the useful for a lot of purposes: having a tea, shaving, making a telephone call, relaxing, concentrating, studying and so on. Furthermore, you realize that all your present instants as precious, since they give you the opportunity to refine your personality.
(VII). We overcome severe emotional distresses. When this extreme concentration is practiced, the subconscious activity of the mind stops and thus contingent emotional discomforts disappear. For example: I. Actions, which would normally be tedious, become acceptable and don’t disturb your inner peace any more. II. If someone offends you with nasty words when you are alert, you’ll not feel hurt. III. The usual devastating emotional distresses, that we normally suffer because of heavy economic losses, heart’s sorrows, relatives’ death, sudden loss of illusions and so on, just disappear.
(VIII). This dynamic attention expands our perception of time. Our self-consciousness increases so much, that a day seems to last as long as a lifetime. Normally we just live with the opposite attitude. How many times I heard people saying: “Twenty years elapsed, and I have the feeling that they did not last longer than a single day”.
(IX). You recover that inborn, but presently lost happiness, that you enjoyed during your early childhood.
On the whole, I recommend practicing this first exercise with the consciousness, that the present instant is your only possession. This awareness can be very painful at first, because it erases all our usual certainties, which normally give us soothing but illusory safeties. But very soon, you will appreciate the sense of infinite freedom and the consequent joy that this consciousness offers.
The second discipline suggests: optimize all your behaviours, expressing in the order extreme concentration, optimal efficiency and utmost energies’ saving. Since we are not accustomed to be alert in all our present instants, acting and moving in unusual ways, improves and facilitates this practice. For instance:
(I). Move relaxing your muscles and you will spare energy, gain physical power and rehabilitate your joints.
(II). Make ampler gestures. Since we usually are too passive and idle, it is important to practice those unusual movements, which reduce our physical handicaps and stiffness due to a sedentary life and wrong postures.
(III). In the Karma yoga traditions , we find an interesting attitude, which is a must in order to optimize whatever action: never bother about the results of your actions, but always remain emotionally detached, in victory, so as in defeat.
The third discipline recommends: when a mental stimulus pushes you to start a new activity, stop yourself for a while, in order to verify your motivations. I have observed that for this purpose, seven breaths are long enough. Becoming aware of the invading presence of an unknown subconscious ruler in your life, you realize the necessity of behaving as a strategist, in order to regain your inner freedom. In the tantric traditions  we also find the same teaching: when you feel like starting a new activity, stop yourself and reconsider your motivations.
On the whole, this discipline offers three decisive advantages:
(I). You realize how much your usual behaviours are conditioned by your subconscious mind.
(II). You will detect your true personality.
(III). After these two bitter, sorrowful discoveries, you will understand the urgency of becoming the strategic master of your life and very soon you’ll enjoy a new, previously unknown inner freedom.
The fourth discipline suggests: optimize your existential strategies, adopting those of Go in your everyday life. Since the game of Go can be considered as the most simplified model of an extremely complicated event, “adaptive evolution” [5, 6], it is no wonder that by playing Go we may easily individuate some basic strategies of survival, otherwise difficult to discover. As an evolutionary model, Go expresses a struggle for survival between two similar antagonist species, since they have the same finite niches at their disposal, “The territory of the Go ban”. Both competitors have infinite evolutionary potentialities (the number of stones is theoretically infinite). Let consider each move as the expression of a genetic mutation, which allows the exploitation of a new niche. I remember that the concept of niche is more operative than spatial. The habitat is the place where we live. The niche is that part of the habitat with which we interact. Populations which cannot evolve any more (groups of stones without enough freedoms), die out.
Extinction is the rule in Nature, since living beings usually are blind in strategic terms. On the contrary, by playing Go we can individuate the fundamental evolutionary strategies of survival. Now let compare the evolutionary steps of living beings with the moves of Go players:
I. Evolution cannot revert to previous conditions. In Go, this unachievable event is avoided by the rule of Ko.
II. The struggle for life must be balanced. Thus, a system of handicaps has been instituted and the two players alternate their moves.
III. Not perfection, but over whole improvements guarantee sound adaptive evolutions. In Go also, not immediate gains but maintaining the largest number of evolutionary options is a prerequisite.
IV. Pay extreme attention in order to avoid perils, to discover all the possible opportunities and to make the most advantageous existential choices. In Go, the study of its tactics and strategies, together with maintaining a detached but intense attention, optimize our chances of victory.
V. In nature, infinitesimal advantages are enough, in order to overcome whatever opponent. In Go also it is safer to be satisfied with little advantages. If we are too greedy, we risk to be killed.
VI. The most economic species survives. Moves having manifold purposes are a prerequisite for winning.
VII. Beauty is an expression of efficiency and of an over whole sound evolution, both for living beings and Go players.
VIII. Living beings struggle for extinction, when their natural selective pressure lessens or becomes too high. This peril is avoided for Go players, by equalizing the chances of the two opponents, with the system of handicaps.
IX. The species, which is able to do more evolutionary steps, survives. In Go win the player who is able to make more moves: see the scoring with the Ing’s method.
X. The best result of a natural competition occurs when both contenders harmoniously continue their struggle. Therefore, I suggest to revise the present method of scoring, which makes impossible the draw, since it represents the best outcome of an evolutionary competition.
But I must warn you, that there is a lot of evidence that playing Go and being a scientist is not a guarantee that you will behave strategically and rationally in your everyday life. If you really want to face your existential troubles as a Go strategist, when you feel like changing activity, stop for a while and ponder about your next challenge or wish, as they were the strategic problems of a Go game.
The Multiple Middle Path must be practically tested, since it cannot be supported or denied by arguing and debating, because: firstly, it is based on scientific data and not on philosophical argumentation. The first three components of the Multiple Middle path have proved to be very effective for over four millennia of inner searches and all four are in accordance with those laws of survival, which have been discovered by our zoologists in the last three hundred years. Secondly, our languages and our sophists’ like mentalities are not fitted to face solve similar questions. Thirdly, when you practice them, you will perceive some unusual and unpredictable experiences, which cannot be expected within our usual mental paradigms.
An interesting study of [Seoul National University Hospital] | [International Health Care Centre]…
101 DAEHAK-RO JONGNO-GU
SEOUL 110-744, KOREA
International Healthcare Center 82-2-2072-0505
Mobile Tel. 82-10-8831-2890
Brain structural changes through the game of baduk
The research team led by **[Professor Jun Soo Kwon]**, SNU College of Medicine, reported a research result that the game of ‘baduk’ has enormous influence on the structural plasticity of the brain.
The structure of the brains of professional ‘baduk’ players shows that different areas of the brain are more closely related to each other and the routes of information transmission are well developed.
A local research team identified for the first time that ‘baduk’, traditional game from the ancient time of Northeast Asia including Korea, has enormous influence on the structural plasticity of the brain.
The research team (1st author: Boreom Lee, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology) led by Professor Jun Soo Kwon, Department of Psychiatry, SNU College of Medicine, identified the fact that long-term training of ‘baduk ‘have influence on the white matter structural changes of related brain functions through the research on brain imaging. The research result will be covered in the August edition of Neuroimage, famous magazine on brain imaging.
The research conducted in cooperation with the **Korea Baduk Association** was set out to identify differences in brain structure and functions between ordinary people and the Association’s young professional baduk players and trainees trained for more than 10 years.
The study selected 17 young baduk players (average age: 17, 14 men and 3 women players) and carried out experiments on them, including diffusion-tensor image, one of MRI images, for a year starting June 2007. The subjects all participated in baduk training from their childhood and had about 12-year experience in training. Of them, 9 were professional players and the others researchers.
Diffusion-tensor imaging is the latest imaging technology of brain structure to have an naked-eye view of white matters playing as a route to transmit information by connecting all areas of the cerebral cortex in charge of high-level cognitive functions.
The research team identified, through the analysis on diffusion-tensor images, that mutual connectivity of different regions including the frontal lobe, the limbic system, and the subcortex in the brains of baduk players were more developed than those of normal people. These regions are very important to exercise major cognitive functions such as concentration, working memory, execution control ability, and problem-solving ability and the research result suggests that information transmission between such regions takes place more effectively in the brains of people with baduk training.
In addition, white matter changes in the temporal lobe identified in the group of baduk players is a typical characteristic of masters trained for a certain technology for a long term. Normal people store memories piece by piece but professionals store the whole of patterns in the temporal lobe. In other words, baduk experts keep, in a memory reservoir, game patterns specialized based on various experiences acquired through long-term training and take them out in a strategic and efficient manner.
Further, baduk experts were found to have the frontal lobe-subcortex region of the right brain, usually processing non-verbal, spatial, and time information, more developed compared with normal people. This suggests that baduk experts are trained to exercise time-spatial information processing ability quickly and efficiently through repeated baduk training. Also, the fact that the white matters in the right hemisphere of the cerebrum was relatively more changed than in the left hemisphere reflects that the major tasks of the game of baduk are related to spatial characteristics.
“The outcome of this research is expected to contribute to in-depth inspection on the structure and functions of the human brain. The outcome is likely to help to improve educational goals for brain development and treatments of various disorders related to cognitive functions,” said Professor Jun Soo Kwon.
His research team currently conducts the analysis on working memory tests using functional MRI and the analysis on neuropsychology tests in parallel in order to examine the influence of long-term baduk training on functional brain changes. Such research is expected to explain the plasticity of brain functions and the process of cognitive functions based on baduk training in a more comprehensive and succinct manner.
(Source: 1:1 reprint – [SNUH | News])
Often we have such discussion in the OGS or KGS chat and in the GO community around the globe about an interesting question, as Go playing can give some good feelings and even bad emotions, or even headages (doing tough Tsumegos). Here the page which links to two central questions:
(A) Is Go helping to become more smarter ?
(B) What influence has Go on human brain and intelligence ?
I have posted some infos related to this topic, indirectly, e.g.
Feel free to post all infos, e.g. science studies, researches, training methods related to this topic in following.
Tks to Avavt (4k/OGS) sharing this interesting info. As Avavt mentioned, I can follow her to believe that Go at least can help in improving one’s ability to remember & recognize patterns.
THE PLEASURABLE WAY TO A SUPERIOR MIND (1:1 reprint)
© 2004 Milton N. Bradley
○ Rules as simple as checkers. Strategy more profound than chess.
○ No different piece moves to master.
○ No fixed starting setup. Each game uniquely structured by the players themselves.
○ Integral handicap system allows even players of widely different ability to enjoy truly competitive games.
○ Suitable for age 3 – Ph.D.
○ Profound Strategy. (Like football, many different plays from the same initial “set”.)
○ Dazzling Tactical Magic. (Like Judo, use the opponent’s strength against him.)
○ Features pincer attacks, ambushes, feints, diversions, traps, and “airborne” invasions behind enemy lines.
○ Objectively appraise a competitive situation.
○ Identify what’s important and what’s not.
○ Evaluate the feasible alternatives.
○ Recall/apply pertinent facts and techniques.
○ Develop appropriate alternative strategy and tactics.
○ Calculate the value and risks of each alternative.
○ Prioritize them.<p
○ Make and implement decisions.
○ Observe the outcome, cope with the consequences, and then
○ Repeat the decision making cycle, as appropriate.
○ Long term planning succeeds, “instant gratification” fails.
○ Greed is counter-productive. The opponent must always get his due.
○ No simplistic, fixed plan can succeed against competent opposition. A balanced, flexible approach is the only possible route to victory.
○ Rote memory is useful but insufficient.
○ Deep positional analysis, understanding and sound judgment dominate even the best tactics. No “quick kill” is possible against competent opposition.
ABSTRACT MODEL OF REAL WORLD BUSINESS/POLITICAL COMPETITION.
AIDS MEMORY, REVERSES SENILE DEMENTIA, MAY HELP PREVENT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE.
In his regular column “The Empty Board” in the American Go Journal, Vol. 34, #3, Fall 2000, William S. Cobb reports:
“Last June (I visited) Japan to participate in a symposium on the educational benefits of teaching Go in schools. ……. On this trip I discovered that the Japanese have become seriously interested in the possibilities of using Go as a therapy for people with mental problems.”
And Cobb goes on to say:
“In recent years, Dr. Kaneko Mitsuo, a Japanese neurosurgeon with an international reputation, has been working with older people suffering from senile dementia. Using PET scans he has shown that there is substantial area of the right brain that begins to atrophy in people who suffer from dementia. This turns out to be essentially the same part of the brain that is most active when engaging in musical activities and in playing Go. To research this further, Dr. Kaneko has been teaching Go to patients in the beginning stages of dementia. (He) is now convinced that learning to play Go can reverse the development of dementia in virtually all patients in the beginning stages of the disease. Of course, this does not apply to Alzheimer’s, which is still an incurable condition, but it does work for common dementia.”
Other recent medical research indicates that older individuals who vigorously and consistently exercise their REASONING abilities also have a far lower incidence of Alzheimer’s Diseasethan those who do not!
And, as you may have gleaned from the foregoing, for this purpose the 4000 year old game of Go is far superior to any other known mechanism! Why? Because playing Go regularly is not only enjoyable but also results in intense exercise and integration of both left and right brain function to a degree not otherwise achievable!
The number of Alzheimer’s cases in the US has been estimated at 4 million in a total population of about 280 million. But because Alzheimer’s is essentially found only in the elderly, the true basis for comparison is really no more than half that number, or 140 million at most, yielding an expectation of Alzheimer’s incidence in the general population on the order of approximately 3%. Given that there are currently approximately 400 recognized Go professionals in the world, and that there have been many, many thousands in the period from 1612 when Go was institutionalized in Japan under the rule of Shogun Tokugawa until the present time, if their incidence of Alzheimer’s disease was the same as that of the general population there should be at least 6 current sufferers in their ranks, and a long history of those who contracted Alzheimer’s in the past. But in fact there have never been even a single one!
This was validated by the following email I received on Monday June 14, 2004 in response to my enquiry on this subject:
Dear Mr. Bradley,
To our knowledge, there have been no professional go players who have ever suffered from Alzheimer’s. In a note President of the World Bridge Federation recently gave me are put these lines: “Very serious medical studies carried out by universities in California have proved that groups of bridge players, for example, are much less likely to develop Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s than non-players.” It appears that the same goes with Go. There have been published since a couple of years books by Japanese neurologists regarding Go and mental health of the aged persons, all of which have proved positive effects on aged go players. It is related to the function of “right brain”.
Advisor, Overseas Dept
(Source: Milt’s GO Page)