Player who stunned ‘king of Go’ in Chinese tournament denies cheating using artificial intelligence

Accusation of following LeelaZero program to defeat Hu Yuqing as organisers are forced to consider updating the rules

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 April, 2018, 2:05pm
UPDATED : Friday, 27 April, 2018, 2:05pm

An unknown Go player who beat a high-ranking player has denied accusations of using artificial intelligence software to do so, a Beijing newspaper reported.

Liu Chao beat Hu Yuqing, “the king of Go”, in the national amateur Go competition in the eastern province of Zhejiang on Tuesday, but other players suggested Liu was following the advice of LeelaZero, an AI program, the newspaper said.

“They have no evidence,” said Liu, who denied cheating and said he would quit playing Go because of the questioning of his integrity.

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Photos online showed Liu putting his smartphone in his shirt pocket, with the camera facing the board. He was reminded to put the phone into a trouser pocket during the next round of competition, which he lost.

Liu told Beijing Youth Daily he had put the phone in his shirt pocket out of habit and had once used LeelaZero to practise. The software uses input from contributors to learn how to win the game.

The organisers, who plan to rewrite the rules to ban AI in future competitions, said they had not found an earpiece and had no right to check the phone.

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“It’s hard to judge whether he used AI to cheat, but the location of his phone has violated the competition rules,” one was quoted as saying.

In a post on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service, Hu said it was important to refine the rules to be fit for the AI age.