An interview with Xiao Han Qing (China), creator of XuanXuanGo
Q. We have lot of SGF editing software, but your program is probably the first one, which can solve Life&Death problems. Is it true?
A. To my knowledge, XuanXuanGo is not the first program that can solve Life&Death problems, but it’s most likely the strongest one.
Q. What do you think about the possibility of using this program during real tournament games (in toilets, for example). Will it help to win more games?
A. It’s impossible to use it during real tournament games, because XuanXuanGo runs on PC, not mobile devices. However, if the player is playing against his/her opponent on the Internet, it’s possible to use the Life&Death problem solver to win more games.
Q.We have some computer Go tournaments, but I never saw problems solving contests between computers. What do you think about this idea? Are you sure that your program will get the first place?
A.It’s a good idea. Although problem solving is not as complicated as computer Go, but produce a stronger solver is far from an easy task. At least in China, many people are interesting in programming a problem solver, but only XuanXuanGo can solve problems. Yes, I’m confident that my program will win the first place.
Q.In Korea and Japan it’s not common for professional Go players to use any computer programs or databases – they prefer paper Go books and game collections. How is the situation in China?
A.Almost the same.
Q.We have lot of playing clients for IGS. XuanXuanGo can connect to IGS too. Do you think that your program is the best one for playing on IGS?
A.Yes, I do. XuanXuanGo has the most accurate score estimating function, and during observing others games, you can try playing directly in the playing game. If Life&Death problems appear in the games, you can just mark the problem scope and try to find the best solution.
Q.I like the feature with alarms (when your friend starts the game on IGS). Is it possible to create the same feature for KGS? On KGS we have lot of users, who like to observe games live, so it can be very useful
Q. Currently best programs play on 5-dan amateur level. When do you think the Go program will be able to challenge top pros in even games?
A. Maybe in 20 to 50 years.
Q. Do you plan to improve XuanXuanGo by adding new features?
A. Yes, if time permits
Q. I know that you prefer IGS to other Go servers. How can you explain your choice?
A. Because I like the timing mode and friend functions of IGS. Unlike KGS, IGS only update the player or game list on request, so, the user seldom experiences web jam. It’s important for the users who are geographically distant from the server.