literature & poetry

AlphaZero's Game Changer: The Promise of AI

Part of London Literature Festival

Matthew Sadler, Natasha Regan and Fan Hui discuss their world-first experiences with AI and DeepMind, an organisation at the forefront of artificial intelligence research.

They debate why games are such a good testing ground for artificial intelligence, possible future applications of AlphaZero and the emotions they’ve experienced on their groundbreaking journeys.

Grandmaster (GM) Sadler and Woman International Master (WIM) Regan were given unprecedented access to DeepMind’s AlphaZero.

AlphaZero is system that famously taught itself to play to a superhuman standard – from zero knowledge of chess – to beat the existing world-champion chess computer after just a few hours of training.

Game Changer is the result of their six-month investigation into AlphaZero’s gameplay and inner workings, and one of the most comprehensive analyses of an advanced AI program ever undertaken.

Hui, a professional Go player and three-times European Go Champion (2013, 2014, 2015), was defeated by DeepMind’s AlphaGo system in 2015 in a momentous first-ever victory for an AI over a human professional player without a handicap.

After his defeat, he helped DeepMind by providing the AlphaGo team with crucial insights into Go theory and served as one of the referees in the historic AlphaGo versus Lee Sedol match, observing it in person.

Grandmaster (GM) Matthew Sadler is a two-times British Champion and one of the UK’s strongest chess players, ranked 14th in the world in July 1997.

In 2010 he returned to the game as an amateur and in January 2019 he was ranked 46th in the world. He is the author of seven chess books, two of which have won the prestigious English Chess Federation (ECF) Book of the Year.

Woman International Master (WIM) Natasha Regan is a qualified actuary who studied mathematics at Cambridge University.

She has represented England at both chess and the ancient Chinese board game Go and is a seven-times UK Pair Go Champion. She co-wrote the ECF Book of the Year-winning Chess for Life together with Matthew Sadler.

Fan Hui is a Chinese-born French Go player. He became a professional player in 1996, moved to France in 2000 and became the coach of the French national Go team in 2005.

He is three-times winner of the European Go Championship (2013, 2014 and 2015) and ranked as a 2 Dan professional.

Dates & times

26 Oct 2019
Approximate run time: 90 mins
Run times may vary, find out more


Purcell Room


Booking fee: £3.00 (Members £0.00)

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need to know

Age recommendation
For ages 10+

Southbank Centre takes a strong view on secondary ticketing. We require the lead booker to attend (photo ID may be requested). Tickets can only be resold by Southbank Centre or one of its authorised agents.

Multi-buy discount
Book three or more literature and poetry events in the same transaction and receive a 25% discount. Selected events only.

Event information
There is a book signing after this event.