Does playing football make you better at Go?

Between rounds one and two of the Weijia League Tournament (a Chinese domestic team event), professional Go players had the chance to play in a 5-per-team friendly football match against a top local amateur football team, Chongqing Bank.

The Chinese Weiqi Dream Team of Gu Li 9p, Chang Hao 9p and Hu Yaoyu 8p were lead by captain, Wang Yi 5p, and aided by Korean import, Choi Cheolhan 9p. The match was played on May 8 2011.

Nie Weiping kicks off the match

Nie Weiping (9 dan) starts the match

Legendary Chinese player, Nie Weiping 9p, kicked off proceedings to what turned out to be an intensely fought match. Nie remained on field throughout the match, always eager to provide tips and leading cheers for the Chinese Weiqi Dream Team.

Chinese Weiqi seizes an early lead

Chongqing Bank started off with an early goal, but Chinese Weiqi promptly answered with Gu booting the equalizer. Gu – just as calm and confident on the football field as in front of a Go board – managed to score three more goals, so that at the end of the first 30 minutes, Chinese Weiqi lead Chongqing Bank 5-4.

Chongqing Bank takes the initiative

As the match progressed, despite Gu scoring another goal, it became evident that Chongqing Bank were much fitter than the pros and they surged ahead with 9-7. Some quick changes were made, with Liu Shizhen 6p replacing Choi and Wang Hao 2p replacing Hu as goalkeeper.

The game is tied

With fresh players on field, Chinese Weiqi fought back to equal the score at 10-10. Unfortunately for the pros, it seemed that Chongqing Bank were unstoppable, scoring two goals in quick succession to pull ahead once again. However, just as the match was drawing to a close, Chinese Weiqi managed to sneak in two more goals, including another one by Gu, to finish the match with a 12-12 draw.

Gu Li named man of the match

Gu Li was undoubtedly the man of the match, scoring six goals and proving instrumental in assisting in another three. Considering the opposition, the Chinese Weiqi Dream Team put up an impressive fight. Clearly they have all played football before, but it makes me wonder how much skill is transferable between the two games.

Can playing football make you a better Go player?

Does playing football make you a better Go player, or vice-versa? What do you think?

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About Jing

Jing likes writing, and can occasionally be convinced to play a game of Go. Even though she doesn't play Go as often as she once did, she still enjoys following the professional Go scene and writing about it on Go Game Guru.

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  1. elementc says:

    Absolutely not.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi elementc, I agree with you that technical skills like ‘how to kick a ball’ aren’t particularly relevant to Go. However, there are other aspects like, will power and stamina that could cross over.

      Health makes a big difference to how you play. For example, I had a back injury that took a long time to recover from and I’d say that it really affected my game. This is admittedly an extreme example, but if we accept that physical health can affect your game negatively, I think its also plausible that being fit can affect your game positively too. What do you think?

      • elementc says:

        Sorrry, I should be more specific. It doesn’t help any more than other general healtfhul activities. Even then, I don’t see it being a huge factor. 😛

        I was kind of in a bad mood that day and already a bit resentful of athletics.

  2. Yes. Positive experiences strengthen all other experiences.

    People great at competition are usually able to translate those competitive techniques into other competitive areas.

    Last, a physically fit body allows for better mental concentration on the board–as long-term mental concentration fatigues the body and a physically fatigued body takes energy to recovery itself leaving less for mental use. A person who is physically fit fatigues slower and recovers quicker. In short, steady and consistent physical activity increases mental aptitude.

    All items are conclusive & consistent in studies done for the last 40+ years.

    • Great points Logan. It’s certainly been my experience that any sort of exercise helps with Go and other things.

      I’ve found that if I exercise first thing in the morning, before work, my ability to concentrate is better throughout the day. I’m sure other people have had a similar experience?

  3. scwizard says:

    I think that competance is a transferable skill. If you look at the world class players in any sport (including Go), they’re all physically and mentally healthy, fast learners, sharp thinkers and hard workers. Those qualities will increase your ability at pretty much anything you try out.