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.
Nie Weiping kicks off 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?