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 Post subject: How tired are you after a serious game of go?
Post #1 Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 5:20 am 
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Tournaments have always been somewhat tiring for me, but recently I've been finding online games tiring as well. I find it particularly tiring to play to play a high dan player (I am low dan KGS) - even in a relatively fast game.

Is this an inevitable result of the ageing process and to be expected as I move into middle age? Or am I concentrating "too hard"?

Does anyone else put off going to tournaments because they are not sure they have the stamina (particularly after a hard week at work)?

Grateful for anyone else's experiences or thoughts.

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 Post subject: Re: How tired are you after a serious game of go?
Post #2 Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 5:28 am 
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I don't think I have ever felt that way in my 40+ years of playing. It has always been enjoyable to me, not a chore. Of course, perhaps that is why I never got higher than 5d.

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 Post subject: Re: How tired are you after a serious game of go?
Post #3 Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 5:35 am 
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I should perhaps clarify that my enjoyment of go still remains intact, even intensified I think.

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 Post subject: Re: How tired are you after a serious game of go?
Post #4 Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 6:54 am 
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dust wrote:
Tournaments have always been somewhat tiring for me, but recently I've been finding online games tiring as well. I find it particularly tiring to play to play a high dan player (I am low dan KGS) - even in a relatively fast game.

Is this an inevitable result of the ageing process and to be expected as I move into middle age? Or am I concentrating "too hard"?

Does anyone else put off going to tournaments because they are not sure they have the stamina (particularly after a hard week at work)?

Grateful for anyone else's experiences or thoughts.


I can talk a little about both my experience and about some research, although not any recent research. Physical fitness matters for mind sports. If you don't keep it up, you can tell, especially as you reach middle age. But there is nothing inevitable about it. I did not maintain my physical fitness, and it showed when I was going to bridge tournaments. In my 20s I used to play 10 hours per day for a week to 10 days, with no problem. In my mid 30s I only played 7-8 hours per day and rested for a couple of hours in the afternoons. And after a week or more of hard mental labor at a tournament I felt the effects for days.

Research indicates that "mental tiredness" is all or nearly all physical. If you remain rested you can maintain your mental acuity and concentration all day, no problem. I am not sure what you mean by a relatively fast game of go. For me that would be one that took 30 minutes or so. Maybe for you it is one hour or so. If you find that tiring, it is probably because of tension. Relaxation exercises away from the board can help. The corpse posture in yoga comes to mind. ;) As does autogenics. :) There are also yogic mental concentration exercises while remaining physically relaxed. Often we are not aware of our tension. One exercise for aspiring violinists is to hold a wine cork between their teeth while playing. At first they usually bite through the cork in a minute or two. ;)

At home there are things you can do to stay relaxed while playing online. You can put on some relaxing music. You can play in an easy chair or stretched out on a sofa. You can stretch to relieve tension. You can put a wine cork between your teeth. ;) You can massage your neck or get someone to do it for you. :)

It might be a good idea to play games where your main goal is not to win, but to stay relaxed. :) You might find faster games than usual relaxing, you might find slower games relaxing. If you avoid tension, you should not get tired after one or two games. :)

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 Post subject: Re: How tired are you after a serious game of go?
Post #5 Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 7:08 am 
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I have not been to any tournament before,
but I am always exhausted after serious games(face-to-face or online).

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 Post subject: Re: How tired are you after a serious game of go?
Post #6 Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 9:07 am 
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Another factor might be the rank. We become better at go with time. The better we are, the more difficult are the games.

I can feel exhausted by a game in tournament. For my defense, I must admit that I'm always in charge of the organisation of the tournaments I play. I can't relax because I'm rushing between the rounds to collect the results and output the draws in time for the next round.

My online games are 25 minutes per player. I don't find them as exhausting as tournament games.

I notice that professional players regularly take breaks during their games. We should do the same.

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 Post subject: Re: How tired are you after a serious game of go?
Post #7 Posted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 11:59 am 
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I don't get tired online, but every game I've played in the US Open has been exhausting.

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 Post subject: Re: How tired are you after a serious game of go?
Post #8 Posted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:27 pm 
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If Go is too exhausting, you could always play some chess.

That's what I do :mrgreen:

edit: inebriants are apparently not everyone's cup of tea, but there is that, too


Last edited by Anzu on Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: How tired are you after a serious game of go?
Post #9 Posted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:34 pm 
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Anzu wrote:
If Go is too exhausting, you could always play some chess.

That's what I do :mrgreen:


I know the rules of chess from middle school (enough to beat my dad :-)), but I never got into it competitively.

How would you compare the feeling you get from playing chess to the feeling you get playing go? Is it similar?

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 Post subject: Re: How tired are you after a serious game of go?
Post #10 Posted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:48 pm 
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Kirby wrote:
Anzu wrote:
If Go is too exhausting, you could always play some chess.

That's what I do :mrgreen:


I know the rules of chess from middle school (enough to beat my dad :-)), but I never got into it competitively.

How would you compare the feeling you get from playing chess to the feeling you get playing go? Is it similar?


Variety is the spice of life.

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 Post subject: Re: How tired are you after a serious game of go?
Post #11 Posted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:30 am 
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I thought chess tournaments were exhausting, and that Go might be more relaxing, but Go like chess is going to be just as exhausting I think, already some of my online Go games that have lasted a couple hours are exhausting.

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 Post subject: Re: How tired are you after a serious game of go?
Post #12 Posted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 1:22 pm 
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On several occasions, I taught some children go.
If you think go is not tiring enough, do some teaching in the classroom!
Fun, interesting, exhilarating. It can be tiring, but also very rewarding.


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 Post subject: Re: How tired are you after a serious game of go?
Post #13 Posted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:51 pm 
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I have been teaching my cousin's 2 boys, 6 and 8, how to play Go, and although it has been trying in a different way, it has not been the same mental strain as playing a game myself.

Next lesson is tomorrow night; last week I tried to get them to use a clock so that the 6 year old wouldn't get up and walk away for several minutes and get distracted like he has in the past, but they had no sense of time and became spastic playing as fast as they could and finishing the game in 5 minutes. I think Go will be good for them to learn discipline and concentration. The 8 year old lost, but learned his lesson and told me he shouldn't have played so fast. We will see how it goes tomorrow.

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 Post subject: Re: How tired are you after a serious game of go?
Post #14 Posted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:15 am 
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Bill Spight wrote:
Research indicates that "mental tiredness" is all or nearly all physical.


Do you (or someone) have references of research papers supporting this?

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Post #15 Posted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:09 am 
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I have seen (but not fully read) a report that recent research has shown top chess players use 560 calories over two hours in tournament play, and 6000 calories a day ("same as elite athletes") when factoring in stress and preparation. In go, Fujisawa Hideyuki once said he lost 2 kg over the course of title match. Without getting out a calculator I have no idea what that means, but top chess players have made similar claims of either short-term weight loss of about 17 pounds or even bigger long-term loss over the course of a match.

See:

https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a291 ... orie-burn/

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Post #16 Posted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 8:23 am 
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jlt wrote:
Bill Spight wrote:
Research indicates that "mental tiredness" is all or nearly all physical.


Do you (or someone) have references of research papers supporting this?


I remember reading about chess players, people taking exams etc, alongside the increased calorie burn from the sustained intense concentration also had elevated levels of cortisol (the "stress hormone") when they were playing/taking the exam. The increased heart rate etc from this would increase the metabolic calorie burn on top of the extra calories being demanded by the brain itself. I think part of the issue here is people looking at say playing go as a purely mental experience and not thinking about the rest of the body being involved. Burning the candle at both ends and all that. I think there is some research that suggests mental state may cause fatigue to kick in faster or slower when they looked at people doing some kind of physical activity.

I don't know, it's interesting. I've a strong personal interest in this in general due to health issues directly affecting this stuff. It's more complicated than the brain just burning more calories because you're focused on something but there are a lot of physical processes going on contributing to mental fatigue when doing something like playing a serious game of go or chess or sitting an exam or studying or whatnot.

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 Post subject: Re: How tired are you after a serious game of go?
Post #17 Posted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 2:51 pm 
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jlt wrote:
Bill Spight wrote:
Research indicates that "mental tiredness" is all or nearly all physical.


Do you (or someone) have references of research papers supporting this?


I read about that research around 40 years ago, when I was playing tournament bridge. So no, I do not have a reference handy. However, to quote myself, I went a little more into the details of the research.

Bill Spight wrote:
Research indicates that "mental tiredness" is all or nearly all physical. If you remain rested you can maintain your mental acuity and concentration all day, no problem. I am not sure what you mean by a relatively fast game of go. For me that would be one that took 30 minutes or so. Maybe for you it is one hour or so. If you find that tiring, it is probably because of tension. Relaxation exercises away from the board can help. The corpse posture in yoga comes to mind. As does autogenics. There are also yogic mental concentration exercises while remaining physically relaxed. Often we are not aware of our tension. One exercise for aspiring violinists is to hold a wine cork between their teeth while playing. At first they usually bite through the cork in a minute or two.
(Emphasis added.)

As I recall, the research had the subjects do difficult arithmetic problems for something like 8 to 10 hours, while they were reclining. I suppose they had a lunch break. At the end of the day their speed and accuracy was unimpaired. They were not engaged in competition, and so presumably did not experience tension related to that.

IMX, I did find tournament bridge tiring, but I was also experiencing a good bit of tension. I pretty well got that under control by autogenics and other techniques. In general, physical relaxation aids concentration, which is quite important in mind sports. :)

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 Post subject: Re: How tired are you after a serious game of go?
Post #18 Posted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 3:35 pm 
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Not being in a competition means that the subjects used maybe 80% of their brain power. It doesn't mean they would be able to use 100% brain power for 8-10 hours. The equivalent of a go competition would be, in a limited time, to give a $1 reward for each correctly solved arithmetic problem and a $10 penalty for each mistake.

That said, I agree that physical tension is a major cause of tiredness, and is difficult to overcome in a competition.

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 Post subject: Re: How tired are you after a serious game of go?
Post #19 Posted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 4:33 pm 
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jlt wrote:
Not being in a competition means that the subjects used maybe 80% of their brain power. It doesn't mean they would be able to use 100% brain power for 8-10 hours.


Speaking as a former low level bridge pro, I would not recommend trying to use 100% brain power for 8-10 hours per day. Sure, Shusai once took 8 hours on one play, but that was Shusai. Go is a long game, a marathon more than a sprint. 80% is a sustainable level of effort.

I think this advice is in line with Rin Kaiho's advice to reserve about ⅓ of your time to read out one crucial play, although he did not express himself in terms of percentage of brain power. Stay relaxed and cruise along at a sustainable pace most of the time, and pick the times to go all out. Remember that it is possible to overthink your plays, especially at amateur levels of play. Straining after gnats is a waste of time and energy.

Where I do think that it is important to go all out is during training. As I have said, I think most people attempt problems that are too easy for them. When I had a training regimen of 15 hours a week, 3 hours a day, I used to spend one hour per day on four problems, 15 minutes per problem. This was in preparation for spending that much time on a difficult position in a game. So I went all out, but I also relaxed by doing the problems in a warm bath. :)

Edit: That was my training regimen when I was a 4 dan. For a 5 kyu maybe 30 min. per day to do 10 problems would be good. Everybody is different. :)

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Visualize whirled peas.

Everything with love. Stay safe.


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 Post subject: Re: How tired are you after a serious game of go?
Post #20 Posted: Thu Mar 11, 2021 3:00 pm 
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Anzu wrote:
If Go is too exhausting, you could always play some chess.

That's what I do :mrgreen:

edit: inebriants are apparently not everyone's cup of tea, but there is that, too


NOOOOOOOOOOOO! NOT CHESSSSSS!!!
I used to play it, but I now only play go.

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