Strength may refer to the following.
- Strength of the stones. See thickness.
- Strength of the players as reflected in their rank.
- Strength of the players without reference to their rank.
This page focuses strength of players without reference to rank. Playing strength is determined by the interplay of two factors: training and innate talent.
Innate Ability Go ability, most likely, is strongly determined by ones innate ability (nature) which can be fostered or hindered by the environment in which the person lives (nurture). There are families that have produced a statistically anomalous number of professional strength Go players: Cho Chikun, his brother Cho Shoen, his uncle Cho Nam-ch'eol. Cho Chikun's natural gift was nurtured in the Kitani dojo. Another example is Kitani Minoru and his family: Kitani Minoru himself, his daughter Kitani Reiko, her husband Kobayashi Koichi, Kitani's granddaughter Kobayashi Izumi who is the wife of Cho U. It seems that one's best hope of being a strong Go player is to be the child of Cho U and Kobayashi Izumi! Failing that, one can always study harder, though the odds of overcoming the disadvantage of having other parents may be quite steep.
This phenomenon is not particular to Go. The Bach family in Europe is quite well known for the number of musicians and composers born into it. Similarly there are families that have a large number of actors (Fairbanks, Barrymore, Douglas), politicians (Kennedy, Bush) and other avocations. Lance Armstrong is another case. Edward F. Coyle, Ph.D.; Professor Director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Texas, Austin, reports that a lean college age male after two or more years of intensive training may attain a level of 60/ml/kg/min VO2, the same level of aerobic capacity that Lance Armstrong would exhibit, should he refrain from all aerobic training for an extended period of time. Dr. Coyle states: In other words, Lance would not have to train in order to be able to ride with a person with average genetic potential, even if this person trained as hard as possible for a few years.
Go is much more interesting to this line of inquiry, because Go skill (the combination of nature and nurture) can be measured and measured with some reasonable accuracy. By contrast, distinguishing between nature and nurture in political families is particularly difficult.