Japanese girl to become youngest professional Go player (Photo: Twitter)
Sumire Nakamura, a fourth-grade girl, from Japan set to become the youngest professional Go player in Japan. The country's Go Association on Saturday said that Nakamura will be 10 years old when she officially becomes a professional and joins the lowest rank "shodan" on April 1. She began playing the complicated strategy game at the age of three and started competing in national tournaments by the time she was seven. The object of the traditional strategy game known for its characteristic black and white stones is to use the pieces to surround more territory than your opponent. The stones are placed at intersections on the square board, which has a grid superimposed on it.
The previous record was set by Rina Fujisawa, who was 11 when she became a professional player in 2010.
Nakamura now is set to break the record set by Rina Fujisawa, who became a professional player at 11 years and 6 months old nine years ago.
The Japan Go Association has chosen Nakamura where she will be trained as a professional Go player to compete on par against Chinese and Korean players in international competitions.
According to reports, the father of the father of the Tokyo-born youngster is also a professional player and currently holds a ninth-degree.
Nakamura, who now lives in Osaka, participated in Japan's national tournament for boys and girls when she was in second grade and most recently returned from South Korea after receiving some training.
She recently attended the news conference with her father, “It was rather shocking to see her ability, given her age,” said Chang Hsu, a ninth dan player who tested her skills for Nihon Ki-in as part of the screening process.
“She was very composed” and flexible while playing, he said.
Nakamura will be the first go player to turn pro under Nihon Ki-in’s special screening system for “prospective, talented” players who can compete with top players from other countries, said Nihon Ki-in Director-General Dan Hiroaki.