10-year-old set to be youngest pro Go player

Sumire Nakamura playing against Mr Yuta Iyama in Osaka on Sunday. Sumire started playing Go with her father, national champion Shinya Nakamura, when she was three.
Sumire Nakamura playing against Mr Yuta Iyama in Osaka on Sunday. Sumire started playing Go with her father, national champion Shinya Nakamura, when she was three.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TOKYO • Japan's Sumire Nakamura will become the youngest professional player of the ancient board game Go when she makes her debut as a 10-year-old on April 1.

Sumire, who turns 10 on March 2, local media said, started playing the game with her father when she was three.

The previous youngest player was Rina Fujisawa, who was 11 when she turned professional in 2010.

Presented to the media last Saturday standing next to her father, Mr Shinya Nakamura, a national champion, Sumire said she was keen to get her first trophy.

"I feel happy when I win," said Sumire, who currently goes to school in Osaka. "I want to win a title while I am in junior high school."

Her father was surprised at how quickly she entered the pro ranks. "I didn't expect she will be professional this soon," he said. "I think she was able to achieve this thanks to teachers who have taught her how to play Go and people that have supported her."

Go, most popular in East Asia, involves two players moving black and white stones across a square grid, aiming to seize the most territory. Its origins are said to date back thousands of years.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2019, with the headline '10-year-old set to be youngest pro Go player'. Print Edition | Subscribe