The Japanese Girl Sumire Nakamura Enters the Go Professional World at only 9 Years Old

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  • Sumire Nakamura, a fourth grader, now 9 years old is set to become the youngest Go Professional player at the age of 10, this year in April.

    According to the Nihon Ki- In Association, the girl passed an exam for gifted youngsters, allowing her to take her first step in becoming the youngest professional Go Player in history,surpassing Rina Fujisawa , the genius who became a pro at the age of 11 and six months.

    Who is Sumire Nakamura?

    The young lady is the eldest daughter of the professional Go player Shinya Nakamura(ninth dan) and Miyuki Nakamura, an amateur Go player.
    She was born in Osaka, studied in Korea and can speak both languages at a native level.
    Her favourite food is grilled meat and kimchi hot pot and her ability of focusing during a match is out of this world.

    First steps into the Go world

    The young girl started playing Go when she was only 3 years old, but came in contact with the board as soon as she was born by watching her father playing and getting a feel of the board and stones.

    She trained in South Korea, country known for many strong players since she was 7 years old and was respected by everyone for her seriousness and strong will to win. People that know her affirming that if she loses one game she starts crying right away; that`s how much she hates losing.

    The path to becoming a professional

    She was chosen by the Japan Go Association to take part in a programme that trains young players to compete with Korean and Chinese players in international tournaments.

    At the New Year Go festival, the nine year Osaka girl tied with the Japanese Professional Yuta Iyama Kisei, a Go Master she respects and the only one in Japan`s history to have all seven titles simultaneously. Sumire will be 10 when she enters the pro world in April and will be starting off with the lowest rank.

    At the press conference held after the match, the girl affirmed she`s happy when she wins, firmly declaring that : “I want to have a title while being in junior high school.”

    Sumire didn`t talk much after being interviewed, but she did affirm she was happy playing a game with the Go Master Yuta Iyama. As there are no draws in the modern rules of Go, there are special cases like this one when the players run out of time and the game ends with no result, meaning that it turns into a voided game. The fourth grader had a handicap against the Go Master,but her moves were splendid and although the game ended up with no decisive result(such cases being quite rare), she is unmistakably a very talented and strong player and a formidable rival in the World of Go.

    What is Go?

    囲碁

    The game of Go(囲碁/Igo in Japanese) is an ancient strategy board game for two players that has its origins in China.
    The rules are quite easy to learn, but it can be pretty difficult to master.
    The pieces look the same, the only difference being the color(black and white) and the main purpose is to enclose more territory on the board by placing the pieces one by one on the board, taking turns.

    Some aspects as pattern recognition, sacrifices/exchanges , visualization are similar to Chess, however there are many aspects that make it very complex, but extremely fascinating! Compared to chess that only has about 20 opening moves, Go can have up to 361! The game has limitless possibilities of conquering your opponent, defending your territory and attacking the enemy. Thinking of strategies to fight, taking risks, planning what to do, balancing between attacking and defending can be quite a challenge thinking of the many possibilities there are and the way your opponent might respond to you.

    Its new world of possibilities and creativity, the mix of tactics, strategies make it so captivating and addicting.

    The new talent that appeared in the world of Go is by no mistake a genius being able to get a hold of such a complex game at a very young age and I am looking forward to see her growth from now on.

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