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Japan's youngest pro go player, 10-year-old Sumire Nakamura, loses debut match

JIJI

Japan’s youngest professional go player, Sumire Nakamura, who is 10 years and one month old, failed to seal victory in her official debut match on Monday.

Nakamura, a first-dan player of the traditional board game who turned professional earlier this month, lost to first-dan Ran Omori in a qualifying match for the 29th Ryusei tournament in the city of Osaka. Omori, 16, became a pro at the same time as Nakamura.

Nakamura rewrote the previous youngest debut record of 11 years and eight months, which was set by now 20-year-old Rina Fujisawa, who holds three titles for female go players including Meijin.

“I was too nervous to play very well,” Nakamura said. “I’m frustrated. The latter part (of the match) didn’t go well.”

After starting to play go at the age of 3, she trained as a professional player candidate at the Japanese and South Korean go associations.

In January, the Nihon Ki-in, or Japan Go Association, said Nakamura had secured professional status by passing an exam under a newly established recommendation system to nurture next-generation players. The elementary school student became professional when she turned 10. Her father, Shinya, 46, is a ninth-dan player.

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