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Teen Go prodigy Sumire Nakamura becomes youngest in Japan to capture title

Go player Sumire Nakamura reflects on the third and final game of the 26th Women's Kisei title match, in which she beat Asami Ueno, in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on Feb. 6, 2023. (Mainichi/Emi Naito)

TOKYO -- Teenage Go player Sumire Nakamura became the youngest in Japan to capture a title in the strategic board game on Feb. 6 by defeating 21-year-old Asami Ueno in the third and final game of the 26th Women's Kisei title match in Tokyo.

    Nakamura, who holds a third-dan ranking, set the record at the age of 13 years and 11 months. The feat is a great stride from the previous youngest record of 15 years and 9 months set by Rina Fujisawa, 24, when she won the Aizu Central Hospital Cup in 2014. Fujisawa currently holds titles including the Women's Honinbo title.

    Nakamura also became the first junior high school student to clinch a professional Go title in the country.

    During the best-of-three title match, Nakamura and Women's Kisei title holder Ueno went into the final game with one win each, and Nakamura beat her opponent in 250 moves to emerge as the champion.

    A native of Osaka Prefecture, Nakamura mastered how to play Go at age 3 and became the first player recruited under The Nihon Ki-in Go association's special program to train young talent. She became the youngest player to go professional in April 2019, at 10 years old. Her father is ninth-dan professional Go player Shinya Nakamura, 49.

    In June last year, Nakamura won her 100th career win at age 13 years and 3 months, also the youngest on record.

    (Japanese original by Ryo Takeuchi, Cultural News Department)

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