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Girl to make professional Go debut at age 10
The Nihon Ki-in announced on Jan. 5 that it will sign on 9-year-old Nakamura Sumire as a professional player of the traditional board game of Go as of April 1 this year -- making her the youngest ever to go professional.
A bashful Sumire addressed a group of reporters at a news conference held in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on Jan. 5.
Sumire wants "to win a title while in junior high school," adding, "I want to be like Iyama (Yuta, who currently holds five titles)."
Sumire, a resident of Osaka's Konohana Ward, is the eldest daughter of Nakamura Shinya, 45, a professional player with a ninth-dan rank, and his wife Miyuki, 38, an amateur sixth-dan player.
Sumire started to play Go at the age of 3 and practices six to nine hours a day. There is no television in her home. She has also been receiving special training in Seoul, South Korea, a Go powerhouse, since April 2017.
Sumire is the first player to be selected for the Nihon Ki-in's special new program to recruit and train young talent to compete globally.
As of April 1, when Sumire will be 10 years old, she will be the youngest professional Go player after Fujisawa Rina, a 20-year-old player who turned pro at 11 years and 6 months.