Nakamura fails to defend Japan 'Go' title before moving base to S.Korea

Fourteen-year-old Japanese "Go" player Nakamura Sumire has failed to defend a major national title before she transfers her professional activities abroad. It was the last title match she was eligible to play in Japan.

Nakamura, the 2023 Women's "Kisei" title holder, will move her base to South Korea next month as a visiting player, seeking to improve in the higher level environment offered by the powerhouse of the traditional board game.

Nakamura faced off against 17-year-old Ueno Risa in the third game of the best-of-three title match at the Nihon Ki-in, Japanese Go association, in Tokyo on Monday. This was the first-ever title match between teenagers.

Ueno started the game placing a black Go stone and organized a solid offense from the beginning. Ueno gave no opportunity for Nakamura to take advantage until the end, and Nakamura conceded after the 233rd move of the match.

At a news conference after the game, Nakamura told reporters she lost due to her lack of ability. She vowed to work harder and become a stronger player in South Korea so that she can repay those who have supported her.

Nakamura turned professional at the age of 10 in 2019, becoming the youngest player to ever do so. She won the Women's Kisei title last year at the age of 13 years and 11 months to become the youngest holder of a major female title in Japan.

Nakamura plans to compete in official matches for which she is qualified in Japan until the end of February.

Ueno Risa clinched her first-ever title with this victory. Her elder sister Asami holds another Women's Go title. This is the first time in 37 years and two months that two siblings have possessed female major titles at the same time.