By KOJI ODE/ Staff Writer
February 7, 2023 at 16:52 JST
The third time was the charm for 13-year-old prodigy Sumire Nakamura, who made history again in becoming the youngest go title holder in Japan.
The 3-dan professional defeated defending champion Asami Ueno on Feb. 6 in the 26th Women's Kisei title match in Tokyo, to claim her second and deciding victory in the best-of-three format.
It marked the teen's third try at winning a major title in the traditional board game.
“Given my ability at the moment, it’s a miracle that I won the title,” Nakamura said. “It still doesn’t feel like it really happened to me. But I’m happy that every little step I took finally brought me to here.”
At 13 years and 11 months, the junior high school student broke the record set nine years ago by Rina Fujisawa, who became the youngest title holder of the strategy game at 15 years and nine months.
In 2019, Nakamura became a professional go player less than a month after turning 10, the youngest ever at the time, after the pro qualifying test was waived.
In June 2022, she earned her 100th professional victory, the youngest to do so.
As she continued to make rapid progress, the prodigy challenged for her first title in two tournaments the same year, but narrowly lost both matches.
Nakamura refused to be denied in her third try, beating Ueno, 21, considered one of the two "go queens" in Japan's professional ranks along with Fujisawa.
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