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 Post subject: Re: Following Nakamura Sumire
Post #41 Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:09 am 
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Pretty close to the colors of Alpha Kappa Alpha, my wife's sorority. Maybe I can get her to play now?!

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Post #42 Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:20 pm 
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ez4u wrote:
I never thought I would be standing shoulder to shoulder with Canny Onion but...

On Saturday I went to the Nihon Ki'in as usual and what awaited me inside the front door?
Attachment:
IMG_2052 800.jpg

It really annoyed me that this is apparently the Nihon Ki'in view of the current state of Japanese Go - Iyama and... a ten-year-old child who hasn't won a game yet?!! So much for its 95 years of effort. :sad:


But Sumire is so kawaii! Her cuteness stole our hearts. In Japan, Go is all about cuteness now. The Nihon Kiin is currently lobbying the U.S. Congress to change the name of Hawaii to Kawaii. Very soon, kittens and puppies will be directly promoted to 9-dan professionals, and the Kisei title will be exclusively reserved for baby pandas. Yay!

:clap: :clap: :clap:

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Post #43 Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:47 pm 
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apparently the Nihon Ki'in view of the current state of Japanese Go
Someone please do a simple plot of the Go population there, by total humans, age, and year going back 100 or 200 years. The Nihon Ki'in must have this data. That is reality (not the full picture, which is multi-dimensional, but a slice nonetheless). The state of the Nihon Ki'in in 2011 (12 years after HNG; 4 before AlphaGo) didn't look good at all then, either.

And EGCC.

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 Post subject: Re: Following Nakamura Sumire
Post #44 Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:05 am 
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@EdLee: I can't plot the graph, but this post https://lifein19x19.com/viewtopic.php?p=239205#p239205 says that the median age of go players in Japan is about 70. My guess is that the Nihon Kiin is afraid that go will decline rapidly and are using Sumire to change its image and attract more young players.

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Post #45 Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:32 am 
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jlt wrote:
My guess is that the Nihon Kiin is afraid that go will decline rapidly


Traditional arts _are_ in decline in Japan, even those that have modernized versions for use as sports. Having her as a cute ambassador pic will help some, but I don't know how much (BTW, I'll note that the stand up has her name _and rank_; I'll have to assume she's not considered famous enough yet). What I'm really not sure of is throwing a child into the media feeding frenzy. My issue is not about her lack of qualifications: go has the advantage of having a pretty clear level assessement, but many other arts have promoted people before their time; if done properly, it works.

My issue is that's she seems to have been turned into, basically, an idol singer. At 9. I'm not worried about scores of kids wanting to meet her. I'm worried about scores of photographers and flashes and smoking old fools.

OTOH, it's not really any more dangerous than sending a 6 yo kid to a country a good share of your citizens want to see burned to the ground without a smattering of a language or some family support / contact. And it didn't turn out that bad, did it? So, I wait. In the forest. In the spring. I wet; I very very wet. But I need patience. But, the moment coming, I will rejoice.

...or not. Uneasy I am, but it's beyond my reach.

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 Post subject: Re: Following Nakamura Sumire
Post #46 Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:06 am 
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All of these even special/exhibition games she is playing vs top players do seem a bit silly/pointless if they are supposed to be a competition where we are interested in an uncertain game result. If their purpose is as essentially a teaching game to attract media attention then ok, they do that. I don't know if its cruel to Sumire that she's playing in these games she's almost certain to get beaten up: if I got the opportunity to play even games vs Ke Jie, Oh Yujin etc I'd be honoured, have absolutely zero illusions I would have a chance to win so wouldn't get upset from losing and just enjoy the ride (and maybe feel bad about wasting their time). Will Sumire enjoy and learn from these games, or get upset from always losing? I'm guessing she is more emotionally mature than the average 10-year-old child but it could still be tough on her. I'd have thought playing bottom board on one of the teams in a Women's league would give her more chances to win a game or two. Or a game vs 12-year-old Chinese girl pro Wu Yiming 1p.

P.S. Has Mariya Zakharchenko ever won a pro game?

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 Post subject: Re: Following Nakamura Sumire
Post #47 Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:07 am 
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I can't plot the graph, but this post https://lifein19x19.com/viewtopic.php?p=239205#p239205 says that the median age of go players in Japan is about 70. My guess is that the Nihon Kiin is afraid that go will decline rapidly and are using Sumire to change its image and attract more young players.


First, let us remember that the Angry Aubergine - and a host of xenophobes - had plenty to say when Go Seigen was promoted straight to 3-dan in Japan by RECOMMENDATION at age 12. And that the Barmy Beetroot choked on his own smoothie juice when Cho Chikun got the Sumire treatment, being CUTELY propped up on cushions for photographers so that he could see the board. And that size matters - when you're that small you tend to play too many moves on your own side of the board. After all, if you lean over too far, you might smell the onions on the old man's breath. Even in Korea, Krazy Kimchi breathed dragon-like fumes when Yi Ch'ang-ho was promoted by recommendation to 9-dan: "He may have won over 30 titles but he's still a TEENAGER for heaven's sake!"

Second, there's lies, damned lies, statistics and Leisure White Papers. While I'm sure White Papers do paint a decent picture in the impressionist style, the methodology of compiling them does not lend itself to drawing enough detail for automatic face recognition. For example, if you inflate your request for club subsidies from the local council by inflating the numbers of people you claim are in your club, that becomes an official statistic.

Third, go - at the impressionistic White Paper level - is not declining in Japan at the moment (though it has over recent years; but that may also be due to changes in the methodology). Other things, such as golf, visiting museums and tv games go up and DOWN, too. I think even use of twitter, which counts as a major leisure activity in the White Paper, is down. But is that leisure? Is buying a lottery ticket (another major WP "activity" - cardio?) leisure? If so, is dreaming?

Age groups in the White Paper reflect real life. To say the median for go players belongs to players in their seventies may be accurate but not necessarily meaningful. There are simply many more older people now. They also tend to be well off and they have much more free time on their hands than youngsters who have to work insanely hard now to get to the best universities. A new Hikaru no Go is not going to change that much. You can see similar trends in many of the hobbies and crafts categories. Gender grouping, however, does, I believe, shows more women playing go. If so, I'm guessing that may be due to Tojima Hana's Dream Salons. Proof again of what one active person with a positive message can do.

In my view, it's not just the number of active or occasional players that matters. It might not even matter most compared to the wider support in the community. That means support from fans and businesses. In that sense, Japan is faring reasonably well, with a wide range of businesses old and new supporting the game. Fans, I think, are getting cheesed off with the lack of success internationally, but that's not necessarily a worry. Britain went decades without a Wimbledon champion until And Murray came along, yet Wimbledon remained the world's richest and/or most loved tournament in all that time, because the core fan base never wavered. I suspect that may apply in Japan for go, too. Chinese go seems very healthy in that regard. I'd be most worried about Korea. Tournaments have disappeared without being replaced, games for pros are becoming scarcer and/or less serious; the best players are gravitating towards China.

I believe it is the lack of fan and business base that most holds back go in the west, not the number or strength of its players.

London is hosting a European women's championship next year. I think I'll raise with my co-directors of the T Mark Hall Fund the possibility of inviting Sumire over as part of the publicity. After all, we got national newspaper and tv coverage here (and even on CNN) when I brought 5-year-old Liao Xingwen to London, and he was only 2d amateur. Admittedly he got to 4-dan in the space of a fortnight - I like to think because I played him in places like the queues at Legoland. But for publicity, an equally cute but FEMALE PRO should work even better. When it comes to the catering, though, I think I'll also recommend that hot dogs with mustard will be fine, but onions are off the menu.


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 Post subject: Re: Following Nakamura Sumire
Post #48 Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:44 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
London is hosting a European women's championship next year.


Sorry to intrude, but doesn't the BGA still disapprove of these sort of events?

It seems to early to comment on the success of Nakamura Sumire. Let the vegetables grow over the summer time. Now is not the moment to pick the wicked fruit.

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 Post subject: Re: Following Nakamura Sumire
Post #49 Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:59 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Age groups in the White Paper reflect real life. To say the median for go players belongs to players in their seventies may be accurate but not necessarily meaningful. There are simply many more older people now. They also tend to be well off and they have much more free time on their hands than youngsters who have to work insanely hard now to get to the best universities.


The document (if you believe in lies statistics) http://www.intergofed.org/wp-content/up ... report.pdf says that, among the go playing population, the largest demographic groups in Korea are "5-15" and "56-65" years old. In Japan, the largest demographic group is "over 65".

The general population (playing go or not) is a bit older in Japan than in South Korea (median age 46.3 vs 40.8) but South Korea has lower fertility rate (1.323 vs 1.478), and school pressure is high in both countries.

While I think that everyone should be encouraged to play regardless of age, these numbers tend to prove that the go playing population is excessively old in Japan and this could be probblematic for its future development.

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 Post subject: Re: Following Nakamura Sumire
Post #50 Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:04 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
London is hosting a European women's championship next year. I think I'll raise with my co-directors of the T Mark Hall Fund the possibility of inviting Sumire over as part of the publicity.


You want publicity? You mentioned another name: Tojima Hana. Just be sure to have decent crowd control.

Take care.

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 Post subject: Re: Following Nakamura Sumire
Post #51 Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:41 am 
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Quote:
The document (if you believe in lies statistics) http://www.intergofed.org/wp-content/up ... report.pdf says that, among the go playing population, the largest demographic groups in Korea are "5-15" and "56-65" years old. In Japan, the largest demographic group is "over 65".

The general population (playing go or not) is a bit older in Japan than in South Korea (median age 46.3 vs 40.8) but South Korea has lower fertility rate (1.323 vs 1.478), and school pressure is high in both countries.

While I think that everyone should be encouraged to play regardless of age, these numbers tend to prove that the go playing population is excessively old in Japan and this could be probblematic for its future development.


I have problems with "excessively." Go in Japan has always been seen as an old man's game. If old people then and now enjoy the game, why won't the old people of the future enjoy it too?

And why are young people the solution to the problem (a problem that may not even exist)? I believe "old" people over 60 in Japan form the highest proportion (over a third) of the general population than in any other country. It seems only natural they form the biggest proportion of go players, too.

You also have to be careful with comparing, say, Japan and Korea just because the are both Asian. Go has rather a different cultural range in Korea because of the gambling culture, and it has been far less well embedded in the national consciousness traditionally. The game is also spread much more widely round the country in Japan. Korean go is very Seoul-oriented. It has also been boosted by international success, so there is a nationalistic element - possibly transient if success wears off. More generally, I think also that Japanese people live longer, and have a different approach to leisure. In short, too many differences to make a comparison safe.

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Sorry to intrude, but doesn't the BGA still disapprove of these sort of events?


I have no idea. I am not a BGA member.

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 Post subject: Re: Following Nakamura Sumire
Post #52 Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:20 am 
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I have problems with "excessively." Go in Japan has always been seen as an old man's game. If old people then and now enjoy the game, why won't the old people of the future enjoy it too?


The median age in Japan is about 46-47, the median age of go players is slightly below 70. I found the difference (23 years) excessive, and I guess the Nihon Kiin has the same opinion, otherwise why do they communicate so much on Sumire?

If someone has data about the age of go players in Japan in the 1960s, I would be interested. If the age pyramid was already inverted, then maybe aging is not a problem after all.

BTW, Japanese people live longer, but not by a large amount. Life expectancy is 83.7 in Japan and 82.3 in South Korea.

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 Post subject: Re: Following Nakamura Sumire
Post #53 Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:33 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Go Seigen was promoted straight to 3-dan in Japan by RECOMMENDATION at age 12. And that the Barmy Beetroot choked on his own smoothie juice when Cho Chikun got the Sumire treatment, being CUTELY propped up on cushions for photographers so that he could see the board. And that size matters - when you're that small you tend to play too many moves on your own side of the board. After all, if you lean over too far, you might smell the onions on the old man's breath. Even in Korea, Krazy Kimchi breathed dragon-like fumes when Yi Ch'ang-ho was promoted by recommendation to 9-dan: "He may have won over 30 titles but he's still a TEENAGER for heaven's sake!"


What do Go Seigen, Cho Chikun, and Lee Changho have in common at the time of their promotions? They earned them! A 14-year-old Go Seigen played assessment games to determine his strength, and it was so determined that he was of professional strength and therefore allowed to immediately begin as a professional. Cuteness aside, Cho Chikun went through the gauntlet that was the insei leagues to qualify as a professional. And Lee Changho's promotion to 9p was a travesty, I agree, for he should have gotten it sooner!

Now let's look at Sumire... Did she become a professional through the insei system? NO. Has she demonstrated that she is of professional strength? Doubtful. Judging by her games, she might not even be an European amateur 5 or 6 dan.

Why then was she promoted? Why didn't she go through the Insei system? That's the question we are trying to answer here. As for me, I think kawaii might have something to do with it.

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Post #54 Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:45 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
I believe "old" people over 60 in Japan form the highest proportion (over a third) of the general population than in any other country. It seems only natural they form the biggest proportion of go players, too.


Agree - a larger population has greater chance of having more go players!

John Fairbairn wrote:
The game is also spread much more widely round the country in Japan. Korean go is very Seoul-oriented.


Nearly 1 in 5 people in Korea live in Seoul, so it's natural that Seoul has more go players, as well :-)

John Fairbairn wrote:
It has also been boosted by international success, so there is a nationalistic element - possibly transient if success wears off.


I think that go in Japan also has a nationalistic element. In China, too.

As I get older, I see countries as a bit more artificial (admittedly, though, with cultural baggage), so I wish people weren't as nationalistic, but they still are.

John Fairbairn wrote:
In short, too many differences to make a comparison safe.


I'll agree with you there!

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 Post subject: Re: Following Nakamura Sumire
Post #55 Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:51 pm 
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TheCannyOnion wrote:
Judging by her games, she might not even be an European amateur 5 or 6 dan.


Is that your 4K verdict?

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 Post subject: Re: Following Nakamura Sumire
Post #56 Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:04 pm 
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Sorin: can you give your 6d opinion on Sumire's level?

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 Post subject: Re: Following Nakamura Sumire
Post #57 Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:24 pm 
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jlt wrote:
Sorin: can you give your 6d opinion on Sumire's level?


I am US 6 dan now, not Euro 6 dan :-)
To be honest, I didn't try to assess her strength from the available go records, I just assumed she is too strong for me to judge.
From what the Korean pros said, namely that she is way stronger than equivalent Korean insei at the same age, I think would put her somewhere close to Euro pros.

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Post #58 Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:28 pm 
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sorin wrote:
To be honest, I didn't try to assess her strength from the available go records, I just assumed she is too strong for me to judge.
From what the Korean pros said, namely that she is way stronger than equivalent Korean insei at the same age, I think would put her somewhere close to Euro pros.


You are far too modest. Never assume so easily. IMHO, the manner of Sumire's losses thus far doesn't support the view that she's of professional strength. Had Sumire been qualified as pro by going through the Insei leagues, there'd be no question as to her true strength. But she didn't go through the Insei leagues, so here we are...

sorin wrote:
From what the Korean pros said, namely that she is way stronger than equivalent Korean insei at the same age, I think would put her somewhere close to Euro pros.


What Korean pros? Their names? When did they say it? What was the context? Were these pros connected to Sumire, such as teaching at the Korean dojo that trained Sumire? Care to refer me to a source?

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 Post subject: Re: Following Nakamura Sumire
Post #59 Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:13 am 
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sorin wrote:
To be honest, I didn't try to assess her strength from the available go records, I just assumed she is too strong for me to judge.
From what the Korean pros said, namely that she is way stronger than equivalent Korean insei at the same age, I think would put her somewhere close to Euro pros.


It's just 1 game, and using bot win% deltas to judge mistakes/strength has quite a few caveats (like difficulty of position or more fighting games having sharper positions with more scope for big win% mistakes), but for Sumire's recent game vs Oh Yujin she played rather better than Eric Lui or Pavol Lisy in their recent game according to my analysis with LZ. Here's the EGF/AGA pro game according to LZ 226 on 3300 playouts:
Attachment:
Transatlantic 6 lz226 graph.png
Transatlantic 6 lz226 graph.png [ 219.5 KiB | Viewed 1094 times ]


And here's Sumire game on latest 15b trained on 40b network on 500 playouts (as I don't have access to my fast PC atm, so not like-with-like, 75% win on 15b-0a963 is about 85% on LZ 226).
Attachment:
Screen Shot 2019-06-11 at 10.00.44.png
Screen Shot 2019-06-11 at 10.00.44.png [ 113.58 KiB | Viewed 1094 times ]


A lot fewer big swings in winrate corresponding to huge mistakes from both sides. Sumire's biggest mistake on the right side was -13% on 15b-0a963 (and actually around the same on 226 low playouts, I thought might be up to 20%) whilst most mistakes were around 3-4%, which in 226 stronger opinions land might be about 6-7%. Eric and Pavol made lots of 10-15% mistakes and quite a few in the 20s and 30s and Pavol a whopping 60. So although this doesn't come close to answering "Who would win, Eric/Pavol vs Sumire?" it does suggest that the general quality (lack of big mistakes) of her play was higher than theirs in the respective games.


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Post #60 Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:06 am 
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There seem to be three aspects to the Sumire Question.

1. Is she too young for so much pressure?

Personally, I would not like my kids to face that pressure. I would fear either burn-out or the Little Miss Sunshine scenario of the America children's beauty queen circus. But maybe go is different - kids are not competing with other kids directly, and all the examples we know about in the past seem to have worked out. I think we can only leave that as a personal choice and respect the parents' decision, so it's not worth arguing about.

2. Is the Nihon Ki-in guilty of bending rules to gain hype?

It's debatable but, while I imagine they are tickled pink at the attention, I don't think they set out to create hype.

First, there are no rules to bend really. The insei system is just one route to becoming a pro (and not one that is inspiring much respect at the moment). There have always been special cases, both for becoming pro and for promotions. Not all are famous. For example, Akiyama Jiro fast-tracked to 1-dan on the recommendation of his insei instructor in 1992. He was also a product of Kikuchi Yasuro's Ryokusei Academy which has dwarfed the insei system in achievements anyway. Other examples are Han Zenki and Yu Ho, and of course there are examples of favouring westerners (in the Kansa Ki-in and Korean Giwon, too). the Kansai Ki-in's special treatment of Sakai Hideyuki also comes to mind. Some rules have been officially tweaked but not to Sumire's advantage. For example, the age limit of 15 on female pros has been lifted - but that was in 2003 and Xie Yimin (not a Japanese) was the first beneficiary.

The only rule really is what works best.

Second, the command structure in the NK is too committee-led for me to believe that someone there sat down and had a light-bulb moment. They would only respond to outsiders' suggestions, in this case perhaps the parents. The hype is a consequence, not the motivation, I suggest.

Previous cases support that. Go Seigen was talent-spotted at age 12 as the "new Shusaku" and brought to Japan at age 14 where a committee led by Honinbo Shusai decided he would start at 3-dan. A series of games was played to confirm that, but he was made pro first. Go became an overnight celebrity but not because of Nihon Ki-in hype. If there was any manipulation it was by the Japanese government seeking to impose its influence in China, and there are grounds to believe they funded the transfer of Go's family from China.

Rin Kaiho came under enormous pressure at age 10 in Taiwan with people fighting to get into the vast hall to see him play Go Seigen when Go was made Daguoshou. The Nihon Ki-in was not involved. Read Rin's biography to see the effect it had on him, along with the pressure of being paraded around Japan as "Go's discovery."

Cho Chikun was put in front of a huge audience to play, against Rin ironically, at the Sankei Hall the day after he arrived in Tokyo at age 6, and that was after big events at his departure from Korea. Again the Nihon Ki-in was not specially involved as Cho was a live-in pupil of Kitani Minoru (whom the Korean side paid directly). Cho did join the insei system as a 10-kyu and was beaten down to a 10-stone handicap at one stage, and so in his case there was nothing but perceived talent to support any hype.

Third, when all the above players were being groomed for stardom, they played with the appropriate handicaps. In contrast, Sumire has played mostly even games, and of course is younger as a 1-dan, and is female. She therefore stands out in various ways, and we must expect some sort of hype. But whether it is the Nihon Ki-in that is responsible seems doubtful - they are just going along for the ride. Those responsible are media organisations, franchisers or the general public. The Nihon Ki-in did not ask L19 to set up this thread, for example. In the NK's own publications, Sumire is a minor presence. In the latest Go Weekly she doesn't even seem to get a mention - the big hype there is about Yoda Norimoto, who seems to pup up on almost every page. Previous issues of Go Weekly, and Go Monthly especially, mention Sumire in a mostly muted way.

My conclusion is that the Nihon Ki-in has not bent any rules, nor is it acting irresponsibly.

3. How strong is Sumire?

Obviously I can't say personally. I have pointed out above that she is playing mostly even games. This is a trend for other young players in Japan. Not too long ago, when a player made 1-dan he was eased into the limelight by being paid to have a published game with a 9-dan pro, usually at 2 stones, as a sort of welcome. Go Weekly is still running such a series (it was a staple in the Kansai Ki-in magazine, too). The handicap now is basically B-W with komi but is adjusted either way according to the previous player's result. Sumire's game with Joanne Missingham (another player enjoying special treatment as a child, in China in her case, not to mention Little Miss Sunshine treatment as a child model in Taiwan - but she seems to have coped) was part of this series. Sumire lost, but so do most of the other new 1-dans. A 1-dan pro in Japan is not really expected to be close to a 9-dan.

But what I find telling is that in all the CJK countries the pro organisations have a remarkably good (?perfect) record in predicting which kids will be the future stars, even many years before they make the grade (we can exclude the diplomatic diplomas given to westerners, of course). On that basis alone I would be confident that Sumire is on track to become at least one of the strongest female pros.

Before too long we could see a golden age of female go in Japan, still with Xie Yimin perhaps, but with the likes of Sumire and fellow recommendees Hane Ayaka and Takao Mori and Uneo Risa snapping at the heels of Fujisawa Rina and Ueno Asami. Since some of them have already notched up some significant male scalps, I'd expect one of them to be the first female 9-dan in Japan. It's something to really look forward to.


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