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 Post subject: Can I become pro? Two questions.
Post #1 Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:48 pm 
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This is from Go: A Complete Introduction to the Game: "At the age of six [Cho Chikun] came to Japan and became a disciple of Kitani Minoru, 9-dan. In 1968, at the age of 11, he entered the professional ranks as a 1-dan [...] and it took him only 12 more years to reach the top professional rank of 9-dan."

I'm almost 30 years old, I'm no one's disciple, I'm not Cho Chikun, and I've just started learning about go. In terms of skill, is it still possible for me to become a pro?

I'm not Asian, I'm not American, and my country doesn't have a professional ranking system. Is it somehow possible for me to attain an official pro rank nevertheless?

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Post #2 Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:18 pm 
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Anything is possible... People thought it impossible for humans to run a mile in 4 minutes, until it was shown to be possible.

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 Post subject: Re: Can I become pro? Two questions.
Post #3 Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:12 pm 
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Aureliano Buendía wrote:
This is from Go: A Complete Introduction to the Game: "At the age of six [Cho Chikun] came to Japan and became a disciple of Kitani Minoru, 9-dan. In 1968, at the age of 11, he entered the professional ranks as a 1-dan [...] and it took him only 12 more years to reach the top professional rank of 9-dan."

I'm almost 30 years old, I'm no one's disciple, I'm not Cho Chikun, and I've just started learning about go. In terms of skill, is it still possible for me to become a pro?


I once read a letter in a go magazine in Japan by a man who said he had played some go in college, but had not played since then. He had retired at age 50 and started taking lessons from a pro. In one year he made shodan, in the next year he made 2 dan, in the next year 3 dan, in the next year 4 dan, and at age 55 he made 5 dan. In those days amateur 6 dan overlapped professional strength. :)

Why not take lessons from a pro? If you make shodan on IGS in one year, you may be able to reach pro level skill in a decade. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Can I become pro? Two questions.
Post #4 Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:50 am 
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Note that being able to reach pro strength is not the same thing as being able to become a pro players.

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 Post subject: Re: Can I become pro? Two questions.
Post #5 Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:22 am 
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As Kirby said, anything is possible. That said, if there were a thousand people in your situation (30-year-old beginner with an interest in the game) and I was asked to bet on whether any of them would become a pro, I would very happily bet that none of them would.

Over the years I have seen a bunch of newcomers to the game express the desire to become a pro and I'm not sure that any of them even reached the single-digit-kyu (intermediate skill) level before losing interest in the game. I personally think there are more effective ways to acquire motivation to improve. But everyone is different! If aiming for the heavens is what motivates you, then go for it. If I had more ambitious goals, I'd probably be better by now. :)

P.S. In any case, I hope you don't forget the day your father took you to discover ice.


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 Post subject: Re: Can I become pro? Two questions.
Post #6 Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:55 am 
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Read this discussion: viewtopic.php?t=15691

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 Post subject: Re: Can I become pro? Two questions.
Post #7 Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:18 am 
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Kirby wrote:
Anything is possible... People thought it impossible for humans to run a mile in 4 minutes, until it was shown to be possible.

In the sense that my becoming pro would be as likely as winning the lottery or writing the next great American novel?

Bill Spight wrote:
Why not take lessons from a pro? If you make shodan on IGS in one year, you may be able to reach pro level skill in a decade. :)

I like the advice and the timeline, and that takes care of the first question. What are your thoughts on the second?

macelee wrote:
Note that being able to reach pro strength is not the same thing as being able to become a pro players.

Yes, I'm asking two separate questions.

dfan wrote:
As Kirby said, anything is possible. That said, if there were a thousand people in your situation (30-year-old beginner with an interest in the game) and I was asked to bet on whether any of them would become a pro, I would very happily bet that none of them would.

Over the years I have seen a bunch of newcomers to the game express the desire to become a pro and I'm not sure that any of them even reached the single-digit-kyu (intermediate skill) level before losing interest in the game. I personally think there are more effective ways to acquire motivation to improve. But everyone is different! If aiming for the heavens is what motivates you, then go for it. If I had more ambitious goals, I'd probably be better by now. :)

P.S. In any case, I hope you don't forget the day your father took you to discover ice.

Fair enough, dfan. Your post was great. Many years later, as I face the firing squad, I am sure to remember the distant afternoon when you inspired me to become pro. =P

jlt wrote:
Read this discussion: viewtopic.php?t=15691

It really helped with the first question. When it comes to the second, just playing with possibilities (likely or not), I thought maybe Korea, or even becoming an American citizen and joining the AGA ranking system, who knows.


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 Post subject: Re: Can I become pro? Two questions.
Post #8 Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:13 am 
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Aureliano Buendía wrote:
... Many years later, as I face the firing squad, I am sure to remember the distant afternoon when you inspired me to become pro. =P...


Ahhh. I thought your handle sounded familiar.

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 Post subject: Re: Can I become pro? Two questions.
Post #9 Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:04 am 
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Aureliano Buendía wrote:
Bill Spight wrote:
Why not take lessons from a pro? If you make shodan on IGS in one year, you may be able to reach pro level skill in a decade. :)

I like the advice and the timeline, and that takes care of the first question. What are your thoughts on the second?


Start your own professional go association. :cool: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Can I become pro? Two questions.
Post #10 Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:44 pm 
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basically if you are strong enough you can go and become pro anywhere,but thats not rwally the issue,yiu have to become very strong,acutually do you have enough time and patience to study the game seriously?because if you want to get that strong go is not just a fun game all the time,but if you know that you will face a thousands of defeats and disappointments,and have the right methods it is possible,the right methods and mind is most important

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Post #11 Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:53 pm 
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Aureliano Buendía wrote:
In the sense that my becoming pro would be as likely as winning the lottery or writing the next great American novel?

Close to that, yes. There are countless people that discover go at 30+ years, but in the last 20 years, how many made pro?

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Post #12 Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:21 pm 
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I think having a higher goal leads to better result. There are exceptions, but I’ve met more than one 4~5d amateurs that told me they started out with the ambition to become pro.

I thought it’d be cool, but more practical to be a dan player. After several years, I’m a bit stronger than 1d, one of my original goals.

Maybe if I had a higher goal i would’ve worked harder and become a mid level dan player.

It’s just speculation though - who knows?

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Post #13 Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:46 pm 
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Starting with the second question: if you got possessed by a go spirit and gained Ke Jie strength overnight you'd have no trouble getting pro certificate in Asia, the various associations would probably be falling over each other to get you to join their club.

However, that's a cartoon and in reality the best you could hope for is to be scraping the bottom end of pro strength and then passing some pro test. The lowest bar would be as an American, European or woman so can you join any of those categories?

As for gaining the necessary strength that's very unlikely at this late age unless you are a rare prodigy. I'd say get to 1 dan first, then see how long it takes to get to 2 dan and multiply by 5 to 10. Some might say if you don't get to 1 Dan in a year no way to be pro but look at Pavol Lisy 2p for example: granted he was just a kid but he was a kyu for years but then when he started studying seriously (including a spell in Korea) aged 14 he shot through the low and mid dan ranks in a few years and was EGF pro 5 years later. http://www.europeangodatabase.eu/EGD/Pl ... y=12686597

P.S. Compare to me, who started aged 19 and was 2d in 2 years (and skipped 1d so my little heuristic says I should be pro already! though I did drop back), but then averaged about 1 dan improvement per 4 years until I got married and flat-lined. I would be happy to make 6d and don't think I'll ever get to pro strength. Of course I'm not studying go 8+ hours a day like you should if you seriously want to make pro. http://www.europeangodatabase.eu/EGD//P ... y=14337147


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 Post subject: Re: Can I become pro? Two questions.
Post #14 Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:36 am 
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Sometime - in the next several decades - the fastest way to become pro will be with implants.
Soon after, pro strength will rise, and then the only way to become a pro will be with implants.

Sometime between those two points we will see airport-style full body scanners at the sign-up table at major tournaments.

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Post #15 Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:31 am 
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If you have any chance to do it, play a real life game against a 5d child 7 years old.
I had that opportunity, it's very helpful to make estimation on your own chance to get to pro level.


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Post #16 Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:39 pm 
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Bill Spight wrote:
Start your own professional go association. :cool: :lol:

Well then, let's make that the fourth order of business. :P

baduk wrote:
basically if you are strong enough you can go and become pro anywhere,but thats not rwally the issue,yiu have to become very strong,acutually do you have enough time and patience to study the game seriously?because if you want to get that strong go is not just a fun game all the time,but if you know that you will face a thousands of defeats and disappointments,and have the right methods it is possible,the right methods and mind is most important

Very good points. I'll follow Uberdude's advice. Let's see what and how long it takes to get to 2 dan, if I ever get there, then I'll think about what to do (or not do) next.

Tryss wrote:
Close to that, yes. There are countless people that discover go at 30+ years, but in the last 20 years, how many made pro?

Well, I got the answer I wanted from this topic: It's possible, but highly unlikely. I'll focus on "possible" for as long as I can before before I feel in my bones the "highly unlikely," then I'll reflect about what to do.

Kirby wrote:
After several years, I’m a bit stronger than 1d, one of my original goals.

How many are those several years, if I may ask?

Uberdude wrote:
I'd say get to 1 dan first, then see how long it takes to get to 2 dan and multiply by 5 to 10.

Sounds like a plan.

Joaz Banbeck wrote:
Sometime - in the next several decades - the fastest way to become pro will be with implants.
Soon after, pro strength will rise, and then the only way to become a pro will be with implants.

Sometime between those two points we will see airport-style full body scanners at the sign-up table at major tournaments.

How come no sci-fi writer has published something like that yet?

Vio wrote:
If you have any chance to do it, play a real life game against a 5d child 7 years old.
I had that opportunity, it's very helpful to make estimation on your own chance to get to pro level.

I knew Korean kids were strong, but I had no idea that it was possible to be 5d at 7 years old! Just knowing this does wonders for the estimation already!

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Post #17 Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:54 pm 
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Chinese kid.

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Post #18 Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:01 pm 
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Post #19 Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:43 pm 
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There have been Western amateurs who managed to become pro in one or another Asian country. The first two were Manfred Wimmer (Germany) and James Kerwin (USA). Kerwin got his pro status in Japan from the Nihon Ki-in by special recommendation. He won the 1p section of an early Kisei tournament, which showed that his pro status was justified. Wimmer got his pro status from the Kansai Ki-in and subsequently he earned promotion to 2p. I don't know the ages of these two people exactly, certainly in their twenties at least if not thirties. Kerwin went to Japan to study to become a pro at some time after graduation from college. I think both Kerwin and Wimmer got their status by some method other than fighting through the qualification tournament. Michael Redmond went to Japan from the USA at age 13 to study to become a pro. He became a shodan through the insei system, as most Asian youngsters do, and rose rather rapidly through the pro ranks, eventually reaching 9p, the only person not from the Asian Go countries to reach 9p. People over 30 would no doubt have to get some sort of special promotion to become 1p.

If one wishes to study with a pro there are various ways to do that without going to Asia. Yilun Yang, Chinese 7p, lives in the Los Angeles area and teaches online. Guo Juan, Chinese 5p, lives in Holland and also teaches online. There are various other pros in the USA or Europe who teach online or in person. This page on the AGA website lists a number of pro teachers: http://www.usgo.org/go-professionals-us-and-canada


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Post #20 Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:01 pm 
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Aureliano Buendía wrote:

Kirby wrote:
After several years, I’m a bit stronger than 1d, one of my original goals.

How many are those several years, if I may ask?


I don't recall exactly, but I think it took me 4 or 5 years to get to 1d? Not quite sure - I'm not that talented at go, so it took me awhile. I remember I had studied go for 6 months after first learning the rules, then taught the game to my college roommate, who proceeded to beat me in his first game.

I do believe that my getting to 1d was from deliberate study (mostly tsumego). I had the very clear goal of breaking 1d on KGS.

I've been between KGS 1d and 2d for probably 10 years now. Technically, I got to AGA 3d at one point, but I typically believed my KGS ranking more, because I don't play that many tournaments.

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