Sumire Nakamura, a 14-year-old Japanese prodigy in the ancient board game of Go, is trying to shift her playing base to South Korea, where many world champions have been born.

Sumire Nakamura, a 14-year-old Japanese professional of the Go board game, poses for a photo on March 8, 2023. (Kyodo)

Japan's Go governing body, the Nihon Ki-in, made the announcement earlier this week following a report by South Korea's Yonhap News Agency about Nakamura's move.

South Korea and China have been the strongest countries in the game of black and white stones in recent years, while Japan continues to struggle.

If South Korea's governing body approves her application, Nakamura will next March become the first player among those belonging to the Nihon Ki-in to make a move overseas and continue her professional career in South Korea, according to the Japanese governing body.

The Osaka Prefecture native turned pro in 2019 at age 10. In February, she became the youngest player ever to win a domestic women's title at 13 years, 11 months.

Nakamura took up Go when she was 3 years old and has been to South Korea for training.

"It's natural for her to want to compete at a higher level to improve her skills," said Satoru Kobayashi, head of the Nihon Ki-in. "I'll support her in this challenge."

Go drew worldwide attention in the late 2010s when Google's artificial intelligence AlphaGo defeated the world's best players -- South Korea's Lee Se Dol in March 2016 and China's Ke Jie in May 2017.

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