Fujita Reo

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(藤田怜央) The youngest ever professional, a male pro of the Kansai Ki-in. He qualified, by special recommendation, on 1 September 2022, at nine years and four months old. He lost his first professional game to Watanabe Koki on 25th October.

His game against Takahiro Endo? was [ext] reviewed on YouTube by Telegraph Go.

Quotes from John Fairbairn:

The Kansai Ki-in's regulations for this scheme say that the recommended player (who has to be under 12) becomes a jun-kishi and does not become a kishi until he/she reaches 2-dan. Jun-kishi is the normal way of saying "semi-professional" and kishi is a fully fledged professional. The way we would put it here, however, might be to say that a 1-dan is a probationary grade. In practice, the player will get only 50% of the game fees, not training subsidy and no health insurance.

However, the candidate's potential is regarded as the most important factor, and Reo had already defeated several pros in even games last year. The actual test is a test game (in this case against Seto Taiki, no less) and this game plus two others are submitted to a panel of the top ten prize-ranking professionals in the Kansai Ki-in. We saw how well pros could judge potential with Sumire, so I'd be amazed if Reo didn't make 2-dan soon.

Asked about the new world record holder for becoming pro, Fujita Reo (he did it at age 9 years 4 months, beating Cho Hun-hyeon and Chang Hao by 3 months), Sumire said, "What a surprise. It will make me happy if I am able to play him." If that game comes off, it will (in media terms) be the game of century in Japan.

Reo qualified after his trial game against Seto Taiki, taking Black. He lost by 7.5 points. But think about this. He must be the first pro brought up entirely in the AI period. His play certainly showed heavy AI influence, though not in any fancy way. The AI way was clearly just the normal way for him. ...

Incidentally, Reo was a popular name for boys and girls about a decade ago and has a huge number of kanji variations. It does not actually represent Leo ... but is part of a trend for names that Japanese parents think sound good internationally. ... In Fujita Reo's case the main kanji denotes 'cleverness' (at least in Japanese; it has a somewhat different range in Chinese).

Fujita Reo last edited by bugcat on January 26, 2024 - 13:00
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