Professional

    Keywords: Culture & History, Go term, People

In the context of go, a professional (abbr: pro) is a go player who has received a professional diploma from one of the professional go associations. The more general English usage of the word professional, which denotes a person who receives a portion of their primary income and/or means of living through a profession, is not generally used in go.

Chinese 1: 职业 (zhi2 ye4)
Chinese 2: 专业 (zhuan1 ye4)
Japanese 1: 棋士 (kishi)
Japanese 2: プロ (puro)
Japanese 3: 専門家 (semmonka)
Korean 1: 바둑기사 (badukgisa)
Korean 2: 프로 (pro)

Table of contents

Professional organisations

Go professionals are generally affiliated with one of the professional organisations in Asia. The major current organisations are:

These were all founded during the twentieth century. Taiwan has another minor pro association Zhongguo Weiqi Hui. And there is another near-defunct group in Japan (Keiinsha). For historical associations in Japan, see Outside The KiIns.

Other countries do not currently possess a professional system.

The International Go Federation includes some of the above organizations as members.

Sources of income

Although the current professional organizations are relatively recent, the concept of "professional" players has existed for centuries. The traditional term for such a go (or shogi) player in Japan is 棋士 (kishi).

There are many possible sources of income:

  • Teaching is the primary source of income for the majority of professionals. However, this source is exposed to more competition than before, because today having a high-dan rank on Go servers is enough to find pupils. You don't have to be a member of a professional organization to earn money by teaching.
  • Game fees and prizes from Tournament play provides an income supplement for many professionals, but is the primary source of income for only a small number.
  • Media activities like writing books and magazine articles, TV commentaries, and streaming advertisement fees can be complementary sources of income.
  • Diploma commission. When an amateur pupil apply for an official dan diploma, the recommending professional indirectly receives a part of the diploma fee (at least in Japan).
  • Refereeing in amateur tournaments.
  • For low-dan pros, game recorder duties for important matches.
  • Supplementary pay from the organization. For example, the Nihon Kiin monthly pays to players according to their past performances.
  • Stipends from the state, like Japanese pros in the Edo era and current Chinese top pros.
  • Personal sponsorship is also possible for promising (and lucky) young players.
  • (And of course, there are 'part-time' professionals who have other jobs than Go. For example, Kasai Koji 7p is also an attorney at law.)

Professional status

In the context of go, the word 'professional' is reserved for those who are awarded a professional go diploma.

Some amateur go players make their income from teaching and writing about go. Unless they are affiliated with one of the Go associations, they are still considered 'amateurs', i.e. not professionals. Kikuchi Yasuro is one example of a very strong player who is not an accredited professional. Yasunaga had a pro diploma, but did not claim pro status or compete (he played in the WAGC).

On the other hand, there are also former go professionals. They obtained a professional rank, but subsequently retired from the professional go scene to become an amateur again. An example is Fu Li, who won the 2002 WAGC.

Historical go professionals

In Japan, prior to the Meiji Restoration, the four houses essentially controlled Go. They were sponsored by the shogunate, and indeed played their most important games before the shogun. These castle games, as they were known, were the central fixture of historical Japanese Go, and helped to establish the reputation of several players we study even now. Shusaku, for instance, is famous partially because he never lost in a castle game. After the eventual collapse of the four houses, the professional organizations as we know them today--the Nihon Ki-in and Kansai Ki-in--arose.

There have been also some changes in ranking systems and titles. Historically, there could be only one Meijin, which is the equivalent of 9-dan professional, at a time. Today, there is no such distinction. There are many professionals who have attained a 9p rank, as determined by their respective Go associations. The title "Meijin" is now given to the winner of the Meijin Tournament, one of the Japanese big titles. Similarly, the last hereditary Honinbo, Shusai, allowed the title to be made into a tournament. None of the other four houses followed this route, however.

People

Notable Historical Pros

This list is extremely cursory; there are many more historical professionals, some of whom may be discussed elsewhere on Sensei's Library.

Notable Twentieth Century Pros (inactive or deceased)

Notable Active Pros

Notable Migrant Pros

  • Western Pros - Western Go professionals usually achieved that status after a staying a considerable period in Japan or Korea, however, many of them returned later.

Other Resources


[1] Go World Summer 2005, issue number 104, page 6

[2] Cho Chikun is technically a migrant from Korea to Japan but since he left Korea at the age of 6 and did not return until he had won the Meijin title (age 24), he is Japanese both by go training and culturally.


See also:


Professional last edited by hnishy on October 7, 2022 - 00:59
RecentChanges · StartingPoints · About
Edit page ·Search · Related · Page info · Latest diff
[Welcome to Sensei's Library!]
RecentChanges
StartingPoints
About
RandomPage
Search position
Page history
Latest page diff
Partner sites:
Go Teaching Ladder
Goproblems.com
Login / Prefs
Tools
Sensei's Library