Has there ever been a female European, East Asian, or other regional Go champion (or, before these titles existed, any woman who was widely regarded as the best Go player in her community or region)?

In particular, I'm asking about women who won games against male Go players; not about women who won games against other women.

If the answer is "No", it would also help me to learn from authoritative sources about how the best female Go players compare in quantitative rankings against the best male Go players.

2 Answers 2


Rui Naiwei has won the Guksu (the 43rd open Guksu title in South Korea, 1999) and the Maxim Cup (2004).

Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rui_Naiwei

As for comparitive rankings, this article from 2016 may be of interest to you.

AlphaGo’s win makes it the only non-male player in the top 75 world rankings. Yu, the first woman, is number 79, as of Friday.

It also includes this insight:

Most matches are divided by gender, so women at the top of the game don’t get to play at a level that seriously stretches their abilities.


Guo Juan, Chinese pro 5 dan, won the EGC four times in a row in the 1990s.

Xuefen Lin, pro 1 dan from China, won the US Open in 2005.

Svetlana Shikshina, a Russian national playing at 3 dan in the Korean pro association, won the European Go Championship in 2006.

I'm not sure, but I think Feng Yun (the other female pro 9 dan, along with Rui Naiwei mentioned in @l-scott-johnson answer) has won some mixed-gender pro tournaments, along with dominating several female-only titles.

So yes, there have been a few female regional Go champions. As far as I'm aware, there has not yet been a serious female contender for "world champion". (I put it in quote marks because there's not a world championship, though dominating some of the tournaments that bring large cash prizes to the winner -- the Honinbo, the Kisei, the Samsung Cup, and a few others -- winning several of those in a year, and better still defending those titles for a few years, will get fans arguing that you're the current "world champion".) The two female 9 dans have scored wins against male 9 dans, but not in the finals of the most prestigious professional tournaments, as far as I know.

I believe the relative lack of women at the very top of the professional Go scene is a function of the relative lack of women Go players in general. I'm not quickly finding numbers, but this 2016 article suggests that about 87% of pros are male, and about 13% female: http://www.sixthtone.com/news/1207/man%E2%80%99s-world-female-go-players-make-strategic-moves

When Yu joined, there were eight other female players and about 60 male players.

  • 2
    Actually, since march 2017 there has been a world go championship: see senseis.xmp.net/?WorldGoChampionship or go4go.net/go/games/tournament/209 .
    – Stef
    Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 16:20
  • Thank you @m_mlvx. I think you "grokked" my question well, and aside from thoroughly answering my question as written, the points on which you elaborated also gave me many of the very insights that I sought in posting the question, but which I failed to ask explicitly in my question. I'm sure you're correct about the relative lack of women at the very top of the professional Go scene, but I think there could be other reasons too. Not that women are inherently inferior to men at Go (although the data does seem to support that assertion) but that there may be other biochemical factors at play. Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 19:37

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