Jeremy asked how much a pro can make and who would be mad enough to put up money for tournaments:
All prizes listed are for winners; in Korea (at least) all participants are paid something.
Japan-only; major titles:
|Kisei||$355,000||from 1976, Yomiuri Daily newspaper|
|Meijin||$330,000||1612-1940, Japanese gov't; restarted 1958, currently Asahi Daily newspaper|
|Honinbo||$280,000||1612-1940, Japanese gov't; since 1941, Mainichi Daily newspaper|
|Judan||$126,000||from 1962, Sankei Daily newspaper|
|Tengen||$122,000||from 1976, Nishinippon Daily newspaper|
|Oza||$118,000||from 1953, Nihon Keizai Daily newspaper|
|Gosei||$67,000||from 1976, Chugoku Daily newspaper|
- There at least 27 current minor titles in Japan alone (various sponsors, including NEC, Ricoh, Daiwa, and IBM (now defunct)).
- There are at least 24 current international titles, with prizes ranging from $400,000 to $30,000 (various sponsors including Toyota, LG, Samsung, and Fujitsu).
- There are at least 24 current titles in China.
- There are at least 21 current titles in Korea (various sponsors, including LG Oil, SK Gas, a couple of very large construction and a couple of very large construction equipment (think Caterpillar) companies).
- There are at least 18 titles in Taiwan.
High ranking professionals often open schools, or at the very least tutor select groups of talented students, so some have a steady income outside of tournaments.
Anecdotally, the Korea Go Association pays teaching professionals who live *outside* of Korea a monthly stipend of $2000 (that would be in addition to whatever students pay).
In summary, some of the top earners in 2004 (not necessarily best players):
There are roughly 1000 active and competitive professional players from Japan, Korea, China, and Taiwan.
All dollar amounts are according to current (mid-2010) exchange rates. No adjustments for cost of living (Chang Hao probably has it pretty good).