A 9-year-old California boy has become the youngest American to earn the title of “national master” in chess.
Samuel Sevian of Santa Clara earned the United States Chess Federation title at a match in San Francisco on Dec. 11, the federation’s website says. He earned a rating of 2,201, just over the threshold of 2,200 to become a “national master.”
“It feels good,” Samuel, a fourth-grader at Don Callejon School, told the San Jose Mercury News.
He moved up from chess “expert,” a title he got at age 8, by besting the previous record holder, Nicholas Nip of San Francisco. Samuel beat Nicholas to the record by 11 days.
Samuel, who turns 10 Sunday, has been playing since he was 5. “I like the tactics and the combinations,” he said.
Samuel plays chess with his father, Armen Sevian, 37, also an avid chess player at the “expert” level. The family is from Armenia, where chess players are held in high esteem.
“In Armenia, chess is very big,” Armen Sevian told the Mercury News. “It’s certainly not a geek sport. Chess players are compared to rock stars.”
Each day, Samuel spends at least two hours studying chess moves in books, playing chess with his father and practicing, via Skype, with his coach in Los Angeles.