Searching for Samuel Sevian

Nine days ago, Samuel Sevian of Santa Clara, just a few weeks short of his tenth birthday, played in a tournament at the Mechanics Institute in San Francisco, tying for first place.

Photo Bay Area Chess

That showing was good enough to qualify him as the youngest chess master in U.S. history, beating the old record held by another local prodigy, Nicholas Nip of San Francisco. A chess master is a player who attains a World Chess Federation (FIDE) rating of 2200. In the U.S., the title of National Master is awarded for life. He had already become the youngest player ever to attain the level of “chess expert” when he was eight.

Sam’s dad, Armen Sevian, tells me Sam has been playing since the age of five; that he plays a couple of hours a day on the Internet; and that he has beaten as many as five players at a time — not to mention his father, a laser physicist with a 1900 rating — while blindfolded. (Sam keeps track of the moves in his head.) He’s also been know to put on an exhibition or two…

Among active players, Sam is now ranked No. 540 in the U.S. and No. 18,932 in the world, according to FIDE.

Next up for Sam: Trying to become an International Master, a much more difficult accomplishment, says Armen.

You can follow Sam’s rise up the ratings ladder from age six on.

We’ll have some audio of Sam and his father coming up soon…

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