Armenian Boy from California is Youngest US Chess Master

SAN FRANCISCO (AP)–A nine-year-old Armenian-American boy from California has become the youngest-ever chess “master” in the United States.

Samuel Sevian, of Santa Clara, earned the title after a match in San Francisco.

The United States Chess Federation, the governing body of competitive chess, gave him a rating of 2,201 after the Dec. 11 match. A rating of 2,200 qualifies a player as a “national master.”

Samuel beat the previous record-holder for youngest chess master, Nicholas Nip, of San Francisco, by 11 days.

It’s not the first record for the fourth-grader at Don Callejon School, who turns 10 on Sunday. Samuel also was the youngest person to reach the previous chess level of “expert” when he was 8.

The federation’s ultimate title is that of “senior master” for ratings of 2,400 and up.


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  1. Norin Radd said:

    Congratulations to little Samuel! Armenians worldwide I’m sure will be intrinsically proud of our little Armenian brother earning his title. However, pleasantries aside, the idea of “world wide” pride is perhaps where the problem lies. If 5 years from now little Sanvel becomes the greatest chess player the world has ever seen, how will he be remembered in the eyes of the non-Armenian world? How will be be presented as a world champion?

    The headlines will read “Samuel Sevian, youngest American chess world champion”, or “Samuel Sevian, America’s next Bobby Fischer.” Effectively, the fruit of our cultural labor, will be promoted under the guise of something else.

    When Alain Prost won 4 Formula One world championships, no one stopped to bother and say he was half-Armenian, he was categorized as a Frenchman.

    When Dr. Varazdat Kazanjian wrote the first preeminent text on Plastic Surgery, no one stopped to mention “The Armenian Miracle Man”, he was categorized “The Miracle Man of the West”.

    When Dr. Raymond Damadian practically invented the field of Magnetic Resonance, no one hailed him as the “Armenian genius inventor and physician”, the credit will be given as an American one.

    And so little Samuel will walk down a similar path of greatness, one in which he will be presented as a product of American ingenuity rather than what he truly is, an Armenian. This is the very essence of the idea of how our people are becoming “ztoolvatz” as time progresses and we linger content in our existence as Diasporans rather than living on our own land in Armenia or Arstakh and allowing the great things we achieve to bare the name of our homeland. We trade our cultural identity for an adopted artificial one and any greatness we achieve is used and presented under the badge of our host Diasporan nation, elevating not Armenia or Arstakh in the eyes of the world but the country in which we reside.

    How many great Armenians were presented to the world as someone of another identity due to the Diaspora’s insistence of continuing its course of “living outside Armenia”? All of these Armenians were examples of how we continue to squander our own greatness on elevating those host nations who themselves will not elevate our values, cause, and heritage in return. Until this changes, Armenians will have to be contend with fighting for scraps rather than sitting at the table of the G20.

  2. Harut said:

    You’re right Norin, we should all go to Armenia to fatten the pockets of others through our sweat.