By Jack Peters, International Master
April 12, 2009
The U.S. Chess Federation's April rating list includes Samuel Sevian, rated 2001. Samuel, born Dec. 26, 2000, in New York, is a second-grader who lives in Santa Clara. He is believed to be the youngest player to attain an expert's rating. He accomplished the feat in February, at 8 years, 2 months.
Samuel learned to play chess at age 5 and earned a modest rating of 315 from his first tournament in August 2006, when he lived in Florida. By the time his family moved to California a year ago, his rating had risen to 1614, higher than most adults.
Much credit goes to Samuel's father, Armen, a physicist with a Class A rating of 1908. Armen grew up in Armenia, where he was taught by master Henrikh Kasparyan, a world-famous composer of endgames. Father and son solve endgame studies every day. The benefits are indisputable.
Samuel's teacher, former state champion IM Andranik Matikozyan, calls Samuel "exceptionally good" at blindfold play. Matikozyan has never heard of a youngster in Armenia or the Soviet Union who reached Samuel's level at such a young age.
Samuel hopes to play in the 10-year-old category of the World Youth Championships in November in Turkey.
Grandmaster Varuzhan Akobian, California's highest-rated player, will take on all comers at 7 p.m. Monday in St. Andrew's Church, 11555 National Blvd., Los Angeles. Call Pete Savino at (310) 827-2789 for details.
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