scorecardresearch Skip to main content
Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

It appears that Massachusetts has a new world chess sensation: Sam Sevian of Southbridge. At the age of 12, Sam acquired his third Grandmaster Norm but needed to boost his FIDE chess rating above 2,500 to earn the title of Grandmaster. It took him 11 months, but Sam surpassed 2,500 by winning the necessary games in a periodic nine-rounder invitational tournament at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, which is the site of the US Chess Hall of Fame. At the age of 13 years, 10 months, and 27 days, Sam became the youngest American GM. The previous record was held by Ray Robson of Florida who became a GM a couple of weeks before his 15th birthday.

This achievement raises parallels to Bobby Fischer. Of course, the chess world has changed since Fischer’s time. Chess had spread like wildfire throughout the world.


Nevertheless, Sam’s games are astounding. One of his recent games is included here in the brevity section. It is a wild affair, one of four sacrificial games Sam won in St. Louis, in which he sacrifices a rook for no apparent compensation. Yet he won handily. The general opinion is that he simply can’t get away with such Mikhail Tal tactics when he faces the world’s top players.  We shall see whether he will show a little restraint.

Writer Joe DePaolo profiled Sam for the Globe Magazine in March. Sam is home schooled. His mother, Armine, usually accompanies Sam to his monthly tournaments. In the latest tournament, his father, Armen, who taught Sam the game, took a vacation to view what turned out to be Sam’s triumph.

Chess fans will be interested in seeing how Sam will fare in international competition. He will be tested this month when he enters the
TaTa Steel Tournament’s Challenger section in the Netherlands.


Sam says he likes to avoid the limelight. He practices chess six hours a day, studying each phase: the opening, the middle, and the end game. And he is interested in athletics, which hardly leaves time for anything else.

Brevity: S. Sevian vs. D. Boros (2014) 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 Nf6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.e5 Nfd7 7.h4 c5 8.h5 cxd4 9.Qxd4 dxe5 10.Qf2 Qb6 11.Qh4 exf4 12.hxg6 h6 13.Bxf4 Qxb2 14.Nd5 Qxa1+ 15.Kf2 Nc6 16.Bd3 Qb2 17.Bc1 Qxa2 18.Bxh6 Nc5 19.Bxg7 Nxd3+ 20.Kg3 fxg6 21.Ng5; 1-0

Winners: St. Nick’s, Holyoke: (1) Clifford McLaughlin, 4-0, (2) Gaetano Bompastore, 3-1. George Sturgis Memorial, Wachusett CC:
(1) Brett Kildahl, 4.5-.5, (2-7, tie) Cappallo,
Mirijanian, Godin, LePoer, Gladding, Arsenault, 3.5-1.5

Coming events: Boylston January Thursday Night Swiss: Jan. 8, 15, 22, 29; Boston Chess Congress: Jan. 9-11, Hyatt Regency Logan Airport, Boston,