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Boy Becomes Youngest-Ever US Chess Grandmaster

13-year-old Samuel Sevian wants to eventually be world champion
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2014 4:00 PM CST
Boy Becomes Youngest-Ever US Chess Grandmaster
At only 13, Samuel Sevian is already a chess prodigy, but he's aiming much higher.   (AFP news agency)

Sam Sevian likes watching hockey and basketball and hates doing chores, the Boston Globe reported in March, making the 13-year-old sound like pretty much every other American teen boy. But most American teen boys don't have the title of chess grandmaster under their belt, an honor Sam earned last week at a St. Louis tournament, making him the youngest US grandmaster ever, AFP reports. Sam, who trains with chess guru Garry Kasparov, won all four games he played, elevating him over the 2,500-point mark needed for the title; the previous youngest-ever US grandmaster was Ray Robson, who nabbed that designation in October 2009 just shy of his 15th birthday, notes the US Chess Federation. "He really outplayed his opponents in three games. But the fourth, it was really back and forth," Sam's father, Armen, tells AFP, adding that his son is the sixth-youngest grandmaster in the world.

The California teen is used to winning: When he was just 8, he became the youngest person ever in the US to become an official "chess expert," and in 2009, he became the country's youngest "national master." He's been playing since he was 5, and he and his dad are the only ones in the family who play, the San Jose Mercury News reported in 2010. "Every attempt to teach [Sam's younger sister] to play chess fails," Armen told the paper. He sometimes wonders if his son's passion will pay off. "I actually told Sam, 'Maybe we should do something else,'" Armen told the Globe. "But that doesn't go well with Sam." The teen's next goal: to get to 2,600 points so he can compete in more-elite tournaments and someday become world champion. "First, I would need to improve my game," he tells AFP. "My confidence level is high. This [win] definitely helps." (College chess is where the money's at.)

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