Armenian-American GM Sam Sevian Close to Becoming US Chess Champion, but GM So Won Tie-breaker


SAINT LOUIS, MO. – Saint Louis hosted the annual US Chess Tournament. Among the 12 candidates, American Grandmasters (GM) Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, and Sam Sevian, an Armenian American, had each collected the same 6.5 points in the matches through October 18. The tie-breaker games were played at Saint Louis Chess Club in the afternoon of October 19 and are available online.

Between October 6 and 18, each candidate played 11 matches. Sevian scored three victories, one defeat, and seven draws. Furthermore, in the fifth round, he had defeated Caruna, the world’s number two GM. As Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana collected equal points, rapid tie-break games were set up among them to decide the champion.

Sam Sevian (Courtesy of Saint Louis Chess Club)

Samuel (Samvel) Sevian was born in Corning, NY, to Armen and Armine Sevian. His father, a candidate master in chess Soviet Armenia, noticed his son’s chess talent when Sam was five years old and supported his interest in chess.

The Armenian-American prodigy became a national master when he was nine years old. By late 2014 he became the youngest GM in the history of the United States. Sevian fulfilled the grandmaster requirements at 13 years, ten months age. Bobby Fischer became a GM when he was 15.

Sevian lost his first blitz game to Caruana and a difficult game against Wesley So, who had defeated Caruana. Both Caruana and So scored a point. As So remains undefeated in the tie-breaker games, he has become the winner of the 2021 US championship. Caruna and Sevian share second place, according to the St. Louis Chess Club.

“I cannot be more proud of Sam than I am today,” Armen Sevian, Sam’s father, wrote on his Facebook page after the tournament was over. He also noted that Samvel technically is one of the co-champions of the US Championship in Classical Chess, if not the tie-breaker games. Among various systems of the tie-breakers, there is one called the Sonneborn Berger tiebreaker, which calculates Sam as the winner based on additional data that the system takes into account.

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Meanwhile, the US Women’s Chess Tournament finished October 18. Tatev Abrahamian ended up fourth with six points in total.

Topics: chess
People: Sam Sevian
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