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MACA Chess Horizons Magazine Article
 Interview: GM Sevian on Making History
 Nathan Smolensky
  June 2015

Shortly after the release of the last Chess Horizons, Southbridge’s Samuel Sevian completed his remarkable journey to GM by crossing the 2500 FIDE threshold at an invitational in St. Louis. He had already earned his necessary norms in the months since his 13th birthday. I spoke to the prodigy earlier this year about his remarkable feat.

NS: First of all, congratulations on your GM title. Did you do anything to celebrate?

SS: Thank you for your congratulations, I did not do anything in particular to celebrate, just took my mind off chess for a couple of days, and then went back to work. Of course, it felt great at the moment, [I] kind of felt relieved because leading up to the title I had to work very hard. The most tense moment was when I played the fourth round at St. Louis invitational against IM Gorovets with the game going back and forth in a time trouble situation.

NS: You recently competed in the famous Tata Steel Chess tournament in Wijk Aan Zee. How was that experience? Did it feel like the biggest stage you've been on so far?

SS: Playing in Tata Steel was a great experience, the conditions were excellent, and I got to play against quite a strong opposition. Yes, I think this has been the biggest stage of my career so far. I started out with two very disappointing losses - in the second round against Belgian GM Michels, I botched a perfectly good position with a series of inexplicable moves, and was really disappointed with myself. But then I was able to recover, and won a long 7 hour marathon game against former European Champion Russian GM Potkin in a complicated technical ending. That win really got my spirit up and changed the course of the tournament for me. Of course, the highlight of the tournament for me was the win over Chess Legend Jan Timman, the player who I admire a lot and whose books I have studied over the years. I finished the tournament with 7.5/13, which I think is quite good for my first appearance.

NS: Now that you've reached GM - and shattered a number of records doing do - what's next on the agenda? What's your next big chess goal as a chess player?

SS: Right now I just want to keep improving on my game. My next goal would be to try to break 2600 FIDE. Learn, study, work on your game and the results will follow. I have yet to improve on my time management and emotion control, an important ingredient to have in order to compete at the high level.

NS: How much time do you think you spend on chess on a typical day? What are your favorite things to do the rest of the time?

SS: On a typical day I spend 5-7 hours studying, which includes every aspect of the game from Openings to Endgame. When not working on chess I watch TV - mostly sports – or go to the gym to run, play basketball, and swim. Love watching Bruins games.

NS: You've obviously accomplished an extraordinary amount at such a young age. To what factors do you attribute the achievements?

SS: Throughout the years, my family has always helped and supported me. My dad introduced me to Chess, he was himself a student of a great Chess Study Composer Genrikh Kasparyan, and appreciated the beauty element of the game, its Geometry. I think I have inherited this eye for the beauty from him as well as his visualization of move sequences which is the corner stone for good calculation. Besides just love for the game, chess requires total dedication and hard work. Adding to it I had a great coach Andranik Matikozyan, who devoted so much of his time and taught me for free for years.