Junior Speed Chess Match Sevian-Nihal Preview

Junior Speed Chess Match Sevian-Nihal Preview

| 17 | News

Sponsored by Chesskid, the Junior Speed Chess Championship continues on Monday with its fourth match, between Sam Sevian of the USA and Nihal Sarin of India.

Alireza Firouzja defeated José Martinez with the biggest margin in the championship so far. On Monday, we'll find out the next opponent for the Iranian rising star.

You can watch Sam Sevian vs. Nihal Sarin on Monday, June 3 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST) with expert commentary on and

Junior Speed Chess Championship bracket

Born in Corning, New York to Armenian parents, the 18-year-old Sevian (@Konavets) for a while was the youngest grandmaster in the world in the year 2014, when he got the title at the age of 13 years, 10 months and 27 days. He also became the youngest grandmaster in U.S. history (beating Ray Robson's record) and the first grandmaster born in the 2000s.

Sevian named this encounter with Alexei Shirov as his best game so far.

He was also the youngest-ever IM in the U.S. at age 12 years and 10 months, and before that he had broken records at becoming national expert and master. Sevian became world under-12 champion in 2012 in Maribor, Slovenia.

Here's a famous video of a 10-year-old Sevian beating IM Greg Shahade, which is about to cross six million(!) views on YouTube:

In 2017, Sevian became the youngest ever American player to win the American Continental Chess Championship (on tiebreak) in Medellín, Colombia at the age of 16, scoring 8.5/11 points.

This season Sevian played for the Montclair Sopranos in the PRO Chess League, and just two months ago he won the April Titled Tuesday tournament on Last month he finished shared second with David Anton, behind winner Vassily Ivanchuk, at the Capablanca Memorial.

Sam Sevian Junior Speed Chess Championship

Born in Thrissur, Kerala and growing up in Kottayam, India, the 14-year-old Nihal (@nihalsarin) is the new youngest participant of this Junior Speed Chess Championship, now that his good friend, the 13-year-old Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu narrowly got eliminated by Wei Yi.

This weekend Nihal was in the limelight on social media because of the June FIDE rating list that came out, where the Indian grandmaster crossed 2600 for the first time. He is only the third youngest player to do so in history.

In 2014, Nihal won the World U10 Championship in Durban, South Africa and a year later he got the silver medal at the World U12 in Porto Carras, Greece.

Nihal sees this game as among his best so far.

He became an IM in December 2016, and clinched the grandmaster title in August 2018, aged 14 years, one month and one day. After scoring a decent 3/8 at the rapid part of the Kolkata tournament in November, he scored an impressive 13.5/21 (a performance of 2777) at the World Blitz in St. Petersburg.

Nihal played for Delhi Dynamite in the PRO Chess League this season. Like Praggnanandhaa, he just came back from playing in the French league.

Nihal Sarin Junior Speed Chess Championship

For this match it's not easy to point out a favorite, and the players themselves are not sure either.

Sevian: “I don't know. I will probably look him up a day before the match. It's a blitz match, so I should work on my finger reflexes!”
Nihal: “I think it will be close. I think I have good chances. I am hoping for a good fight.”

Both will play from home, and plan to prepare by playing a bit online, with Nihal doing that in between travels: “I just returned from Europe after a month, and I leave for Asia in some days. So I will mostly relax and play some blitz and bullet.” 

Junior Speed Chess Chesskid

The match will start with 90 minutes of 5|1 blitz, continue with 60 minutes of 3|1 blitz, and end with 30 minutes of 1|1 bullet. (Find all regulations here.) 

Asked about their favorite time control and where they plan to strike, Sevian said he prefers the five-minutes. Nihal: “1+1 I think. I will try to strike whenever I get a chance, of course. Obviously, I won't wait for a particular phase only to strike.”

Junior Speed Chess Championship prizes

The prize fund for the first-round matches is $800 each. The winner earns $400 and advances to round two, while the other $400 is split by win percentage.

The Junior Speed Chess Championship is sponsored by ChessKid, the world's number-one site for kids to learn and play chess. All JSCC matches are broadcast live with chess-master commentary on and

Here's the full schedule of the round of 16:

  • Van Foreest vs. Tari: May 16 (14.5-13.5, news report)
  • Firouzja vs. Martinez Alcantara: May 21 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18.0-7.0, news report)
  • Wei Yi vs. Praggnanandhaa: May 31 at 9 a.m. Pacific (14.5-11.5, news report)
  • Sevian vs. Sarin: June 3 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
  • Sarana vs. Esipenko: June 11 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
  • Xiong vs. Smirnov: June 14 at 5 p.m. Pacific (June 15, 02:00 a.m. CEST)
  • Maghsoodloo vs. Moroni: June 17 at 9 a.m. Pacific (18:00 CEST)
  • Gledura vs. Liang: June 18 at 10 a.m. Pacific (19:00 CEST)

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