Tata Steel Challenger Sam Sevian: Youngest GM In The World

Tata Steel Challenger Sam Sevian: Youngest GM In The World

| 31 | Chess Event Coverage

After our preview of the Tata Steel tournament today we focus on one participant of the challengers: GM Sam Sevian, the youngest grandmaster in the world.

The news was covered by the New York Times, but not here on yet (shame on us!), but the upcoming Tata Steel tournament provides a nice opportunity. As it turns out, Wijk aan Zee will see the brand new youngest GM on the planet: Sam Sevian of the United States!

In late November 2014, at a GM norm tournament in St. Louis, Sevian crossed the 2500 mark. With three GM norms already earned, he secured the GM title at the age of 13 years, 10 months and 27 days.

One of his games at that tournament was the following crushing win:

Samuel Sevian was born December 26, 2000 in Corning, New York. He is the world's youngest grandmaster, the youngest grandmaster in U.S. history (beating Ray Robson's record) and 
the first grandmaster born in the year 2000 or later!

One more record: Here at the 2013 U.S. Championship (then IM) Sam Sevian, 12, became the youngest player in the event's long history (again breaking Robson's record).


Born to Armenian parents, Sevian started playing chess at the age of five. He was also the youngest-ever IM in the U.S. at age 12 years and 10 months, and before that he has also broken records at becoming national expert and master. Sevian became world under-12 champion in 2012 in Maribor, Slovenia.

GM Sam Sevian.

Sevian scored his GM norms within one year: at the 2014 Foxwoods Open, the Saint Louis Invitational in May and the Washington International in August. He fulfilled the last requirement, a 2500 rating, at the aforementioned Saint Louis GM Norm Invitational tournament in November, which he won.

Until November, the Chinese top talent GM Wei Yi was the youngest GM in the world. He earned the title a bit quicker than Sevian: age 13 years, 8 months, 24 days, at the Reykjavik Open in March 2013 (see the ChessVibes report here).

Sam Sevian is the sixth-youngest GM of all time, behind Bu Xiangzhi, Wei Yi, Magnus Carlsen, Parimarjan Negi and Sergey Karjakin, whose absolute record of 12 years (!), 7 months and 0 days is still hard to beat. 

Here's the full list of players to become a grandmaster before their 15th birthday:

Youngest GMs

No. Player Country Age
1. Sergey Karjakin Ukraine 12 years, 7 months, 0 days
2. Parimarjan Negi India 13 years, 4 months, 22 days
3. Magnus Carlsen Norway 13 years, 4 months, 27 days
4. Wei Yi China 13 years, 8 months, 24 days
5. Bu Xiangzhi China 13 years, 10 months, 13 days
6. Sam Sevian USA 13 years, 10 months, 27 days
7. Richard Rapport Hungary 13 years, 11 months, 6 days
8. Teimour Radjabov Azerbaijan 14 years, 0 months, 14 days
9. Ruslan Ponomariov Ukraine 14 years, 0 months, 17 days
10. Wesley So Philippines 14 years, 1 month, 28 days
11. Etienne Bacrot France 14 years, 2 months, 0 days
12. Jorge Cori Peru 14 years, 2 months[5]
13. Ilya Nyzhnyk Ukraine 14 years, 3 months, 2 days
14. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave France 14 years, 4 months
15. Peter Leko Hungary 14 years, 4 months, 22 days
16. Hou Yifan China 14 years, 6 months, 16 days
17. Anish Giri Netherlands 14 years, 7 months, 2 days
18. Yuriy Kuzubov Ukraine 14 years, 7 months, 12 days
19. Dariusz Swiercz Poland 14 years, 7 months, 29 days
20. Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son Vietnam 14 years, 10 months
21. Daniil Dubov Russia 14 years, 11 months, 14 days
22. Ray Robson United States 14 years, 11 months, 16 days
23. Fabiano Caruana Italy 14 years, 11 months, 20 days


Here's a famous video of a 10-year-old Sevian beating IM Greg Shahade:

The video just topped one million views on YouTube. Shahade joked on his Facebook page: "I consider myself fortunate that the pinnacle achievement of my life was recorded for the entire world to see."

Sevian's next tournament will start this Saturday: the Tata Steel Challengers in Wijk aan Zee.

For this group, the full pairings have been published and so we know that he'll fae Dutch GM Robin van Kampen in the first round.

Interestingly, the “old" youngest GM, Wei Yi, plays in the same tournament. He starts with Black against another Sam from the United States: Sam Shankland.

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

Company Contact and News Accreditation: 

Phone: 1 (800) 318-2827
Address: PO Box 60400 Palo Alto, CA 94306

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