Samuel Sevian, 9, is youngest US national chess master

Samuel Sevian, 9, likes to read, watch Disney's "Suite Life on Deck" on TV, and play soccer. He's also the youngest United States "National Master" in chess. He earned the title earlier this month. From the San Jose Mercury News:

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Samuel spends at least two hours a day studying chess moves in books, playing with his dad, and practicing on Skype with his coach, international master Andranik Matikozyan, who lives in Los Angeles, where the Sevians are heading for Christmas.

"I met Samuel three years ago in Santa Monica at a tournament when he was 7," Matikozyan said. "When I saw him playing, I was amazed. I thought, 'This kid is really talented.' "

Sevian said his son does very well in school, too, often maxing out on his math scores.

"He is obviously very gifted," said Don Callejon Principal Hans Barber. "On Thanksgiving break, we gave kids a math challenge, and he won. He has a problem-solving mind."

Barber gave Samuel lots of credit, too, for attending tournaments, doing so well in school and "holding it all together." Samuel is "too intense" to participate in the school's chess club, but Barber is sure that he inspired other students to take up the game…

"I like the tactics and the combinations," said Samuel, who comes from a culture where chess players are held in high esteem. The Sevian family is from Armenia.

"In Armenia, chess is very big," (his father) Armen Sevian said. "It's certainly not a geek sport. Chess players are compared to rock stars."

"Santa Clara boy, 9, becomes youngest U.S. chess master"