Interview with Sevan Muradian

Sevan Muradian is Founder of the North American Chess Association, IO, and IA

north ameracan chess

More info: Visit the official site of the NACA

Chessdom: The largest chess rating population segment are those rated
below ELO 2000 and are sometimes referred to as amateurs. This year
you brought the World Amateur Championship to the United States for
the first time in its history. As an organizer, what is your opinion
of the amateur chess world?

Sevan: No doubt those rated under 2000 comprise the majority of all
chess players. As an organizer you have to be aware of this group and
their importance. In open tournaments, they contribute the most amount
of money in terms of entry fees, sleeping at hotels, and dining at
restaurants. An organizer has to ensure that the conditions for these
players reflect their contribution.

As part of the World Amateur, I provided all of the equipment, which
is extremely uncommon (most events in the US require you to bring your
own equipment and some will provide only boards/pieces, but no
clocks). This was one of the most consistently heard compliments of
the event (aside from bringing US players a World Championship). One
participant, local Chicago chess enthusiast Tony G recently stated
‘After playing in over the board tournaments since 1994, this was the
first tournament (World Amateur), where I actually felt the players
were treated professionally, not just providing entry fees to an
organizer’. Going forward I will be providing all equipment and the
selection of clock for my organization is the DGT North American to
continue with this positive trait that players seek and deserve.
Master level players are not the only ones that deserve to be treated
as professionals.

Chessdom: Parallel to the World Amateur, you also had the 25th North
American Masters. Why did you place this event alongside the World
Amateur? Weren’t you concerned that one event would draw attention
away from the other?

Sevan: Well there are many reasons, some organizational in nature such
as having the playing venue and staff, and others are the overall
event experience. The amateur players could get up and look at the
masters games and vice versa. We also had a few instances where the
masters had come along with their amateur students which made a
heightened experience. I wasn’t concerned that one event would draw
attention away from each other as they are each unique. Some
spectators only care to watch the masters, while some the amateurs. I
found that they complimented each other nicely.

Chessdom: When is the next event for titles and norms that you will organize?

Sevan: The 26th North American Masters will begin this Friday evening
at 6:30pm Chicago time. The event is a double round robin with 6
players. Half of the games will be played in May and the other half in
June. The event will feature: IM Florin Felecan (USA), IM Angelo Young
(PHI), IM Arjun Vishnuvardhan (IND), FM Gauri Shankar (IND), Jon L.
Burgess (ENG), and Trevor Magness (USA). So far each tournament this
year has provided norms – FM Robby Adamson (USA) with his second IM
norm during the 24th North American Masters, and then during the 25th
North American Masters the final IM norm for Mac Molner (USA) along
with his first GM norm, and the final IM norm for Siddarth
Ravichandran (IND). Let’s see what happens in this installment!

Chessdom: Chess in North America is developing. We are seeing more
FIDE tournaments (when there were few) and also more focus on children
in chess. What are your predictions for the next several years?

Sevan: Well scholastic chess (kids) has been strong in the US for many
years thanks to countless organizers and school groups around the
country but what we are seeing more of today is the rapidly improving
scholastic players in larger numbers. This bodes well also, in my
opinion, for getting these kids involved in international chess events
to achieve FIDE ratings and FIDE titles.

In terms of more FIDE tournaments, yes we are seeing more. Again this
is due to multiple organizers around the continent wishing to advance
FIDE here. It’s no doubt that FIDE title norm events have exploded in
the past 3-4 years which is great for the local players here who
didn’t have many alternatives.

Chessdom: The World Chess Championship is tied after 8 rounds. Do you
have any predictions on the outcome?

Sevan: Not really. I like both players and believe they both add their
unique flavor to the event experience. What I do like so far is that
it hasn’t been boring. Both players have a great deal riding on this
aside from the title and the prize. If the event continues to proceed
as it has so far with no incidents or scandals as the Kramnik-Topalov
match, then this would be a very positive example for future events.

Chessdom: What are the possibilities that a WCC will be organized in the US?

Sevan: We just had one! Oh you mean the top level WCC, well anything
is possible. The US Chess Federation has to bring its house into order
first before attempting to bid on an event such as the WCC. A major
event like WCC, Women’s WCC, or Olympiad is a massive undertaking and
none of the current guard in the federation has the experience to
organize something of this nature. They can all talk that they do, but
they really don’t. We’ll also have to wait and see what happens in the
next FIDE presidential election. If the US backed candidate doesn’t
get elected, well readers should be able to figure it out for
themselves.

Chessdom: Speaking of the next FIDE presidential election. Any
predictions and which camp are you favoring?

Sevan: Well my prediction is that the sitting president will retain
his office. I do not believe that Karpov can provide any significant
or true challenge but anything is possible. As far as which camp I am
favoring, ask me again in the middle of June.