Tribute for Sevan Muradian (by Brad Rosen) — Delivered before Round 3 on 2/20/2016 at the USAT North Tournament in Schaumburg, Illinois.
I met Sevan about 12 years ago. Over that time I got to know Sevan well and worked with him on many matters very closely. Please allow me to share my thoughts:
- Sevan was a giant…. a force of nature, on the Illinois, the United States and the World Chess stages. He was the pioneer and trendsetter in internationalizing US chess.
- Sevan, through his own organization ran 266, events and worked with many other organizers on countless events all over the world. One of Sevan’s shining accomplishments is bringing norm events to US shores where players could earn international titles. He ran 31 such norm events, but importantly inspired many others across the US to do the same….the Continental Chess Association for that matter. Make no mistake about it, Sevan is the one who kicked this phenomena off in earnest….and in so doing raised the level and of quality of play in this country immeasurably, and even more importantly, gave many US based players the opportunity to earn their international titles without having to leave the country. That is huge.
- Sevan was an ardent supporter of scholastic chess and high end junior chess in all its forms. Sevan was the go to organizer and TD for the Denker, the Barber and Girls invitational qualifying events. He did this gratis. He arranged for or provided venues for these event — again, at no cost. He was a good friend, supporter, and currently served as the Director for the Warren Junior program.
- Sevan was the founder and main benefactor of the Chicago Blaze of the US Chess League, and brought a championship to Chicago well before the Blackhawks started making a habit of it.
- When the University of Illinois made it to the final 4 of college chess in 2012, Sevan was instrumental in arranging for high end training, public relations, and fundraising to support the team’s efforts against the formalized and well monied competing programs. He supported the 2013 U of I final four effort as well.
- Sevan was a doer– he had boundless energy and juggled more balls in the air than most people can imagine.
- Sevan ran deep and wide. He was a thinker, he was wise, he knew a lot about a lot of things. He wanted to exert an influence on all of the 64 squares of life; and he did a pretty good job of it.
- Sevan was not warm and fuzzy. He told it like he saw it, but he had a heart of gold and would generously share his considerable life knowledge, experience, and advice about studies and career with countless young people.
- Sevan was a fierce and principled adversary. You would much rather be Sevan’s friend than his foe– believe me. I had the privilege as serving as Sevan’s lawyer, his Secretary of War so to speak, from time to time. If an opponent raised a flimsy or flawed argument, Sevan was intent to mercilessly destroy it and lay it to rest. The lesson: if you wanted to take on Sevan, you better be prepared or you would surely suffer the consequences.
- If you wish to honor Sevan’s memory, let me suggest this: be the best you can be in your chess related activities and in life….and always look for the opportunity to help someone else out to improve their chess game…and for that matter, their lot in life. That’s just the way Sevan rolled.
- I think Sevan would have wanted me to stop by now … so I’ll end by quoting Edwin Statin, another Secretary of War, who served under Abraham Lincoln. As for our good friend Sevan Muradian, who has left us far too soon: “Now he belongs to the ages”. Thank you.
A common thread that has run through the remembrances people have shared on Facebook over the last 48 hours was Sevan’s selflessness and generosity of spirit. He gave freely of his time and resources, and was a friend, mentor and benefactor to so many. Sadly, Sevan has left behind two young daughters, Jessica and Kassy. One way to honor Sevan’s memory is to consider making a contribution to help fund their future education. A fund has been set up by Sevan’s family and friends. You can contribute by going to https://www.gofundme.com/sevanmuradian.
Here is a tribute by Daniel Parmet: http://danielparmet.com/article/sevan_muradian
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– GM Susan Polgar