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Yian Liou Wins Falconer Award Print E-mail
By IM John Donaldson   
February 1, 2015
International Master Yian Liou receives his check from Mechanics' Institute Executive Director Ralph Lewin with Grandmasters Patrick Wolff and Sam Shankland watching. (Photo by Elliott Winslow)

International Master Yian Liou has earned the prestigious 2015 Falconer Award given annually to the highest rated chess player under 18 in Northern California.  The junior at Monte Vista High School in Danville will receive a check for $2502, equal to his rating on the December 2014 USCF rating supplement. Yian earned his International Master title this past summer playing in Europe.

The Falconer Award is named in honor of the late Mechanics' Trustee Neil Falconer, himself a strong tournament player, holding a 1900+ rating up to age 85.  Over the past 15 years, three recipients of this generous prize have gone on to earn the Grandmaster title and two more are currently International Masters.

Previous Winners
  • 2000 Senior Master Vinay Bhat
  • 2001 Senior Master Vinay Bhat
  • 2002 International Master Vinay Bhat
  • 2003 National Master Michael Pearson
  • 2004 National Master Nicolas Yap
  • 2005 National Master Matthew Ho
  • 2006 National Master Matthew Ho
  • 2007 National Master Nicolas Yap 
  • 2008 National Master Sam Shankland
  • 2009 International Master Sam Shankland 
  • 2010 Senior Master Steven Zierk
  • 2011 Senior Master Daniel Naroditsky
  • 2012 International Master Daniel Naroditsky
  • 2013 International Master Daniel Naroditsky
  • 2014 Senior Master Yian Liou 

Mr. Falconer in 2011 (Photo by Jim Eade)


The Mechanics' Institute Chess Club of San Francisco, the nation's oldest founded in 1854, is busier than ever.  The current Tuesday Night Marathon, possibly the largest ongoing weeknight tournament (eight consecutive Tuesday nights five times a year) in the United States, has 116 entries. World top-ten Wesley So will give a free talk on Tuesday, February 10, from 5:15 to 6:15 pm.