Cameron Wheeler wins 2016 Falconer Award

Ralph Lewin presents Cameron Wheeler his prize

Senior Master Cameron Wheeler receives his check from Mechanics’ Institute Executive Director Ralph Lewin with International Master Vince McCambridge and Mechanics’ Institute Trustee Vladimir Naroditsky watching. Photo Paul Whitehead

Senior Master Cameron Wheeler has earned the prestigious 2016 Falconer Award given annually to the highest rated chess player under 18 in Northern California.  The sophomore at Monte Vista High School in Cupertino received a check for $2426, equal to his rating on the December 2015 USCF rating supplement. Cameron, who has two International Master norms, just edged out International Master Kesav Viswanadha, who was rated 2423. National Master Vignesh Panchanatham was right behind them at 2395.
The Falconer Award is named in honor of the late Mechanics’ Institute Trustee Neil Falconer, himself a strong tournament player, holding a 1900+ rating up to age 85.  Over the past 17 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
  • 2015 International Master Yian Liou

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 128 entries.

NeilFalconerbyJimEade

Mr. Falconer in 2011 (Photo by Jim Eade)

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