Chess Grandmaster Christopher Woojin Yoo Recipient of Falconer Award | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Grandmaster Christopher Woojin Yoo Recipient of Falconer Award

February 26, 2024

Contact: Tina Ahn
Sr. Director of Advancement
(415) 902-9088 | [email protected]

(San Francisco, CA) Mechanics’ Institute is pleased to announce Christopher Woojin Yoo, a 17-year-old Grandmaster from Northern California, as the 2024 recipient of the prestigious Falconer Award. The award will be presented to Grandmaster Yoo at Mechanics’ Institute Chess Room on Tuesday, February 27, 2024, at 6:00 PM. Christopher was the highest-rated player under 18 by his December 2023 rating, with a rating of 2690.

“As the oldest chess club in the U.S., Mechanics Institute is pleased to present this year’s Falconer Award to Grandmaster Yoo. Christopher embodies the passion, drive, and tradition for chess that Neil Falconer wished to honor by establishing this award. We applaud Christopher for his accomplishments and his achievements as a Grandmaster to date and look forward to his continued successes,” commented Katherine Bella, Mechanics’ Institute CEO.

About Grandmaster Yoo
Grandmaster Yoo made waves as the youngest International Master in American history in February 2019, before being surpassed by Abhimanyu Mishra. In 2019, he won Gold in the 4th Youth Chess Composing Challenge (open to composers age 22 and under) and Bronze in the 7th FIDE World Cup in Composing, making him the youngest, at age 12, to ever medal in the event. Yoo tied for first place at the 2021 Charlotte Open, won the US Junior Chess Championship, defeated GM Wesley So at the 2022 US Chess Championship, and tied for first place at the 2022 US Masters with a rating of 2653 then claiming the 2022 US Masters title after winning a blitz playoff. Yoo was named Young Chess Player of the Year in 2023 by US Chess. He finished 2nd in the 2022 American Continental Championship qualifying him for the 2023 FIDE World Cup.

About Mechanics’ Institute
Founded in 1854, the Mechanics’ Institute is one of the oldest institutions on the West Coast of the United States. Its mission is to provide a center for intellectual and cultural advancement. Located in the financial district of San Francisco, Mechanics’ Institute is a non-profit organization serving individuals and families throughout the Bay Area. Mechanics’ Institute offers a vibrant library with full-time professional staff, expert instruction and competition in chess, and a full calendar of engaging cultural events, programs, and classes.

The Mechanics’ Institute established the Falconer Award through Neil Falconer’s generosity. Falconer was a long-time Mechanics’ Institute trustee who began playing chess at Mechanics’ Institute in 1938. Neil Falconer was also a strong tournament player holding a rating of 1900+ up to age 85 prior to his passing in 2014. Grandmaster Yoo will receive the Falconer Award on Tuesday, February 27, 2024, at 6:00 PM in Mechanics’ Institute Chess Room, 57 Post Street, 4th Floor, San Francisco.