When I was in high school I benefitted from the tournament design he pushed for.
Mike was the TD at a two-day event in Rockford I played in years ago. He came into the playing room on Sunday afternoon and told everybody to stop their clocks and come out to the lobby of the motel to watch the first landing on the Moon.
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of Mike Zacate to scholastic chess in Illinois. And he was a really nice guy!
Mike paved the way for so many TDs and organizers. He was not active the last few years but his legacy lives on in those he touched with his enthusiasm for chess, especially scholastic chess. He and his daughter Betsy were the first parent-child NTD combo. He was at the forefront of using tournament software to improve the tournament experience for both players and TDs. RIP.