Mackenzie Molner Wins Big in Skokie!
By Sevan Muradian   
March 25, 2010
Mackenzie Molner, Photo Betsy Dynako
Over the past week, 20 participants competed in the 25th North American Masters, alongside competitors in the ongoing World Amateur Chess Championships.

When the dust cleared, Mackenzie (Mac) Molner of New York tied for first place with 6.5/9 with GM Ben Finegold, earning himself not only $1250 but also his 1st GM norm and final IM norm. Mac scored his first second IM norm last August at the 23rd North American Masters.

Michael Khodarkovsky, Mackenzie's first coach, has known Mac since he was a 900 player in third grade. "Now he earned his first GM norm while a student in NYU. He worked very hard all these years to get it to this level and I'm very proud of him, there are many more wins ahead of him. On March 14, Mac played at our Kasparov Chess Foundation Invitational quads, where he tied for first with Alex Lenderman. After the tournament he and I sat down to discuss his participation in Chicago tournament. I had a very good feeling that he was ready to perform to the best level of his abilities and Mac felt good about it too." 

Mac, a student at NYU, went on a tear through the field, with 3 wins, 1 draw (to GM Amanov), and 1 loss (to GM Finegold) versus the 5 GM's. His normal quiet demeanor, was not to be mistaken for the monster that appeared on the board (maybe a case of Jekyll and Hyde!). With a concoction he brewed up at home, he miniaturized GM Kolev in 22 moves. His second win over GM Georgiev saw Mac on the receiving end of free material that he hung onto for another win. His third and final GM win came at the expense of local GM from Macedonia, Nikola Mitkov. Nikola wanted revenge over his loss in August to Mac but alas it was not to be, as Mac took him apart piece by piece.

Siddarth Ravichandran
In addition to the GM and IM norm scored by Mac, another New York resident and a graduate student, Siddarth Ravichandran, scored his final IM norm. Sidd was supposed to participate in the 23rd North American Masters in August, but due to a freak storm on the East coast, his flight was canceled and he wasn't able to participate. That cancellation delayed his ability to seek out his final IM norm until this past week. In solid fashion, he held all of the GMs to a draw, including a game against GM Mesgen Amanov that lasted over 155 moves, which delayed the beginning of the next round by 35 minutes. That game was a classic endgame that all players should learn to hold as Mesgen did. It was King + Rook (for Sidd) vs King + Bishop (for Mesgen). This article will be updated with games later today.

Final Standings

1st - 2nd: GM Ben Finegold, Mackenzie Molner - 6.5/9
3rd - GM Atanas Kolev - 6/9
4th - 7th - GM Nikola Mitkov, GM Vladimir Georgiev, GM Mesgen Amanov,
Siddarth Ravichandran - 5.5/9
8th - 10th - IM Michael Mulyar, IM Angelo Young, IM Florin Felecan - 5/9
11th - 12th - FM Gauri Shankar, WIM Iryna Zenyuk - 4.5/9
13th - 14th - Adarsh Jayakumar, John Gurczak - 4/9
15th - IM Arjun Vishnuvardhan - 3.5/9
16th - 17th - FM Robby Adamson, Timur Aliyev - 3/9
18th - 19th - Mariano Acosta, Tommy Ulrich - 2/9
20th - Jose Reisler Perez - 1.5/9

North American Masters Photo Gallery by Betsy Dynako

GM Mesgen Amanov

GM Ben Finegold

IM Arjun Vishnuvardhan

GM Vladimir Georgiev

Adarsh Jayakumar

Mariano Acosta

WIM Iryna Zenyuk

Stay tuned for the 26th North American Masters which will be May 7th-9th and June 11-13th. In this event we will return to the double round robin format with half of the event in May and the other half in June.

Good Chess to All,
Sevan A. Muradian, Founder
North American Chess Association
International Arbiter and International Organizer