Canberra Times, May 6
Luck is supposed to be irrelevant in chess but some players are certainly luckier than others.
Queensland International Master Stephen Solomon is renowned for his amazing good fortune. Solomon's extraordinary never-say-die spirit has undoubtedly helped him save some desperate positions but that cannot explain why his opponents have also been known to resign drawn positions or even sit transfixed in a winning position while their clock runs down to zero.
Since his arrival in Australia from the Ukraine in 1992, Michael Gluzman has also featured prominently on Australia's luckiest players list but after last week's Oceania Zonal on the Gold Coast the Melbourne IM has moved to the top of the table.
In the last round of the Zonal, with almost $A10,000 indirectly hanging on the result, Gluzman managed to tie for first place thanks to some extraordinary good fortune against IM Vladimir Feldman.
Feldman had been winning for much of the game but Gluzman hung tough. After the game reached the 30 seconds per move stage and Gluzman had rook and one pawn against rook and two pawns, all bets were on a draw but Guzman kept plugging away and somehow induced a series of blunders by Feldman which threw away the game.
Gluzman went on to qualify for the FIDE World Championship - and thereby guarantee himself at least a first round loser's cheque of $US4,800-by winning a playoff against Mark Chapman.
In some ways Gluzman creates his own luck by his determination and guile. Despite an excellent chess intellect, Gluzman regularly starts the game poorly but after he reaches a poor position he sets one tactical problem after another for his opponent. Sometimes Gluzman's luck runs out, as his disastrous result at the Australian Open in January showed, but after a poor start at the Zonal - two losses from three games - everything Gluzman touched turned to gold.
Sometimes Gluzman even played well for a complete game as can be seen from the tournament's key game in round seven, a game which allowed Gluzman to catch runaway leader Champman.
Jan de Gier and Ian Wright tied for first place in the 2001 Belconnen Open.