Thursday, 28 April 2011

Frankfurt, the world's most boring city?

I had to write a quick post before leaving, guess I am a blogging addict. This was a nice cafe to have breakfast and is one of the highlights of Frankfurt. As you can see Thomas (right)  is already in Cuba-mode. Our friend and host, Wolf (left),used his day off to show us the sights but didn't have a lot to work with.

Frankfurt is the most colourless, boring City I know.

This is the river "Main" and a boat taking people for a tour of........ Frankfurt is all about 


Stock exchange, banks, insurance company's and that's just about it.
Wolf did take us to his favourite building.

He thought it symbolizes the City's place in the world very well. Agreed! Add your own caption.
If you know of a city more boring than Frankfurt please let me know.....and if you are thinking of saying Canberra, close but no Cigar. Hasta la Cuba amigo's.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Bluesfest Videos

When I was a teenager I listened almost exclusively to heavy metal like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Hendrix etc. Since my musical taste has expanded to include Latin, Classical, French and several other genre's but when I heard Wolfmother at the Bluesfest it became clear to me that at heart I am still a metalhead. 

BB. King was the highlight of the festival for me. I will probably have a chance to see many of the other bands again but BB is an Octogenarian. 

And here is one that you might not get a chance to see unless they suddenly become world famous. They are an Aboriginal band from North Queensland and were playing on one of the minor stages (there were 5) and had a small but loyal following rocking. Sorry, forgot the name.

now it's time to get a Frankfurt brunch, hope you enjoy these despite the quality. Not too bad for a mobile though :-) Have a nice day.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Goodbye Australia, Hello Havanna

A few last pictures from the Blues-fest for you

Unfortunately I still cannot upload any Videos despite a good connection so I assume it's a temporary bug. 

Here are a few pics for you.

I now have to go catch a plane to Frankfurt, then Havanna for the best party around, primero mayo! I fear that unless things have changed radically I won't be able to blog much or at all so this is a possible forced holiday announcement. Have a nice day friends and see you in June if not before.

Friday, 22 April 2011

A very good Friday with BB.King

Mullum Markets 

Friday started with a Coffee and a visit to Mullum farmers market, 8-11 am every Friday. When your day starts with a good coffee and a smile from a pretty girl.....

Then it was off to 
Akouna Matata Chess Club

Justin (left) and Jhassan are two local friends who love a game. the Venue is Jhassans treehouse. The Club meets whenever the "energy" is right.

This is the waiting room. 

and the living room. After a few games and lunch I went to the beach and enjoyed the best body-surfing waves I had seen in decades Sorry, no waterproof camera so no pictures. The highlight of the day was however yet to come.


Regrettably I am having problems uploading the Videos I made but will do so when I get to a better connection or Blogger fixes the bug, whichever is responsible. BB. King is a bit like the Korchnoi of music. As soon as he hit the stage the audience went into raptures and exploded into applause every time he played a chord or made an expression.  Before BB I had the great pleasure to listen to the "Blind Boys of Alabama". Afterwards a few songs from Grace Jones rounded off a thoroughly pleasant evening. more from the Bluesfest soon, hopefully with Video :-)

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Flying High

For many years now traffic has been a problem in Byron Bay. At busy times of the year there is a many kilometer long line of Cars moving at a snails pace along Ewingsdale rd. The discussion on this issue has been going on as long as I can remember. An overview of some of the issues is here but rest assured that endless other studies have and will be done. Meanwhile, April 2011, the traffic crawls at a snails pace polluting the air of environmentally conscious Byron.   There is however a solution 

Helicopter travel does cut down your travel time considerably and the view is great.

The downsides 

a lot of safety checks  

and parking :-)

Naturally for longer distances you will want a Jet.

Is there a faster way to spread the revolution? 

The view of Sydney Harbour always takes my breath away. It is in my view the worlds most beautiful city.

The inner city changes radically every time I visit. The mix of old and new can seem a bit odd at times. 

While in Sydney I visited Chess discount sales. Peter Parr had a chess shop/centre when I started playing chess in 1978 and has been in the CBD since then. Now he is retiring and is selling everything at least 30% off. I suspect he wants to reignite his professional playing career. I am sure he would have a better chance of winning the NSW State Ch now than in 1978! 
I was able to solicit Peter's opinion on the Ballarat Fide ratings issue (see previous post). If I understood him correctly he thinks it should not be and probably won't be rated. Greg Canfell (Fide ratings officer) hopes it will be rated this time because the ACF has stopped a similar event from ever getting rated again. The ACF executive obviously supports the rating  of the event having submitted it to Fide.
 I must admit that I am confused by the issue. How Fide will react is a coin-toss. 

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Shite fite in OZ Episode 1

                   Oh you will like this one I promise you :-)

  Steven Solomon is a living legend of Australian Chess. Playing through his games is a pleasure few of Australia's top players forgo especially when wanting to see some exceptionally creative chess. His opponent in this game is Brian Jones, chess entrepreneur, organizer of the Sydney International and President of our Zone. He also loves to play chess as does his whole family to the best of my knowledge.  Is it possible that this game, the crowning glory of his chess career, his immortal /evergreen will not count? Well not if the evil Greg Canfell, the ratings officer has his way. Story after this very entertaining game.

So, a quick summary as I understand it.

 1.The Arbiter allows mobile phones to be used to record moves and generally allows the use of electronic devices. He trusts everybody not to cheat.

2. Brian Jones beats Steven Solomon and looks forward to the well deserved rating points.

3. Greg Canfell notices that allowing mobiles could run afoul of a FIDE rule or two and sees his chance to deprive Brian Jones of his points. He asks the ACF for "advice".

"As this tournament has featured the widespread use of electronic devices, I am withholding rating Ballarat Begonia on the FIDE list, until otherwise advised by the ACF Executive."

Greg Canfell
FIDE Rating Officer
Australian Chess Federation

4 .Brian responds: "What! I beat Solo for the first time ever and now you don't want to rate it.
Get a life Shirty. " on Chesschat

Peter Parr has now weighed in with an official open letter to FIDE

FIDE Rated Tournament  Begonia Open    Ballarat, Victoria, Australia (129 players, 7 rounds), (Saturday 12 March 2011 - Monday 14 March 2011).

Arbiter G.Bekker (IA), Oceania Zone President FM B.Jones (IO) was a competitor. This event is one of Australia’s most prestigious FIDE rated weekenders and is in the ACF Grand Prix Series of tournaments (supervised by  B.Jones IO) and very generously sponsored by Dato Tan(Malaysia).

FIDE 12.3.B  Without the permission of the arbiter a player is forbidden to have a mobile phone or other electronic means of communication in the playing venue, unless they are completely switched off.

It was established in Ballarat that there was no conflict with FIDE regulations as the arbiter granted permission for all  129 players in each and every round . All the players   were  encouraged to use their mobile phones to access the internet throughout every game to record their moves on the “Tornelo” electronic score sheets.

I sent a message to Brian Jones as follows :-  I cannot understand how a FIDE Zone President can play in a FIDE rated event with all players permitted to use electronic devices/mobile phones throughout the entire FIDE tournament.

The FIDE Zone President Brian Jones (IO) advised he was a chess player in the event but was not present in any official capacity and did not personally use an electronic device or phone although he did see the IA using a device but he was generally too busy playing chess.

The FIDE Ratings Officer for Australia was very concerned that mobile phones had been permitted for all players throughout the FIDE rated event and advised the Australian Chess Federation that the event would only be FIDE rated if the Australian Chess Federation instructed him to rate it.  FIDE Zone President FM Brian Jones (IO) wrote that he had beaten Solomon for the first time ever and now you don’t want to rate it. Get a Life.   The FIDE Ratings Officer had of course acted correctly. He was well aware that FIDE bans the use of mobile phones and sought instructions.  The ACF has  now instructed him to FIDE rate the event.

I have no reason to believe that cheating took place in the event and no-one has suggested that it had. The problem is of course that with 129 players permitted to use mobile phones in all 7 games there is no way of knowing.

An Australian Chess Federation Vice-President recently said that the issue of the use of mobile phones to enter moves during games was under review and don’t be surprised if this is banned. He also stated that there was no literal breach   of the FIDE laws as the rules say that phones must be turned off unless the arbiter permits them to be on. The arbiter permitted them to be on.  An organiser in Ballarat said he trusted players not to cheat.

Note : - I was not present in Ballarat. I run a chess business in the Sydney CBD since 1973.   Brian Jones runs a chess business in the far Western Suburbs of Sydney.

Personally I am deeply shocked and  saddened by the above events. FIDE has worked hard and diligently to ensure the banning of mobile phones in games and enforcing loss of game for any mobile phone noise.
The Zone President a player in the event  and regular tournament player for half a century  is the highest ranked FIDE Official in the Oceania Zone responsible for FIDE’s high standards.  The FIDE Ethics  Case N. 3/09 is sadly noted.

All tournaments in Australia ranging from club events, inter-club,state and national,all other weekenders have to the best of my knowledge all abided by FIDE regulations – no mobile phones during play. The FIDE Laws of chess are not negotiable by club,state or country. The FIDE Laws of chess apply to all events in all countries. Numerous players have asked me about unlimited  mobile phone use in Ballarat. I cannot understand how  many experienced players  and  some FIDE officials  including the Zone President allowed all players to use mobile phones.

It is absolutely impossible and so absurd to claim that  FIDE permits use of mobile phones for all 129 players in every game because “the arbiter gives permission”.

I would greatly appreciate an official  ruling from FIDE.     “Without the permission of the arbiter” – Question – In Ballarat the arbiter gave permission for everyone to use mobile phones – is this permitted by FIDE ?   

I bring this matter to your attention as an IA,Captain,President and journalist to ensure this never ever happens again in Australia or any other country _ Gens Una Sumus.

                                                                - - -

This is most definitely not the last we have heard of this matter. Hopefully people will also take note that the tournament was convincingly won by James Morris  with 6.5/7. He is currently performing well in Thailand. 

So what will FIDE rule? Will Brian get his FIDE rating points? WTF is Tornelo and does anybody care? All these questions and more answered, and new ones posed on the next episode of...

                                                               Shite fite in oz

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Transformation, Wildlife and Brunswick Heads Chess Club




In two weeks time I will be on a plane headed back to Frankfurt and then Havanna. I needed a new passport and since I don't intend to impersonate Arthur Yusupov I thought it better to transform back into my former self. The picture will be in my passport for ten years! The first opinion I received was from the local birds


who had nothing better to do but hang around and laugh. Speaking of birds, there are these white ones around here who hang around the Cows.

I suspect some kind of symbiotic relationship there. 

Brunswick Heads Chess Club

If you are in the area and you feel like a game of Chess, the club meets on Monday nights at 7 pm in the "Yummy bar". It's easy to find, just a few houses from the tourist information office.

You can also sometimes get a game during the day and always good food and drinks. Have a nice day :-)


Sunday, 10 April 2011

The Sunday Edition Featuring a "who's mentioning me now" segment + Food Glue rant.

Who is mentioning me now? Kevin Casey! That's who.
Queenslander Kevin Casey  put together a collection of Australian brilliancies a couple of years ago and hearing I was in town sent me two. I guess one for each personality :)
My first ever chess book, for which I by now owe Sydney Boys High Library a huge overdue fee, was "Russians play chess" by Chernev. It was a collection of Russian and Soviet games with emphasis on spectacular sacrifices. It really inspired me as a beginner. Kevin's book is similar.His introduction was a brilliant way to introduce himself to the audience as a chessplayer. Nice touch.
Only 29 games can only give a snapshot and I am sure there must have been many other entertaining games played especially prewar. No Steiner game made the cut? Well maybe if lots of people buy this book the author might publish "Australian Chess Brilliancies 2"
One of my games did however make the cut and this is a good an excuse as any to show it to you. 

If you want a copy send $22.95 AUD (19.95 +3.00 p+h) to

Kimberley Publications
PO Box 6095
Upper Mt Gravatt
QLD 4122

Kevin didn't mention anything about international orders so if you are not ordering from Australia just send an email to

                          And now for my Meat Glue Rant

I have been checking Kevin Spraggett's blog frequently of late. There is always something interesting to read but his "Consumer tip" last week has had me fuming since I read it. The Clip Kevin links to is about meat glue, transglutaminase, a substance I had not heard of before. But I have eaten it before and unless you are a vegetarian, so have you. I find that disturbing. First I find out there is an acceptable level of fecal matter in mince and now I am told my fillet is chunks of blade steak glued together by pigs blood!
Would it not be just if those who now profit through this practice could redeem their reward only in the product they produce and could eat only thereof ?  Until my recommendation is implemented other sources of nutrition have to be found.

Nice? Local Snapper with organic garlic on aromatic leaves with Lime juice (see the "Clever Dick"?) and Australian Olive Oil.  I'd like to see them try gluing a Snapper like this together!

Concert for Japan
There were too many things to choose from on Saturday. After a swim at Wategoes beach
( he-he, any excuse for a beach pic) I drove to Durrumbul hall, Mullumbimby for the all-day concert. My favourites were the Japanese Drums. Sorry about the picture but you get the mood I hope.


Channon Sunday
Once a month on the second Sunday the little town of the Channon hosts the Craft Market.  Of all the market venues this one is the "greenest" and most pleasant to walk around. the drums were just starting up as we were leaving.
I snapped these on the way home

and am including them here

 for no particular reason  :-)

Have a nice week every body!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The "Clever Dick" and Lichen Planus.

I will admit that I am easily amused but this little tool is so compact and practical that I am immediately adding it to my essential travelling items.
You start with your "Clever Dick" and a lemon or lime. You then screw the Clever Dick into the citrus fruit of your choice and Presto!
A bottle of Lime juice!!
The Byron Market on alternate Sunday's is the largest in the area so naturally there are more entertainers here. These Guys were great.  

Nothing like a bit of Spanish Music to get me in the mood for the "playa" and we have a magnificent one here.
Presenting Wategos , just a few minutes drive south, under the famous Byron Lighthouse   .

I have not been doing much apart from visiting markets, going to various beaches and country drives. My health scare is over, I got the results back from my Biopsy last week and now know that I do not have Cancer but rather "Lichen Planus" which is apparently a relatively harmless skin inflammation which has no known cause and therefore no treatment but goes away all by itself in between a few weeks and a few years.
Good News!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Fingal Head

Fingal Head is just south of the Queensland border about thirty minutes drive from Byron. The lighthouse is worth a look. We don't have many structures from 1872 in Australia. 
One may question the magnificence of our lighthouses

but not our beaches :)
My nephew Cameron and his trusty sidekick Buddy 
were kind enough to give me a guided tour of the nature reserve.

These trees had big fruit growing on them, I have no idea what, sorry.

and I also have no idea what to call this geological formation

although I should having studied Geology...for 6 months.
But I can tell you that you are looking at Cook Island, a nature preserve. There don't seem to be many shops in the area and even the residential housing is so well hidden that you don't notice but here is one
where you can have a coffee, food, information, tours and many other things. Across the river ( Tweed )   

 is Queensland (more or less). Quite a few houseboats can be seen along along the river. Actually that does not sound so bad! I have to find out what the plan is in case of flood or tsunami. Ok, that's my homework for next week.