A book launch was held on 2 June 2013 to celebrate the publication of a biography of Brain Trust founder Tony Buzan, written by Grandmaster Ray Keene OBE:











The event was broadcast by TVapex and the video of that broadcast can be viewed by copying the link below and pasting it into the address bar of your browser:,-The-Mind-Map-Scientist-at-the-Avicenna-Awards&k=S



'The Official Biography of Tony Buzan: The Man Who Introduced the World to Mind Maps' by Raymond Keene OBE can be purchased from Amazon at:







THE BRAIN TRUST Brain of the Year award for the past year 2012 has been conferred on Professor Michael A Crawford for his contribution to improving mental health by better nutrition. 


The Award was presented at a Ceremony held at Simpson's in the Strand on 25 April 2013:




The Award was presented to Professor Crawford by Prince Mohsin Ali Khan of Hyderabad, last year's winner:





Guests at the event included:


The Worshipful the Mayor of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham Councillor Frances Stainton




Eight times World Memory Champion Dominic O'Brien




Five times Olympic gold medallist rower Sir Steve Redgrave




The event was broadcast live by TVapex and the video of that broadcast can be viewed by copying the link below and pasting it into the address bar of your browser:






An auction was held to raise funds for the Charity. Amongst the items that had been kindly donated for the auction were paintings by the acclaimed international Australian artist, Lorraine Gill, pictured below with the founder of the Brain Trust, Tony Buzan and other guests




   Kirker Holidays kindly sponsored two trips to Venice and Vienna, which were sold in the Charity Auction held at the Brain of the Year Awards dinner on 25  April 2013.

 The Brain Trust thanks Kirker for their generous support of the charity.

"Kirker Holidays provides carefully crafted tailor-made holidays to over 140 destinations in 40 countries - including 70 classic cities and over 250 relaxing rural locations throughout Europe and beyond.

We create the perfect itinerary using selected hotels and private transfers with travel by any combination of air, rail, private car or Orient Express - ideal for celebrating a special occasion in style.

The Kirker Concierge will arrange opera and ballet tickets, pre-book museums, galleries and private guided tours, and reserve a table for a delicious dinner at a recommended restaurant."


Schools Programme

The Charity Auction was held to raise funds for the Brain Trust's Schools Programme. 

The Brain Trust is mounting a mental literacy, learning how to learn and memory skills programme in schools that serve socially disadvantaged areas. The Lilian Baylis Technology School in Kennington has been running our ‘train the trainers’ memory skills programme, whereby teachers are given the skills to enable them to teach their students to use proven memory techniques.

A recent OFSTED report graded the School as outstanding in all aspects. The report commented that the students benefit from a wide range of additional enrichment activities which contribute extremely well to their development. We send our congratulations to Head Teacher Gary Phillips and his excellent team.

The success of the Lilian Baylis School was covered twice on BBC prime time TV news during March 2013.

The School’s website can be found at: The full OFSTED report can be read at:


Brain Trust Brain of the Year Award Reply

Accepting the Award, Professor Crawford said:

Your Royal highness, Lady mayor, Olympic medal winners, Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen. Let me say at once how honoured I am to be chosen for this award.  l hope that with it and the Brain Trust  and all of you, the award will help us work together towards a better future for humankind. Let me explain.

The brain is largely made of a special fat. The widely different brain size in relation to the body amongst animas told us there are different nutritional principles for the growth of the body and the brain. The body requires protein and the brain essential fats.  In 1972 Andrew Sinclair and I discovered the fact that the brain requires very specific, essential fatty acids for its evolution, growth and function[1].  The most limiting of these was the omega 3 DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)[2].

 As it happens, small animals like mice, squirrels, capuchin and Sykes monkeys can make DHA from plant sources. However, we and others soon found the process of making DHA was very slow and inefficient.  This meant that animals with a high velocity of body growth could not make enough during the short, early period of brain growth before birth. So as animals evolved bigger and bigger bodies from small creatures, brain size shrank in relation to the increasing size of the body. In 1972, we also showed in rats, that preformed DHA was used for brain growth with an order of magnitude greater efficiency than having to make it from the plant precursor[3].  As there is very little preformed DHA in the land based food web this meant that all land mammals and primates without exception lost relative brain capacity as they evolved bigger bodies.  Hence a squirrel and marmoset have brain capacities of about 2.4% whereas a chimpanzee has only 0.3%.  Homo sapiens has 2%. The rhino achieves a 1 ton body weight after only 4 years of growth. However, it only has a tiny 300g brain of 0.03%! So how did we with a brain of 1.4Kg at 2% of our bodies avoid the trap into which all land mammals fell?

The answer to that question was we must have occupied an ecological niche which provided ample preformed DHA. That niche could only be the rivers, lakesides and especially the estuaries and coast lines with access to aquatic and marine foods which are rich in DHA and iodine.

The earliest primates who split from the great apes some 7 billion years ago and found that niche would not have had to make DHA and so cold advance in body size without falling into the brain degenerative trap. The brain evolved in the sea 500-600 million years ago using DHA.  It has never been replaced despite the changing genomes from the dynoflagelates of 600 mya, to the cephalopods, fish, amphibia, reptiles, birds, mammals, primates and ourselves.  With a paucity of DHA in the land food web but the marine resource being so rich, the conclusion is that the line that came down to us could not have evolved on the savannahs of Africa as commonly supposed but had to be coastal with constant access to DHA and iodine rich foods.  To illustrate the point compare a zebra and dolphin. The zebra has about 300g brain. The dolphin which has a similar body size has 1.8 Kg of brain.

There is now incontrovertible evidence of extensive exploitation of the marine food web by the first identifiable humans. Chris Stringer of the British Museum has presented evidence that H sapiens migrated out of Africa and populated the planet by moving around the coast lines[4]. Moreover, there is wealth of experimental evidence even in preterm infants and a large follow up study of children telling of the importance of the amount of sea food eaten by the mother in pregnancy as a determinant of verbal IQ, motor and behavioural scores in their children at 8 years of age[5].  This impact is explained not only by our study demonstrating the structural requirements but also studies showing how DHA stimulates gene expression[6] in the brain, neurogenesis[7] and connectivity with synaptic formation[8].

The women even heavily pregnant could wander around the coast and feast on the sea foods with their children. Every meal would have been a rich source of DHA and iodine. Three international expert consultations on dietary fats have now been held jointly by FAO and WHO in 1978, 1994 and 2010. Each confirmed the requirement with the most recent recommending 200mg/day of DHA during pregnancy.  Moreover, the reports emphasised that unsurprisingly, DHA was also important for heart health.

Following our discovery in 1972 of the essentiality of DHA for the brain, my wife and I wrote a book and presented an evidence based prediction. At that time heart disease was already no 1 killer having risen from a rarity in 1900 largely because of bad fats. As our evidence showed that the brain required good fats our prediction was that unless the nutritional requirements were taken into account in food policy for the brain, then the brain would be next[9]. By developing in utero it is after all far better protected than the heart. Indeed the book was reviewed by Graham Rose in the Sunday Times who commented that unless something was done “we could become a race of morons” [10].  Although we would not use such language it was clear he got the message.

Today, the test of time has proved the prediction correct.

Mental ill health has overtaken all other burdens of ill health and the rise is especially in children. In 2004 the cost to the EU was €386 billion: in 2010 €789 billion. In 2007 the UK the Department of Health assessed the cost which was £77 billion, a cost greater than heart disease and cancer combined. A repeat analysis in 2010 came out at a staggering £105 billion.

There is good evidence that the rise in mental ill-health has been triggered by the change in food with the intensification of land based products and loss of sea and lake foods.  In 1804 the global population was 1 billion. It took 123 years to reach 2 billion in 1927 and another 33 years to reach 3 billion in 1960s. By 2000 it reached 6 billion and it then took only 11 years to add another billion Human population is rising to 8 billion in 8 years’ time and then 9 billion shortly afterwards.

 According to the 2011 Foresight report on world food and agriculture, the arable land mass of the planet is reaching full occupation and there is not enough to meet the nutritional requirements, in an equitable manner for all. Some say that with 2 billion under or mal-nourished there is already not enough food to provide an equable supply for all. There is certainly not enough to provide for DHA from fisheries. The global fish catch reached a limit 10 years ago. We will have to agriculturalise the oceans. A start is being made in Japan, China, Indonesia and Oman.  The UK has about 19,000 hectares of arable land and little new arable lad available. But It also has 19,000 miles of coast lines. Not all of that could be used because of pollution, urbanisation and recreation. But there is enough to double our food production at home and provide DHA and iodine at the same time.


 But it is not just survival that is at stake. The status quo is not good enough to meet the present demands put on societies and individuals. That stress which is now showing up in behavioural disorders and mental ill-health heightens the need to enhance intelligence. The challenges today are far far greater than living an idyllic life off the East Coast of Africa with a bountiful supply of fruits from the sea and land! The future for happiness and peace for our children and for theirs is at stake. 



[1] Crawford, M.A. and Sinclair, A.J. (1972) Nutritional influences in the evolution of the mammalian brain. In Lipids, malnutrition and the developing brain: 267-292. Elliot, K. and Knight, J. (Eds.). A Ciba Foundation Symposium (19 21 October, 1971). Amsterdam, Elsevier

[2] Crawford MA, Leigh Broadhurst C, Guest M, Nagar A, Wang Y,  Ghebremeskel K, Schmidt WF (2013) A quantum theory for the irreplaceable role of docosahexaenoic acid in neural cell signaling throughout evolution Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids (PLEFA); 88(1):5-13

[3] Sinclair, A.J. and Crawford, M.A. (1972). The incorporation of linolenic and docosahexaenoic acid into liver and brain lipids of developing rats. FEBS Lett. 26: 127 129.

[4] Stringer C (2000) Palaeoanthropology. Coasting out of Africa. Nature; 405(6782):24-5, 27.

[5] Hibbeln JR, Davis JM, Steer C, Emmett P, Rogers I, Williams C, Golding J. (2007) Maternal seafood consumption in pregnancy and neurodevelopmental outcomes in childhood (ALSPAC study): an observational cohort study. Lancet. 2007 Feb 17;369(9561):578-85.

[6] Kitajka K, Sinclair AJ, Weisinger RS, Weisinger HS, Mathai M, Jayasooriya AP, Halver JE, Puskas LG (2004) Effects of dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on brain gene expression. Proc Natl Acad Sci US , 101:10931-10936.

[7] Yavin E, Himovichi E, Eilam R. (2009) Delayed cell migration in the developing rat brain following maternal omega 3 alpha linolenic acid dietary deficiency. 162(4):1011-22

[8] Kim H-Y, Spector AA (2013) Synaptamide, endocannabinoid-like derivative of docosahexaenoic acid with cannabinoid-independent function. PLEFA 88 (2013) 121–125

[9] What we eat today” by M.A. Crawford and S.M. Crawford. Neville Spearman, London, 1972

(Foreword by Sir Frank Fraser-Darling.).SBN 85435 360 7.

[10] Graham Rose 5/11/ 1972 Sunday Times “ Unless we respond we will become a race of morons”.




















To celebrate the start of the third decade of the Mind Sport of Memory, the prestigious World Memory Championships is returning to its roots in London where it was founded by Tony Buzan and Raymond Keene OBE in 1991. Over the past two decades the sport has gone around the world and is now being practised in all continents.

Following two highly successful World Championships in China over the past two years, it was decided to return to the UK as part of the launch of a new initiative to bring the benefits of memory training and skills to a new generation of London inner city pupils and students. To emphasise the importance of this initiative the founders have selected as the venue, a school which has already demonstrated its commitment to helping its pupils gain this valuable skill, and where a school memory programme has been operating from the start of this term.

The fast developing Lilian Baylis Technology School, in Kennington Lane in London SE11 has partnered with the World Memory Sports Council to host the championship event on December the 14, 15 and 16th this year.

With the top memorisers from around the world competing there it presents a wonderful opportunity for both pupils and staff to be inspired, not just by the their impressive memory feats, but also the fact that, with practice and dedication, there is no reason why they couldn't have as powerful memories as the top competitors.





THE BRAIN TRUST Brain of the Year award for the past year 2011 has been conferred on Prince Mohsin Ali Khan of Hyderabad.


Speaking at an Award Ceremony at Simpsons in the Strand on 30 March 2012, Tony Buzan (the charity's founder) cited the Prince's lifelong commitment to charity, world peace and understanding and presented the charity's commemorative plaque to the Prince.  


The Worshipful the Mayor of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham Councillor Frances Stainton said,


"Good evening to you all on this special evening.

It is a most enjoyable honour to say a few words to you as we combine The Brain Trust's charitable activities with the prestigious Brain of The Year Award.

Tony Buzan & Ray Keene make a formidable combination. Their Book of Genius shows just that. Tony, as we know, invented the Mind Maps which interestingly is even attracting a young eight year  old friend of mine.

Their aim to 'unlock the infinite potential of the mind ' is ……WOW !

I have heard it said that those who Dream at Night are one thing, but beware those who Dream by Day as it is the Day Dreamers who change the world……..We know there are some of them here with us in this room tonight.

When I thought I'd make a few notes, on what I'd like to say to you all, I found that when I came to the Brain of the Year Awarded to Prince Mohsin Ali Khan this year, the notes surprisingly took the form of the beginning of a poem about The Bearer Of Light. Easily identifiable to all of us who know him, yes, but hardly a speech, so I firmly returned to prose, focusing on the Criteria for the winner.

I have read some of Prince Mohsin's speeches, made over the decades. These undoubtedly, demonstrate his ‘concern for humanity,' together with 'persistence & stamina,' But, you know, I was not really attracted to ticking boxes for him.

For me the qualities which really distinguish him are rarely found in one person. These are a depth of wisdom / spiritual awareness combined with a startling practical side which gets things done and this with acute precision & discipline. This rare combination, together with his overriding drive towards love & harmony between nations and individuals, I am sure plays no small part in the result here tonight.

I am equally sure that in his modest way he is rather surprised!! Nevertheless I warmly congratulate him on being a very worthy winner of this award to the exceptional.

I would also particularly like to congratulate Ray Keene & Tony Buzan on tonight's event that brings in the funds for the Trust’s work in raising literacy, learning & memory skills. This also for those who have precious little opportunity even to hear of such potential within themselves. I hope they too will leave their own vapour trail across the emotional skies.

I end wishing every success to both Tony & Ray & in thanking all of you quite remarkable people for your essential support here tonight."


Frances Anderson, Managing Director of Netlaw Media Ltd said,


"Your Excellency, My Lords, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentleman, good evening……


It is a true pleasure for me to be here this evening to celebrate and support The Brain Trust Charity. The Brain Trust Charity is truly inspirational due to the programs and initiatives they run, and most importantly the programme for accelerated learning and memory skills that serves schools within the socially disadvantaged areas. But tonight we are here additionally to celebrate the achievements of a truly unique individual.


Tonight I have the pleasure in introducing a very special and much loved gentleman to the stage to receive the award for Brain of Year for 2011, and too be honest, I could go on all evening with this introduction, but knowing personally how truly humble our guest is, I am going to keep it as brief as I possibly can..


Tonight’s award winner is truly a rarity in today’s world. A man who has devoted his life’s work to further the cause of love, toleration and understanding the world over.


Born in 1930, this gentleman descends from the oldest family dynasty in India and following his UK arrival in 1955 to pursue education, our guest became a financial wizard and business consultant, and along the way, has received many awards and titles including the privilegedfreedom of the city of London’ as well as being conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by the Dublin Metropolitan University, for his contribution to the purpose of peace in South Asia.


He set up the first interfaith group within Europe and his work with charities and organisations such as UNICEF, the Red Cross, Soham for Kids, the United Nations and many more, has not only raised large amounts of much needed capital, but more importantly, has driven awareness to assist in lifting the poverty of the underprivileged masses. 


Known, respected and adored by millions of people around the globe, it not only gives me amazing pleasure to introduce a man who has inspired generations of people with his love and wisdom, but it gives me the greatest of pleasure to introduce a gentleman with whom I am privileged to call friend.


Ladies and gentlemen, will you please join me in congratulating this evenings special guest and award winner, His Highness, Prince Mohsin Ali Khan of Hyderabad…."



Guests included:


Councillor Frances Stainton the Worshipful the Mayor of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham 

Baron and Baroness Andre

CJ de Mooi, President of the English Chess Federation and TV Egghead

Lorraine Gill, the noted Australian artist

Prof Michael Crawford

Joe Sealy of Greater Pacific Capital

Eleanor Kelly, Chief Executive of the London Borough of Southwark

Darren Armstrong and Frances Anderson of Netlaw

Shirley Beljohn of the Beljohn Foundation

David Wardrop of the Westminster branch of the United Nations

Dominic O Brien - 8 times world memory champion

Sue Whiting - 5 times female world memory champion 




Above: Tony Buzan presents the commemorative plaque to Prince Mohsin Ali Khan of Hyderabad


Below: Photographs taken at the Award Ceremony











Photographs by Stephen Cannon


Mail to:


Next year's Award Ceremony (for the Brain of the Year 2012) will be held at Simpsons in the Strand on 29 March 2013.







                       Interview -- 4/3/2012 


Q.  Andrew, you are well-known in Russia as the founder of Afisha Publishing House and of SUP, one of Russia’s largest online media companies, owner of LiveJournal, Gazeta and Championat.  What is your interest in Chess?


A.  I played chess a lot as a kid in America and closely followed Bobby Fischer’s exploits.  Like many people, I suppose, part of my general culture included the names of world champions back to Steinitz, colored in my imagination by the exotic (for me) venues where great matches had been held:  Havana, St. Petersburg, Baden Baden and Istanbul.  (For me, even Paris and London were exotic!)


As I got older I played chess from time to time, but I’m not a serious player.  I have always been a consumer of chess as an idea and an entertainment, I always liked the idea of alpha geeks roaming the earth striving to mortally crush their adversaries!


But I’ve started playing again...


Q.  So, how did that develop into a professional relationship with Chess?  How did you get involved with FIDE?  Are you a consultant?


A.  Entirely by chance!  I was generally aware of the fact that over the last 10-15 years FIDE has reunified the chess world after the schism of the ‘90s, expanded its membership, initiated educational programs (Chess in Schools) in numerous countries and put its own financial house in order.  However, I had also heard it often criticized for not better organizing major chess events around the world and for the eccentric Buddhist who ran it.


Last September, I met the President of FIDE, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov entirely unexpectedly, socially; we immediately got along and I started talking about what I might do to help the World Chess Championship Cycle reach its potential:  audience, prestige, sponsorship.  I’m not a consultant; consultants don’t “do” things.


Q.  What did you propose?  How did you get this amazing (some would say shocking) deal done?


A.  Well, of course every time I suggested something or came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea, either Kirsan or later members of his team would say:  “But that’s not new; we’ve already thought of that,” or “We’ve tried that, but it doesn’t work.”  Occasionally, they felt obliged to point out to me that they have significantly higher I.Q.’s than I do.  In the end, I realized that they were right and all that was needed was to apply consistently some very simple principles that everyone already knew.  So, in fact, all I proposed was hard work and constant attention to detail.  Because I sensed a great opportunity.


It wasn’t a question of money or proven experience organizing a match that convinced them.  FIDE has money.  FIDE has made matches.  It was my dogged persistence in coming back again and again with more and more developed, detailed plans -- relentlessly pursuing a particularly truculent Greek called Makro and lugubrious Englishman named Nigel around Europe, to Moscow, to Cracow, to Moscow, to Tirana, to Athens, and again to Moscow -- that finally persuaded them.  I think I just wore them down.


Q.  Well then give me some examples of these plans.  When Ilya Levitov of the Russian Chess Federation wrote about your presentation at the FIDE Presidential Board in the U.A.E., he said:  “His presentation was disappointing. No specifics, just general words about lifting chess to a new level.”


A.  Ilya is one of those great chess players with a very high I.Q.; the reason he thinks I spoke vaguely is that I was just repeating things he and I had already discussed over lunch with him in Moscow a couple of weeks earlier:


First, the World Chess Championship Cycle has to be made understandable and predictable (to the public and to the players).  We have fixed the period of the cycle (two years), clarified the path up the ladder to the Championship Match (via one World Cup, six Grand Prix and a Candidates Tournament), and set regular dates for the events:  exact dates for 2012-2015, and assuming that these prove optimal, maintaining the pattern indefinitely into the future.


Second, the events will be held in World Cities which will glorify chess, rather than in small towns that see chess events as an opportunity to promote themselves or local players on the world stage.  The theme of the first year is a European Tour:  Moscow, London, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris and Berlin.  Each succeeding year we will take the cycle to a different continent so as to make it easier to mobilize national/regional enthusiasm, thus eventually bringing chess to the whole world on a regular basis.


Third, the entire Cycle will be conceived as a whole by one hand, not by a committee and a mishmash of conflicting interests.  Design, format, and communication will be be focused and consistent.  The brand of World Chess and what it stands for must become clearer in everyone’s minds:  players’, spectators’, sponsors’.  Journalists in both the specialist and generalist media must be supported in every way possible so as to make their work more vital to their editors and publishers, easier for them to produce in high quality, and richer for their readers.


Fourth, we are working on a new ‘format’ to mediate the events for live spectators and for retransmission online (and broadcast) to make the games more understandable and exciting for the general public.  Every game is like a musical score for a new, unique composition in a notation that is impenetrable to most people.  The two players are creating this score in real time before our eyes.  To make it entertaining to a general audience, this composition must be mediated by a dramatic performance -- comments, interpretation, statistics, esthetics and interactivity -- performed, providing direct access to the drama of the game, and pleasure.


Q.  What is the nature of your agreement with FIDE?  Has it been signed?  How long will it last?  Kirsan Ilyumzhinov says you are investing €10-12 million.  Who are your backers?


A.  FIDE asked me to create a new company (Agon Ltd.) that would only deal with chess; ‘agon’ means ‘struggle’ in ancient Greek.  They have granted this company the long-term rights to organize, promote and commercialize the World Chess Championship cycle.  FIDE receive a fixed fee for the cycle, plus a percentage of the revenues.  Long-term means for as long as we are successful and until they get a better offer down the line that I can’t match.


The agreement with Agon took 6 months to negotiate (Agony!) and we are all now joking about the knock down battles that it took for us to get an agreed-upon document (and get to know each other)!  But finally in December the agreement was circulated to the FIDE Presidential Board which approved it unanimously at its meeting in February in the United Arab Emirates.


The €10-12 million that Mr. Ilyumzhinov was referring to is the approximate total production cost, including prize funds, for one two-year cycle.  For this I have to provide a rolling Letter of Credit plus $500,000 in cash to FIDE.  We need a little bit of seed money that I will provide to handle cash flow; beyond that, I assume we will be profitable.


Q.  How do you expect to make money?  You talked about Sponsorship!


A.  These days all over the world advertisers are becoming more and more sophisticated in working with ‘sponsorship,’ as their options have multiplied dramatically and their measurement tools have sharpened.  If you can offer real value, advertisers will listen attentively; in the past it had a lot more to do with luck.  Chess has often relied on host city sponsorship which is generally a good value whether you are talking about Paris or Khanty-Mansiysk (Siberia).  It is challenging to find a brand sponsor for an event that will be watched by a live audience of 300 and by another couple of million chess fans online.


But, if you have those 300 live, plus 2,000,000 online, and soon another 10,000,000 on TV, with over 500,000,000 people playing chess at least from time to time, and another billion who generally regard chess as the epitome of intelligence, complexity and challenge, you can decouple the sponsorship from the finite audience of one event and offer a relationship with World Chess itself.  Once again, we are not inventing anything new:  simply looking at it from a different point of view, rigorously. 


The challenge is not finding sponsors, but finding a few of the right sponsors for whom this relationship holds the greatest value and working with them to extract it.  And, of course, the brands must have values that reflect well on chess and each other.


Q.  But I understand that there is a pre-existing agreement with Russian company CNC to do exactly the same thing.  What happened to that?  And before that was an agreement with Global Chess, which produced little result.  What makes you think you will succeed where they failed?


A.  Bessel Kok (of Global Chess) and David Kaplan (of CNC) are proven, successful businessmen; however, they were never going to roll up their sleeves and do the work themselves.  That is why there is little to show for their significant investments.  I am an entrepreneur.  I will be managing the day-to-day business myself with a small team of top professionals from around the world.  We will be investing relatively little but very prudently which will make profits easier to achieve.  Our chief asset is chess, rather than cash.


Over the last two years, Kaplan has amassed significant know-how and resources and his CNC will continue to develop its business along the lines that he have identified as their priorities.  We will be working closely with them on several aspects of this project.


Q.  Mr. Silvio Danailov of the Bulgarian Chess Federation, famous for his participation in the Toilet-gate Affair in Elista in 2006, seems to be seriously questioning the bidding procedure for the 2012 Candidates that you are now planning to hold in London.  Can you tell us about that?  Azerbaijan also lost its bid, but I understand that they will be playing some role?  Are you expecting trouble?


A.  FIDE really should answer this question.  However, I will give you my outsider’s understanding of it:  First of all, of the two formal bids, Bulgaria would have been beaten anyway by Azerbaijan whose bid was higher (so I hear), so there is really no issue here for Bulgaria.  Second, by the end of January when the bidding for the Candidates Tournament closed, the FIDE Presidential Board had already for over a month been considering my proposal, which went far beyond the scope of a bid for one event.  The FIDE Board unanimously supported the signature of my Agreement, subject to the concurrence of CNC which they still had to get, implicitly rejecting the Azerbaijan bid (as FIDE has the right to do).  My contract was duly signed on February 20 and the Azerbaijan and Bulgaria bids were rejected.


However, trying to make sure all the parties remained happy, I immediately sat down with Azerbaijan (and Bulgaria, for that matter; we discussed the possibility of holding one Grand Prix in Sophia and another in Madrid, near where Mr. Danailov lives) and tried to explain to them that we could make an event in London which would have more useful public exposure for them than if it was held in Baku.  They agreed and we are currently discussing how they can support this event and what their role will be.  Nothing is final on that score.


Q.  Another scandal seems to be erupting over the schedules that FIDE is proposing that overlap with some other important events.  The Russian Federation President Levitov seems really to be running amok.  How will this be resolved?


A.  Levitov is getting shriller and raspier as he realizes that no one is listening to him any more.  I am convinced that the long-term certainty we are providing to our colleagues -- players and organizers -- outweighs the short-term inconveniences our current transitional schedule is presenting.  However, it is true that we have landed right in between two major events and I have been in contact Malcolm Pein of The London Chess Classic and Andoni Madariaga of the Grand Slam Chess Association and we are trying to find a solution with the support of FIDE.


Q.  And Kirsan announced that the prize fund will be increased.  How much?


A.  Prize levels have already been set for 2012-2013, but from 2014 onwards we will revise these significantly upwards, but not evenly across the board.  One should use money to achieve goals and reward success:  I want to make certain that all the best players play, but also ensure that the whole field of players has an opportunity to make a good living.  And, I want to encourage players to always perform at their peak and motivate them to play exciting games.


Q.  You have actually met Kirsan Ilyumzhinov!  What is he like?  He’s rather a figure of fun both inside the world of chess, and outside.  Have you talked to him about aliens and Qaddafi?


A.  I think that the idea that chess was brought to earth by aliens is a fascinating metaphor that bears deconstruction, and I think that Ilyumzhinov’s claim that he was actually taken into an alien spaceship to play chess with aliens is a grand fairy tale that has stimulated everyone’s imagination.  Further, the episode created a remarkable amount of controversy and agitation which must demonstrate Ilyumzhinov’s special genius.


Many politicians have plunged into a conflict area imagining they can deliver a miracle solution to an intractable problem.  Many were deluded.  Some were cynical.  Perhaps this should be called the Bush Syndrome.  Jesse Jackson was ridiculed for inserting himself into Syria, Cuba and Iraq; Jimmy Carter likewise in North Korea, Haiti and Syria.  Barack Obama was widely attacked in 2008 for saying that he would talk to Ahmadinejad.  But sometimes they succeed and I believe that Ilyumzhinov was sincere.


Do these things do harm to chess, as some have asserted?  No, chess is impervious to acts of man.  As to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov himself, I’ve met him but I’m sure that I’ve not even scratched the surface ... and I’m sure I’ll soon get to know him better.


Science Olympiad

Science Olympiad is an American elementary, middle or high school team competition which tests knowledge of various science topics and engineering ability. Over 15,000 schools from 48 U.S. states compete each year. Most teams compete in three levels of competition: regionals, states, and nationals. In addition, some schools hold 'practice tournaments' called invitationals

Readers may recall that the Brain Trust was approached by West Florida School of Advanced Technology at Pensacola, Florida with a request for sponsorship to enable the team to travel to Orlando for the State competition. Our Director, Ray Keene OBE, was pleased to make a grant to the school.

West Florida School participated in the 2010 Science Olympiad State Conference on April 15-16 at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida and won First Place in Protein Modelling.

Protein Modelling is an event developed by the Centre for BioMolecular Modeling for the National Science Olympiad. This event challenges students to explore protein structure/function by creating 3-dimensional models of proteins using Mini-Toobers, foam-covered wire that will hold its shape once folded. The team had to design an accurate-to-scale protein model with correct amino acids and side chains for protein 2wbu. 

The Brain Trust sends its congratulations to the team for this fine achievement.

One of the Members of the team, Buu-Tran Duong, is now enrolled in University of West Florida in the US and we send our best wishes for further academic success.

Here are some photographs of the team at the Science Olympiad and of their winning entry.






Treating Autism

Treating Autism 2011 London conference

Date: Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June 2011
Location: Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End E1
Treating Autism are delighted to announce our two day Biomedical Conference & Exhibition which returns to the Queen Mary, University of London this year. Come to hear parents and practitioners sharing their experiences on various treatments that are helping our children.
Full details of this important event can be found at:
"Most parents are told there is no treatment for autism. We beg to differ."

Science Olympiad

Science Olympiad is an American elementary, middle or high school team competition which tests knowledge of various science topics and engineering ability. Over 15,000 schools from 48 U.S. states compete each year. Most teams compete in three levels of competition: regionals, states, and nationals. In addition, some schools hold 'practice tournaments' called invitationals

The Brain Trust was approached by West Florida School of Advanced Technology at Pensacola, Florida with a request for sponsorship to enable the team to travel to Orlando for the State competition. Our Director, Ray Keene OBE, was pleased to make a grant to the school.

Here are some photographs of the team at the Regional Science Olympiad Event.





Established in 2008, the Construction and Development Partnership is a construction industry led development charity. It is a British based registered charity operating in London and Sierra Leone.


The charity has three primary objectives:

- To support the delivery of the Millennium Development Goals in relation to women and girls by promoting literacy and equipping education establishments and communities with literacy resources and training facilities.

- To improve the technical capacity of communities by providing training opportunities for young people and local artisans, both during the construction and operational stages of the facilities we are involved with. The Charity will work with local educators to develop existing technical education programmes.

- To deliver the aspirations of communities through the construction of world class processes and facilities which enable the development and resurgence of a community and region.

The charity is therefore aiming to support:

- the construction of learning and literacy resources centres
- the establishment of school libraries and classrooms stocked with books and furniture
- functional literacy programmes (focus: maternal and child health, business and entrepreneurship);
- teacher training programmes; (focus: improving the quality of education by enhancing literacy);
- vocational training programmes; (focus: 1 year apprenticeship programmes in construction and admin (target +16); and
- un-schooled children and young adult literacy programmes; (focus: reading for pleasure and sexual health and well being)

All these objectives will be carried out through and with local groups, organizations and governments.

Codep is sponsoring a National Festival of Literacy & Culture in Waterloo, Sierra Leone on 10th-12th February 2011. The first two days of the festival comprise a Literacy Conference where one can:

           Learn from Leading Educationalists from Sierra Leone and the UK, who will share their expertise in literacy development

           Discover how to bring books to life and instil a love of reading for pleasure and learning

           Find out how to use fiction and reference materials to improve study skills and examination passes.


The third day will be a children’s literacy festival.


The Keynote Speaker will be Dr Minkailu Bah, Minister of Education for Sierra Leone. The Special Guest Speaker will be Tony Buzan, one of the  world’s leading authors and lecturers on the brain and learning, the inventor of mind mapping and the founder of the Brain Trust charity.


You can find more information about Codep and about the Build on Books Appeal (an initiative to collect unwanted books from across the UK and donate them to schools and educational establishments in the Western Rural district of Sierra Leone) at:


The Brain Trust is pleased to announce that Tony Buzan donated, on behalf of the Trust, 3000 books (approximate value £20,000) to the Build on Books Appeal.