The Best Of Around Slovakia In Year 2005


Chess on a global scale

INVENTOR János Borbely from the Slovak village of Bátka has moved the game of chess into a new dimension.

Borbely developed his idea because the classical chess game as we know it limits advanced players. His idea was to create a 3-D chess game using a magnetic ball.

He patented his invention in 2004 and was awarded the main prize at the prestigious inventors competition, Genius Europe, held in Budapest, the daily SME reported.

The chessboard, which looks like a globe, is part of an exhibition in the SNP Museum in Banská Bystrica called Scientific Toys.

"This game requires much greater concentration and more experience than the classical chess game. The player must be able to see and think in 3-D because physically he can only see half of the playing area. However, playing chess on this board offers many more possibilities," Borbely told the daily.

Borbely said that he has managed to overcome the negative attributes of the classical chessboard, which limits the movement of play at the corners of the board.

"The possibilities of the round chess board and movements in endless rows and lines expand the limits of our thinking. Still more new variations are being discovered, which are sometimes quite surprising," he said.

Borbely said that the 3-D chessboard has excited many professional players.


Veľká Fatra
Man survives two days in forest

FEDOR Beťko found himself lost in the Veľká Fatra mountains on the icy evening of February 12. He was reported missing and presumed dead but returned home two days later.

He spent two days and nights lost in the forest. Luckily, he found a wooden shelter in which to spend the nights.

He was exhausted, cold, and hungry. There was no food and he had no matches to light a fire.

On the third day he managed to make his way through the woods till he came across a game warden's house in the Ľubochnianska valley.

Beťko, 50, recalled that a pack of wolves followed him during his attempts to get out of the woods, according to the daily Nový Čas.

Beťko set off for a hike in the Veľká Fatra with 27 other people. But he became separated from the others and could not find his way back to them. A ground and helicopter search was launched.

Beťko now feels lucky to be alive.

"The wind was strong and it was snowing heavily," he said.

Although he is a keen and experienced hiker and knows the forest well, Beťko said he became disoriented once he found himself alone.

"I gradually got to the area called Čierny kameň [Black Stone]. It was dark already and I realized that I had to find somewhere to stay and wait through the night. Luckily, I spotted a shelter closeby, and so I spent the night on a bench," he said.

When he woke up he went on although he did not know where he was heading. His feet were very cold and he slipped because when he started the hike with his friends, he only had his cross-country skiing boots on.

During his wanderings he spotted a pack of five wolves.

"I was terribly scared, it was absolutely horrible. I saw something creeping up at me. Only a little later did I realize that I had two wolves on one side and three on the other," he said.

He then thought that he had better go back to the shelter where he had spent the previous night.

Before he fell asleep he left three of his business cards near the shelter in case the wolves attacked him during the night.

The next day, Monday, February 14, he set out again and arrived at the Ľubochnianska valley.

"You can't imagine how happy I felt when I saw the house," he said. The game warden then called Beťko's brother.

"I was very scared for my brother. When they called me to tell me that he was alive, my heart jumped for joy," Ľudovít Beťko, 51, told Nový Čas.

Fedor Beťko's wife Lýdia, 49, said she could not sleep the two nights her husband was missing.

"On Monday morning I almost lost hope. But in the corner of my heart I still trusted that my husband would survive. I know he never gives up," she said.

Beťko went through a series of tests after he got back home, which turned out well. He says he never wants to have a similar experience again and he will always stay with his group during hikes.

"I never want to go through a similar hell," he said.

Pet hospital opened

A NEW hospital for pets was opened in the eastern Slovak city of Košice, the Nový Čas daily reported.

The Cassovet hospital provides healthcare for the pets, and more. There is even a beauty salon for those animals in need of a makeover.

Vet František Huba said the hospital has 2,500 clients. "Most of them are dogs and cats. Occasionally people with more exotic pets, such as snakes, also come here," he said.

Lunchtime a go-go

A GO-GO bar where waitresses wear see-through tops and even go topless opened to busy managers and others wanting a little diversion from their working day, the daily Nový Čas reported.

The recently opened establishment is located in Bratislava's Špitálska street and has already found a regular clientele.

"We are probably the only daytime go-go bar in Bratislava. While other similar establishments open after eight in the evening, guests can come here at noon and we close at nine in the evening," the manager Viktor Václav told the daily.

He said the bar was primarily dedicated to managers who prefer to ogle the "smooth curves of the girls" to business lunches.

Boy pulls dad from well

EIGHT-year-old schoolboy Richard rescued his dad who fell into a well.

According to the Nový Čas daily, the father and son were out sledging when they spotted a suspicious hole in the snow. The father went to investigate and fell into what turned out to be a two-metre-deep well.

But 37-year-old Ivan Moško's son did not hesitate. He reached down into the well, clutched hold of his father's hands and slowly pulled his grateful dad out of the hole.

"I will remember this for the rest of my life," said Moško. "I got stuck in the well and my foot was injured. There was nothing I could grab onto so I couldn't climb up," he said.

The happy dad took the strong lad to a restaurant to thank him for his heroic deed.

"He ordered a table full of desserts and ate as much as he could," Moško said.


Sátoraljaújhely - Slovenské Nové Mesto
Stallion looks for love in Slovakia

A TWO-year old stallion from Hungary came looking for love in Slovakia by galloping across the Sátoraljaújhely - Slovenské Nové Mesto border crossing.

Customs officers had no way of stopping the excited animal.

The stallion's owner said that the young horse "got a craving for love" and wandered around the border area before crossing over to Slovakia, according to the SME daily.

"The tempestuous horse flailed among the cars in the road and scared tourists and even the police but in the end it managed to cross to Slovakia without injury," said Frigyes Juhász, spokesman for the Hungarian border patrol.

"There he continued to run along the road, causing major chaos with motorists and even stopping traffic. " he said.

Later the horse calmed down and started grazing. The police then called the owner and he took the stallion home.


Malá Studená Dolina
Bear cub falls into freezer

A MOTHER bear and her two cubs caused a stir at the Zamkovského chata (cottage) in Malá Studená Dolina in the High Tatras, when a bear cub got into the cottage through a window and fell into a freezer.

The mother bear and her cubs came to the cottage in the middle of the night, probably looking for food.

"I was alone in the cottage. I woke up to a crash, beating and crying. At first I thought they were some tired tourists and an hysterical woman crying," Milan Kovaľ of the cottage told the SME daily.

When he looked out he noticed a mother bear behind the cottage. The bear cub had climbed inside through a back window but tripped from the window frame and fell into the freezer, breaking its glass cover. It was stuck.

The mother bear was trying to help her cub.

According to the cottage administrators, there was no food around that could have attracted the animals.

"These animals are not timid at all," said Kovaľ.

The forest administrators said they knew about this bear and were dealing with the problem.

"We are working on it. We have tried to catch her but never managed to. Now we have to ask for a new permit," said Jozef Kováč from the TANAP natural park state forest company.

They now plan to lure the bears away so that they do not threaten the tourists and the locals. Kováč said the bears would be relocated but would not give any details.


Sklené Teplice
Chicken born with four legs

The four-legged mirracle born in Slovakia walking down the road.
photo: SME - Ján Krošlák

A FOUR-legged chicken was born at the farm of Mária Lubušká in Sklené Teplice.

Eleven chickens came into the world on the same day as the four-legged fowl and at first Lubušká did not notice anything unusual, the daily SME reported.

A few days later however, she was watching the chickens in her yard and noticed that one of them was walking as if it had a broken leg. Her son Tibor took a closer look and realized that the chicken's leg was not broken. But as he was caressing the creature, he discovered a third leg under the fluffy feathers and then, lo and behold, a fourth!

The chicken walks on only two legs and holds the other two at the back of its body as if they were oars, the daily wrote.

"Otherwise it is just like its siblings. It likes to eat and has a big appetite. It runs around the yard all day with the other chickens," said Lubušká.

She added that some people have advised her to get rid of the unusual fowl.

"I did not want to. The poor chicken cannot be blamed for how it was born. It's very amiable," she said.

Similar cases attract attention around the world. Some time ago the media reported two other unusual cases - a five-legged calf that was born in Smolensk in Russia and a five-legged frog that was discovered in the US state of Minnesota.


Rožňavské Bystré
Village of twins

THE VILLAGE of Rožňavské Bystré, in the district of Rožňava, is said to have the highest incidence of twins in Slovakia. According to locals, twins have been nothing unusual in these parts for many years, the daily SME reported. The village of 595 inhabitants has over 20 sets of twins.

And what is more, as village mayor Ján Babič noted, the fathers of the twins are always Rožňavské Bystré natives.

The daily interviewed twins from kindergarten and primary school, twin university students and twin adults.

Kindergarten twins, four-year-olds Katka and Janka Forgáčová, are not the only twins in the family: their grandmother on their father's side was a twin as well.

Primary school pupils Miloš and Tomáš Leng love football, and are also not the only twins in their family. Their great-grandmother, Mária Ďurská, was also a twin. According to the village mayor, Mária Ďurská's twin sister Zuzana was the grandmother of twin 38-year-olds, local footballers Ondrej and Ján Urban.

The list goes on. Forty-seven-year-old twin Ľudovít Uhrín, who introduced himself to the SME reporters, is also a twin. He took them to his workshop and introduced them to twin brothers Jaroslav and Ján Gonos.

"Being a twin has its pros and cons," one of the Gonos brothers said. "When we were little, people would stop us in the street and take more notice of us than other children. We don't much like that anymore," he said.


Plavecký Štvrtok
Baker drives a loaf

A loaf of bread is on the roads around Plavecký Štvrtok. Baker Braňo Novotný, aged 32, is so in love with his profession that he decided to remodel his old hatchback to look like a loaf, the Nový Čas daily wrote.

"I had an old Fiat 127 that was in terrible condition. I built the 'loaf' on the chassis of the old car from regular construction materials. I made it with my friends in a week and it cost me no more than Sk4,000 (€102)," Novotný told the daily.

"My goal is to motivate people to be creative," he said.

The motorized loaf is 4.5 metres long and 2.7 metres wide. It is 1.3 metres tall.


Bus driver caught drunk driving

A PROFESSIONAL bus driver was caught driving under the influence of alcohol on October 11 in the western Slovak city of Trenčín.

Trenčín police spokeswoman Lenka Bušová told the SITA news agency that officers received a tip-off from an unnamed source that the driver on the Trenčín - Horná Súča route was drunk.

Police stopped the bus on the road and tested the driver for alcohol and found 2.73 units of alcohol in his blood.

There were 10 passengers on the bus at the time.

Bušová said that officers immediately confiscated the man's driving licence and took him to the local police station.

On the same day, the driver was charged with endangering people's lives while under the influence of alcohol.


Firemen free roe deer

FOUR firemen from the northern Slovak town of Žilina freed a young roe deer from a 10 metre-deep hole in the garden of a house in the Žilina-Závodie district on November 5.

Apparently, the deer jumped over the fence around the house and fell into what used to be a well, the TASR news agency wrote.

"The roe was distressed and kicked out, which made it hard to go down to her. In the end, the firemen threw a coat over her head so she calmed down. They then hoisted her up using a volleyball net," said operations officer Miroslav Marton.

The firemen let the young deer go free.


Twin girls born to 50-year old

JITKA Ižová, 50, is Slovakia's oldest first-time mother. She gave birth to twin girls Veronika and Natálka on December 2, the SITA news agency wrote.

The girls were conceived artificially after Ižová had been unable to become pregnant for 15 years.

"My husband and I are incredibly happy about the babies. We have waited 15 years for them," said Ižová.

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