Blog Post #4: Angels

Dear Readers,

Just this week, a lovely friend said, “If I could pick my angels, you would be one of them.” What a wonderful thing for her to say; for me, simply unforgettable.

Funnily, my middle name really does begin with the letters An…, but it’s actually Anthony, because the nurse who delivered me on 13 June 1962 mentioned to my mum that the day was the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of miracles and of lost things. One little jingle goes like this: “St. Anthony, please look around, something is lost and must be found.”

Gosh! Just imagine how many words there must be in all those pictured letters and prayers to St. Anthony.


Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak.


Which two other proper six-letter English words can be made using all the letters of ANGELS?


Imagine that we’re going to rearrange the four letters of LOVE in absolutely any order we want, and list all the possible four-letter rearrangements, even if they don’t make proper words. How many such rearrangements are there altogether?

Extension: How many six-letter rearrangements are possible using all the letters of ANGELS?


A wise man once said, “We are, each of us, angels with only one wing. To fly, we need only embrace each other.”



1. How do angels greet each other?           

They say, “Halo!”

2. Why are angels so patient?

They don’t mind listening when people harp on!


It’s White to move and force checkmate in a mere 3 moves.


ANGELS WORD PUZZLE: ANGELS can be rearranged to make ANGLES or GLEANS.

LOVE MATH PUZZLE: Imagine that we have four slots – – – –

to fill with letters from LOVE. The first slot can be filled from a choice of 4 different ways. After whatever choice we make for the first slot, the second slot can then be filled from a choice of 3 different ways. Next, the third slot can be filled from a choice of 2 different ways. Finally, the fourth slot must be filled with whichever 1 letter still remains. So, the total number of four-letter rearrangements of LOVE is 4x3x2x1, which makes 24 ways in all.

Similarly, the total number of six-letter rearrangements of ANGELS is 6x5x4x3x2x1, which makes 720 ways in all.


The given position occurred in a game Putka vs. Juvis played in Lithuania in 2011.

White forces checkmate with 1 gxf4+ Kg4 2 f3+ Kf5 3 Rf7# or 1…Kf5 2 Kf3! after which Black cannot simultaneously stop the threats of 3 e4# or 3 Rf7#.

Author: Paul A. Motwani

My name is Paul Motwani, but my colleagues, my students and their parents mostly call me "Mr. Mo"! My middle initial, A, stands for Anthony, because I was born on the official feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of miracles and of lost souls. I love teaching Mathematics and Chess, and giving fun-packed talks and shows in schools and clubs. The popular ingredients of Math, Chess, Mystery and Magic are my "Fantastic Four", and I give prizes too! I am an International Chess Grandmaster, and (loooooong ago!) I was the World Under-17 Champion. I am the author of five published chess books and hundreds of newspaper articles. I live with my wonderful wife and son in Belgium. I also love music, movies and puzzles. I blog at My e-mail address is You can find me on Facebook, too.

7 thoughts on “Blog Post #4: Angels”

  1. Lovely site Paul 🙂 May just be the encouragement I need to actually do something with my own!

    Shamefully, I’m doing better with the word and maths puzzles than the chess (!)

    Very Best Wishes

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: