Blog Post #18: Perseverance

Dear Readers,

Some times in our lives can feel particularly challenging, and at such times I often take encouragement from remembering two very good former colleagues who talked about “God’s best”. They rightly believed that, no matter what we do or don’t do and can or can’t do, there are no limits to what God can do, and when we use our free will well and trustingly follow His plan for us, then we sometimes get glimpses of “God’s best” unfolding in our lives.

Though the famous example of Noah faithfully building The Ark happened long ago, associated lessons regarding listening, responding, being faithful and persevering always remain important. A good quote full of hope is: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”–Galatians 6:9.


Rearrange the 18 letters of GOD’S BEST IN A PURE ARK to make the word SUPER and a 13-letter proper English word which is your fun challenge to find!


What did the teacher say to a pair of students who had problems with Math?

“I Noah guy who can help. Then it’ll be plain sailing!”


Imagine that you think of a really king-size whole number containing one million digits!! Let’s call your number K. If you tell me your K, I can then definitely think of two smaller whole numbers (let’s say A and R) so that A^R+R^A=K, where the letters directly after ^ represent exponents. Can you discover my secret method for choosing A and R so that A^R+R^A=K?


One of my chess team-mates in Belgium is a very strong International Master who is really likely to become a Grandmaster in the fairly near future. If he loses a game, he still endeavours afterwards to spot opportunities which might have saved the game–or could perhaps even have won it. Though the specific position above did not actually occur in practice, it is based on ideas from a recent encounter. It is White to play and win. 



The 18 letters of GOD’S BEST IN A PURE ARK rearrange to make SUPER SKATEBOARDING!!


By the way, a young Maths student of mine was designing a skateboard in his free time. The decorative work was time-consuming, but Max persevered with it…

…and several days later the job was completed nicely.


I choose A to be K-1 and R to be 1 (or vice-versa). Then A^R+R^A=(K-1)^1+1^(K-1), and that gives (K-1)+1, which makes a total of K exactly.


White wins beautifully with 1 Rh8+ Kg7 2 R1h7# or 1…Ke7 2 Qxf7+!! Kxf7 3 R1h7#, checkmate.

I will finish this article with another good quote: “Please grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know You, a heart to seek You, wisdom to find You, conduct pleasing to You, faithful perseverance in waiting for You, and a hope of finally embracing You”–St. Thomas Aquinas.

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.

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