Blog Post #27: Early

Dear Readers,

Your next birthday is never far away, and the time will come when, in Heaven, everyone will be so happy that it will feel like the best birthday celebration ever, every day, forever. In the meantime, I would like to share with you a really fun early surprise for Anja, a friend who is turning 50 in just three days’ time, on 14.12, December 14th.

You may enjoy adapting the surprise for your own friends with different birthdays.

Before we launch in, please do enjoy listening to “Early”, a musical masterpiece by Chicane, via the following link: 4mins 12sec.

A photo, from a holiday together in France 5 years and 8 months ago, of Anja with her husband Erik and daughter Tina.


You may want to have a calculator handy, now, for the following surprise!

Step 1: As 3 is my favourite number, pick any proper three-digit whole number that you like (e.g. 251, or any one you want)

Step 2: Repeat it to make a six-digit number (e.g. 251251)

Step 3: Multiply your six-digit number by 31, the total number of days in December, Anja’s birthday month

Step 4: Multiply your huge new number by 20, the total number of letters in


Step 5: Divide the absolutely enormous number you now have by 7, the total number of letters in


Step 6: Divide the new number you now have by 5, the total number of letters in


Step 7: Divide the new number you now have by 11, the total number of letters in


Step 8: Divide the new number you now have by the three-digit number that you picked back at the start

Step 9: Anja is still young! So, Subtract 200. That is, subtract 50 for each letter in ANJA!

Your final answer is specially to always wish Anja a fabulous birthday on 14.12!!!

With lots of love always xxx

A wonderful recent photo of Anja and her husband Erik.

As it’s now just 2 weeks until Christmas, I’ll finish again with this powerful yet peaceful picture, & a new link: Please enjoy another beautiful music video via the link, 4mins 31sec.

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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