Blog Post #33: Moments In Time

Dear Readers,

In the same way that many good people have taught me, I also encourage others to really treasure, and use well, the time that God gives us. I sometimes say, a bit wittily yet completely sincerely at the same time, “Please treasure every moment…and Mo meant it!” As it’s been 11 days since my previous blog post, and since my favourite number is 3, it’s now time for Blog Post #33=11×3.

During the 33 years that Jesus was on Earth, only some people realised that what He was offering was not only for some people then; His gift is still for everyone–you and me included–who will simply recognise and humbly accept it now.

Since time passes–not just whole years of it, but decades, centuries and entire millennia–all going by so quickly, no-one should delay in deciding, while still in time now, to believe in and gratefully accept God’s greatest gift, which we’ll soon be able to enjoy in Heaven, forever.


Assume that the dozen adults on the left of the picture (including me in the dark blue shirt) are all the same age. To calculate their total age at that time, add up all the forty-eight numbers on the clock shown, then subtract 12, and double what you get. After doing that, your further fun challenge is to figure out how much older I was in the photo on the right of the picture, where my students and their parents had arranged a lovely, surprise party for me turning 3 x 17 !!


Mrs. Jo Taylor is one of many wonderful former colleagues of mine. She was on my immediate left, standing behind me, when the photo, above left, was taken.

Suppose that A=1, B=2, C=3, and so on. Which three letters in JO TAYLOR have a total value of 50 and also spell out a proper three-letter English word? Keep J as one of the letters.

What is the total value of the five letters that are not kept for the three-letter word? A single O is one of them.


Q: What did the second hand say to the hour hand of a clock?

A: See you again in about a minute!

(For mathematical interest, I calculated today that, if the second hand and the hour hand of a clock are together at one moment, they will next be together again after exactly 43200/719 seconds, which approximates to 60.08344924 seconds or 1 minute and 0.08344924 seconds.)


It’s White to move and force checkmate in only 33÷11 moves!



The total of the forty-eight numbers on the special clock in the photo that was given is

4 x (1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10+11+12), which comes to 312. Subtracting 12 and then doubling gives 600, the total age of the 12 adults. The age of each adult was 600÷12=50 years. Later, on the right of the photo that was given, I was celebrating turning 3 x 17=51 years. So, I was of course 1 year older than when I was 50.


The required three-letter word is JOY, in which J+O+Y has a total value of 10+15+25=50.

The total of the five letters in JO TAYLOR that were not used is T+A+L+O+R, which gives 20+1+12+15+18=66, and makes me think of the time when Jo and I were both 33 but weren’t yet colleagues at the same school, and hadn’t even met yet!


White checkmates in a mere 3 moves with 1 Ng6+ Kh7 2 Nf8+ Kh8 3 Bd4#.

To finish, please enjoy via the link below a beautiful piece of guitar music lasting only 323 seconds.

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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