Blog Post #37: Iedereen Is Belangrijk

Dear Readers,

Two days ago, despite the icy weather conditions, it was a great pleasure for me to drive to Kortrijk Chess Club, where I met up with several friends whom I hadn’t seen for many years, as well as getting to begin numerous new friendships.

The title of my two chess talks given in Dutch–one for the youth players, and the other for the adults–was ‘Iedereen Is Belangrijk’, which translates to: Everyone Is Important. That truth ought to always be respected in life, and the principle is also helpful regarding chess pieces, because it reminds a player that his or her army of all pieces and pawns needs to work well together, as a team, in order to bring good results. That was the seemingly simple yet crucial theme of the talks, and I thoroughly enjoyed more than 4 hours with the players because they were all extremely nice and responded very positively to our evening together.


Assume that the only pieces remaining on the board are the ones that we can actually see in the photo.

  1. Who is to move; is it Black, or is it White?
  2. How can the other player force a quick win?


Assume that the only pieces remaining on the board are the ones that we can actually see on the right, near side of the photo, plus a white rook on d1 and king on e1.

  1. Who is to move; is it Black, or is it White?
  2. How can the other player force a quick checkmate?

Special thanks to Mark Dechamps, the gentleman who initially contacted me via my website e-mail to invite me to Kortrijk Chess Club. Mark is pictured on the left of the first of the following photos.

The youth players were wonderfully keen!

…though someone did sneakily shift the two kings on the demonstration board!!

It was great to make new friends, and to meet friends from years ago. Koen Merchiers (in the red sweater) and I last saw each other around 37 years ago! We got back in touch just in time for this Blog Post #37 !!

Mark Dechamps has very kindly provided the following information about Pairfx, a chess goody that he himself created and offers absolutely freely to anyone.

“Pairfx is a free (and open source) chess pairing software specialized in running youth tournaments in schools and chess clubs.”

“Pairfx supports so-called ‘run through’ tournaments. This is a special kind of pairing system where players can come and go as they like.”

“The ranking is percentage-based, so not all players need to play the same amount of games (and with young players this can differ a lot).”

“So, from the moment a few players are done playing, you can immediately let them play each other again, and Pairfx will make the best possible pairing.”

“Installation is really simple (just unzip), and Pairfx was designed with simplicity in mind.”

Free Download:

For more info:

or contact the author directly:


  1. Among the years A.D. since Jesus came to us in person, which particular year ending with the digits 99, at the very end of a certain century, was a number that is an exact whole multiple of 37?
  2. Now thinking of years ending with the digits 01, early in a century, when will there be such a year which is also an exact whole multiple of 37?



As White’s king on c1 is in check from the black queen on c3, it’s definitely White to move.

Black wins, though, after 1 Kb1 Qc2+ 2 Ka1 Qc1# or 1 Kd1 Qc2+ 2 Kxe1 Qc1+, a deadly skewering check which wins White’s unprotected queen on h1.


As Black’s king on f8 is in check from the white queen on d6, it’s definitely Black to move.

White wins, though, after 1…Ne7 2 Qd8# or 1…Qe7 2 Qxe7+! Nxe7 3 Rd8# or 1…Ke8 2 Nxg7+! Qxg7 3 Qd8#, protected by the white rook that we were told is on d1.


  1. As 3×37=111, we can realise that 9x3x37 (or 27×37)=999, a year number right at the end of the 10th century A.D.
  2. The future year 3700 A.D. is clearly a whole multiple of 37. We already know that 999 is, too. Therefore, the difference 3700-999=2701 provides us with a good solution. (For completeness, 2701=73×37.)

I will conclude today’s post with this powerful quote from Pope Francis, which should never be forgotten or ignored: “With God, nothing is lost; but without Him, everything is lost. I would like to say to anyone who feels far away from God and the Church, to anyone who is timid or indifferent, to those who think they can no longer change: the Lord calls you, too, to become part of His people, and He does this with great respect and love! He invites us to be part of this people, the people of God!”


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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