Blog Post #67: For Princess Pilu & Super-Boy Steven!

Dear Readers,

The photo just below is one of the most beautiful that I have seen in a long time! It was posted on Facebook earlier this month by the mother (pictured on the left) of the lovely Spanish girl (a former student of mine) who turned 16 on that day.

Let’s enjoy a fun, wee dose of ‘Magic Math’ in honour of Princess Pilu!

Start with 11, the total number of letters in BIRTHDAY JOY.

Multiply by 16, for Pilu’s recent birthday.

Divide by a happy hundred, 100.

If you now multiply by a very particular whole number, the result will show Pilu’s birthday (day and month) in the form D.04 where D is the day number and 04 is for April, of course.

The ‘mystery multiplier’ number that we need happens to match the move number at the moment in a game of chess shown in the next photo!

Admittedly, there could be different answers to that one, but experienced chess fans would generally quite rightly count move number 4, going just by what’s clearly visible in the chess position.

The initial moves actually were:

1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 d6 3 f4 Nc6 4 Nf3 in a game played (as White) by Super-Boy Steven, a Belgian Math student of mine, against a good online chess program the day after Pilu’s birthday!

Well, hopefully the whole story is clear now!

11 x 16/100 x 4=7.04; Princess Pilu’s birthday is April 7th.

Super-Boy Steven won the chess game on April 8th, and later that day his father enjoyed playing over the moves!

Wishing you, dear readers, happy, peaceful, puzzle-filled dreams…

Paul Motwani xxx

P.S. Don’t let this keep you awake during the night…but do have fun finding a way in which White (to move) can force checkmate in just 2 moves from the given position…

I’ll let you know Super-Boy Steven’s solution with the next post…

Writing again now, on 27 May 2020, I can confirm for you that, as expected, Super-Boy Steven did indeed find the solution 1 Qa1! which severely restricts the possible movements of Black’s king and intends 1…Kc5 2 Qe5# or 1…c5 2 Qa4#.

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.

2 thoughts on “Blog Post #67: For Princess Pilu & Super-Boy Steven!”

  1. Hi Mr.Motwani, this is Pilu!!! It was sooo nice hearing from you. Thank you very much for sharing these great math activities to entertain us all!
    Hope everything is well, with best regards, Pilu

    Liked by 1 person

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