Blog Post #68: For Jenny

Dear Readers,

I am dedicating this blog post #68 to my lovely wife, Jenny, who was born in the summer of ’68. I have had the honour of knowing Jenny for slightly more than half of her life, so far, as it’s now 26 years to-the-day since I saw her for the very first time on 27 May 1994.

Happy First Jenny Memory Puzzle!Β 

Without using a calendar or any similar aid, easily figure out yourself what day of the week it was when I first saw Jenny on 27 May 1994 in Edinburgh.

SOLUTIONΒ (being posted on 19 June 2020)

If there were exactly 52 weeks in a year, then any given date would stay on the same day of the week each year. However, since there are 52 weeks and 1 day in any normal year, dates ‘jump forward’ a day each year, or two days forward when February 29 also occurs in-between, during a leap year. There were such 7 occurrences (in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020) in the 26-year period from 27 May 1994 to Wednesday 27 May 2020. So, to calculate the day of the week for 27 May 1994, we just have to jump back by a total of 26+7=33 days. That’s two days short of five weeks, so we’re jumping back not to a Wednesday, but to a FRIDAY.

Cheeky Chess Puzzle!

Though I didn’t play in the 1994 Scottish Chess Championships in Edinburgh, Jenny did come along to see me doing one of my favourite fun, chess-related activities there: giving chess talks with beautiful puzzles and prizes for keen enthusiasts of any age!

Over the years, I have often enjoyed puzzles involving some invisible piece or pawn which needed to be placed perfectly so that, for example, one player could then force checkmate in as few moves as possible.

Today’s chess puzzle (relating to the above diagram) has a sneaky wee twist because we have to imagine which player, White or Black, should let just one of his/her pieces or pawns vanish from the board in order for the same player to then move and force checkmate in as few moves as possible!

Jenny and I have one grown-up son, Michael, but I have only just learned now, today, that Michael was the most popular name, worldwide, for baby boys born in Jenny’s year, 1968 !

Jenny, Michael and I wish you good fun solving the chess and day-of-the-week puzzles given above and, God-willing as always, clear solutions will be published at the time of the next blog post.

CHESS SOLUTION (being posted on 19 June 2020)

The funny thing is that the h-pawn looks rather dangerous…and yet in this case Black is even better off without it because then 1…Rh8 creates the terrible threat of …Rh1#, which White can only stall momentarily by throwing away a knight.

Paul Motwani xxx

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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