Blog Post #85: Orchestral Feeling

Dear Readers,

Three of my dear colleagues at the beautiful Musica Mundi School (where I work as the Mathematics teacher) are Peter (the House Father), Annabel (the House Mother) and Jacques Rouvier, one of the great Music instructors.

The ‘Orchestral Feeling’ title of this article was inspired partly by the wonderful way in which the entire adult team at the school cares so well for all the students. It is also a tribute to this heartening, energizing belief of Jacques and many others: If you do what you do with real, true feeling from your mind, heart and soul, then the voice and emotion behind all that you wish to express can impact and move others as if you were speaking with the power of a full orchestra.

For example, though a musical artist’s training may include special focus on one or two particular instruments, an artist who really understands that there is the potential to use any good instrument to communicate a moving story of great human value can succeed in doing so, while touching the lives of many other people in a long-lasting way.

Jacques feels particularly strong admiration for Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), the world-famous German composer and pianist who suffered increasingly from deafness in the last three decades of his life. Beethoven certainly did not let that stop himself. Jacques expressed emotions about Beethoven with these unforgettable words: “I believe that he must have suffered very much, but I think that he took his pain and did something special with it. I feel it in his music. For me, he is probably the most ‘human’ composer.”

Our individual talents may or may not be directly related to Music, but we can be sure that God means for them all to be used to benefit other people, too.

Whenever I see Jacques, Annabel and Peter, I see three really good and kind people with many other great qualities as well. I also see JAPAN, the country that Jacques will soon have visited 72 times (after his very next visit)!

Now, let me tell you that Jacques’ favourite number is the prime number, 7.

That’s one of the reasons why, in honour of 74-year-old Jacques, I’m including the following link to a 74-second chess video which culminates in a pretty checkmate at move number 7 !

It’s time for more numbers now! Peter’s and Annabel’s favourite numbers are both two-digit prime numbers, and are both smaller than 20.

Let J=7, P=Peter’s prime number and A=Annabel’s prime number.

Then J x P – A = 72.

Your fun Maths puzzle is to now figure out the exact values of P & A, Peter’s and Annabel’s best-loved numbers!

Some of my colleagues, my students and other readers will hopefully enjoy solving that wee puzzle, and so I’ll wait a day or two before posting the solution.

In the meantime, I’ll conclude with this happy thought…Some day, I would love to go out with Jacques, Annabel, Peter and lots of other good friends to have a LENGTHIER ALFRESCO dinner chat together.

I feel boldly optimistic about it, and not only because the highlighted words make ORCHESTRAL FEELINGΒ !

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend now,

Paul Motwani xxx


Quite a lot of people know that my pet number is 3, my house number is 11, and I hope to be turning 59 in June. What is the value of the product

3 x 11 x 59 ?

Answer: It’s 1947 in honour of the year when Jacques was born!


Joke: Why would Peter never start his surname with a P followed by ANnabel’s first two letters (=the middle letters of LAND)!?

Answer: He’d be Peter PAN from Neverland!

P.S.=Puzzle Solution! (being posted now on 30 January 2021)

We were given that J x P – A = 72, where J=7 and P & A are both two-digit prime numbers smaller than 20.

The unique solution which fits the requirements is this: 7 x 13 – 19 = 72.

The respective favourite numbers of Jacques, Peter and Annabel are:

7, 13 and 19.

It was such a pleasure to do this article that I’m now going to feature Jacques, Peter and Annabel all starring again in Blog Post #86 !

Have fun reading that one, too 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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