Blog Post #98: Fabulous Friday Fun For A Fantastic Four!

Dear Readers,

Get ready to laugh or be surprised, or do both!

When I tried to emulate my wife in preparing a popular combination of goulash and savory roulade, she employed a regular formula to breeze round little cook using angular momentum!

That 30-word sentence honestly contains more than a grain of truth in it!

I do admit, though, that it was also meant to be the first of some sneaky surprises for Hoi Yuet (turning 12 not on the 12th today, but on the 21st in 21 – 12 days’ time!) AND especially for another outstanding Musica Mundi School student named Krzysztof who yesterday, on the 11th, turned 11 + 7 years old. I say his new age like that because Krzysztof’s favourite number is 7 (and that may be partly because he’s 7 years younger than his lovely sister Ula). At the school, Krzysztof is renowned for speaking numerous languages really fluently.

Special congratulations for spotting some or all of these sneaky details:-

  1. 12 for Hoi Yuet + 11 + 7 for Krzysztof = 30, the word-count back in the 2nd sentence.
  2. The longest word of that sentence contained 11 letters, because Hoi Yuet and her 11-year-old friend & room-mate, Sophie, make a super combination!
  3. The long sentence included precisely seven 7-letter words, and they all contained the letters of ULA!

Let’s now have some beautiful photos of our ‘Fantastic Four’ before further Friday fun follows!

4. A bonus: particular congratulations for noting now that ´particular` and ´congratulations` both also contain Ula, and they have a total of 25 letters to nicely match her current age: 25 = 7 + Krzysztof’s 18.

5. Krzysztof’s 18 is uniquely special because it’s the only positive whole number that equals twice the sum of its own digits: (1 + 8) x 2 = 18.

6. Here in Blog Post #98, let’s imagine fast-forwarding 8 years & 9 days to 21 March 2029, Hoi Yuet’s 20th birthday !! The respective ages then of our ‘Fantastic Four’ would be 19 for Sophie, 20 for Hoi Yuet, 26 for Krzysztof and 33 for Ula. 19 + 20 + 26 + 33 = 98.

7. Twice the square of Krzysztof’s favourite 7 is 7 x 7 x 2 = 98.



  1. In honour of the three female heroes, Sophie, Hoi Yuet, and Ula, start with the three-digit number 111.
  2. Square it to get 111 x 111 = 12321, nice for 12.3.21 today!


  1. Start with 2003, the year when Krzysztof was born.
  2. As Krzysztof’s birthday is in March, let’s multiply by 3 to get 2003 x 3 = 6009.
  3. As this is Part II, let’s subtract 2 to get 6009 – 2 = 6007, and Krzysztof should be happy to see that dashing 007 detail!
  4. To crown it all, multiply by Krzysztof’s 2003 year to get 2003 x 6007 = 12032021, perfect for 12.03.2021 today!


To conclude this fun adventure with the ‘Fantastic Four’, let’s enjoy an elegant chess puzzle in which it’s Black to play and force checkmate within 4 moves. A nice additional detail is that it actually occurred in a real game played in Queenstown, New Zealand, on another palindromic date, 21.1.12, exactly 2 months before Hoi Yuet went from being 2 to 3 !

Black forces checkmate via 1…Nh4+! 2 gxh4 (instead, if White’s king retreats to g1 or to h1, then 2…Re1# follows directly, and the alternative variation 2 Kf1 Qh3+ 3 Kg1 Re1# is very similar) 2…Qg4+ 3 Kf1 Qh3+ 4 Kg1 Re1#, and that’s that!

Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful, happy weekend now,

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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