Blog Post #108: Thinking of You

Dear Readers,

On every day when I’m at Musica Mundi School, I get to see dozens of lovely people there and, whether everyone knows it or not, God is always thinking about all of them, and indeed about you, me and every person whom He created.

Today, I would like to wish a really happy birthday to Anthony, the son of Tim who was one of my closest chess friends. I think of Tim very often, and yet I got a surprising memory of Tim a few days ago when, in a game of chess at lunchtime, Wout Callens (one of the youngest students at Musica Mundi School) played the rare Ponziani Opening 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 c3, which was a great favourite with Tim throughout most of his life.

A couple of nice photos follow here:-

TimothΓ©e, Steven and Wout, three young and super-keen chess enthusiasts!
Wout and Paul during one of their fun chess games!

In two days’ time, it will be the birthday of (at least) three lovely young ladies whom I know. I am thinking of Tim’s daughter, Zoe, and I’m also thinking of Damla (a Turkish student of the school), and Princess G. (the daughter of a colleague of mine) whose birthday is on Sunday, too. I would like to wish a super-happy birthday to all.

For Anthony, Zoe, Damla and Princess G. this weekend,
and also for Barbara whose birthday is coming on Monday.

It’s time now to offer you a creative puzzle in which you can discover the two-digit new age, AB, of Princess G. this Sunday, AND you can also discover the two-digit total number of moves, CD, in the chess game with Wout that finished (and this is no joke now!) at precisely AB:CD (in 24-hour clock time), a while after dinner at the school last night!

How can you determine the mystery four-digit number ABCD that will give you Princess G’s new age, AB, as well as the number of moves, CD, from the chess game with Wout!? Here is the way… Start with the number 1. Double it. Double again, and again, and again… When you reckon you’ve gone high enough, simply subtract 1 to arrive at the correct four-digit number ABCD. That’s it!!

As usual, I intend to publish a complete solution by the time of the next blog post, or before. In the meantime, I now offer a bonus word puzzle in honour of a friend in Paris. Think of a biblical word that means ‘bread of Heaven’. Remove the first letter…and you’ll have the lady’s name!

Congratulations for thinking of MANNA – M to find ANNA!

I would like to round off this article by wishing everyone a wonderful, happy weekend now.

With kindest wishes as always,

Paul Motwani xxx

Maths Puzzle Solution (being posted now on 8.10.2021)

If we start at 1 and keep doubling, it doesn’t take long before we get to …512 then 1024 and 2048. Subtracting 1 from the last of those gives 2047, matching the late evening 24-hour clock time of 20:47 when the chess game finished. That’s the only solution which fits properly with the information that was given from the true story! So, now we know that Princess G. turned 20, and the chess game with Wout lasted a very good 47 moves.

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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