Blog Post #115: Happy Birthday Surprises for Timothée 😊

Dear Readers,

This is the perfect day to post nice surprises for Timothée (a brilliant young pianist at Musica Mundi School) because it’s his birthday, he’s a keen chess fan, and today marks the start of the World Chess Championship between Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, the reigning champion, and his Russian challenger, Ian Nepomniachtchi. I can confirm that the first game (in progress right now) is already very exciting!

Where is the championship being held? I’ll answer that in the form of a wee puzzle/joke ! 😊

_ _ _ _ _ YOUR TICKETS TO _ _ _ _ _ !

The five ‘blanks’ at the end are for the name of the place, while the two + three ‘blanks’ at the start together sound practically the same as the place name, and we’ll get a proper six-word sentence!

Knowing where the Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi really is being held, my answer is: DO BUY YOUR TICKETS TO DUBAI ! 😊

Timothée and I always enjoy discussing a good game of chess 😊

Timothée and other chess enthusiasts can enjoy solving the following special double puzzle…

In Part 1: It’s White to play and force checkmate in 5 moves. In Part 2: Leave the black bishop on d2, but remove ALL of Black’s other pieces and pawns EXCEPT for the ones along the a-file. Now give Black just one new piece on a new square so that right after you place it there, it will be Black to move and deliver immediate checkmate!

Timothée is so quick-thinking that I’m almost sure he’ll figure out the solutions at lightning speed!

By the way, if you could write down young Timothée’s age on his birthday NEXT YEAR and then add on the ages he’ll be for several consecutive years after that, you could get a total sum of exactly 100. Your fun brainteaser is to figure out Timothée’s age on his birthday now today 😊.

I would like to round off by wishing Timothée and everyone a wonderful, happy day and a lovely weekend too.

With kindest wishes as always,

Paul M😊twani xxx

P.S. = Puzzle Solutions

Chess Part 1: 1 Rxa6+! Bxa6 2 b7+ Bxb7 (or 2…Ka7 3 b8=Q#) 3 Ra1+ Ba5 4 Rxa5+ Ba6 5 Rxa6#, checkmate!

Chess Part 2: Give Black a knight on g1 so that he can play 1…Nh3#, a beautiful checkmate! 😊

Fun Birthday Brainteaser: Timothée is 17 today.


I wish Timothée a 100% joyful birthday 😊.


Q: Why do two pianists have such a good friendship?

A: Because they are always in a chord!

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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