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 paulmotwani.com. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find me on Facebook, too.
Given that my wife, Jenny, and my son, Michael, and I all love good films, I offer you the following fun puzzle…
Remove just one particular letter from FUN FILMS and then rearrange the remaining 7 letters to make a proper 7-letter English word. There is only one, unique solution, but I’m confident that you’re going to find it!
This past Monday, during lunchtime at Musica Mundi School, Michail (a Bulgarian student) and I laughed as he put a chunky chocolate muffin on his tray when I told him that I had solved a Maths puzzle involving muffins earlier that very same day!
My brand-new, fun puzzle for you (still based on the data in the above picture, though) is this: Imagine emptying the left and right pans of a balance scale, and then putting only bananas in the left pan, and only muffins in the right pan. How many bananas and how many muffins should be used so that the scale will be perfectly balanced? (Assume that the pans are large enough to accommodate all the goodies that are needed to do the job!!)
It’s possible to figure out the smallest number of bananas and muffins that will be required without even calculating their actual masses!
I’m always really pleased when students, colleagues, and other readers enjoy the puzzles and happily send me their best solutions, so please do feel free!
I hope you figure out the muffins like Michail…otherwise you might go bananas!!!😊😊😊
It’s my intention to give answers in a Part II sequel to this post ♥
but before I sign off today, I would like to share a neat chess puzzle with you…
With kindest wishes as always,
Paul M😊twani ♥
Corinthians 16:14 “Do everything in love.”
As another extra bonus, replace the letters FF in MUFFINS with CIA, and then rearrange the resulting 8 letters to make a proper 8-letter English word.
The beautiful Musica Mundi School in Waterloo, Belgium (where I work as the Mathematics teacher) has been blessed now with many lovely new students and staff members as the school begins its fifth year, so far. As every person in the whole school family tries to give the very best of himself/herself, we can all learn so many good things from each other. With that thought in mind, I believe that, in a special sense, every person at Musica Mundi School can say honestly, “I teach at MMS!” (with regard to himself/herself personally). What makes that all the more beautiful for me is that it can be rearranged to make “Mathematics!”
I made that delightful discovery just earlier this year, around the time when I turned 60 in June. Only yesterday, though, God gave me a fresh gift which is similar in a way to the “Mathematics!” one, but is even much more important…
Thinking back more than 40 years to my high-school days in Dundee, Scotland, one of my jolly friends there was nicknamed ‘Happy’, and that’s exactly how he has always been to me and, I believe, to everyone who knows him. I received a very kind message from ‘Happy’ last month when I turned 60, and he sent another lovely message to wish Jenny and myself a happy 27th wedding anniversary yesterday ♥😊😊♥
One of my favourite, beautiful word facts is that I was born makes rainbows, and now I like to think of S.M.I.L.E.S. as standing for Sixty May I Love Everyone Sincerely. A couple of my favourite sayings are, “If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours” and “Your smile is a signature of God on your face.”
Smiles could be seen everywhere at Musica Mundi School last week, as the leaders, teachers, staff, students, parents and many other dedicated supporters helped the school to complete its fourth wonderful year, so far.
I have a fresh puzzle for you, inspired by the nice photo below…
Imagine that the four of us in the photo are thinking of positive whole numbers with the following special properties:-
The two ladies are thinking of the same number as each other;
the student is thinking of the largest number of any of us;
my number is the exact average (or ‘arithmetic mean’) of all of our numbers;
and now the most revealing, key fact: the sum obtained by adding up the four numbers exactly equals the product obtained by multiplying the four numbers together!
Your fun challenge is to figure out exactly what numbers each of the four of us must be thinking of to fit the wee ‘Maths st😊ry’.
The magical photo below by Erika Sziva encourages good, deep thinking…
In between my 60th birthday and 27th wedding anniversary, Jenny and I went for a weekend to celebrate with friends living in a Dutch village with the perfect name: it’s called Best! Our dear friends there are literally NEAR, as their names are Nico, Erika, Alex & Robert 😊😊😊😊
Nico gave me a T-shirt with some amazingly creative mathematical expressions printed on it!
Robert and Erika’s sites are a treasure trove for chess boards, pieces, books, computers, software and delightful gift items such as chess socks, T-shirts, ties, cufflinks, pin badges, bracelets, keyrings and USB storage in the form of a chess king. You’ll also find some goodies relating to the game of draughts. Robert (an IT expert) & Erika (a WGM=Woman Chess Grandmaster) are renowned for their very fast, efficient and friendly service.
Let’s round off this article with a lovely chess puzzle.
The most important thing I have learned in my life is that God loves us all.
I wish you a very happy day now.
Paul M😊twani ♥ xxx
P.S. = Puzzle Solutions
In the number puzzle, 1 + 1 + 2 + 4 = 8 = 1 x 1 x 2 x 4.
The ladies thought of 1; the student thought of 4; I thought of 2.
In the chess puzzle, white’s invisible knight is NOT on c5, because then checkmate could be forced too quickly with 1 Qe6+ Ke8 2 Qg8#;
rather, the invisible knight is on g7, which leads to
My wife, Jenny, and I look forward to celebrating our wedding anniversary number 33 next month and, before then, in just 3 days from now, Jenny is due to have her birthday number 33 x 2. Here are 3 of ‘my Queen’s’ favourite photos from the past few days…
Here in Blog Post #128 on my 60th birthday, I would like to include a wee puzzle involving the number 128, also because H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth II has now been the wonderful queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for a remarkable 70 years & 128 days, so far!
The numbers puzzle is this: use 1, 2 and 8 just once each in a calculation that results in the number 128. You can freely use any of +, -, x, ÷, parentheses ( ), and exponents wherever you wish.
As the Queen is the most powerful piece in a game of chess, let’s have a beautiful chess puzzle in which it’s White to play and force a win in just 3 moves, and White’s queen plays a stunning role…
Today at Musica Mundi School where I work, three of the graduating senior students gave fascinating presentations detailing the tremendous research that they had done as part of the very high-level Musica Mundi School Diploma. Warm congratulations to all of them, and to the further four students who will present tomorrow morning.
With kindest wishes as always,
Paul M😊twani xxx ♥
P.S. = Puzzle Solutions!
2(8-1)=128 in the numbers puzzle.
In the chess puzzle, White wins with 1. Ne6+!! because of 1…fxe6 2 Qf8# or 1…K retreats 2. Qb8+ or 1…Qxe6 2 Qh6+!! intending 2…Kg8 3 Qf8# or 2…Kxh6 3 Bf8#, a lovely finish ♥😊♥.
In some ways, this particular article is one of the most unusual and special ones that I have ever had the pleasure of writing 😊! As I’m due to turn 60 on June 13, and my blog site here should have its 5th anniversary the day before then, I had originally thought that I might write something to celebrate those two occasions together. However, tonight I suddenly realised that a lovely lady whom I’ve never met will be 33 later this year on a date that is so unique that it deserves to be celebrated here, several months in advance!! You see, I always endeavour to live in this way: if something good can be done right now, I like to do it without delay, because I never assume that the chance will definitely come again later.
SUPER-FUN BRAINTEASER ABOUT ANUURAI’S BIRTHDAY ♥😊♥
I will tell you that Anuurai’s birthday occurs A days before 31 December.
Also, Anuurai’s birthday actually occurs well before December!
The number of days from 31 December 2022 until Anuurai’s birthday next year is A x S, where S is a secret whole number that I am thinking of.
Believe it or not, you now have sufficient information given above to be able to figure out Anuurai’s exact date of birth, and the secret number S that I am also thinking of 😊!
I wish you lots of enjoyment with the fun brainteaser about Anuurai, and I intend to publish the solution before I turn 60 !! (Though I could publish a solution right now, in this special instance I have decided to wait a wee bit for people who’d like to try the puzzle without risking seeing any answers too soon down below.)
With very best wishes as always,
Paul M😊twani ♥
P.S. My wife, Jenny, and my son, Michael, and I would all like to wish a really happy birthday to Andrée, a good friend of ours who’s turned 5 x 9 + 5 + 9 = 59 today ♥😊♥
B😊NUS PERS😊NALW😊RD PUZZLE
Rearrange the letters of ANDREE to make a proper six-letter English word.
Congratulations in advance for finding a solution.
If you find two solutions, then you surely deserve an extra-large piece of the cake!
Finding three solutions would equal the world record!!!
It’s my intention to post answers to Anuurai’s birthday brainteaser and Andrée’s word puzzle together, before my 60th birthday 😊
It’s now 13 June 2022 and I have turned 60, very happily 😊
One of the special treats that Jenny and I loved was seeing Andrée during the past weekend. Andrée has a gift for finding good words, and so she would spot quickly that ANDREE can rearrange to ENDEAR or EARNED or NEARED.
It was also a lovely surprise to hear from Anuurai today 😊
Congratulations to all readers who figured out that Anuurai was born on 19 October 1989. Her October 19 birthday is 73 days before 31 December, and 31 December is 4 x 73 = 292 days before the next 19 October (when there’s no leap year 29 February in between). This puzzle made good use of the fact that the normal whole number of days in a complete year is 365 = 5 x 73.
I would like to begin by offering, with most sincere sympathy, kind thoughts and prayers for Rooney, a friend whose sister, Gina, passed on a couple of days ago. I know (from similar personal experiences involving loved ones) that God can grant us gentle comfort through positive, happy memories of the precious times shared with people so close to us. I also believe that we will meet again later in a perfect place that God has prepared for us.
Knowing the lovely tradition of dedicating the month of May to Our Lady, Mary, this is a perfect time to recall the following prayer:
My family and I would like to wish everyone a very happy Easter and, particularly for young Super Sigurd, a really happy birthday today, too ♥
Vilja, Ask-Johannes and Sigurd all love puzzles, and today we’ve got a full feast for them ♥
SUPER Word Puzzle!
‘SUPER’ is quite a special word because if we repeat any one of its five letters, we can, in each case, rearrange the resulting letters to make proper six-letter English words.
For example, SUPERR can be rearranged to make PURSER.
Your fun word puzzle is to rearrange each of
to make proper six-letter English words.
SUPER Number Puzzles!!
The number puzzles will involve a special focus on the decimal number 14.4, in honour of Super Sigurd’s birthday on 14 April today ♥
Let’s also quickly check, here in Blog Post #125, that everyone is comfortable with the mathematical meanings of ‘cube root’ and ‘square root’.
The square root of 25 is 5 because 5 x 5 = 25.
The cube root of 125 is 5 because 5 x 5 x 5 = 125.
I am now thinking of a specific whole number, N. It’s the day number in November of Vilja’s birthday. It’s also the age that Ask-Johannes will be on his birthday this year. Remarkably, the cube root of (14.4 x N) is a whole number. Exactly what number is N ?
2. I am now thinking of another specific whole number, S. It’s the last two digits of the year in which Super Sigurd was born. Remarkably, the square root of (14.4 x S) is the new age that Sigurd is on his birthday today! Exactly what number is S ?
SUPER Chess Puzzle!
As Sigurd’s favourite number is 4, enjoy solving the following chess puzzle in which it’s White to play and force checkmate in 4 moves.
I will round off by again wishing everyone a very happy Easter ♥♥♥
With kindest wishes as always,
Paul Motwani xxx
P.S. = Puzzle Solutions!
SUPERP→SUPPER or UPPERS
SUPERE→PERUSE, PUREES or RUPEES
N = 15. Then 14.4 x N = 14.4 x 15 = 216, and the cube root is the whole number 6 because 6 x 6 x 6 = 216.
S = 10. Then 14.4 x S = 14.4 x 10 = 144, and the square root is the whole number 12 because 12 x 12 = 144. Super Sigurd was born on 14.4.2010 and is now 12 today. Happy birthday again, dear Sigurd ♥
In the chess puzzle, White forces mate with 1 Rxe8+ Kh7 2 h5! gxh5 3 g6+ Kh6 4 Rh8#.
If Black instead promotes either the c-pawn or the d-pawn at move 2 in the line given above, then White responds with 3 hxg6#, checkmate!
I wanted to share a couple of Bible verses which are short yet remain always extremely important and helpful.
During her life on Earth, my mother’s many very precious gifts to me included two books about Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997), who was canonised as St. Teresa of Calcutta in 2016. The following image is one of my absolute favourites.
For me, the peacefulness and beauty that I also find in puzzles featuring Chess, Mathematics or gentle words, for example, make them all interesting and appealing, too.
A GOOD WORD PUZZLE
From the word GENTLE, remove two letters which are a standard abbreviation for ‘for example’. Use the remaining four letters to make a proper 4-letter English word which is timely now.
A BEAUTIFUL NUMBERS PUZZLE
To celebrate the birthday today of Natasha, a friend of mine, I offer this puzzle here in Blog Post #124: If I calculate the sum of Natasha’s new age now and her age n years ago, then multiply by n, the final result is 124.
What is Natasha’s age now, and what is the value of the whole number n?
A WONDERFUL CHESS PUZZLE FROM AUSTRIA ♥
A FUN MIND-READING PUZZLE!!
I am imagining five Queen Anne’s…
Which particular one holds the key to where the Musica Mundi School leaders and students have gone on a 4-day school trip?
Wishing everyone more peace and love,
Paul Motwani xxx
P.S. = Puzzle Solutions!
Remove e.g. from ‘gentle’ and rearrange the remaining letters to make LENT.
n=2. Two years ago, Natasha was 30; today she’s 32. The unique solution is (32 + 30) x 2 = 124.
The main line of the chess puzzle goes 1 Re3 b2 2 Bf5 gxf5 3 Rb5 Rxb5 4 Re6!! fxe6 5 g6 e1=Q 6 g7+ Kh7 7 g8=Q+Kh6 8 Qg7#, checkmate!
If Anne IV turns around, we see that she’s in VIENNA! ♥
If I didn’t actually know the name of the remarkable boy in the photo below, then I might need a very large dose of luck to guess his name correctly, or I might just need to ask! A funny thing is that, if you simply remove the repeated letters in LUCK ASK, you’ll find the nice name directly ♥
Exactly two weeks ago, Lucas (the son of Laetitia, one of the great chefs at Musica Mundi School) came up to me at lunchtime to specially tell me that he loves Maths ♥
Every day since then, I have been pondering many ideas for creating a unique puzzle in honour of Lucas…and here today the wish is happily coming true 😊
The puzzle goes like this…I am thinking of three different one-digit whole numbers which are not all odd! The smallest one is Lucas’ favourite number; the largest one is Lucas’ age; the other number is one that I have a close bond with.
If I multiply the three numbers together, the result is a three-digit palindromic number which reads the same from left to right or from right to left.
Your fun challenge is to figure out Lucas’ age, his favourite number, and my mystery number!
I intend to publish the answers within a couple of weeks from now, and in the meantime I wish you lots of happiness in all that you do ♥
With kindest wishes as always,
Paul M😊twani xxx
P.S. = Puzzle Solution!
Lucas is 9, his favourite number is 4, and my mystery number was 7.