Blog Post #104: What A Wonderful School!

Dear Readers,

Within the past few days, lots of people from numerous countries were captivated yet again by wonderful concerts seen live inside the Bach Concert Hall at Musica Mundi School, Waterloo, Belgium, or enjoyed online via top-quality broadcasts. My personal appreciation of the beauty of music, and its profound power to touch and heal, continues to grow.

Vibrations, Heart, Joy & Life
4 of the key words expressed most frequently by patients and other people
helped by renowned cello teacher Claire Oppert, author of ‘Le Pansement Schubert’

I am especially grateful to Leonid Kerbel and Hagit Hassid-Kerbel, Musica Mundi School’s founders, who hired me three years ago to be the Mathematics teacher in their magical environment.

Leonid Kerbel & Hagit Hassid-Kerbel
Continue reading “Blog Post #104: What A Wonderful School!”

Blog Post #103: Early Happy Birthday Wishes for Max…and for me!!

Dear Readers,

Yesterday, I said to Max, “Have a wonderful, happy birthday in a week’s time!”, and tomorrow Max could say exactly the same to me!

Max, a great student at my previous school.

OK, so you already know that Max and I both have June birthdays, with Max’s on the 11th, and mine on the 13th. Let’s enjoy a wee dose of fun with those numbers and more…

Continue reading “Blog Post #103: Early Happy Birthday Wishes for Max…and for me!!”

Blog Post #101: Super Sigurd advances from 10 to 11 !

Dear Friends,

All the posts are free for everyone to enjoy, and today’s one is specially dedicated to Super Sigurd, the youngest of three children in a lovely Norwegian family with whom I often had the pleasure of doing fun Maths and Chess.

Happy memories with dear friends four years ago

Sigurd is turning 11 today, and so we have lots of nice, sneaky surprises…!

Happy Birthday, Sigurd!

It’s Wednesday, and W is the 23rd letter of the English alphabet. So, let’s start with the number 23.

Multiply by 19, because S (for Super Sigurd!) is the 19th letter of the alphabet.

Multiply by my favourite number, 3.

To crown this surprise, multiply by 11, Sigurd’s new age.

The result of 14421 is to wish Sigurd an unforgettable, happy birthday on 14.4.21=today !

Also, 14421 ÷ 11 = 1311,

like saying to Sigurd, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY (13 letters), 11 !”

Furthermore, it’s fun to note that, by changing just one digit, we have two ways of turning 1311 into a pretty palindrome…

Either change it to 1331, which equals 11 x 11 x 11

OR change it to 1111, which equals this blog post number times Sigurd’s new age: 101 x 11 = 1111.

It’s time now for Sigurd’s birthday chess puzzle…

Where exactly is White’s invisible queen if it’s White to play and force checkmate in two moves!?

Before revealing the chess solution, here’s a simple-looking yet rather enjoyable wee ‘word sum’ to increase the fun today…!

In ONE + ONE = TWO, each different letter stands for a different digit and each same letter stands for the same digit. The general digit options are 0-9, but neither O nor T can be 0 because ONE and TWO stand for proper three-digit numbers.

Your double fun challenge is to figure out the minimum possible value of ONE + ONE and also the maximum possible value of ONE + ONE if it equals TWO !

That’s a beautiful one + one for Sigurd’s 11th birthday, and yet it’s just a tiny illustration showing that, in Maths and everything created by God, there’s a limitless universe of surprises infinitely beyond our imagination still waiting to delight us for eternity in Heaven.

Write any whole number you want. The ‘sky’s the limit’ to how big it can be! Just when you think you’re finished writing it, on the right-hand end, start writing it all again in reverse order! For Super Sigurd’s 11th birthday, your final number will be an exact multiple of 11 ! For example, Sigurd’s big sister and brother have their birthdays in the 11th month (November) on day 15 and 22 respectively. 1551 ÷ 11 = 141 exactly, a nice number from ! 2222 ÷ 11 = 202, which is exactly double the number of this Blog Post 101 !

Sigurd’s Birthday Chess Puzzle Solution

With the ‘invisible queen’ now visible on f7, White can use the g5-pawn to capture Black’s knight with 1 gxh6, and there’s simply no way to prevent checkmate coming on White’s very next move!

Sigurd’s ONE + ONE = TWO Sneaky Birthday Maths Brainteaser Solution

In this TWO-story,

the minimum possible value of ONE + ONE is 412


the maximum possible value of ONE + ONE is 964.

Very warm congratulations for finding either or both of those values.

To conclude this article, I would like to wish Sigurd and everyone a really wonderful, happy day now.

With kindest wishes as always,

Paul Mtwani xxx

P.S. Even when he was a grade 1 primary school student several years ago, young Sigurd already loved to do great mental calculations, and he understood mathematical concepts such as squaring, with 122 = 144 being one of his favourite examples, not only on 14/4 ! So, as an extra birthday treat, we have the following b☺nus brainteaser f☺r Sigurd…

Handy chart of the first hundred positive Square Numbers

Can you discover a future year in which

the total of the year + Sigurd’s age on his birthday in that year

would together make a Square Number ?

God-willing as always, it is my hope and intention to publish a solution at the time of the next blog post, or possibly even sooner.

SOLUTION to Super Sigurd’s Bonus Brainteaser (being posted on 14 May 2021)

In the year 2063, Sigurd will be 53. Then, 2063+53=2116, which is equal to 46 squared, since 46 x 46 = 2116.

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!

Continue reading “Blog Post #98: Fabulous Friday Fun For A Fantastic Four!”

Blog Post #97: Early happy birthday wishes for Helen, a bright, shining light

Dear Readers,

The meaning of the name Helen is ‘bright, shining light’, and that well describes Mrs. Helen Coyne-Wincott, a lovely English teacher colleague of mine at Musica Mundi School.

In addition to being fluent in several languages, Helen is also very good at Mathematics, and she’s a highly talented musician, too, with special expertise on a particular instrument… You’ll discover which one, and lots more, in the following feast of fun puzzles that is an early celebration for Helen’s birthday coming in 3 days’ time! I have Helen’s permission to post numerous surprises. So, let’s magnify Helen’s enjoyment, OK!

Continue reading “Blog Post #97: Early happy birthday wishes for Helen, a bright, shining light”

Blog Post #91: Unforgettable Memories!

Dear Readers,

Just a few days ago, I received a lovely surprise message from Bob Mitchell, a Scottish chess friend whom I haven’t seen for very many years. I remembered Bob immediately, as he was always friendly and funny as well as being a talented, attacking chess player. The descriptive words FUN BATTLE GOER come quickly to mind!

Here’s a sneaky word puzzle in Bob’s honour: rearrange the letters of


to make a proper 13-letter English word which also describes Bob!

Continue reading “Blog Post #91: Unforgettable Memories!”

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.

Continue reading “Blog Post #85: Orchestral Feeling”

Blog Post #81: Top of the Class, Nice Niklas!!

Dear Readers,

It is with great pleasure that I thank everyone who participated in the ‘Good Lives Global Prize Competition’ (see Blog Post #80).

Andy H. from Scotland was the very first person to reply with all the mathematical puzzles completely correct. Andy loves challenge puzzles so much that he simply wanted to enjoy them without being given a prize. So, in recognition of his excellent attitude, we have a bonus puzzle in Andy’s honour, down below.

Before then, I want to congratulate Quintijn van Heek (an A-Level Maths student of mine) and Krissy Teng (another great student at the beautiful Musica Mundi School in Waterloo, Belgium) for also solving all the mathematical puzzles. Well done, Quintijn and Krissy!

Continue reading “Blog Post #81: Top of the Class, Nice Niklas!!”

Blog Post #80: Good Lives Global Prize Competition!

Dear Readers,

Welcome to this ‘Good Lives Global Prize Competition’ with free entry for everyone of every country! The more puzzles you solve, the better for sure, but you may possibly still receive some prize for submitting some good answers even if they’re not all perfect. So, please don’t be shy! Just go ahead and enjoy the puzzles (detailed below), and don’t hesitate to send in your answers by email to, preferably by Sunday 17 January; the sooner, the better for you!

Continue reading “Blog Post #80: Good Lives Global Prize Competition!”

Blog Post #79: For Elizabeta!

Dear Readers,

It’s quite late now in Belgium, but I still really wanted to write this wee article tonight as a nice, extra boost for Elizabeta, a truly outstanding Maths student (at Musica Mundi School in Waterloo, Belgium) who always produces terrific work!

Let’s have a fun word puzzle, right now!

Leave out just the very last letter of I DREAM CHESS, and use all of the other ten letters to make the name of a famous Greek mathematician from long ago…

Continue reading “Blog Post #79: For Elizabeta!”