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.
Around 35 years ago, I had the great honour and pleasure of doing some chess with Ally, a daughter of Mrs. Mo Brodie who was then a very dear Mathematics teacher colleague of mine in Scotland. Mo was surprised when I said to her one day that I learned from the chess games with her young daughter; but I really meant it! I am a teacher, yet a life-long student too.
Grandmaster Glenn Flear expressed it well, for he said that he had the feeling that, because I don’t actually play many games of chess, each game that I do play becomes like a ‘Cup Final’, a special event to remember and to learn from, as much as possible.
At the wonderful Musica Mundi School where I work as the Maths Teacher in Waterloo, Belgium, I sometimes get the chance to enjoy a ‘friendly game’ with colleagues and students during our lunch break. Yesterday, it was a lovely treat for me to play 12-year-old Wout Callens, who is extremely gifted in Music and Mathematics as well as having a passionate interest in the royal game of Chess.
Big thanks to Christophe Gillain for the following photos.
I am writing to you now tonight from Frankfurt, where I am delighted to have won the Adolf Anderssen Seniors Memorial Chess Tournament with 6.5 points from 7 games. I am also really happy and grateful for having made many new friends here in Germany.
A superb team of dedicated, hardworking organizers led by Dirk Flamée really did extremely well to run the 36th International Open Chess Tournament of Geraardsbergen across five locations from August 8-12 to cater for 214 players who were happy and grateful for getting to take part in a wonderful over-the-board, in-person competition, overcoming the many extra challenges of managing this in these difficult Corona times.
For very many people, this highly memorable event was their first return to chess after a necessarily long time-gap due to the global situation.
Lots of keen and talented young players performed magnificently, and special congratulations must go to Dutch FIDE Master Onno Elgersma who, though still only a teenager, won the tournament impressively with 6 wins, 3 draws and no losses, thereby amassing a score of 7.5/9.
Among the older players (like myself!), Dutch International Master Herman Grooten did particularly well to equal Onno’s score of 7.5 points and finish 2nd on tie-break. (Though I don’t personally know Herman’s son, Tommy Grooten, I would still like to add sincere congratulations to young Tommy on scoring five points and winning a prize for being a high-achieving youth-player.)
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.
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.
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.
Sigurd is turning 11 today, and so we have lots of nice, sneaky surprises…!
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…
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.
Sigurd’s Birthday Chess Puzzle Solution
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 M☺twani 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…
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.
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!
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
FUN BATTLE GOER
to make a proper 13-letter English word which also describes Bob!