Blog Post #75: Turn Over A New Leaf

Dear Readers,

I first heard the saying ‘Turn over a new leaf’ as a little boy, long ago. I have found the words to be very good, refreshing, encouraging and helpful for making positive changes. I can’t think of a better day to seriously consider turning over a new leaf than on All Saints’ Day, today.

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Blog Post #74: For Genevieve, Julie, Marcello, Timothee and Yordi!!

Dear Readers,

This post is just in time to wish Genevieve a very happy birthday tomorrow, while it’s exactly nine weeks early for the birthday of Genevieve’s mum, Julie, a lovely lady I know through my Mathematics teaching. A bright student named Timothee is a keen chess player, as are ‘Mathematical Marcello’ (a boy whom I remember well from my previous school, especially when as a little 8-year-old then, he mentally calculated 99×99=9801 in just a couple of seconds!) and Yordi, who is a very good friend of my son.

Photo by Christophe Gillain.

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Blog Post #73: Sneaky Surprises for Sacha!

Dear Readers,

Today we can enjoy sneaky puzzles in honour of Sacha, one of my son’s very best friends who had his birthday several days ago. I will say that his birthday was a particular whole number, n, days ago, and Sacha’s new age then was the square root of (500-n squared).

Your fun challenge is to figure out Sacha’s age on his birthday just past, and also his exact date of birth. Continue reading “Blog Post #73: Sneaky Surprises for Sacha!”

Blog Post #72: Appreciation of Beauty

Dear Readers,

I love to see, and appreciate with an attitude of gratitude, so much beauty in the natural world God created, as well as in the kind faces, words and actions of people who reflect God’s love through the way they live.

A recent father and son photo.

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Blog Post #71: Dual Jewels and Jules!

Dear Readers,

A few days ago, I received a nice surprise message from International Chess Master Rini Kuijf, an old friend and former Dutch Champion. In my reply, I mentioned that I have been having fun tackling numerous chess problems. Rini then sent me a neat pair of puzzles (given below) with White to play and win by force in both cases. The two positions are so similar that they could be considered to form a ‘dual’. To me, such puzzles with beautiful solutions are gems or jewels!

Let’s also wish “Happy birthday, Jules!” to English Grandmaster Julian Hodgson who’s 57 today. I celebrated by turning the clock back some years and playing through lots of his really impressive victories from before. As a bonus, I will feature two lovely, crisp finishes: one from 1992 with Julian (as White) to play and win in an endgame, and the other (from 1995) in which GM Stuart Conquest found a very ‘Hodgson-like’ speedy win for White.

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Blog Post #70: Back to the 70’s!

Dear Readers,

Today, my family has been busily and happily congratulating my son’s lovely girlfriend on turning 22. My personal message included the following sneaky fun surprise…

  • Pick any three-digit whole number which has three different digits from 1 to 9 (e.g. 236)
  • Write down all the two-digit whole numbers that can be made from your chosen three-digit number without repeating digits in the same number (e.g. 23, 26, 32, 36, 62, 63)
  • Add up all your two-digit numbers (e.g. 23+26+32+36+62+63=242)
  • Divide your total by the total of the digits in your chosen three-digit number (e.g. 242/(2+3+6)=242/11=22 for the birthday celebration today!)

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Blog Post #69: Enjoying Chess!

Dear Readers,

I consider myself to be a much more natural Maths teacher than chess player, and since I also believe that teaching is a more important part of my vocation, nowadays I invest a lot of time working to do the best job I can to help the Maths students at a beautiful music school where I have been for almost two years, so far. Still, it’s really nice to witness some of the students enjoying playing a bit of chess, during part of their lunch break for instance. One or two colleagues have been joining in the good fun, too, and hopefully more will follow soon! In the meantime, thanks to Christophe Gillain for the photo below with the giant pieces!

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Blog Post #68: For Jenny

Dear Readers,

I am dedicating this blog post #68 to my lovely wife, Jenny, who was born in the summer of ’68. I have had the honour of knowing Jenny for slightly more than half of her life, so far, as it’s now 26 years to-the-day since I saw her for the very first time on 27 May 1994.

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Blog Post #67: For Princess Pilu & Super-Boy Steven!

Dear Readers,

The photo just below is one of the most beautiful that I have seen in a long time! It was posted on Facebook earlier this month by the mother (pictured on the left) of the lovely Spanish girl (a former student of mine) who turned 16 on that day. Continue reading “Blog Post #67: For Princess Pilu & Super-Boy Steven!”

Blog Post #66: Thinking of You

Dear Readers & Friends,

Though the current Corona virus pandemic severely reduces people’s opportunities for meeting, we are still free to think of and pray for each other. Whether we have already met or not, I truly believe that one day we will meet, in a perfect place with no more death, illness or suffering of any kind. Continue reading “Blog Post #66: Thinking of You”