Pre-RMO training; a statement and its converse; logic and plane geometry

I hope the following explanation is illuminating to my readers/students:

How to prove that two lines are parallel ? (Note that we talk of parallel lines only when they lie in the same plane; on the other hand: consider the following scenario — your study table and the floor on which it stands. Let us say you draw a straight line AB on your study table and another line PQ on the floor on which the study table is standing; then, even though lines AB and PQ never meet, we do not say that they are parallel because they lie in different planes. Such lines are called skew lines. They are dealt with in solid geometry or 3D geometry or vector spaces).

Coming back to the question — when can we say that two lines are parallel?


Suppose that a transversal crosses two other lines.

1) If the corresponding angles are equal, then the lines are parallel.
2) If the alternate angles are equal, then the lines are parallel.
3) If the co-interior angles are supplementary, then the lines are parallel.


Let us first consider the following statements:

A transversal is a line that crosses two other lines. If the lines crossed by a transversal are parallel, then the corresponding angles are equal; if the lines crossed by a transversal are parallel, then the alternate interior angles are equal; if the lines crossed by a transversal are parallel, then the co-interior angles are supplementary.

The statements given below are the converses of the statement given in the above paragraph; meaning that they are formed from the former statements by reversing the logic. For example:

STATEMENT: If the lines are parallel then the corresponding angles are equal.

CONVERSE: If the corresponding angles are equal, then the lines are parallel.

Pairs such as these, a statement and its converse, occur routinely through out mathematics, and are particularly prominent in geometry. In this case, both the statement and its converse are true. It is important to realize that a statement and its converse are, in general, quite different. NEVER ASSUME THAT BECAUSE A STATEMENT IS TRUE, SO ITS CONVERSE IS ALSO TRUE. For example, consider the following:

STATEMENT: If a number is a multiple of 4, then it is even.
CONVERSE: If a number is even, then it is a multiple of 4.

The first statement is clearly true. But, let us consider the number 18. It is even. But 18 is not a multiple of 4. So, the converse is not true always.

\it Here \hspace{0.1in} is \hspace{0.1in}an \hspace {0.1in}example \hspace{0.1in}from \hspace{0.1in}surfing

STATEMENT: If you catch a wave, then you will be happy.
CONVERSE: If you are happy, then you will catch a wave.

Many people would agree with the first statement, but everyone knows that its converse is plain silly — you need skill to catch waves.

Thus, the truth of a statement has little to do with its converse. Separate justifications (proofs) are required for the converse and its statements.

Nalin Pithwa.

Reference: (I found the above beautiful, simple, lucid explanation in the following text): ICE-EM, year 7, book 1; The University of Melbourne, Australian Curriculum, Garth Gaudry et al.

Pre RMO Training: Plane geometry with combinatorics

Question 1:

There are 4 possible ways to place three distinct lines in a plane. Two of these configurations involve parallel lines, the other two do not. Draw all these possibilities including the one which encloses a region.

Question 2:

Prove that the sum of any two sides of a triangle is greater than the third side. Hint: Use the following permissible clever argument: the shortest distance joining any two distinct points is given by a straight line joining those two points.

Question 3:

There are 8 possible ways to place 4 distinct lines in a plane. Five of these configurations involve parallel lines; the other three do not. Draw all the possibilities.

Remark: Questions like 1 and 2 are at the heart of combinatorics questions in plane geometry in pre RMO and RMO.

Nalin Pithwa

PS: Prove the parallelogram law: |a+b| \leq |a|+|b|

Prof. Tim Gowers’ on recognising countable sets

Thanks Dr. Gowers’. These are invaluable insights into basics. Thanks for giving so much of your time.

Prof. Tim Gowers’ on functions, domains, etc.

Thanks a lot Prof. Gowers! Math should be sans ambiguities as far as possible…!

I hope my students and readers can appreciate the details in this blog article of Prof. Gowers.

Nalin Pithwa

Tutorial problems for RMO 2019 : combinatorics continued

1) In how many ways can 5 men and 5 women be seated in a round table if no two women may be seated side by side?

2) Six generals propose locking a safe containing top secret with a number of different locks. Each general will be given keys to certain of these locks. How many locks are required and how many keys must each general have so that, unless at least four generals are present, the safe cannot be opened?

3) How many integers between 1000 and 9999 inclusive have distinct digits? Of these, how many are even numbers? How many consist entirely of odd digits?

4) In how many ways can 9 distinct objects be placed in 5 distinct boxes in such a way that 3 of these boxes would be occupied and 2 would be empty?

5) In how many permutations of the word AUROBIND do the vowels appear in the alphabetical order?

6) There is an unlimited supply of weights of integral numbers of grams. Using n or fewer weights, find the number of ways in which a weight of m grams can be obtained. Prove that there is a bijection of the set of all such ways on the set of increasing words of length (n-1) or (m+1) ordered letters.

7) How many distinct solutions are there of x+y+z+w=10 (a) in positive integers and (b) in non-negative integers?

8) A train with n passengers aboard makes m stops. In how many ways can the passengers distribute themselves among these m stops as alighting passengers? if we are concerned only with the number of alighting passengers at each stop, how would the answer be modified?

9) There are 16 books on a bookshelf. In how many ways can 6 of these books be selected if a selection must not include two neighbouring books?

10) Show that there are {(n=5)} \choose 5 distinct throws of a throw with n non-distinct dice.

11) Given n indistinguishable objects and n additional distinct objects —- also distinct from the earlier n objects — in how many ways can we choose n out of the 2n objects?

12) Establish the following relations:
12a) B_{n+1}=\sum_{k=0}^{n}(B_{k}){n \choose k}
12b) \sum_{k}{p \choose k}{q \choose {n-k}}={{p+q} \choose n}
12c) S_{n+1}^{m} = \sum_{k=0}^{n}{n \choose k}S_{k}^{m-1}
12d) n^{p}=\sum_{k=0}^{n}{n \choose k}k! (S_{p}^{k})

13) Prove the following identity for all real numbers x:
x^{n}= \sum_{k=1}^{n}S_{n}^{k}[x]_{k}

14) Express x^{4} in terms of {x \choose 4}, {x \choose 3}, …by using the S_{n}^{k}‘s. Express {x \choose 4} in terms of x^{4}, x^{3}, …by using the s_{n}^{k}‘s.

15) A circular loop is divided into p parts, p prime. In how many ways can we paint the loop with n colours if we do not distinguish between patterns which differ only by a rotation of the loop? Deduce Fermat’s Little theorem: n^{p}-n is divisible by p if p is prime.

16) In problem 15, prove that n^{p}-n is also divisible by 2p if p \neq 2. Where is the hypothesis that p is prime used in Problem 15 or in this problem?

17) How many equivalence relations are possible on an n-set?

18) The complete homogeneous symmetric function of n variables \alpha_{1}, \alpha_{2}, \ldots, \alpha_{n} of degree r is defined as h_{r}(\alpha_{1},\alpha_{2}, \alpha_{3}, \ldots, \alpha_{n})=\sum \alpha_{1}^{i_{1}}\alpha_{2}^{i_{2}}\ldots \alpha_{n}^{i_{n}} the summation being taken over all ordered partitions of r, where the parts are also allowed to be zero. How many terms are there in h_{r}?

Test yourself ! Improve your mettle in math !
Nalin Pithwa.

Pre RMO or PRMO problem set in elementary combinatorics

1) How many maps are there from an n-set to an m-set? How many of these are onto? How many are one-one? Under what conditions?

2) Consider the letters of the word DELHI. Let us form new words, whether or not meaningful, using these letters. The *length* of a word is the number of letters in it, e.g., the length of “Delhi” is 5; the length of “Hill” is 4. Answer the following questions when (a) repetition of letters is not allowed and (b) repetition of the letters is allowed:
(i) How many words can be formed of length 1,2,3,4,…?
(ii) How many words in (i) will consist of all the letters?
(iii) How many words of the words in (i) will consist of 1,2,3,4, …specified letters?
(iv) How many of the words in (i) will consist of only 1,2,3,4,…letters?
(v) How many of the words in (i) will be in the alphabetical order of the letters?

3) Repeat Problem 2 with the word MISSISSIPPI.

4) Suppose there are 5 distinct boxes and we want to sort out 1,2,3,…,n objects into these boxes.
4i) In how many ways can this be done?
4ii) In how many of these situations would no box be empty?
4iii) In how many of the above would only 1,2,3,4 … specified boxes be occupied?
4iv) In how many would only 1,2,3,4…boxes be occupied?
4iv) If the objects are indistinguishable from one another, how would the answers to (i) to (iv) change, it at all?

If there is an added restriction that each box can hold only one object and no more, what will be the answers to (i) to (v)?

5) Repeat Problem 4 with 9 boxes.

6) Repeat Problem 4 with 5 non-distinct (=indistinguishable identical) boxes.

7) Repeat Problem 6 with 9 boxes.

8) How many 5-letter words of binary digits are there?

9) Ten teams participate in a tournament. The first team is awarded a gold medal, the second a silver medal, and the third a bronze medal. In how many ways can the medals be distributed?

10) The RBI prints currency notes in denominations of One Rupee, Two Rupees, Five Rupees, Ten Rupees, Twenty Rupees, Fifty Rupees, and One hundred rupees. In how many ways can it display 10 currency notes, not necessarily of different denominations? How many of these will have all denominations?

11) In how many ways can an employer distribute INR 100/- as Holiday Bonus to his 5 employees? No fraction of a rupee is allowed. Also, do not worry about question of equity and fairness!

12) The results of 20 chess games (win, lose, or draw) have to be predicted. How many different forecasts can contain exactly 15 correct results?

13) How many distinct results can we obtain from one throw of four dice? five dice? Can you generalize this?

14) In how many ways can 8 rooks be placed on a standard chess board so that no rook can attack another? How many if the rooks are labelled? How would the answer be modified if we remove the restriction that “no rook can attack another”?

15) Show that there are 7 partitions of the integer 5, and 33 partitions of the integer 9. How many of these have 4 parts ? How many have the largest part equal to 4? Experiment with other partitions and other numbers.

Nalin Pithwa.

RMO and Pre RMO Geometry Tutorial Worksheet 1: Based on Geometric Refresher

1) Show that quadrilateral ABCD can be inscribed in a circle iff \angle B and \angle D are supplementary.

2) Prove that a parallelogram having perpendicular diagonals is a rhombus.

3) Prove that a parallelogram with equal diagonals is a rectangle.

4) Show that the diagonals of an isosceles trapezoid are equal.

5) A straight line cuts two concentric circles in points A, B, C and D in that order. AE and BF are parallel chords, one in each circle. If CG is perpendicular to BF and DH is perpendicular to AE, prove that GF = HE.

6) Construct triangle ABC, given angle A, side AC and the radius r of the inscribed circle. Justify your construction.

7) Let a triangle ABC be right angled at C. The internal bisectors of angle A and angle B meet BC and CA at P and Q respectively. M and N are the feet of the perpendiculars from P and Q to AB. Find angle MCN.

8) Three circles C_{1}, C_{2},  C_{3} with radii r_{1}, r_{2}, r_{3}, with r_{1}<r_{2}<r_{3}. They are placed such that C_{2} lies to the right of C_{1} and touches it externally; C_{3} lies to the right of C_{2} and touches it externally. Further, there exist two straight lines each of which is a direct common tangent simultaneously to all the three circles. Find r_{2} in terms of r_{1} and r_{3}.


Nalin Pithwa