1967 IMO Problems/Problem 1

Let $ABCD$ be a parallelogram with side lengths $AB = a$, $AD = 1$ and with $\angle BAD = \alpha$. If $\Delta ABD$ is acute, prove that the four circles of radius $1$ with centers $A$, $B$, $C$, $D$ cover the parallelogram if and only if

$a\leq \cos \alpha+\sqrt{3}\sin \alpha$ (1)


To start our proof we draw a parallelogram with the requested sides. We notice that by drawing the circles with centers A, B, C, D that the length of $a$ must not exceed 2 (the radius for each circle) or the circles will not meet and thus not cover the parallelogram.

To prove our conjecture we draw a parallelogram with $a=2$ and draw a segment $DB$ so that $\angle ADB=90^{\circ}$

This is the parallelogram which we claim has the maximum length on $a$ and the highest value on any one angle.

We now have two triangles inside a parallelogram with lengths $1, 2$ and $x$, $x$ being segment $DB$. Using the Pythagorean theorem we conclude:


Using trigonometric functions we can compute:


Notice that by applying the $arcsine$ and $arccos$ functions, we can conclude that our angle $\alpha=60^{\circ}$

To conclude our proof we make sure that our values match the required values for maximum length of $a$

$a\leq\cos\alpha+\sqrt{3}\sin\alpha\\\\a\leq\frac{1}{2}+\sqrt{3}\cdot \frac{\sqrt{3}}{2}\\\\a\leq 2$

Notice that as $\angle\alpha$ decreases, the value of (1) increases beyond 2. We can prove this using the law of sines. Similarly as $\angle\alpha$ increases, the value of (1) decreases below 2, confirming that (1) is only implied when $\Delta ABD$ is acute.

--Bjarnidk 02:16, 17 May 2013 (EDT)

Solution can also be found here [1]

See Also

1967 IMO (Problems) • Resources
Preceded by
First question
1 2 3 4 5 6 Followed by
Problem 2
All IMO Problems and Solutions