1997 USAMO Problems/Problem 4
To clip a convex -gon means to choose a pair of consecutive sides and to replace them by three segments and where is the midpoint of and is the midpoint of . In other words, one cuts off the triangle to obtain a convex -gon. A regular hexagon of area is clipped to obtain a heptagon . Then is clipped (in one of the seven possible ways) to obtain an octagon , and so on. Prove that no matter how the clippings are done, the area of is greater than , for all .
It is impossible to choose two non-adjacent sides and clip a whole part of it off.
If you clip adjacent sides, you can cut off at most up to the blue lines; Clipping more is impossible due to the degrees getting larger and larger and more and more circular.
Thus, after infinitely many clips, the hexagon bounded by the blue lines is left, so after finitely many clips, the area left is more than that hexagon.
The side length of that hexagon is of the large one, because of 30-30-120 triangles. Thus, the area is of the larger one, so we are done.
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