2009 USAMO Problems/Problem 3


We define a chessboard polygon to be a polygon whose sides are situated along lines of the form $x = a$ or $y = b$, where $a$ and $b$ are integers. These lines divide the interior into unit squares, which are shaded alternately grey and white so that adjacent squares have different colors. To tile a chessboard polygon by dominoes is to exactly cover the polygon by non-overlapping $1 \times 2$ rectangles. Finally, a tasteful tiling is one which avoids the two configurations of dominoes shown on the left below. Two tilings of a $3 \times 4$ rectangle are shown; the first one is tasteful, while the second is not, due to the vertical dominoes in the upper right corner.

[asy] size(400); pathpen = linewidth(2.5); void chessboard(int a, int b, pair P){   for(int i = 0; i < a; ++i) for(int j = 0; j < b; ++j)    if((i+j) % 2 == 1) fill(shift(P.x+i,P.y+j)*unitsquare,rgb(0.6,0.6,0.6));   D(P--P+(a,0)--P+(a,b)--P+(0,b)--cycle); } chessboard(2,2,(2.5,0));fill(unitsquare,rgb(0.6,0.6,0.6));fill(shift(1,1)*unitsquare,rgb(0.6,0.6,0.6)); chessboard(4,3,(6,0)); chessboard(4,3,(11,0)); MP("\mathrm{Distasteful\ tilings}",(2.25,3),fontsize(12));   /* draw lines */ D((0,0)--(2,0)--(2,2)--(0,2)--cycle); D((1,0)--(1,2)); D((2.5,1)--(4.5,1)); D((7,0)--(7,2)--(6,2)--(10,2)--(9,2)--(9,0)--(9,1)--(7,1)); D((8,2)--(8,3)); D((12,0)--(12,2)--(11,2)--(13,2)); D((13,1)--(15,1)--(14,1)--(14,3)); D((13,0)--(13,3)); [/asy]

a) Prove that if a chessboard polygon can be tiled by dominoes, then it can be done so tastefully.

b) Prove that such a tasteful tiling is unique.


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See also

2009 USAMO (ProblemsResources)
Preceded by
Problem 2
Followed by
Problem 4
1 2 3 4 5 6
All USAMO Problems and Solutions

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