2020 AMC 8 Problems/Problem 21

Problem

A game board consists of $64$ squares that alternate in color between black and white. The figure below shows square $P$ in the bottom row and square $Q$ in the top row. A marker is placed at $P.$ A step consists of moving the marker onto one of the adjoining white squares in the row above. How many $7$-step paths are there from $P$ to $Q?$ (The figure shows a sample path.)

[asy]//diagram by SirCalcsALot size(200); int[] x = {6, 5, 4, 5, 6, 5, 6}; int[] y = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7}; int N = 7; for (int i = 0; i < 8; ++i) { for (int j = 0; j < 8; ++j) { draw((i,j)--(i+1,j)--(i+1,j+1)--(i,j+1)--(i,j)); if ((i+j) % 2 == 0) { filldraw((i,j)--(i+1,j)--(i+1,j+1)--(i,j+1)--(i,j)--cycle,black); } } } for (int i = 0; i < N; ++i) { draw(circle((x[i],y[i])+(0.5,0.5),0.35)); } label("$P$", (5.5, 0.5)); label("$Q$", (6.5, 7.5)); [/asy]

$\textbf{(A) }28 \qquad \textbf{(B) }30 \qquad \textbf{(C) }32 \qquad \textbf{(D) }33 \qquad \textbf{(E) }35$

Solution 1

Notice that, in order to step onto any particular white square, the marker must have come from one of the $1$ or $2$ white squares immediately beneath it (since the marker can only move on white squares). This means that the number of ways to move from $P$ to that square is the sum of the numbers of ways to move from $P$ to each of the white squares immediately beneath it. To solve the problem, we can accordingly construct the following diagram, where each number in a square is calculated as the sum of the numbers on the white squares immediately beneath that square (and thus will represent the number of ways to remove from $P$ to that square, as already stated). [asy] int N = 7; for (int i = 0; i < 8; ++i) { for (int j = 0; j < 8; ++j) { draw((i,j)--(i+1,j)--(i+1,j+1)--(i,j+1)--(i,j)); if ((i+j) % 2 == 0) { filldraw((i,j)--(i+1,j)--(i+1,j+1)--(i,j+1)--(i,j)--cycle,black); } } } label("$1$", (5.5, .5)); label("$1$", (4.5, 1.5)); label("$1$", (6.5, 1.5)); label("$1$", (3.5, 2.5)); label("$1$", (7.5, 2.5)); label("$2$", (5.5, 2.5)); label("$1$", (2.5, 3.5)); label("$3$", (6.5, 3.5)); label("$3$", (4.5, 3.5)); label("$4$", (3.5, 4.5)); label("$3$", (7.5, 4.5)); label("$6$", (5.5, 4.5)); label("$10$", (4.5, 5.5)); label("$9$", (6.5, 5.5)); label("$19$", (5.5, 6.5)); label("$9$", (7.5, 6.5)); label("$28$", (6.5, 7.5)); [/asy] The answer is therefore $\boxed{\textbf{(A) }28}$.

Solution 2

Suppose we "extend" the chessboard infinitely with $2$ additional columns to the right, as shown below. The red line shows the right-hand edge of the original board.

[asy] int N = 7; for (int i = 0; i < 10; ++i) { for (int j = 0; j < 8; ++j) { draw((i,j)--(i+1,j)--(i+1,j+1)--(i,j+1)--(i,j)); if ((i+j) % 2 == 0) { filldraw((i,j)--(i+1,j)--(i+1,j+1)--(i,j+1)--(i,j)--cycle,black); } } } draw((8,0) -- (8,8),red); label("$P$", (5.5,.5)); label("$Q$", (6.5,7.5)); label("$X$", (8.5,3.5)); label("$Y$", (8.5,5.5)); [/asy] The total number of paths from $P$ to $Q$, including invalid paths which cross over the red line, is then the number of paths which make $4$ steps up-and-right and $3$ steps up-and-left, which is $\binom{4+3}{3} = \binom{7}{3} = 35$. We need to subtract the number of invalid paths, i.e. the number of paths that pass through $X$ or $Y$. To get to $X$, the marker has to make $3$ up-and-right steps, after which it can proceed to $Q$ with $3$ steps up-and-left and $1$ step up-and-right. Thus, the number of paths from $P$ to $Q$ that pass through $X$ is $1 \cdot \binom{3+1}{3} = 4$. Similarly, the number of paths that pass through $Y$ is $\binom{4+1}{1}\cdot 1 = 5$. However, we have now double-counted the invalid paths which pass through both $X$ and $Y$; from the diagram, it is clear that there are only $2$ of these (as the marker can get from $X$ to $Y$ by a step up-and-left and a step-up-and-right in either order). Hence the number of invalid paths is $4+5-2=7$, and the number of valid paths from $P$ to $Q$ is $35-7 = \boxed{\textbf{(A) }28}$.

Video Solutions

https://youtu.be/hGCxt8G9g-s

See also

2020 AMC 8 (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 20
Followed by
Problem 22
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
All AJHSME/AMC 8 Problems and Solutions

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