1988 AHSME Problems/Problem 18

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Problem

At the end of a professional bowling tournament, the top 5 bowlers have a playoff. First #5 bowls #4. The loser receives $5$th prize and the winner bowls #3 in another game. The loser of this game receives $4$th prize and the winner bowls #2. The loser of this game receives $3$rd prize and the winner bowls #1. The winner of this game gets 1st prize and the loser gets 2nd prize. In how many orders can bowlers #1 through #5 receive the prizes?

$\textbf{(A)}\ 10\qquad \textbf{(B)}\ 16\qquad \textbf{(C)}\ 24\qquad \textbf{(D)}\ 120\qquad \textbf{(E)}\ \text{none of these}$


Solution

We have $2$ choices for who wins the first game, and that uniquely determines $5^{\text{th}}$ place. Then there are $2$ choices for a next game and that uniquely determines $4^{\text{th}}$ place, followed by $2$ choices for the next game that uniquely determines $3^{\text{rd}}$ place. Finally, there are $2$ choices for the last game, which uniquely determines both $1^{\text{st}}$ and $2^{\text{nd}}$ places, since the winner is $1^{\text{st}}$ and the loser is $2^{\text{nd}}$. Thus the number of possible orders is $2 \times 2 \times 2 \times 2 = 16$, which is $\boxed{\text{B}}$.

See also

1988 AHSME (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 17
Followed by
Problem 19
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