2021 IMO SL #A1

Problem: Let $n$ be a positive integer. Given is a subset $A$ of $\{0,1,...,5^n\}$ with $4n+2$ elements. Prove that there exist three elements $a<b<c$ from $A$ such that $c+2a>3b$.


Solution: 

Suppose for the sake of contradiction that $c+2a\le 3b$ for all $a,b,c\in A$ with $a<b<c$. 

We claim that if the elements of $A$ are $s_1<s_2<\dots<s_{4n+2}$, then $$s_i\ge s_{4n+2}(1-(\tfrac{2}{3})^{i-1})$$ for all $i$. We use induction to prove this -- the base case is trivially true because $s_1\geq 0$. As for the inductive step, consider $s_k.$ Take $(a,b,c)=(s_{k-1},s_k,s_{4n+2})$; by our assumption, we have $$s_{4n+2}+2s_{k-1}\ge 3s_k.$$ Therefore, $$s_k\ge\frac{s_{4n+2}+2s_{k-1}}{3}\ge\frac{s_{4n+2}+2(s_{4n+2}(1-(\tfrac{2}{3})^{k-2}))}{3}=\frac{s_{4n+2}(3-2(\tfrac{2}{3})^{k-2})}{3}=s_{4n+2}(1-(\tfrac{2}{3})^{k-1}),$$ which completes the induction. 


Now, using our claim, we have $$s_{4n+1}\ge s_{4n+2}(1-(\tfrac{2}{3})^{4n})=s_{4n+2}-(\tfrac{16}{81})^{n}s_{4n+2}>s_{4n+2}-(\tfrac{1}{5})^{n}5^n=s_{4n+2}-1,$$ which is impossible because $s_{4n+1}$ is an integer less than $s_{4n+2}$. 

We are done. $\square$

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