# A Level Maths Problem

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Thread starter 3 weeks ago
#1
I have a question and i can see how to solve it, but i can't see how to do it algebraically. If anyone can help or point me in the right direction i would be grateful:

I have a pack of playing cards, numbered 1-52. They are in order with 1 on the top and 52 on the bottom. I go through the pack discarding every other card, so I end up with a new pile which has 1 on top, then 3, 5, 7.... up to 51. I do the same with the new pile, and so on, getting even smaller piles.

NOTE: If the last card in the pile is one i keep, I will discard the top card of the subsequent pile.

What is the last card i'm left with?
What if i do it again, but discard the 1, keep the 2m etc...?
What if i start with 100 cards?
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3 weeks ago
#2
(Original post by prajeetboi)
I have a question and i can see how to solve it, but i can't see how to do it algebraically. If anyone can help or point me in the right direction i would be grateful:

I have a pack of playing cards, numbered 1-52. They are in order with 1 on the top and 52 on the bottom. I go through the pack discarding every other card, so I end up with a new pile which has 1 on top, then 3, 5, 7.... up to 51. I do the same with the new pile, and so on, getting even smaller piles.

NOTE: If the last card in the pile is one i keep, I will discard the top card of the subsequent pile.

What is the last card i'm left with?
What if i do it again, but discard the 1, keep the 2m etc...?
What if i start with 100 cards?
Can you post the original question and your thoughts about how you solved it?
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Thread starter 3 weeks ago
#3
(Original post by mqb2766)
Can you post the original question and your thoughts about how you solved it?
that is the original question, and i only solved the first question of the 3 but literally doing it lol
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3 weeks ago
#4
(Original post by prajeetboi)
that is the original question, and i only solved the first question of the 3 but literally doing it lol
Ok, if you're solving the question, I won't spoil your fun.
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Thread starter 3 weeks ago
#5
(Original post by mqb2766)
Ok, if you're solving the question, I won't spoil your fun.
no i need help pls idk what to do
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3 weeks ago
#6
(Original post by prajeetboi)
no i need help pls idk what to do
Which part and what are your thoughts? If you don't know how to proceeed, maybe simplify the problem and work out what happens for a small number of cards.
If you're really stuck, describe which part.
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3 weeks ago
#7
(Original post by mqb2766)
Ok, if you're solving the question, I won't spoil your fun.
I think they meant they worked out the answer to the first part by literally doing it with cards.
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Thread starter 3 weeks ago
#8
(Original post by GabiAbi84)
I think they meant they worked out the answer to the first part by literally doing it with cards.
yh i literally did it on pen and paper writing all the numbers out, and i know there's a way to do it properly so pls help me out thanks
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Thread starter 3 weeks ago
#9
(Original post by mqb2766)
Which part and what are your thoughts? If you don't know how to proceeed, maybe simplify the problem and work out what happens for a small number of cards.
If you're really stuck, describe which part.
i want to do the whole thing properly pls help
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3 weeks ago
#10
(Original post by prajeetboi)
i want to do the whole thing properly pls help
The forum rules are to help, so pls upload what you've done / and describe what you're confused about
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Thread starter 3 weeks ago
#11
(Original post by mqb2766)
The forum rules are to help, so pls upload what you've done / and describe what you're confused about
ok, i cant really take a pic so i'll just tell you.

I have only got as far as doing the first question and i did it by writing the numbers out and eliminating them, until i was left with 41.
I want to do all 3 of the questions algebraically rather than like this so please help me out thanks
mqb2766
Last edited by prajeetboi; 3 weeks ago
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3 weeks ago
#12
(Original post by prajeetboi)
ok, i cant really take a pic so i'll just tell you.

I have only got as far as doing the first question and i did it by writing the numbers out and eliminating them, until i was left with 41.
I want to do all 3 of the questions algebraically rather than like this so please help me out thanks
mqb2766
Deducing the algebraic approach in this problem is like opening can of worms.

Let us firstly consider what happens if we start with an even/odd number of cards, and if we begin by discarding the first/second card.

Let be the number of cards we begin with.

Case 1: n is even, and we begin by discarding the second card

In this scenario, we will discard every even card, therefore the final card will be discarded as well. This hence does not imply that on the next sweep we discard the first card.

So out of the pile numbered {1,2,3,4,5,...,n} we end up with a pile numbered {1,3,5,...,n-1}.

We end up with cards of the form for , which represents our new card order.

If n/2 is even, then we do the same thing and end up with {1,5,9,...,n-2}. Note that is odd here, so we need to ensure that for . Hence, the surviving numbers are of the form .

Note that we can deduce if is divisible by , then the resulting surviving numbers are consecutive sweeps are of the form for .

Case 2: n is odd, and we begin by discarding the second card

In this scenario, we discard every second card but keep the final card. This hence means that on the following sweep we begin by discarding the first card.

Out of the cards numbered {1,2,3,4,5,...,n-1,n} we obtain the list {1,3,5,7,...,n}

We end up with number of cards, and they are all of the form for .

Case 3: n is even, and we begin by discarding the first card

In this case, we discard the first, third, etc... card and keep the final card. This hence means that on the following sweep we begin by discarding the first card.

Out of the cards numbered {1,2,3,4,5,...,n-1,n} we obtain {2,4,6,8,...,n-4,n-2,n}.

The numbers we keep are of the form where .

If this number of cards is even again, we go again and obtain {4,8,...,n-4,n}

and the numbers are of the form for .

We can generalise and see that if is divisible by , then after consecutive sweeps the surviving numbers are of the form for .

Case 4: n is odd, and we begin by discarding the first card

Here it is the same game as in Case 3 except the discard the final card.

From {1,2,3,4,5,6,...,n} we are left with {2,4,6,...,n-1}.

The leftover numbers are of the form for .

So, to get the answer for 52 cards, we deal with this systematically.

52 is div by 4 therefore after two consecutive sweeps we obtain numbers of the form

for .

We have 13 cards remaining, so we activate Case 2. The surviving numbers are of the form

and then we are left with 7 cards, and we need to begin by picking the first card [Case 4]. The surviving numbers are

for .

So we have 3 cards. We go back to Case 2. The surviving numbers are of the form

and we have 2 cards remaining. Case 3 yields the surviving card as

Thus, the surviving card is .

Anyway, I got to run now, so hopefully you can use this to check the 100 case.
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3 weeks ago
#13
(Original post by RDKGames)
Deducing the algebraic approach in this problem is like opening can of worms.
PRSOM for the effort.

This isn't my own work, but unless I'm stealing an approach to the wrong problem, then then there's actually a fairly straightforward way of solving this.

First, solve the case where the number of cards is a power of 2.
Next, reduce the case where the number of cards is NOT a power of 2 to the previous case.
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