IMO 2021, Problem 5

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IMO 2021, Problem 5

Unread post by tanmoy » Wed Jul 21, 2021 8:17 pm

Two squirrels, Bushy and Jumpy, have collected 2021 walnuts for the winter. Jumpy numbers the walnuts from 1 through 2021, and digs 2021 little holes in a circular pattern in the ground around their favorite tree. The next morning Jumpy notices that Bushy had placed one walnut into each hole, but had paid no attention to the numbering. Unhappy, Jumpy decides to reorder the walnuts by performing a sequence of 2021 moves. In the $k$-th move, Jumpy swaps the positions of the two walnuts adjacent to walnut $k$.

Prove that there exists a value of $k$ such that, on the $k$-th move, Jumpy swaps some walnuts $a$ and $b$ such that $a< k <b$.
"Questions we can't answer are far better than answers we can't question"

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