Why another olympiad problem book? There are already several good
books still in print in the English language covering prestigious
mathematical olympiads. A few that come to mind are books on
the USA Mathematical Olympiad, the International Mathematical
Olympiad, and the Hungarian Mathematical Olympiad Eötvös
Yet when I received the first draft of this book and was reviewing the
manuscript to see if it was worthy of publication, I was
awestruck by the novelty of these problems. As I was reading through
the problems, there were many times when I just had to stop
reading because I wanted to work on the problem I had just read
or I just had to drop everything to peek at the solution.
As an avid problemist as well as publisher, I see thousands of
problems every year, but somehow these problems seemed different.
They have some indescribable property that I can't pin down that somehow
makes them different from most of the (Western) problems that I am used to.
Perhaps it is because we, in the United States, have had little
contact in the past with the mathematics and educational system
Mathematicians, problemists, students, and educators should all
benefit from this collection. One difference I note between these
problems and contests in the US is the large number of problems
that involve games. ("Two players play a game by alternately writing
numbers on a board or removing pebbles from a pile...; who wins
this game and what is the winning strategy?'') Pedagogically, I feel
such problems pull a student into trying to find the winning strategy
and help make mathematics fun, useful, and interesting.
Another difference that I note is the dearth of problems involving
probability or trigonometry. Is this some significant cultural
difference or is it just an accident due to the small sample space
Whatever makes these problems different from the usual ones,
I am proud to offer you now this delightful collection of problems.
The authors, Professors Kirichenko and Fomin, have done a marvelous
job of preserving the appeal of these problems in their English translation.
I am indebted to Mark Saul who had the inspiration to propose making the
contests from Russia available to the English-speaking world and
who was able to put me in contact with the authors from one of Russia's most
prestigious contests, the Leningrad Mathematical Olympiad.
As a small publisher who puts out very few books a year, I feel
honored to be able to publish this one.
There are several other people who helped make the book a reality.
Alice Cheyer did a masterful job of copyediting. This task was above and
beyond the usual job inasmuch as she had to deal with a very technical
manuscript written by people for whom English is not their native
language. Alice also entered the corrections from the proofreaders.
Paul Anagnostopoulos of Windfall Software did the book design and did
an excellent job as compositor. Material arrived from the authors
by mail, courier, disk, and electronic mail and had to go through
numerous stages of electronic translation before it could be turned
into ZzTeX, our production system. Thanks must go to anonymous
scientists and administrators who created and keep running
the Internet, an electronic communications system that allowed
nearly instantaneous transmission of both text (in ASCII) and
graphics (using encapsulated PostScript) from Russia to the US.
Compuserve Navigator v3.1.1 was used for access to Compuserve Information
Service which provided Internet access. Word Perfect v5.0 files supplied
by the authors were translated into TeX using v2.00E of Publishing
Companion by K-Talk Communicatons, Inc.
All the figures were carefully handcrafted by the authors using
Designer v3.1 from Micrografx and exported to EPS files.
Interchange between DOS and
Macintosh diskettes was accomplished using v6.01 of MacLinkPlus from DataViz.
Windfall Software did the conversion from plain TeX v3.141 to ZzTeX v2.1c.
The problems were proofread and classified by Stanley Rabinowitz.
The cover design was by Kathi Duprey.
I thank Mark Saul for his insightful Foreword.
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