A logical reasoning question for 14-year-olds in the Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad has gone viral after a TV presenter posted it on Facebook, leaving many people across the globe stumped.
The mind-boggling question states that two boys, Albert and Bernard, became friends with a girl called Cheryl and wanted to know her birthday.
Cheryl gave them ten possible dates, including May 15, May 16, May 19, June 17, June 18, July 14, July 16, August 14, August 15 and August 17. Then, she told Albert and Bernard the month and day of her birthday respectively.
The question continues and states that Albert is not sure about her birthday yet but certain that Bernard, who was told the day, does not know either. From this, it is possible to eliminate the two unique dates, May 19 and June 18.
If Cheryl had told Albert her birthday was in May or June then these two dates would still be valid. But Albert knows that Bernard does not know her birthday so this means she must have told Albert that the month is either July or August.
Bernard then says he has deducted the answer from the five remaining dates. It is impossible that the day of Cheryl’s birthday is 14 because if this was the case, there would be two possible dates, July 14 and August 14, and Bernard would not be able to ascertain the answer. So, only three possible dates, July 16, August 15 and August 16 are left.
Albert also obtains the answer after these clues. Since he only knows the month of Cheryl’s birthday, the answer must be July 16. If Cheryl told Albert she was born in August, Albert could not have deducted the answer because there would still be two possible dates.
Henry Ong, executive director of the Singapore and Asian Schools Math Olympiad, said the birthday question is a difficult one that aims to sift out the most intelligent students.
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