### Background

#### Tournament

A tournament is a complete graph with oriented edges.It can be viewed as the result of a round-robin tournament, where every team plays every other team and there is always a winner and a loser in every match (no ties). The direction of each edge is from the winner to the loser of that match. In the above graph, team 1 beat team 2, hence the edge $1\rightarrow 2$ and so on.

#### Hamilton path

A Hamilton path is a path connecting all vertices of a graph (once and only once).
The directed path shown above in red is a Hamilton path, since it connects all vertices of the graph.

Now we are ready for the theorem and its proof.

### Redei's theorem

Every tournament has a directed Hamilton path. This was first proven by Laszlo Redei in 1934.

### Proof by induction

For the base case, consider a directed graph on 2 vertices, say $v_1\rightarrow v_2$. This is also a Hamilton path, since it covers both vertices. So the statement holds true for our base case.

For the inductive step, we assume that each tournament on $(n-1)$ vertices has a Hamilton path. Assume that this path is {$v_1,\cdots,v_{n-1}$} as shown in the graphs below. We consider 3 different scenarios for the new vertex $v$ added to this graph.

- In the first scenario, we have an edge $v\rightarrow v_1$ as shown by the red edge in the graph below. The new path $\{v,v_1,\cdots,v_{n-1}\}$ is a Hamilton path. So for this scenario, a tournament on $n$ vertices does have a Hamilton path.

- In the second scenario, we have an edge $v_{n-1}\rightarrow v$ as shown by the red edge in the graph below. The new path $\{v_1,\cdots,v_{n-1},v\}$ is a Hamilton path. So for this scenario too, a tournament on $n$ vertices does have a Hamilton path.

- In the final scenario different from the previous two, we have both $v_1\rightarrow v$ and $v\rightarrow v_{n-1}$ as shown in the graph below. In this case, the first vertex $v_i$ such that there is an edge $v\rightarrow v_i$ (shown as a dotted edge) completes a Hamilton cycle $\{v_1,\cdots,v_{i-1},v,v_{i+1},\cdots,v_{n-1}\}$. (Note that $i$ could be $n-1$ (the last vertex) if all edges preceding it go into $v$.) So for this scenario too, a tournament on $n$ vertices has a Hamilton path.

### Conclusion

Using the analogy of matches in a round-robin tournament between $n$ teams, Redei's theorem says that it is always possible to find $n$ matches, such that team A beat team B, which beat team C and so on, which beat team N. Now that was not obvious before! (Note: team A doesn't mean team 1. $\{A, B, \cdots, N\}$ is some permutation of $\{1, 2, \cdots, n\}$.)### References

- Bondy, J.A., Murty, U.S.R.,
*Graph Theory*, 2008.

## No comments:

## Post a Comment