Problem #1190


Team A and team B play a series. The first team to win three games wins the series. Each team is equally likely to win each game, there are no ties, and the outcomes of the individual games are independent. If team B wins the second game and team A wins the series, what is the probability that team B wins the first game?

$\mathrm{(A) \ } \frac{1}{5}\qquad \mathrm{(B) \ }  \frac{1}{4}\qquad \mathrm{(C) \ }  \frac{1}{3}\qquad \mathrm{(D) \ }  \frac{1}{2}\qquad \mathrm{(E) \ }  \frac{2}{3}$

This problem is copyrighted by the American Mathematics Competitions.

Note: you aren't logged in. If you log in, we'll keep a record of which problems you've solved.

Instructions for entering answers:

  • Reduce fractions to lowest terms and enter in the form 7/9.
  • Numbers involving pi should be written as 7pi or 7pi/3 as appropriate.
  • Square roots should be written as sqrt(3), 5sqrt(5), sqrt(3)/2, or 7sqrt(2)/3 as appropriate.
  • Exponents should be entered in the form 10^10.
  • If the problem is multiple choice, enter the appropriate (capital) letter.
  • Enter points with parentheses, like so: (4,5)
  • Complex numbers should be entered in rectangular form unless otherwise specified, like so: 3+4i. If there is no real component, enter only the imaginary component (i.e. 2i, NOT 0+2i).

For questions or comments, please email

Find out how your skills stack up!

Try our new, free contest math practice test. All new, never-seen-before problems.

AMC/AIME classes

I offer online AMC/AIME classes periodically. Join the mailing list to be informed next time they're offered.

Private coaching is also available.