Problem #2345


The five small shaded squares inside this unit square are congruent and have disjoint interiors. The midpoint of each side of the middle square coincides with one of the vertices of the other four small squares as shown. The common side length is $\tfrac{a-\sqrt{2}}{b}$, where $a$ and $b$ are positive integers. What is $a+b$ ?

[asy] real x=.369; draw((0,0)--(0,1)--(1,1)--(1,0)--cycle); filldraw((0,0)--(0,x)--(x,x)--(x,0)--cycle, gray); filldraw((0,1)--(0,1-x)--(x,1-x)--(x,1)--cycle, gray); filldraw((1,1)--(1,1-x)--(1-x,1-x)--(1-x,1)--cycle, gray); filldraw((1,0)--(1,x)--(1-x,x)--(1-x,0)--cycle, gray); filldraw((.5,.5-x*sqrt(2)/2)--(.5+x*sqrt(2)/2,.5)--(.5,.5+x*sqrt(2)/2)--(.5-x*sqrt(2)/2,.5)--cycle, gray); [/asy]

$\textbf{(A)}\ 7\qquad\textbf{(B)}\ 8\qquad\textbf{(C)}\ 9\qquad\textbf{(D)}\ 10\qquad\textbf{(E)}\ 11$

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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).

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