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# The complete quadrilateral and its properties

Nikolaos Rapanos
email: nrapanos@gmail.com
HMS-Preparation Notes for I.M.O. 2009
July 7, 2009

The basics

Definition 1.1. The figure determined by four lines, no three of which are concurrent, and
their six points of intersection, form the so-called complete quadrilateral. Equivalently,
one can define the complete quadrilateral as the shape that is formed by a convex quadrilateral and the two intersections of its opposite sides. The segments AB, AC, BE, DC are
the sides, and the segments AF, DE, BC are the diagonals of the complete quadrilateral
F DAECB.

## Figure 1: The complete quadrilateral.

Theorem 1.1. The circumcircles of the four triangles DF B,F EC,DAC,BEA concur at
Miquels point M .
Proof. Let M be the intersection of the circles CF DB and CF EC . Prove by angle chasing
that the quadrilaterals M DAC and M BAE are inscribable. (see Figure 1)
Theorem 1.2. The circumcenters of the four triangles mentioned above, and Miquels
point are concyclic.
Proof. Prove by angle chasing that the quadrilaterals O1 O2 M O3 and O2 M O3 O4 are inscribable. Have in mind that O1 O2 BM etc. (see Figure 1)

## Figure 2: Auberts and Simsons Lines.

Theorem 1.3. (Simsons Line of the complete quadrilateral) The feet of the perpendiculars from M to the sides of the complete quadrilateral are collinear.
Proof. Use Simsons Line for the circumcircles of each of the four triangles DF B, F EC,
DAC, BEA and the point M . Using the fact, that the circumcircles of the four triangles
concur at M , it turns out that the Simsons Lines of the four triangles coincide. (see
Figure 2)

Theorem 1.4. (Auberts Line) The orthocenters of the four triangles DF B,F EC,DAC
and BEA lie on the same line, which is parallel to Simsons Line of the complete quadrilateral.
Proof. We work separately for each of the four circumcircles. It is well known that the homothety H(M, 2) maps Simsons Line (which according to the previous theorem, happens
to be the same for the four triangles) to another line passing through the orthocenter of
each triangle. Therefore, Auberts Line is the homothetic image of Simsons Line under
the homothety H(M, 2), and thus they are parallel to each other. (see Figure 2)
Theorem 1.5. Let C1 , C2 , C3 be the circles with diameters the diagonals of the complete
quadrilateral F DAECB. The circles C1 , C2 , C3 form a bundle.
Proof. We will prove that the common chord of the circles coincides with Auberts Line
of the complete quadrilateral. Let A0 = C1 DC, C 0 = C3 AD and D0 = C2 AC. Any
inscribed angle which sees a semi-circle is right, so the orthocenter HADC of the triangle
ADC is the common point of the segments AA0 , CC 0 , DD0 .

Figure 3: The circles whose diameters are the diagonals of the complete quadrilateral,
form a bundle.
3

A0 D0 AD is also inscribable), thus HADC has equal powers with respect to the three circles, i.e. HADC is the radical center of the circles C1 , C2 , C3 . Similarly, we prove that
HF DB , HF EC and HEBA are also radical centers of the same circles, and so we conclude
that the circles C1 , C2 , C3 form a bundle and their common chord is Auberts Line.
Theorem 1.6. (Gausss Line) The midpoints of the diagonals of the complete quadrilateral are collinear. Furthermore, Gausss Line is perpendicular to Simsons and Auberts
Line.
Proof. Since the circles C1 , C2 , C3 form a bundle (according to the preivious theorem) and
their centers are the midpoints of the diagonals of the complete quadrilateral, we conclude

## Figure 4: Gausss Line.

that the midpoints of the diagonals are collinear. It is also well known that the line joining
the centers of two circles is perpendicular to their common chord, thus Gausss Line is
perpendicular to Auberts Line.
4

Remark. This proof for Gausss Line shows how we can take advantage of a bundle
of circles. This method can be used to pove collinearities in general, and we advise the
reader to study carefully and understand this proof.

2
2.1

## More properties of the complete quadrilateral

Special Cases

Theorem 2.1. If the quadrilateral F DAE is inscribable, then the Miquels point M lies
on BC.
Proof. Because of the hypothesis, we have F M B = F DA and F M C = F EA,
therfore F M B + F M C = 180o .

## Figure 5: Special cases for Miquels point.

Theorem 2.2. If the quadrilateral DBCE is inscribable, then the Miquels point M lies
on the line AF .
Proof. Consider the circles CF DB , CF EC and CDECB . The points of intersection of the
first two circles are F and Miquels point M . Observe that the radical center of the three
circles is A. Thus F M (the radical axis of the first two circles) passes through A.

2.2

## The complete quadrilateral and harmonic division

Let d be a line and A, B, C and D four points which lie in this order on it. The four point
(ABCD) is called a harmonic division, or harmonic 4-tuple, if
BA
DA
=
BC
DC

## Figure 6: Harmonic Division.

We also say that the points B and D are the harmonic conjugates of A and C, and often
we use the notation (A, C, B, D) = 1 when the points B and D are harmonic conjugates
of A and C. Firstly, we will present some properties of the harmonic conjugate points and
in Theorem 2.3 we will present how harmonic division appears together with a complete
Remark. The notation (A, C; B, D) = 1 comes from the concept of the cross ratio.
The definition of cross ratio and its consequences as well as its generalization to concyclic
points which leads to the concept of the harmonic quadrilateral will be discussed further
in the lectures.
Property 1. If the points B and D are harmonic conjugates of A and C, then the points
A and C are also harmonic conjugates of B and D.
Property 2. If the points B and D are harmonic conjugates of A and C and M the
midpoint of AC, then the points B and D lie on the same ray of d with M as the vertex
ray.
Property 3. If A, B, C and D form a harmonic 4-tuple on d, and O an arbitrary point
of d such that (OA) = k, (OC) = l, (OB) = m, (OD) = n, then
2(kl + mn) = (k + l)(m + n)

(1)

## Figure 7: Illustration of Property 3.

Proof. It is known that (A, C, B, D) = 1, so
above figure) we have

BA
BC

DA
DC

mk
lm

nk
nl

## nm ml kn + kl = nl nm kl + k 2(kl + mn) = (k + l)(m + n)

From this proof, also follows that the converse is also true under the restriction that B
and D lie on the same ray of d with M (the midpoint of AC) as the vertex of the ray.
Property 4. (Descartes Identity) If the points A, B, C and D are harmonic conjugate, then
1
1
2
=
+
AC
Proof. Use the metric relation (1) for O A.
Property 5. (Newtons Identity) If the points A, B, C and D are harmonic conjugate
and M the midpoint of AC, then
M B M D = M A2 = M C 2
Proof. Use the metric relation (1) for O M . The converse is also true under the
restriction that B and D lie on the same ray of d with M as the vertex of the ray.
The following lemma is a consequence of the Appolonius circle property1 .
Lemma 2.1. Let four points A, B, C and D, in this order, lying on d. Then, if two of
the following propositions are true, then the third is also true.
The division (ABCD) is harmonic.
XB is the internal angle bisector of AXC
XB XD
Theorem 2.3. The endpoints of each diagonal, and the intersection points of the diagonal
with the other two diagonals of the complete quadrilateral, form a harmonic 4-tuple.
Proof. Let P = DE BC and Q = AF BC. Applying Menelauss Theorem for the
triangle ABC and the line DE, we get
P B CE DA

=1
(2)
P C EA DB
Applying Cevas Theorem for the triangle ABC and the cevians AF, DF, CF , we get
QC DB EA

=1
QB DA CE
1

(3)

Appolonius circle is the locus of a point moving so that the ratio of its distances from two fixed points

is fixed. In particular, if the points B and D divide the line segment AC harmonically in ratio p : q, then
the circle with diameter the segment BD is the Appolonius circle for the fixed points A and C, and the
ratio p : q.

## Figure 8: Harmonic 4-tuple and complete quadrilateral (Theorem 2.3).

Multiplying by parts (2) and (3), we get
QB
PB
=
PC
QC
thus the points P, B, Q, C form a harmonic 4-tuple.
2.2.1

Harmonic bundle

Suppose we have a line d and a harmonic 4-tuple (ABCD) on d. If X is a point not lying on
d, then we say that the bundle X(ABCD) (which consists of four lines XA, XB, XC, XD
- the radii of the bundle) is harmonic . Here we will present some well-known theorems
about the harmonic bundles without proofs since their proofs can be found in  and in
other classic books of Euclidean Geometry.
Theorem 2.4. A bundle O(ABCD) is harmonic if and only if a line parallel to one of
its radii, is divided by the other three radii to two equal segments.
Theorem 2.5. (Pappus) The intersection points between a line and the four radii of a
harmonic bundle, form a harmonic 4-tuple.
Theorem 2.6. If (A, C, B, D) = 1 and (A, C 0 , B 0 , D0 ) = 1 then the lines BB 0 , CC 0 , DD0
are concurrent.
Theorem 2.7. If O(ABCD) and O0 (AB 0 C 0 D0 ) are harmonic bundles and E = OB
O0 B 0 , Z = OC O0 C 0 , W = OD O0 D0 , then E, Z and W are collinear.

## Figure 9: Illustration of Theorem 2.4.

Theorem 2.8. If the bundle O(ABCD) is harmonic and the radii of another bundle
O0 (A0 B 0 C 0 D0 ) are one to one perpendicular to the radii of the first, then the second bundle
is also harmonic.
Common harmonic bundles in a triangle ABC are the following:
The sides of one of the three angles and the internal and external bisectors of it,
form a harmonic bundle.
Two of the sides,the contained median and the line parallel to the third side, form
a harmonic bundle.
If H is the orthocenter,O the circumcenter, I the incenter and Ib the excenter, then
the bundle A(HIOIb ) is harmonic.
If H is the orthocenter, O the circumcenter, G its centroid and O9 the Eulers circle
center, then the bundle A(HO9 GO) is harmonic.
2.2.2

## Concurrency through harmonic division

The following lemma is a consequence of Theorem 2.3 and shows how we can use harmonic
division to derive concurrency results.
Lemma 2.2. In a triangle ABC consider three points X, Y, Z on the sides BC, CA, AB
respectively. If X 0 is the point of intersection of Y Z with the extended side BC, then the
four-point (BXCX 0 ) forms a harmonic division if and only if the cevians AX, BY and
CZ are concurrent.

2.3

An interesting result

Theorem 2.9. (Brockard) Denote by T the intersection of DE and BC. If the quadrilateral F DAE is inscribed in a circle C(O, r), then OT is perpendicular to BC. Furthermore the intersection of OT and BC is the Miquels point of the complete quadrilateral
F DAECB.

Figure 10: Theorem 2.9 states that OT BC and also that M = OT BC is the Miquels
point in this configuration.

## Proof. Let K = CT F E, L = CT AD, P = BT DF, Q = BT AE, C1 = BO

CT, B1 = CO BT . From the complete quadrilateral KT AECF according to Theorem
2.3, we have that the bundle A(DF KC) is harmonic. Combining this result with Pappus
theorem for harmonic bundles, we conclude that the points B, F, K, E form a harmonic
4-tuple. Similarly we can prove that the 4-tuples (BDLA), (CF P D), (CEQA) are also
harmonic. The first pair of the harmonic 4-tuples gives that KL must be the polar of B,
and therefore CT BO. The second pair of the harmonic 4-tuples gives that P Q must
be the polar of C, and therefore BT CO. So T must be the orthocenter of the triangle
OBC, and thus OT BC.
We already know (Theorem 2.1) that the Miquels point of the complete quadrilateral
F DAECB lies on BC, so it is enough to show that if M is the intersection of OT
and BC, then M lies on the circumcircle of the triangle F DB. But this is true since
CM CB = CB1 CO = CO2 r2 = CF CD.

10

Applications

Problem 1. (IMO-SL 1995) Let ABC be a triangle, and let D, E, F be the points of
tangency of the incircle of triangle ABC with the sides BC, CA and AB respectively. Let
X be in the interior of ABC such that the incircle of XBC touches XB, XC and BC in
Z, Y and D respectively. Prove that EF ZY is cyclic.

## Figure 11: Extend EF to cut BC at T .

Solution. Denote by T the intersection of BC and EF . Since AD, BE and CF concur
at Gergonnes point of triangle ABC we deduce that (T, D, B, C) = 1. Notice also that
the lines XD, BY, CZ are concurrent at Gergonnes point of triangle XBC, and according
to Lemma 2.2, we have T Y Z. Now observe that T D2 = T Z T Y = T F T E and we
are done. 
Problem 2. (BMO 2008-P1, IMO-SL 96) An acute-angled scalene triangle ABC is
given with AC BC. Let O be its circumcenter, H its orthocenter, and F the foot of the
altitude from C. Let P be the point (other than A) on the line AB such that AF = P F ,
and M be the midpoint of AC. We denote the intersection of P H and BC by X, the
intersection of OM and F X by Y , and the intersection of OF and AC by Z. Prove that
the points F, M, Z and Y are concyclic.
Solution.(Nikolaos Rapanos-BMO 2008)
Clearly it suffices to prove that OF is perpendicular to F X. It is quite common in
such configurations to consider the intersection T of the C-altitude and the circumcircle
of ABC.
Now having in mind Theorem 2.9 and that it suffices to show that OF F X, we construct the complete quadrilateral T ACBED as in the Figure 13. According to Theorem
11

Figure 12: Comment. Working with angle chasing and elementary synthetic geometry,
unfortunately, is not enough. In such cases, we need to introduce something stronger in
our solution like ratios, similarities or other more advanced techniques. Indeed the official
solution is based on similar triangles. Here we present a solution based on the theory of
2.9 OF is perpendicular to DE, therefore it is enough to show that F X is parallel to DE.
Equivalently, we have to show that

BF
BQ

BX
BE .

## From the hypothesis we have AF = P F

and also it is well known that T F = F H, thus AT P H is a rhombus and AT //P X which
yields

BX
BE

BF
BQ

BP
BA .

BP
BA

## Therefore it suffices to prove that

BP
FB

BA
BQ

F AF B
FB

BA
BQ

FA
FB

=1+

BA
BQ

FA
QA
=
FB
QB

which is true since the points A, F, B, Q are harmonic conjugate2 and we are done.
Alternatively one could give an elegant solution using Butterfly Theorem.

We can derive this by applying Theorem 2.3 for the complete quadrilateral T ACBED.

12

Figure 13: We form the complete quadrilateral and we take advantage of the parallel lines
and the harmonic conjugate points created.

Problems

Problem 3. A triangle ABC is given and let two arbitrary lines BD and CE which
intersect at P such that ACP = ABP . If P P1 AB and P P2 AC, then prove that
the midperpendicular line of the segment P1 P2 passes through a fixed point.
Problem 4. In a triangle ABC, we consider points B 0 , C 0 on AB, AC such that BB 0 =
CC 0 . Let D be the intersection of lines BC 0 and B 0 C. Prove that the symmetric point of
D with respect to the midpoint M of BC lies on the angle bisector of A.
Problem 5. Let ABC a triangle and D, E, F the points where the incircle touches
BC, CA, AB. If L = BI EF , then prove that LB LC.
Problem 6. Given a triangle ABC denote by D, E, Z the points at which the incircle
touches the sides BC, CA, AB respectively. If P D is a diameter of the incircle, and if
AP, ZP, EP cut BC at M, K, N respectively; then prove that KM = M N .
Problem 7. (Greek National Olympiad 2008, Seniors) Let H be the orthocenter
of the triangle ABC which is inscribed in a circle of center K and radius R = 1. If S is
the intersection of the lines HK and BC and it is also true that KS KH = 1, compute
the area of ABHCA.
13

## Problem 8. (Nikolaos Rapanos) Let ABC be a triangle inscribed in circle . Call

D, E the feet of the internal and external angle bisectors of angle A on BC respectively.
Also denote by C1 the circle of diameter DE and by R the second point of intersection
between C1 and . If AR and the tangent to at point A, cut BC at K, L respectively;
then prove that the common chord of circles C1 and C2 passes through the midpoint of
BC, where C2 is any circle passing through K and L.
Problem 9. (IMO-SL 1998, Greek Mathematical Olympiad 1999) Let a triangle
ABC and their heights AD, BE, CZ concur at the orthocenter H. Call G the intersection
point of BC and EF , and denote by K and L the points of intersection between the
parallel line from D to EZ with AB and AC respectively. Consider the midpoints R, P
of the segments AH, ZE. Show that the lines RP, BC and the circumference of triangle
GKL concur.
Problem 10. (Chinese IMO TST 2002) Let ABCD be a convex quadrilateral. Let
E = AB CD, F = AD BC, P = AC BD, and let O be the foot of the perpendicular
from P to the line EF . Prove that BOC = AOD.
Problem 11. (IMO-SL 2006 G9, AIMO 2007/TST 2-P2)

Points A1 , B1 , C1

are chosen on the sides BC, CA, AB of a triangle ABC respectively. The circumcircles
of triangles AB1 C1 , BC1 A1 , CA1 B1 intersect the circumcircle of triangle ABC again at
points A2 , B2 , C2 respectively (A2 6= A, B2 6= B, C2 6= C). Points A3 , B3 , C3 are symmetric to A1 , B1 , C1 with respect to the midpoints of the sides BC, CA, AB respectively.
Prove that the triangles A2 B2 C2 and A3 B3 C3 are similar.

References
 A. Skiadas. Euclidean Geometry, 1973.
 Cosmin Pohoata. Harmonic Division and its Applications.