Avoidable Paths in Graphs

  • Marthe Bonamy
  • Oscar Defrain
  • Meike Hatzel
  • Jocelyn Thiebaut


We prove a recent conjecture of Beisegel et al. that for every positive integer $k$, every graph containing an induced $P_k$ also contains an avoidable $P_k$. Avoidability generalises the notion of simpliciality best known in the context of chordal graphs. The conjecture was only established for $k \in \{1,2\}$ (Ohtsuki et al. 1976, and Beisegel et al. 2019, respectively). Our result also implies a result of Chvátal et al. 2002, which assumed cycle restrictions.  We provide a constructive and elementary proof, relying on a single trick regarding the induction hypothesis. In the line of previous works, we discuss conditions for multiple avoidable paths to exist.

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