Giving leisure sports a ‘hand’

For most students the summer is a great time to catch up with old friends, earn credit toward your degree or just to relax and refocus for the coming school year. That’s great if you actually have a life. But I for one have other, more important things on my mind – three to be exact. Rock, paper and scissors.

The World Rock Paper Scissors Championship in Toronto is just four months away, and this summer serves as valuable time for training. You may be asking yourself, (a) “Turner, who let you write for the BG News?” and/or (b) “How would anybody ever train for a game that is purely luck?”

Although I cannot answer the first question, I can tell you that rock paper scissors is anything but luck.

The premise of the game is simple enough: Rock beats scissors, scissors beat paper and paper beats rock. The last pairing makes little sense to me seeing that a rock with paper around it is still a rock, and if bashed in the head the fact that it’s covered with paper makes little difference, but I digress.

After these basic principles is where the child’s play ends and the life of a serious rock paper scissors player begins. If you have aspirations of finding your way out of the playground and into the world of competitive RPS, write this down.

In order to gain the edge over other competitors, training is necessary. Most days begin at 6 a.m. with two-to-three grueling hours of right-hand strength and conditioning. This is followed by several hours of studying film from last year’s tournament to pick up on players’ tendencies or weaknesses. Find these weaknesses and you will find a “best two-out-of-three” victory.

After that I map out and refine my Gambit formation. A Gambit is simply a series of three successive moves made with strategic intent. Most players are familiar with “The Great Eight” Gambits, which have been widely used and well documented in tournament play for years now.

“The Crescendo” (paper, scissors, rock) has become my classic opening – a subtle, yet elegant build to the power of rock.

Then I preserve the rock by employing the “Scissors Sandwich” (paper, scissors, paper), which is a great way to scout out the opponents strategy through a concealed scissors.

To close with a bang, there is no better trio than “The Avalanche” (rock, rock, rock).

Things become pretty heated amidst tournament play, so it’s important that using and recognizing these Gambits becomes second nature. There are 27 different combinations in all, so don’t be afraid to try some out at home.