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Rock, paper, scissors champs gather in Toronto

Can global conflicts be settled by rock, paper, scissors? Maybe not. But organisers of a RPS tournament in Toronto this weekend want the centuries-old children’s game applied more often to settle lesser fights.

“It’s the simplest, fairest way to make a decision or resolve a conflict,” tournament director Graham Walker told Agence France-Presse.

“We don’t think we should be determining the fate of Iraq, but maybe we can resolve a lot of smaller conflicts like two children fighting over a chocolate bar,” he said.

The top 500 competitors from around the world, including national champions from Australia, New Zealand and Norway, will compete in Toronto on Saturday for a C$10 000 ($8 835) prize and the title of world champion.

To win a round, players simply wave their fists while counting to three, and then make one of three hand signals: a fist (rock), flat hand (paper) or two fingers (scissors).

Rock breaks scissors, paper covers rock, scissors cut paper.

The game’s origins are disputed because variations of it appear in almost every society.

But, a world governing body was founded in England in the mid-1800s and was moved to Toronto in 1918.

Its members decided then that post-World War I Britain had become “far too dangerous a place to make a suitable home country for a game of conflict resolution,” according to the group’s website.

In contrast, Canada was viewed as a “safe, hospitable and utterly inoffensive nation.”

In 1925, the club briefly reached over 10 000 members and was renamed The World RPS Society.

It now boasts about 2 000 members and has held world championships since 2002.

“The game is often used now to determine who gets to sit in the front seat of a car or who has to get off the couch to get a beer. When you’re married, it’s used to decide who has to change the diapers,” Walker explained.

But, it could be used to quickly settle countless other arguments, he said.

At this year’s championships, vertical paper and horizontal scissors will not be tolerated because the two signs can be confused if not properly executed, he noted.

Some US players may also feel handicapped by the international rules which require three counts instead of two counts used in some American states. They will have to adjust their play, Walker said.

Otherwise, 16 referees will be on hand to settle any disputes, he said. – AFP

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