Scissors – Paper – Rock


Usually, when we think of the game of Scissors – Paper – Rock, we think of it as a tie-breaking game played by children in the playground. There are a few variations of the name, depending on where you grew up (The game being known as ‘Rock – Paper – Scissors’ in the US), but the essential concept remains the same.  We would be surprised to hear that this childhood past time is actually considered a professional sport in parts of the world.

The Rules

The rules of Scissors – Paper – Rock remain the same throughout the world. The two competitors (sometimes more) generally gesture their hands in a fist for three counts, kept in time through a chant of “Scissors Paper Rock!” On the fourth count, the competitors configure their hands into one of three gestures, each representing rock, paper or scissors.

The rules of how the winner is decided are as follows:

Rock defeats scissors

Scissors defeats Paper

Paper defeats rock

Whilst these rules may not make perfect sense, they are final. How rock manages to be defeated by paper is a bit complex. The idea is that paper can cover rock – though why paper cannot cover scissors also is a mystery.

On the occasion that two competitors choose the same gesture, the game is tied and they play again. The game is often played as a best of three.

Competitions of Scissors – Paper – Rock

It’s surprising, if not ridiculous, to hear that there are competitions for Scissors – Paper – Rock. The World Rock Paper Scissors Society was founded in 2002 and has a standardised set of rules for play. It oversees the annual International World Championships. These competitions receive very wide media attention from all parts of the world, with a vast range of nationalities competing for the crown. These competitions have been known for their large cash prizes, decorative arenas and memorable contestants. In 2004 the championships were broadcast on US sports TV giant Fox Sports.

The international competition is not the only tournament in the world – with competitions held in the UK and smaller tournaments in the US.

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