Adventskalender del 2: Et møte mellom legender @ 30 Nov 2016
(Dette er den andre artikkelen i en serie på fem om avanserte strategier i SSP i forkant av årets NM 10. desember, skrevet av verdens største stein, saks, papir-stjerne - amerikanske Master Roshambollah. Les del én her. Den første artikkelen ble oversatt til norsk, men grunnet massiv kritikk av infoavdelingens (manglende?) oversettingsevner, blir de resterende artiklene presentert på sitt originalspråk).
I arrived in the familiar confines of Norway's Oslo Airport on a Thursday, meditating as usual on how our days of the week bear the names of Norse gods.
My mission: To interview some of Norway's greatest Rock Paper Scissors players in advance of December 10th's Norwegian Rock Paper Scissors Championship.
As I left the airport, a huge smile broke out on my face. Taking time out of his busy schedule to pick me up at the airport was none other than Geir-Arne «Geir the Viking» Brevik, the greatest Norwegian Rock Paper Scissors player of all time, and a man who influenced a whole generation of hand sport enthusiasts.
Geir the Viking, the greatest Norwegian Rock Paper Scissors player of all time.
Geir-Arne settled into the back of the NFSSP limo with me and motioned to the driver. He asked about my flight, and made polite conversation. One would think that when two Rock Paper Scissors legends like myself and Geir-Arne meet that we immediately play a match of Rock Paper Scissors, and many times this is true. However, my meetings with Geir-Arne always begin with social pleasantries. There will always be time for combat later.
As I catch up with my friend, I think about the first time I met Geir-Arne, at the 2004 World Championships of Rock Paper Scissors in Toronto, Canada. He was relatively quiet that first year, still getting a sense for his surroundings.
We were all stunned when he tagged along for the traditional post-tournament karaoke, and broke into a stunning rendition of Britney Spears' "Just a Girl."
Showing typical North American disregard for full names, we shortened his name to "Geir" then re-expanded it to "Geir the Viking" (the name by which he is still known to the international Rock Paper Scissors community.)
In 2005, Geir the Viking came back in force; with him were other top Norwegian players such as Pål «The Wall» Magnusson and Martin «The Terminato»" Giset. The year 2005 became known as the «Norwegian Invasion» at the World Championships.
In addition to landing three players in the top 64, and one in the top 32, Team Norway won their first Street Rock Paper Scissors title that year.
Team Norway anno 2005.
For those unfamiliar, «Street» Rock Paper Scissors is an event typically held concurrently with a major tournament. Tournament entrants are given a small amount of fake cash, called «Street Dollars». Players then wager Street Dollars against other players, and at the end of the night, the player with the most fake money is deemed the Street Champion.
The introduction of Street Rock Paper Scissors was intended to combat the often shady and lawless environments in streets and back alleys near major tournament venues, where the less reputable elements of the sport often congregate. With Geir the Viking acting as coach, Team Norway's chosen Street Champion was only nine years old.
In addition to his coaching duties, Geir-Arne also acts as motivational speaker for the professional Rock Paper Scissors community in Norway. He created the Norwegian National Championships, as well as the North Pole Classic, held inside the Arctic Circle, one of the most exclusive tournaments in the world.
Longyearbyen, Svalbard - you can't fint a RPS-tournament further north than here.
It is no surprise that by 2006, «Geir-Arne» was the most popular name chosen for male children in Norway (it also ranked a respectable #32 for female children.) He considers himself a "recreational player," but is still one of the International Rock Paper Scissors circuit's most storied competitors.
No less of a player than the mysterious masked man known only as the Midnight Rider considers a "friendly" match against Geir-Arne as the toughest of his career:
«Yeah, I won the match, but I had a few more grey hairs in my beard at the end of it. A match like that is one-on-one spiritual combat, you only get so many of those in your career»
I asked Geir-Arne about Street Rock Paper Scissors strategy, and what he thinks is the most important element. Without hesitation, he responded:
– Timing. If you don't have the luxury of an early lead in the competition, the way up during the night can be troublesome. (In 2006) we systematically tried to empty all the overly drunken men in the beginning of the night, as a safe way to build capital.
The problem was of course not about getting the money out of them, but the time it took. Playing the overly drunk involves a lot of off-topic talk, high five-ing and being introduced to other drunk people that already had lost their money.
– At the time we reached our peak of approximately 400 dollars and wanted to go from betting 20 to 100 per match, the people we wanted to beat didn't want to play us. We didn't have enough money to be an interesting opponent...we were simply too late.
Geir at the RPS World Championships.
I asked him if he learned any lessons that he would pass on to aspiring players this year in Oslo. Geir-Arne nodded vigorously.
– You can't beat the importance of good intelligence and coaching. If you know who to play at what time, and have a good overview of the wealth-distribution, you can do well even with mediocre players. Or, as happened to us, mediocre intelligence can lead excellent players to mediocre results in a hard street tournament.