The Quest for the Trio of Hands

Worldrps Bulllboarder "Frogkill" asked what probably seemed to him a fairly straightforward question:

I am really interested in buying a copy of the Trio of Hands. I have read excerts from the book and would like to own a copy.

Getting a copy of  Smallsoa’s seminal work: The Trio of Hands is often compared to the quest for the Holy Grail. As is often the case on the Society’s bullboards, an avalanche of helpful advice, historical perspective,  and longwinded banter insued. Things get really interesting after Master Roshambollah get into the history and mystery surrounding this great book. Here is a short excerpt

Indeed, The Trio of Hands does exist, and it is a delightful tome of RPS wisdom. It is remarkably hard to come by, however. A brief history: Wojek Smallsoa had already attained a level of greatness by the late 50’s. It is difficult for us to realize now just how groundbreaking his style of play was at the time. It was suggested that he organize his thoughts on the subject for an introduction to the World Championships of 1959. His notes ran to over 100 scribbled pages, out of which he selected a few paragraphs for the opening remarks at the Tournament. This, then, was the first time any part of Trio was in print (this is now subsumed under the section entitled "The Price of Success") Joseppe DiScaglia, the editor of Mondo di RPS at the time, suggested that…READ MORE

Worldrps Bulllboarder "Frogkill" asked what probably seemed to him a fairly straightforward question:

I am really interested in buying a copy of the Trio of Hands. I have read excerts from the book and would like to own a copy.

Getting a copy of  Smallsoa’s seminal work: The Trio of Hands is often compared to the quest for the Holy Grail. As is often the case on the Society’s bullboards, an avalanche of helpful advice, historical perspective,  and longwinded banter insued. Things get really interesting after Master Roshambollah get into the history and mystery surrounding this great book. Here is a short excerpt

Indeed, The Trio of Hands does exist, and it is a delightful tome of RPS wisdom. It is remarkably hard to come by, however. A brief history: Wojek Smallsoa had already attained a level of greatness by the late 50’s. It is difficult for us to realize now just how groundbreaking his style of play was at the time. It was suggested that he organize his thoughts on the subject for an introduction to the World Championships of 1959. His notes ran to over 100 scribbled pages, out of which he selected a few paragraphs for the opening remarks at the Tournament. This, then, was the first time any part of Trio was in print (this is now subsumed under the section entitled "The Price of Success") Joseppe DiScaglia, the editor of Mondo di RPS at the time, suggested that Smallsoa compile some of his notes for serialization. A total of six sections were created for Mondo from late 1959-1960. These were not in their final forms as appear in Trio, but were summaries of the "meat" of Trio, the main strategic sections. These are:

  • Before the Prime
  • Proper Priming
  • The Throw,
  • Strategic Assessment
  • Constructing a Game Plan

Lest the newcomer think otherwise, even the sections in Trio are more poetic descriptions than an exhaustive study, which would have made the slim tome into a several volume edition.

Poster Martinburley muddied up the waters with the following addition:

If you are still reading, Frogkill, I would advise you to be careful on your quest. The publishing disputes and consequent scarcity of genuine The Trio of Hands – as exhaustively and exhaustingly explained by Rosh – have led unscrupulous types to compile false copies of the book, claiming that what is in reality a mish-mash of platitudes, nonsense and impenetrable musings are the genuine words of Smallsoa. Unfortunately some unsuspecting players fall for this. Not only are they conned, but if they take the misleading versions as gospel, this can even damage their gameplay.

Martin then gets into some very fasinating specifics about the nature of different interpretations (or rather misinterpretations) about the text:

In the most volatile of these disputes, Liechtenstein nearly descended into civil war in 1983 over two versions of a single sentence ("…often the toughest battles of RPS are the ones fought in demise" versus "…often the toughest battles of RPS are the ones fought in the mine"). Proponents of the first version believed Smallsoa was referring to the character required to face defeat with honour, and come back to win from tough situations. Their opponents believed that the line was referring to non-visual tells, implying that a true Master should be able to beat his opponent even while playing in total darkness.

In a later post,  Master Rosh poetically sums up the Quest for the Trio of Hands

The quest for the Trio of Hands is similar to many of life’s pursuits. When one really, really wants something, it is impossible to obtain. Once one has conquered the lust for result, the object flows towards one effortlessly. To achieve a goal, one must first act as if one doesn’t want it.

So for anyone out there desperate to find a copy of this great book, you have been warned that it will not be easy. Should you still think that the pursuit of this knowledge will help you you can read more about on the World RPS Society Bullboards

For those those that prefer a more immediate method of improving your game play, you can always order a copy of the Official RPS Strategy Guide from Amazon 

Posted in Best of the Bulllboards