By Gary Cleland
Scientists believe they have worked out the secret to winning at paper, scissors, stone.
While most people are aware that stone blunts scissors, scissors cut paper and paper covers stone, there is a psychological element to the game which many players may have missed.
According to New Scientist magazine, the way to win is to start with scissors.
Research shows that stone, also called rock, is the most popular of the three possible moves in the game.
That means that your opponent is likely to choose paper, because they will expect to you to start the game with stone.
By going with scissors, you achieve an early victory.
The scissors strategy has proven very successful in the past - in 2005 it secured auction house Christie's a £10 million deal.
A Japanese art collector who could not decide whether to sell his Impressionist paintings through Christie's or rival auction house Sotheby's, instructed them to play the game against each other.
Christie's consulted its employees on strategies and, on the advice of the director's 11-year-old daughters, chose scissors.
The little girls, keen fans of the game, explained that "everybody expects you to choose rock".
As predicted, Sotheby's went for the open palm in a bid to beat the expected clenched fist, and lost the deal.
There are a number of different strategies to secure victory in the game once it gets going. New Scientist suggests: "You could try the double bluff, where you tell your opponent what you are going to throw - then do it.
"No one believes you'll do it, so they won't play the throw that beats the throw you are playing."
Alternatively you could throw the move that would have beaten your opponent's previous move. The logic here is that players subconsciously try to beat their own previous move.