|This article does not cite any references or sources. (July 2009)|
Mercy is a popular children's game of strength, skill and endurance in Britain, Canada, Pakistan, India, U.S., also is played in the Middle East and Far East Asia in places like Malaysia and Brunei – although its exact origin is unknown. Many claim to have invented it but most likely it would have been played by school kids across the globe for centuries already. It also is known as Peanuts, Uncle, Pinochle, and Cravens. It may also be used as a form of bullying. Often Mercy is played at break and lunchtimes at school.
Two players face each other, holding their opponent's hands (opponent #1's right hand to opponent #2's left hand, opponent #1's left hand to opponent #2's right hand, interlocking fingers or thumbs with fingers wrapped around an opponent's back part of the hand). On the word "go", each player attempts to bend back their opponent's hand and inflict pain by straining their wrist. When a player can no longer stand the pain they declare defeat by shouting "Mercy!" (or "Peanuts!", "Danny Stavros Buck", "Pinochle" or "Uncle", depending upon what they call the game).
The winner is usually called 'The Monster ', 'The Champion', 'The Fahad' but this of course depends on the players, and some people choose to call it different. Most opponents do not want a rematch after facing the winners (win or lose regardless).
Cheating and etiquette
Cheating involves any other activity during the match that inflicts pain, distraction or discomfort on the opponent. Sportsmanship etiquette includes the prompt release of the hand grip after defeating the opponent. Some[who?] consider the rapid twisting of the wrist to be a dangerous cheat that could result in broken wrists; others consider this maneuver to be fair. During play, players may not move their feet (some play otherwise). Rules are often agreed upon before playing. Cheating in mercy is unusual but many have developed strategies to use their own individual body physique.
Skilled Mercy players often use specific strategies to get their opponents into painful positions, such as twisting the arm around so that the elbow is pointed towards the neck, against the back, and then pushing up on the arm. Throwing an opponent on their back on either a desk or the floor maybe used if they are too persistent. Sometimes a mercy match can end very quickly or can last for minutes.
Players with bony fingers may shift their grip to twist their opponents fingers purposefully, causing pain by digging their bony middle joints into the other players fingers. However painful this may be to the unsuspecting opponent, this may run the risk of dislocating or breaking one or both parties fingers.
The 'handlock' is a strategy mastered by those who are the best at mercy. Beware, 2 strong players could make each other's fingers numb and cause hand marks over them.
Sometimes, if a person knows they will lose, they say "What's the name of this game?" to the other player. The other player may say "Mercy", signifying a win for the person who asked.
Mercy may be played one-handed.
A stronger player may play two people at once, one on each hand.
A player may choose to have the inner or outer grip depending on the decision between players.
With Three or more Players
Mercy can be played with any number of people: players form a ring and interlock fingers with the adjacent hands of the two players on either side. On "go" all players attempt to bend back the wrists of their neighbor. When a player cries "Mercy!", play ceases and that player is eliminated from the game. The remaining players rejoin hands and play resumes until only one person is left.
In another variation of Mercy, two opponents sit back-to-back on a bench, with feet against the arm rests on the far side of the bench. Both players then proceed to push each other in which standard mercy rules come into play; when one player cannot take the strain or pain any longer, they will cry "Mercy!" or the phrase at hand. One variation of this involves several people sitting in a row, and having only one person push with their back.
The players must play with mercy but also 'floor' the other player to win. This is a test of skill, power and the ability to focus your body in different ways. This is more popular when played in the snow. Players must use the basic mercy stance. The person who says 'Mercy!' or gets floored loses the game.