Yes, you read that right. There are competitions held for Rubik’s Cubes. More specifically, who can solve them the fastest. Official competitions are a fairly new concept but they are rapidly growing in popularity around the world.
How do Rubik’s Cube competitions work? Well, it’s pretty straight forward. Usually held in event halls or auditoriums, a large number of tables are set up for solvers and judges to sit at. Each competitor gets of 3-5 solves depending on the event/competition. The solver’s puzzle is scrambled beforehand using computer-generated, random scramble sequences.
The solver has a maximum of 15 seconds to inspect the puzzle. Timing starts once the solver takes his hands off the timer and the timing stops when the solver drops the cube and places both their hands back on the timer. The time is then recorded by the judge sitting at the table and the process repeats. Whoever has the fastest time(s), wins.
Now, back to some history. In the late 90s and early 2000s, speed solvers and Rubik’s Cube enthusiasts started a few unofficial sites and online groups where they could post their personal best solving times and to discuss the hobby in general.
Many cubers wanted to have official competitions to show off their skill but there was a big problem: who would organize such an endeavor to bring all the cubers together from all around the world?
Well, in 2003, a group of speed cubers came together and organized the Rubik’s Cube World Championship in Toronto. The main contributors were Dan Gosbee (Canada), Ron van Bruchem (Dutch), Chris Hardwick (U.S.), and Ton Dennenbroek (Dutch).
This organized Rubik’s Cube World Championship was a huge success. However, there were many issues during the competition due to lack of regulations. Van Bruchem and Tyson Mao (U.S.) then organized multiple competitions around the world, including Netherlands, Germany, and The U.S.
Not long after, in 2004, they started the World Cube Association (WCA). Since then, the WCA has held competitions in over 80 countries and the popularity of speed solving has grown tremendously over the past few years.
With the help of the WCA, the popularity of Speedcubing has grown tremendously over the past few years. People of all ages around the world are picking up the puzzle and challenging themselves with a solve. The current top 5 fastest Rubik’s cube solves are Yusheng Du (3.47), Feliks Zemdegs (4.22 ), Patrick Ponce (4.24), Max Park (4.40), and Juliette Sébastien (4.44).
Will anyone be able to beat Yusheng Du’s 3.47 second solve? Time will tell.