I’m watching Cubers on the CBC, a documentary about the revival of interest in Rubik’s Cube, and a recent Rubik’s Cube solvers’ competition. What can I say… it takes me back.
I wouldn’t stand a chance competing in this crowd, but I did win the world’s first (as far as I know) Rubik’s Cube competition, held in Budapest in 1980. I completed my cube in 55 seconds, which wasn’t a very good time by my standards then (I often managed to solve the cube in well under 30 seconds) but it was enough to win.
These days, world class competitors solve the cube in 15 seconds or less. In addition to manual dexterity, such spectacular performances also require memorizing a large number of moves. And then I am not even going to mention the blindfold competitions, involving not just the “standard” 3×3×3 cube but the larger, 4×4×4 and 5×5×5 versions… such skills are hard to comprehend.
I can still solve my (3×3×3) cube without trouble (so long as I am allowed to use my eyes), but I only remember a relatively modest number of moves, which means that my solution is far from efficient. In other words… I am rusty. And my cube is sticky. Literally, it feels sticky on the outside (is the plastic decomposing?) and it’s a bit hard to turn. Still, on the third try, I managed to solve it in a minute an 45 seconds. Not bad, considering that I haven’t touched the thing in years.