For those of us known to puzzle for hours over Rubik’s Cube, it may come as a surprise to learn that the world’s speedcubing record-holders are routinely faster than ‘the fastest human ever timed’, Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt. As a matter of fact, the world record for solving the Rubik’s Cube was recently broken – only 4.74 seconds! If it takes seeing to believe this, don’t miss America’s top speedcubing expert and entertainer, Anthony Brooks demonstrating his extraordinary swiftness at two upcoming Speedcube events to be held in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
The Rubik’s Cube, invented by Hungarian sculptor, Ernő Rubik reached its height as a mainstream craze in the ‘80’s. Hundreds of millions of cubes have since been sold (ten million cubes are sold annually), and there’s no doubt that there’s a fair share of those that have remained unsolved.
While always remaining popular, since the early 2000’s, Rubik’s Cube has enjoyed a massive resurgence as speedcubing, the feat of solving it and other cube-like puzzles at lightening speeds, has become a worldwide phenomenon. In the words of Ernő Rubik: “The cube is on the border of the real and virtual world. These days, we are very close to computers and the digital world but it’s important not to lose our connection with the real world — we need to do things with our hands and the cube responds to this.”
Under the auspices of the World Cube Association (WCA), two official speedcubing competitions on the international circuit will be held in South Africa in 2016.
If you fancy yourself as a nifty solver of the Rubik’s Cube, and are in the age category between 3 and 120 years old, then you can enter the Johannesburg competition taking place on Sunday, the 27th of November from 08h15 to 17h00 at The Jewish Life Centre in Sandown or the Cape Town competition to be held on Sunday, the 4th of December at The Cape Town Science Centre in Observatory, also from 08h15 to 17h00. The great thing about these competitions is you compete against your own time, at your own pace and your best times are recorded with the World Cube Association. And maybe the official South African record for solving the Rubik’s Cube in 9.81 seconds, which is held by Stephen Cotterrell, will be broken.
However, these events are not just for the speedcubing competitors. Spectators are welcome. If you loved it, or failed to solve it in the ‘80’s, it’s an ideal opportunity to dust off your Rubik’s Cube and rub shoulders with the experts. It’s also a perfect family occasion for parents or grandparents to join their kids in a fun way to develop problem-solving skills, mathematical literacy and critical thinking, as well as life skills, such as perseverance. Young or old, anyone can learn to solve the Rubik’s Cube.
“I have taught hundreds of people, the youngest aged five”, says Amnon Melzer from Speedcubes, one of the hosts of the SA events. “It is wonderful to watch the pure delight of a child when they first master what seemed like an impossible task with a bit of helpful guidance, some patience and determination. As an added bonus, learning to solve the cube not only boosts self-esteem but has a positive effect on improving memory, attention and cognitive skills.”
The highlight of the events will be the ‘first-time in SA’ performances of speedcubing champion, Anthony Brooks from the USA, whose best cube-solving time is 6.42 seconds. Anthony established the first Guinness World Record for solving five Rubik’s Cubes underwater in a single breath. He was leader of the team that currently holds the world record for solving, the world’s largest functioning Rubik’s Cube, known as Groovik’s Cube. As a speedcubing celebrity, Anthony is well-known for his live demonstrations on TV around the world, as well as for his appearance in Volkswagen’s ‘You Can’t Fake Fast’ ad campaign.
Entries to the competitions, which feature different cube puzzle categories, are open now. Competitors can register online at www.speedcubes.co.za. The online entry fee is R80 per competitor or R100 at the door.The WCA SA events are hosted by Speedcubes.co.za in partnership with Cybersmart.
Dates and Venues
Johannesburg – Sunday, the 27th of November from 08h15 to 17h00 at The Jewish Life Centre, 2 Gayre Drive, Sandown Ext 9
Cape Town – Sunday, the 4th of December from 08h15 to 17h00 at The Science Centre, 370B Main Road, Observatory