Look Fast or You’ll Miss These Rubik’s Cube Champions
Bart Sullivan, 09-12-2019

Speedcubers like Noah Hite will gather on Saturday, September 14 to compete for who can solve a Rubik's Cube the fastest.
Tim Hite
The Rubik’s cube is one of the most well-known pop culture artifacts of the 1980s. Ranging from the classic 3x3 cubes of six colors to even more complicated cubes, spheres, pyramids, and specially designed three-dimensional puzzles, they have grown in popularity since their original release, particularly with competitors who attempt to solve the puzzle in the fastest time. While some people may find the mechanical puzzle toy frustrating and may wish to cheat by removing the stickers or hitting it with a hammer, others find the level of skill needed for such a challenge exciting, and sometimes become competitive.

On Saturday, September 14th, Bolich Middle School will hold the first local Cuyahoga Falls World Cubing Association competition, testing the skill of cubers of all ages. According to the World Cubing Association, the many competitions held since 1982 have had over 100,000 competitors from 140 countries. These competitions can help foster growth and a sense of community for participants as well, as the World Cubing Association says on its website: “we believes that experiences at competitions... create growth opportunities for the young people involved and that introducing puzzle events to new groups of people allows for our overall community to strengthen."

The current world record for solving the Rubik’s cube is held by Yusheng Du from China, who solved the cube in 3.47 seconds, though a robot has beaten that record in the past year, completing in .38 seconds. “One day the annoyance of seeing an unsolved cube gets to you. You want to solve it. Then you practice using online tutorials until the day when you finally solve it,” explained Noah Hite, co-organizer of the local competition. “But that is not enough for most. You want to get faster. You start practicing and practicing. Your times keep going down and down and down. It is very addictive.”

While cubing may not be new, Hite believes the internet is a big reason its popularity continues to grow. Online races and Youtube channels such as JRCuber as well as cubing fan interaction have also contributed to the growth of the hobby. Hite’s and competition co-founder Joe Norton’s friendship is the product of these interactions as well. “I met Joe, one of my best friends, at a competition. Even though we are from two totally different cities, we shared a common thing: the love for cubing,” he explained. “Joe and I both started around 2 years ago and our story is very similar to other cubers.”

Saturday’s competition will include trained cubers and recent first-timers alike, all testing their skills to win—including the 14th fastest person in the world, 2 previous world record holders, and a world champion. Many seasoned veterans will be on hand, including some who have competed in up to 60 tournaments, plus over a dozen kids who will be competing for the first time. Each of these entrants will face off in multiple events, each composed of 11 different rounds of 2-14 individual heats, going from the slowest to fastest competitors.

Above all, it’s the love of competing and testing who can get their own fastest time that will bring these fellow cubers together and hopefully spread the hobby to new spectators in Cuyahoga Falls. According to Hite, “Since I started cubing in 6th grade I have seen a tremendous growth in he hobby just in the student body. We went from 1 person to over 20 people who can solve the cube.

The competition will take place at Bolich Middle School, 2630 13th Street, in the cafeteria, 7:30am-6:30pm. While registration for the event has already closed, spectators may join in the excitement. For more information about the event and the World Cubing Association, visit: https://www.worldcubeassociation.org/competitions/CuyahogaCubing2019.

© 2020   Falls Free Press