Rubik’s Cube Competition Essentials
A couple of years ago, one of my boys was interested in the Rubik’s Cube. He’s REALLY good at math, and solving puzzles, so we got him one. He quickly figured out how to solve it, and began to become interested in how to solve it faster. He discovered YouTube Videos that teach the algorithms for solving the different size cubes, and asked for additional cubes. He prefers to solve them on his own, first, because he likes the challenge, then he researches how he can improve.
One of the math clubs at school began to use the cubes as part of their activities. We found out through some friends that there are Speed Cubing Competitions around the world, some close to us. It’s hard for us to get him scheduled to attend, due to conflicts with his sports activities, we try to schedule him to attend when he has BYE weekends. I have to tell you, this is a whole new world that we never knew existed. I often hear parents new to the competition world asking questions that I asked when we were the newcomers. I thought it might be helpful to write up a post and share some tips that were helpful to us, as well as some accessories that we’ve acquired in our ventures, since they’d make excellent Holiday Gifts for anyone interested in breaking into the world of Speed Cubing.
First, you will obviously need a Rubik’s Cube.
There are many different types of cubes allowed in the competitions. The rules vary from competition to competition, so you’ll want to read them carefully BEFORE you attend. Generally, there are different sessions, based on size, not make or model. and additional sessions for “speed” models.
When competing, the contestants use these Mats, and the timer. They begin with their hands flat on the mat, the judge says GO! and they hit the timer, solve the cube, and then hit stop. Every second counts, so it’s important for the kids to have these items at home to practice with, so they’re used to how it works. We didn’t even know these existed until we went to the first competition. Luckily one of my son’s friends was also attending and had one, and he allowed my son to practice on his, before his session.
The cube they use really depends on personal preference. They’ll likely need a carrying case to haul their cube’s and accessories in, and possibly some lubricant to make their cube move faster. Some of the cubes are “speed cubes” because they turn faster, but they’re more likely to fall apart. It’s a strategic decision on just how quickly they want the sides to turn 🙂
My videos are just close ups of my son solving his cube, 23 seconds is his record! I searched online though, and found a video someone else made of What to Expect During your First Rubik’s Cube Competition: