Cracking a gaming classic
Student society profile: Dalhousie Cubing Society
Julia Manoukian - October 9, 2013
Rubik’s Cube, the ubiquitous 3D combination puzzle, is a tough nut to crack. And by "cracked," we mean "tactfully twist into its six-sided solid-colour state." And of those who can figure it out, some can do it very quickly.
The current world record for solving the standard 3x3x3 cube was set in March 2013 by Mats Valk of the Netherlands. His winning time? A jaw-dropping 5.55 seconds. The record for doing it blindfolded is 23.80 seconds.
Think it’s a niche pastime that’s past its glory days? Think again. In January 2009 Time Magazine reported that over 350 million cubes had been sold worldwide. That makes the Rubik’s Cube the worlds top-selling puzzle game and the world’s best-selling toy.
If you’ve ever been envious of those who have mastered the cube, you can try joining their ranks on campus with the Dalhousie Cubing Society (DALCUBE). Who knows? You may be faster than you think.
Society President Vishwa Patel, an international student from India in his first year of a master of engineering degree in internetworking, explains that aside from simply spreading awareness about the Rubik’s Cube to students, DALCUBE “encourages people to learn how to solve Rubik’s Cube, provide support for cubers in competitions and championships, and help each other solve the cube faster.”
Whenever it can, DALCUBE sends its members to attend competitions. On November 23 a group is headed to Saint John, N.B. for the Atlantic Open 2013. If you can find a way to Kennebecasis Valley High School in Quispamsis, you’re welcome to watch Dal’s finest take on the following events: 2x2, 3x3, 4x4, 5x5, 3x3 One-Handed, 3x3 Blindfolded, Megaminx (a dodecahedron-shaped puzzle), and Pyraminx (a tetrahedral-shaped puzzle).
Four to five tournaments and competitions are organized annually in Canada. The society works all year for these tournaments, which are sanctioned by the WCA (World Cube Association), the official body that regulates all things related to Rubik’s Cube, “like official results, rules, etc.”
Vishwa currently has the fastest time in the society, at 1:02.35 for a classic 3x3 Rubik’s Cube. No other members in the group have WCA-certified timings, but they’re working on it. Vishwa says that with practice, competing is easy — it becomes habit. The team anticipates anything, practicing speed-solving, solving cubes while blindfolded, using the fewest moves, and even solving cubes with their feet.
“Students who want to learn how to solve Rubik’s Cube or already know how to do should join this society,” says Vishwa. “We’ll organize the workshops.”
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