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Problem solved

Student hosts world cubing event, hundreds attend
Students+from+across+Texas+gather+in+the+Silver+cafeteria+to+compete+during+the+speed+cubing+event.
Norseman Staff
Students from across Texas gather in the Silver cafeteria to compete during the speed cubing event.

A classic puzzle from the 70’s has found a resurgence among youth. The Rubik’s Cube, which could be found unsolved and discarded in countless homes in the 80’s, has been given new life through online solving tutorials and social media. Senior Russ Gibbs has been speedcubing since he was young and wants to help others get involved in the competitive activity.

“I started speedcubing about seven years ago, but I wasn’t serious about it until the last couple of years,” Russ said. “I started because I had a Rubik’s Cube and wanted to know how to solve it, so I looked up some tutorials online, and then it kind of exploded from there.”

Russ’ passion for speedcubing inspired him to host an all-day speedcubing event at Bryan High on September 10 through the World Cubing Association.

“I had to set the event up a few months prior to organize with some of the WCA delegates, the speedcubing organization, to make it all official,” Russ said. “I had to reserve Bryan High in order to do the event here, so I talked with Mrs. Patterson and Mr. Buban to get everything reserved, and then Mrs. Alvarado helped me set up everything.”

Though many people believe solving a Rubik’s Cube is an impossible task, it is mostly a matter of memorizing patterns and algorithms, practice, and muscle memory that individuals use to become top competitors.

“The event can be summed up as trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube as fast as possible,” Russ said. “In the competitions, you solve it five times, then you take the average of the middle three times, and that’s your score for the round.”

The over arching goal of the event was for the speedcubers in and around the Brazos Valley to participate in a sanctioned event and get to know others in the community.

“The overall goal is mainly beating your own personal records because, for the majority of people, they’re not actually competing for world records,” Russ said. “There were 96 competitors and there were around 300 people total including all the spectators and visitors, so I think it was a success.”

For home school student Rex Jenkins, this was his first speedcubing event.

“I have been practicing off and on for about two years,” Rex said. “When I saw the competition on the World Cubing Association website, I knew I wanted to attend.”

Rex said that being able to attend an event that allowed him to watch others solve their cubes and improve on their personal times was a unique opportunity he would like to experience again.

“The speedcubing event was an awesome experience,” Rex said. “I enjoyed every moment of it from getting to solve my cubes to seeing other people who enjoy solving them as well.”

Rex’s mother Joy Jenkins said she was happy to bring her son to the event and believed it was a great experience for him.

“I enjoyed the opportunity to see my son participate in an activity he is passionate about,” Mrs. Jenkins said. “We traveled from Grapeland, and I’m so glad we did as the event was well-run and organized.”

With the overwhelming response to the event being positive, Russ said he appreciates everyone who attended the event and would be interested in hosting an event again in the future despite the challenges.

“The most challenging part of the event was that I’ve never done something like that before,” Russ said. “Figuring out what I’m actually supposed to do and being in charge was difficult because I had to know what my job was and what the delegates were supposed to do.”

Matthew Lee, a junior delegate for the WCA, agrees with Russ and understands the difficulties that come with hosting an event and is pleased with how the event as a whole turned out.

“The most difficult part, in my opinion, is the stress that goes into planning the event,” Lee said. “Knowing you are going to have 200-300 people show up, and you are the person in charge who everyone is looking to is a big feat.”

As an activity that is fairly simple and inexpensive to get into, speedcubing has seen a 55% increase in participation over the past few years.

“Speedcubing has become more popular due to the efforts of the community to grow the World Cube Association by organizing more competitions, but also by the tremendous amount of media, mostly YouTube videos, that have been created,” Lee said. “Many people also picked it up over the pandemic as a way to pass time, and we would love to partner with Russ again in the future.”

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