What does it take to become a Rubik’s Cube champion?


    By Levi Matara-Ng

    In 2020, in the middle of our second or third lockdown, my Dad said I may be interested in a Netflix documentary called ‘The Speedcubers’.

    It featured former World Champion, multiple World Record holder and fellow Melburnian Feliks Zemdegs, and opened my eyes to the world of Speedcubing.

    I must have watched it half a dozen times, and before I knew it, I went back into my bedroom and dug out the one unsolved Rubik’s Cube that’s sat unloved in my toy box for the last few years.

    I was pretty savvy on my laptop then, and knew a lot of information is freely and easily available on Youtube.

    It took me a few weeks, but I managed to solve it, simply by watching other Speedcubers’ tutorials, memorising algorithms and patterns, and giving my muscle memory a good workout.

    I remember bringing the cube downstairs to my parents, and solving it in front of them for the first time. 

    They couldn’t believe it; my time was sub-four minutes – slow by my current standards!

    I spent the next 18 months of Covid juggling school, home chores, and learning new Speedcubing techniques.

    Along the way, I became an All Rounder; someone who could solve a variety of cubes ranging from the simple 3×3 or 2×2, to the 12-sided Megaminx, to the 9 dial-faced Clock.

    In January 2021, after practising all alone and never having met any other Speedcubers before, I went for my first regional speedcubing competition in Diamond Creek.

    I competed for the first time and saw how much faster other speedcubers were. I also got to meet Feliks himself (who signed one of my cubes!)

    Some of the best speedcubers are from Australia, and many get to their current speeds after four to six years of regular practice, competition or sometimes pure talent.

    My two quickest puzzles are the Skewb and the Pyraminx. 

    Skewb is the same size as a standard 3×3 Rubik’s Cube, but instead of it turning on the edge, it turns and cuts diagonally. I’m currently, at the time of writing, ranked 612 in the World and 25 in Australia with an average time of 3.81 sec.

    Pyraminx is a pyramid-shaped cube, and I’m currently ranked 1514 in the World and 72 in Australia.

    I’ve made so many good friends through speedcubing, and we regularly see each other at competitions. I’m lucky my parents encourage and support my speedcubing hobby, as some of the regional tournaments are two or three hours away; we just treat it as a weekend getaway!

    Some of my highlights include making Skewb finals at Australian Nationals in Perth 2022, coming in 3rd at Skewb three times at various competitions and meeting world class speedcubers at the Oceanic Championships.

    My next goal is to solve a 3×3, blindfolded. It’s not easy but my parents always say “It’s not an achievement if it’s easy!”

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