The Rubik’s Cube: Puzzling Minds Since 1974

by Kat Polk

In 1974, a man named Erno Rubik invented what is now known as an incredibly popular toy. To some people, a Rubik’s cube is much more than just a toy. Speedcubers around the globe are competing and even earning money for it. Some can even solve a standard 3 x 3 x 3 cube in less than ten seconds. This is extraordinarily impressive, considering only 45% of the world’s population can solve this puzzle at all.

This puzzle challenges the user’s mind in areas such as spatial awareness and hand-eye coordination, as well as memory. If the user solving the puzzle continues practicing and solving on a regular basis, they can expect to see improvements in these areas. The main point here, is that the Rubik’s cube is not a toy, but a puzzle to challenge and train the human brain

The Origins of the Rubik’s Cube

Erno Rubik, the inventor of the Rubik’s cube, was a Hungarian Architect. He created this puzzle, which was never meant to be a toy, about forty years ago. Erno Rubik invented the cube as a model to represent and explain three-dimensional geometry. The cube that he designed ended up being a challenging puzzle that Rubik himself couldn’t solve.

“It was a code I myself had invented!” Rubik said, “Yet I could not read it.”

One month later, Erno Rubik finally developed a method and managed to solve the cube. After a few years, Rubik decided to take his 3-D model and market it as a toy. In the 1980s, the cube one the title of “Toy of the Year.” Thanks to this, many people now own cubes of their own and attend speedcubing competitions.

The World Cubing Association

The World Cubing Association (WCA) holds and regulates speed cubing competitions as a world-wide organization. These competitions have many events. One of these is the original 3 x 3 x 3 block Rubik’s cube. Other events include 2 x 2 x 2, 4 x 4 x 4, 5 x 5 x 5, 6 x 6 x 6, 7 x 7 x 7, Megaminx (a twelve sided cube), Pyraminx (a puzzle shaped as a pyramid), Square One (a shape-shifting cube), and many more.

At competitions, competitors place their cube on a table with their score card. Then the cube is taken to the “scrambling” table. This is where the cubes are scrambled using computer generated algorithms. Once the cube is scrambled, it is taken to a judging table where it is covered by a block so the competitor cannot see it. Once the cover is lifted, a judge starts a timer and the competitor starts inspecting it. Each competitor has fifteen seconds to inspect the cube and then begin the solve

Once the competitor finishes inspection, they start the timer and begin solving the cube as fast as they can. After all of the solves are completed, the awards ceremony begins, where the competitors who solved these cubes the fastest receive awards.

Some of the best competitors include Max Park, Felix Zemdegs, and Sebatian Weyer. These WCA competitors all hold world records in events such as 5 x 5 x 5, 3 x 3 x 3, and 4 x 4 x 4. The WCA posts all of their competition results online, and there are many cubing podcasts and YouTube channels that keep their viewers and listeners updated on the latest world records. 

YouTube Channels and Podcasts

The cubing community has many YouTube channels and podcasts. They keep their viewers and listeners updated on the latest cubing news, discuss cubing topics, teach others how to solve the cubes, and even upload comedy skits about the cube. Some of these YouTube channels and podcasts are The Corner Cutter Podcast, Layer by Layer Podcast, JPerm, Z3Cubing, Just Cubin’ It, and Colorful Pockets. All of these examples, much like the cubing community, encourage people to start solving the cube and get into speed solving.

If you are interested in joining the cubing community, they will gladly accept you with open arms. Use websites such as YouTube to get started and learn how to solve a Rubik’s cube. Once you know how to solve the puzzle, you can impress all of your friends and improve your brain’s memory and spatial awareness. It’s never too late to start learning.