West students score high at North Liberty 2019 speed-solving competition

Brody Lassner '20 and Anuj Jani '22 competed at the North Liberty 2019 Rubik's Cube solving competition on October 19th.

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Renee Gould

Anuj Jani 22 solving a Rubik cube at the North Liberty 2019 competition.

Your name is called, and you stand up from the uncomfortable wooden chair, tucking the small cube into a coat pocket. You walk up to the brightly colored table where a judge, a mat for cup stacking, and a lone cone awaits. You sit into a slightly different but, equally uncomfortable chair, resting one hand on either side of the cone, palms down on the mat. You close your eyes, and take a deep breath. 

In. Out. 

Remember the forms it could be in. 

In. Out. 

Remember the formulas. 

In. Out. 

Get ready. 

“Ready.” The single small word starts the clock. The cone is removed and a brightly colored Rubik’s cube sits against the blueish mat. As you’ve done thousands of times before, you lift it up, inspecting each side as quickly as possible, your mind making a map of every color in perfect detail. Time. You press your hands against the start timer, knowing that you need to come back to this location in as little time as possible. The judge’s finger hovers over the start as you wait for the small green light to flash. 

It only takes an infinitely long moment to flicker on, and you reach for the cube, the way to solve already known. Your fingers flick at seemingly impossible rates, the calming click echoing as the pieces shift into place. The Rubik’s cube falls onto the mat as your hands slam back into place, stopping the timer. The solved Rubik’s cube sits in front of you, and the judge scribbles down the few seconds of your time, showing it quickly to you before you stand yet again, done for the time being. 

This happened hundreds of times Oct. 19, 2019, at the North Liberty 2019 Rubik’s Cube competition, where at least a hundred of some of the best Rubik’s Cubers got together to attempt new personal bests and spend time with friends. 

Brody Lassner ‘20 averaged 8.85 seconds solving a 3x3x3 cube with two hands. ”

Though West High’s club for Rubik’s Cubing is fairly small, speedsolving is anything but small, complete with sponsorships, entire Youtube communities, massive events, and hundreds of Rubik’s cube variations, even just within the standard 3x3x3 cube. In fact, there are 2x2x2 cubes, 4x4x4 and so on up to a staggering 33x33x33 cube. And those are just the square ones, with all square pieces. There are square cubes that have varying sizes of pieces, parts that are entirely other shapes, and even those that turn at entirely new angles. There are variations with pyramids, pentagons, and concave cubes, all of which have multiple smaller subcategories and different companies making them. 

In fact, West High has Brody Lassner ‘20, a well-known speed solver with a youtube channel and multiple sponsorships as well as being ranked by the World Cube Association. Yesterday he averaged 8.85 seconds solving a 3x3x3 cube with two hands, solving cubes that were mixed up by a randomized program and only have 15 seconds of inspection before having to solve the cube. 

Anuj Jani ‘22 is also a speed solver at West, averaging 17.74 second at the competition in 3×3 solving with two hand. Jani also doubled as a judge throughout the event. 

Overall, the group  was tightly wound with the feeling community, with speed solving having its own growing niche in popular culture, complete with stars, sponsors, and gossip about new Rubik’s cubes.