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The Rubik’s cube is one of the most popular puzzles ever made, with over 350 million cubes sold in the last 40 years. It was invented by Ernő Rubik, a Hungarian professor of architecture, in 1974. Ernő Rubik partnered with Ideal Toy Corp in Hungary to sell Rubik’s cubes commercially.
The original Rubik’s Cube is a 3x3x3 twisty puzzle with six square faces of six different colors. There are nine smaller squares on each face, which form smaller cubes (or pieces) that rotate. Solving the puzzle involves twisting and rotating the pieces until each face of the main cube has just one color.
Solving the Rubik’s cube
Although the Rubik’s cube has a remarkable 43 quintillion possible combinations, each of these positions can be solved in 20 moves or less. Rubik’s Cube enthusiasts work to master these moves. Mastering the cube’s moves requires memorizing a combination of movements performed in sequences. Larger variations of the original cube, like the 4x4x4 or the 5x5x5 cube, are more complicated to solve due to a significant increase in the number of combinations.
Here are five interesting facts about the Rubik’s Cube:
- There are multiple variations of the original Rubik’s cube
Multiple variations of the original 3x3x3 Rubik’s cube have been created, which differ in terms of shape, size, and the number of pieces making up the puzzle. They can range from a small 2x2x2 puzzle to a 33x33x33, many of which make great collectibles. Some of the notable 3D puzzles designs include the Rubik’s Revenge, Pocket Cube, Pyraminx, Dodecahedron, Skewb, Void, Floppy Cube, and the Teraminx.
- Speedcubing is a popular sport
Speedcubing is a sport that involves solving the Rubik’s cube and its variations in the shortest time and the fewest number of moves possible. Cubers do it layer by layer till the cube is unscrambled, and each face of the cube has the same solid color. It requires a lot of time and patience to carry out these moves in the shortest time possible. While speedcubers solve the cube in a matter of seconds, it took Ernő Rubik, the inventor of the Cube, a whole month to solve his invention.
- Events are regulated and adjudicated by the World Cube Association (WCA)
The World Cube Association (WCA) is an official body that lays down the rules and regulations for conducting Rubik’s cube competitions. It appoints the official delegates whose presence is required for adjudicating cubing events. For any event to be considered official, organizers need to get the permission of the WCA. The organization also holds the Rubik’s cube World Championships every two years.
- Rubik’s cube world record holders
- Feliks Zemdegs, a 24-year-old Australian speedcuber, is a world record holder and the only competitor to be a two-time winner of the WCA World Championship. He is considered to be the most successful speedsolver in history. Feliks developed an interest in speedcubing when he came across some YouTube videos of people solving the cube.
- The current speedcubing record-holder is Yusheng Du, a Chinese speedcuber, who solved the Cube in 3.47 seconds at the Wuhu Open 2018 competition in China. He beat Feliks Zemdegs’ record by 0.75 seconds.
- The world record holder for solving the cube blindfolded in the shortest time is held by Jack Cai, from Australia. He completed the challenge in 16.22 seconds.
- The Rubik’s cube in popular culture
- ABC launched the animated half-hour series, Rubik the Amazing Cube in 1983. The series’ main character was a magic Rubik’s cube called Rubik, which had special powers to fly.
- To celebrate its 40th birthday, Google launched an interactive 3D doodle of the Cube, which caused a spike in the Rubik’s Cube sales.
- The Speed Cubers is a Netflix documentary based on the friendship between Feliks Zemdegs and Max Park, another speedcube champion. Max Park was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism as a child, and considers the Rubik’s cube to be instrumental in helping him improve his social skills.
Rubik’s cube is a fun and engaging puzzle
Although it is categorized as a toy, the Rubik’s Cube is more of a complex 3D geometrical handheld puzzle. Since its inception, many variations of the Rubik’s Cube have been developed. Different events are held under the auspices of the WCA for different kinds of cubes, and players take practicing for these events very seriously. It is now firmly placed in the global popular culture, and continues to inspire people to patiently learn how to solve it.