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Famous Cubers: Ron Van Bruchem

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Famous Cubers: Ron Van Bruchem

Most speedcubers are known for their speed, but Ron Van Bruchem is known for more than that. He is not only famous for winning many championships,  but also for co-founding the WCA. He was a board member from 2004 until 2018 when he stepped down. Many major competitions in Europe were organized mainly by him, including the European Championships. Ron was also involved in organizing competitions in Germany and the Netherlands.

Now that his biggest contributions to the cubing world are established, we will talk about his incredible story. Ron Van Bruchem started his cubing career in 1980 at the age of 13 at an unexpected place: a hospital. He was hospitalized for eight weeks when the mother of a friend gifted him a Rubik’s Cube from Czechoslovakia. With nothing better to do, Ron played with the cube for a long time in the hospital.

Just as cubing became popular in the Netherlands, Ron could solve the cube in under 40 seconds. However, he took a break from cubing in 1983 once the trend of cubing ended. In December of 1999, he got in contact online with other cubers thanks to the Rubik’s Games computer game. Those cubers were Chris Hardwick and Ton Dennenbroek, who would later become big influencers in the cubing community.

In 2000 Ron created speedcubing.com, inventing the term “speedcubing” without meaning to. The reason he used that term is he could not think of another name for the site. Both Chris and Ton would eventually join speedcubing.com as co-hosts. 

As if that was not enough, in 2002 Ron co-invented the ZB method with Zbigniew Zborowski. The ZB method is very efficient but has more algorithms in comparison to others like CFOP. Using this new ZB method Ron would set many world records later on. 

ZB is a very efficient but algorithm-intensive method which is a variation of advanced LBL methods such as the Fridrich method. 

In December of 2001, Ron worked hard on planning a cubing world championship, but the project did not work out. However, in 2003 Ron launched the World Rubik’s Games Championship in Canada with the help of speedcuber Dan Gosbee. This was the very first world cubing championship and a great success. 

A year later Ron worked with speedcuber Tyson Mao in co-founding the WCA (World Cube Association). Thanks to this enormous success they were able to organize and coordinate competitions around the world. 

Since that time Ron has competed in multiple tournaments, achieving the following world records: 5×5 (Belgian Open 2006), 3×3 (Dutch Championship 2007), and 2×2 (UK Open 2007). Ron is currently the fastest cuber over the age of 30. He obtained this record at the World Championship Rubik’s Cube 2013 in Las Vegas, US.

After reading his story there should be little doubt about Ron’s contributions to the world of cubing. He co-created a cubing method, set up the speedcubing website, and co-founded the WCA. The World Cubing Association has allowed thousands of new and veteran cubers to meet and challenge each other. The world of cubing would not be what it is today without Ron’s efforts, especially the WCA’s founding.

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