can be your best friend!
Born on November 28, 2001, Max Park is an American champion in speed cubing, the sport of solving a Rubik’s Cube. He is the former world record holder of five 4x4x4 resolutions (according to WCA, World Cube Association traditions), 6.39 seconds, established in April 2017, at the OCSEF Open 2017. Before that, the Australian Feliks Zemdegs had retained the record, which he changed it nine times over seven years, from 9.21 seconds in January 2010 to 6.45 seconds.
Since September 2009, Park has set several world records for 4x4x4, 5x5x5, 6x6x6, 7x7x7 cubes, and 3x3x3 one-handed. He has achieved more than 300 contests in various Rubik’s Cube tournaments.
Initially, Park started focusing on Rubik’s Cube when he was 5 years of age as a way to work on his fine motor skills.
Park was identified with mild to critical autism when he was 2 years old, and specialists advised his parents that he would likely need support for the rest of his life. Max Park’s parents made him start cubing as a way to overcome his difficulties and struggles. As Park fought with social and fine motor skills, such as not being able to open water bottles, speed cubing has encouraged him to improve them.
At the age of 11, he began frequently going to Rubik’s cube tournaments. According to his family, Park started focusing on cubing games because of his autism, rather than as a passion. He won his second competition, a 6x6x6 resolution contest, entered by students from MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Caltech, California Institute of Technology.
Park lived with autism disorder, and soon speed cubing turned into an enjoyable hobby of unrivaled ability and unparalleled talent. Park’s parents revealed that his interest in speed cubing allowed him to develop his abilities, passions, desires, and drive through the social barriers autistic people often encounter because others don’t realize neurodiversity.
His dad told the “cube workouts” had encouraged him in everyday social and communication contexts, like making eye contact and reading non-verbal signals. In the meantime, Park has climbed to the top of the cubing world.
Park set the world record in solving the average 4x4x4 (five attempts) performed at the Bay Area Speed cubing 2019 with a time of 21.11 seconds. He also held the world record in the 4x4x4 single solve with 18.42 seconds, before the German speed cuber Weyer broke it in September 2019.
At Houston Winter 2020 and Cubing USA Western Championship 2019, Max holds the world records in the 5x5x5 single at only 34.94 seconds and average at 39.65 seconds. Before Park’s first 5x5x5 world record, the Australian Feliks Zemdegs was the world record holder in 5x5x5 single and average.
Park holds many world records, including the following:
- Single and mean of three 6x6x6 solves: one minute, 9.51 seconds, and one minute, 15.90 seconds, respectively, both set on January 25, 2020, at Houston Winter 2020.
- Single and mean of three 7x7x7 solves: one minute, 40.89 seconds and one minute, 46.57 seconds, set at Cubing Nationals 2019 and Houston Winter 2020.
- Single and mean of three average of five 3x3x3 solves with one hand: 9.42 seconds, set on September 16, 2018, at Berkeley Summer 2018.
Did you know that Park also holds the world record for solving the most magic cubes in one hour with 434 cubes?
Park has been rated the second US National Champion in 3x3x3, came the third in 4x4x4, a 2018 winner in 6x6x6, and a 2018 prizewinner 7x7x7 finally placed second in 3x3x3 one-handed.
At the Rubik’s Cube Worlds, a Few Seconds and the Game Is Over!
The history of speed cubing is about as short as you might expect. It starts with the Rubik’s Cube, launched in 1980, which encouraged loosely organized tournaments to occur within its first decade. However, people only took it seriously in 2004 to form an official organization: The World Cube Association. They become more interested in playing the game. Pretty soon, the WCA became widely recognized and formalized games worldwide and prepared experts and members. A whole culture did not take much time to compete, with many mathematically inclined adolescents trying to set world records.
The creator of Rubik’s, Hungarian architecture professor Ernö Rubik, took a month to solve his puzzle in 1974. It was called the toy of the year by the individuals who received those prizes. But since 2010, the stars of the discipline, who are learning long formulas to improve their turns, have been steadily lowering the counter, such as Feliks Zemdegs, a 21-year-old Australian who holds eight world records.
Feliks Zemdegs and Max Park are widely considered two of the most popular and successful players in this game. There is Zemdegs, who is setting career goals in banking but more excited about cubing, and there’s the autistic Park, who has a remarkable capacity to be hyper-focused and who have been more interested in cubing than everything else in his life.
Despite their rivalry, Max and Feliks have an everlasting friendship characterized by care, support, and attention.