CANMORE – The average person solves their first Rubik's Cube in three hours, but for a group of speed-competitors in Canmore, solving takes less than three minutes to do – when blindfolded.
Quickly spinning the mind teasers and matching up colours, it was no problem for dozens of problem-solvers at the inaugural Rockies Rager, a Rubik's Cube speedsolving competition, at the Canmore rec centre on Saturday (Oct. 8), where a national record was broken.
Edmonton’s Kyle Santucci, a teen with lightning-quick hands, set the national record in 3x3 cube, averaging 5.93 seconds over five solves. Santucci's fastest time matches one already set, but because his is most recent, the teen now holds the record.
Edmonton’s Kyle Santucci solves a skewb at the 2022 Rockies Rager, a Rubik’s Cube speedsolving competition, in #Canmore. Earlier in the competition, the lightning-quick Santucci tied a national record in 3x3x3 cube, averaging 5.93 seconds. pic.twitter.com/ymacRI9nOq— Jordan Small (@jordiesmall) October 9, 2022
The 17-year-old also holds the Canadian record for fastest single solve in 3x3 cube – 4.26 seconds – achieved earlier this year.
"I've gotten a lot faster recently and I know I'm really capable of it," said Santucci. "That's basically what I average overall, but I was just so nervous in-competition and I finally got it and I'm real happy about it."
The world record for fastest single cube solve is 3.47 seconds set by China's Yusheng Du in 2018.
In Canmore, the teen, who has been involved in speedsolving competitions for seven years, won gold in 3x3 cube and 3x3 cube single hand, and third in the skewb and 2x2 cube.
“[Today] could have been better, but I got the national record, so I'm happy about it," he said.
Although Santucci impressed with the record-setting day, results from other competitors at the Rockies Rager had the room on the edge of their seats.
Canada's Danny Buschert won first place in skewb, an eight-corner and six-piece centre cube, at a time of 2.74 seconds. Canada's Lucas Kuczaj won the clock final, a two-sided puzzle with nine clocks, at 5.11 seconds; and Canada's Carson Deibert won the 2x2 cube with a top time of 3.07 seconds.
Bow Valley's Anthony Finnigan and Daniel Eaton qualified to the second round of the 3x3 cube challenge, earning personal best single solve times that day of 25.66 and 30.18, respectively.
However, it was USA's Matthew Dickman, who when blindfolded, took the Rubik's Cube competition to a whole other level.
Without the use of his eyes while solving, Dickman was the only competitor in the finals to complete all three solves with a fastest time of just over 80 seconds.
Before each attempt, participants are allowed a few minutes to look over the cube with little multi-coloured square stickers. With 125 competitions under his belt, the speedsolving veteran said memorization of where each sticker is and needs to go, is key to the blindfolding solve.
"When you're blindfolded, you solve it piece by piece," said Dickman. "A lot of people will either think of words, adjectives, verbs, or they'll come up with stories often times if they're doing a long session of memorization.
"Usually it's not solved, but sometimes you'll end up lucky. A lot of it is memorizing sequences of letters, associating with different words or sounds."
The world record fastest 3x3 blindfolded solve is 14.51 seconds, set this year by USA's Tommy Cherry.