What is your best time for speed cubing

The secret behind the cube


You have probably driven every one of us crazy - when it just doesn't work out that the colors on the little Rubik's cube are unanimously arranged. How do the very fast thinkers manage that who sort things out from the 80s within a few seconds?

Thomas Stadler from Eastern Switzerland is fully committed to “speed cubing” and explains what it takes to solve the task. Especially in the Corona crisis, the dice experienced a new boost.

Our parents already know the Rubik's Cubes and caused some people to smoke. What do you think, why have the cubes still not disappeared from our living rooms for such a long time?

The fascination of magic cubes has been around since the 80s. Back then, schoolchildren turned these colorful cubes on the playground or in their own room. Everyone knew him and the solutions were given orally. The World Cubing Association championship, organized in 2003, sparked a second wave of enthusiasm. It wasn't just young people who managed to master this puzzle with the almost infinite positions, their parents and grandparents also showed a keen interest in it. After all, you had already been infected with the virus in the 1980s. With the new models, which could be turned much faster, the records also tumbled - so the Rubiks Cube was always in the spotlight. This puzzle, which fascinates people of different generations, is the puzzle par excellence. The task is simple - solving the cube takes some perseverance at the beginning.

You once said that there is no such thing as direct competition, but rather that you want to undercut your own time. So are you still practicing hard?

Naturally. Today, however, not always for a limited time. I am much more attracted by the different solution methods and dice variants. Solving the cube blindly or creating mosaic pictures from hundreds of cubes is currently presenting me with new challenges. The joy of playing that the Rubiks Cube aroused in me still lingers. Luckily.

The best manage to arrange the colors within a few seconds. Will you tell us the secret?

If you know the sequence of moves for each sub-step, the sequence is actually always the same. A speedcuber only pays attention to the next stones, even if he has not yet finished the sequence of moves. It hides all other colored areas. The movements of the sequence of movements are trained until they can be carried out automatically by the fingers as soon as the next position has been seen. It takes years of training before a time of less than ten seconds can be filmed.

The current situation gave you a new idea too. There are instructions for the students on how to arrange the cube so that they can use their time wisely.

Exactly. My students received a cube from me when they first locked down. In homeschooling we then mastered this cube together and today everyone can solve it from the class. It was a class project where the students helped each other. It was nice to see how suddenly students were able to teach others something who otherwise had less chance in class to show others something. This wave of enthusiasm then spilled over to other classes. Many students tell me that they decided to solve the cube during their quarantine period.

I am happy that I can pass on my enthusiasm to the students. Young people develop enthusiasm and ambition for this “toy without a screen”, as I did back then. In order to create new incentives again and again, a lot of ideas, solutions and competitions have accumulated on my website www.speedcubing.ch, which everyone is welcome to try out.

Teachers can also order the subject matter. How big is the demand there?

Because of Corona, I couldn't offer any further training courses or workshops in schools or at trade fairs last year. As a result, fewer teachers were interested in this lesson content. Many were also unsure about renting cubes because special weeks and general events in schools were canceled.

It was a special year that demanded a lot from the teachers. I can understand that they weren't primarily thinking of Rubik's Cube. However, many school buildings are interested in incorporating the Rubik's Cube topic into their lessons or at least introducing it as a class project. I am confident that the school's interest will increase again.

What is it that fascinates you personally after all these years about the cube?

As an absolute fan of puzzles, I still see a challenge in every unsolved cube that I try to master. If I can then pass this enthusiasm on and put a grin on the students' faces after they have solved the cube for the first time - I like that.

From dice festivals to appearances at OFFA: What was your personal highlight that the dice brought you?

There were so many great experiences. The Swiss record in the Czech Republic in 2006 or the World Cup in 2007, at which I met Erno Rubik, are definitely one of them. But then my first championships, which I was able to organize in Switzerland in 2014, showed me that this hobby is not only of interest to me. I am proud that my whole family is participating and helping in our championships today. It's nice to share this hobby with others.

Even if we cannot currently imagine it that way, there will also be a time after Corona. Is there a specific goal or project that you want to implement?

I will certainly organize speed cubing championships in Switzerland again, because the cuber in Switzerland miss that very much. I also have some ideas for mosaic picture projects that I would like to implement together with many people. Writing a teaching aid was also considered at one point, but so far I haven't had the time. As a family we have decided to go to the next Speedcubing World Championship together. We are all looking forward to it.

The interview was conducted by Manuela Bruhin, editor of “Die Ostschweiz”.