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Author finds speedcubing is not just fun and games

"Cracking the Cube" introduces the world of competitive Rubik’s Cube solving to the public through the eyes of author and avid speedcuber Ian Scheffler.

The book describes Scheffler’s journey with his Rubik’s Cube in an attempt to learn about its history while meeting many people associated with it.

While traveling across the world, Scheffler competed in multiple Rubik’s Cube competitions in his attempt to reach the holy grail of speedcubing: "Sub-20." This threshold means a cuber can consistently solve a Rubik’s Cube in under 20 seconds. In speedcubing, it separates the best from the rest.

The story describes Scheffler’s first introduction to the cube, while at a summer program in 2005 called the Center for Youth. It was there that he met Toby Mao, the future world record holder, who taught Scheffler about the cube and its properties.

Scheffler then took the cube into his own hands (literally) and through years of lessons and advice from the pros, he progressed toward his goal.

Scheffler took one crucial piece of advice from many people and decided to attend speedcubing competitions.

From Las Vegas, Nev., to Budapest, Hungary, Ian traveled the world while on his Rubik’s Cube expedition.

As far as him reaching "Sub-20," that’s for you to find out.

Even though Scheffler had all these great experiences, his ultimate goal was to meet the man himself, Ernö Rubik, who created the famous puzzle in 1974. Meeting Rubik was difficult due to the architect’s staying out of the public eye.

As Ian got older, he reflected on how something so seemingly simple – a plastic six-colored toy – changed his life. That was the amazing thing about the Rubik’s Cube: it was and is more than just a puzzle. Scheffler explains the many life lessons he learned, ranging from hard work and dedication to slowing down in life and looking at everything more carefully.

As best put by Professor Rubik himself, "We turn the cube and it twists us." Overall, Scheffler does a nice job explaining all aspects of competitive Rubik’s Cube solving. As expected, Scheffler had plenty of reliable firsthand accounts and information which kept the story fresh.

"Cracking the Cube" is more than the story of Ian Scheffler and his cubing career. It is a story about life.

In today’s day and age, life certainly seems hectic at times, whether accidentally or not. Goals may seem farther away than possible. However, in the end, order will be restored, and the journey to get there will be unforgettable.

Bryan Renzoni is a freshman at Clarence High School.


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