A speedcuber is a person who competes in cubing competitions by solving ‘twisty puzzles’ (puzzles played by twisting the sides) in record time. For most puzzles, solving the puzzle involves performing a series of moves that changes a scrambled puzzle into a state in which every face of the puzzle is a single, solid color. The most famous of these puzzles is the Rubik’s Cube, invented by professor Rubik from Hungary.
Every year, a competition is held by the World Cube Association to determine the world’s fastest speedcuber in several categories. This year, the championship was held in Paris, France from July 13-16, 2017 where Max Park, a 15-year-old boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder became the 2017 Rubik’s Cube World Champion.
His record time this year was 5.87 seconds, with his average time being 6.85 seconds. Park is now one of the fastest Rubik’s Cube players in the world and it all started when he played with a Rubik’s Cube several years ago as part of his autism therapy.
Max’s dad, Schwan Park said, “Initially, the reason to do it was to work [on] his motor skills.”
However, 10-year-old Park soon became captivated by the puzzle and asked his parents to take him to Los Angeles to watch Rubik’s Cube competitions. Inspired and motivated, young Park ended up competing on his own, solving a 6x6x6 Rubik’s Cube in less than three minutes, winning him a division title and placing him among the top 100 best players in the world.
He has since competed in over 30 competitions and completed over 1,250 twisty puzzles. This year, representing the United States, he won in the Rubik’s Cube (3x3x3) category of the championship.
Through competitions, he worked on his social and communication skills as well: learning to make eye contact, following directions, and learning to decipher nonverbal cues.
Speedcubing is not all Park does; Max’s mom, Miki said, “Whenever Max isn’t doing homework, he spends his off-time trying to come up with new moves on his Rubik’s Cube. He’s also working on mastering other hobbies such as stacking cups and training to run a 5K.”
Click here to watch a video narrated by Mr. Park about Max’s journey to the 2017 Rubik’s Cube World Championship.