Red Bull and Rubik’s Controversy

Starting in January 2018 according to Red Bull’s site, there is going to be another Rubik’s Cube World Championship, claiming to be a “new, global competition designed to challenge even the most accomplished Cube solvers”, held by both Red Bull and Rubiks.. However, the problem standing is there is already another World Championship, held by the World Cubing Association, or the WCA. Loyal cubers have recently become enraged due to Red Bull disregarding the WCA

red bull wca rubiks competition
Red Bull, WCA and Rubik's: they all organize cubing World Championships.

Red Bull does organise arguably amazing competitions, such as their “Paper Wings” competition, a Paper Plane Championship again hosted by Red Bull. A speedcubing competition held by Red Bull would be a major step for the entirety of the cubing community, but there are many speed bumps before it can run smoothly.

Different rules

Traditionally in WCA competitions, for standard 3x3 events the competitor would do five solves of the 3x3, and the quickest and slowest solves would be disregarded. The three remaining times would be averaged out, and would be used as the competitor’s Average of 5 time. This would be stacked up against other competitors’ solves, and a select amount of people with higher times would progress to the next round.

However in Red Bull’s and Rubik’s’ Competition, competitors go head to head, with three different event styles. The first is the best of five solves, where the person with the best single would progress further. The second event would be 3x3 OH (One Hand), but without inspection, something most competitors rely on to know what will occur next so they can plan their next move. The final event is “Rescramble”, which is a best of one event where the competitor would need to copy a scramble from another 3x3. Again, each Red Bull and Rubik’s event would be head to head, meaning the person with the fastest times would get to progress, and the other person would no longer be able to compete. This “head to head” style of competition may be considered great or horrible, depending on which perspective you look at it. On one hand, a professional speedcuber may have a single bad solve, and then would be knocked out of the competition altogether, unlike traditional WCA competitions where each competitor would have multiple solves that go towards an average. However in spectators’ eyes, this type of competition would be perfect for the average to watch.

Dana Yi speedcuber
Professional Female Cuber, Dana Yi, was featured in Red Bull’s promotional video.

However, due to Red Bull and Rubik’s not communicating to the World Cubing Association has now lead to the WCA not recognising solves in the competition. Solves recognised by the WCA are also recognised by Guinness World Records, in which recognised records by the GWR are recognised globally as official records. This means that any “record-breaking” solve in the Red Bull/Rubik’s competition would not be officially recognised as a World Record. In general, the whole ignorance by Red Bull and Rubik’s towards the WCA is rather disappointing, as the competition was organised in secret.

The proportion of Likes and Dislikes on the Red Bull promotion video proves that the cubing community didn't welcome the initiative.

Finally, as the old saying goes, “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it” could be applied to this situation. Red Bull and Rubik’s have completely disregarded that there is already an established World Championship for cubing, governed by the WCA which many, if not all professional cubers attend. The Red Bull/Rubik’s Championship could be seen by outside media as the “official” competition, when there was already a competition before it. That being said, the publicity from outside media and news outlets may prove helpful to competitive cubing and may push the “sport” into a real sport. We can only wait and see where Red Bull and Rubik’s will take their concept.