Rubik’s Cube Competitions – What to expect
Those of you interested in speedcubing might be interested in competing at an official WCA competition. However, it can be quite scary; you’re going from knowing nobody else can solve the cube and everybody is amazed you can to a place where you’re just one of a group, and simply being able to solve it isn’t enough to impress. Also, if you do any other competitive hobbies/sports you may be worried that you’ll be ridiculed if you’re not as good as the others. This can be a huge put-off, but I’m here to talk about how this just isn’t true.
The first Rubiks' Cube competition was held in Budapest in 1982.
The inventor Ernő Rubik throwing his cube in the air.
First step is to find a competition. This can be done by visiting www.worldcubeassociation.org and clicking the “Competitions” tab. There might not be one near you anytime soon, so patience is key. Just keep checking back every now and then, and don’t forget to visit www.speedsolving.com forums to check for any competition announcements, or maybe even request one near you.
Once you’ve found a competition, check the website of the cube association for your country (most countries have their own associations that announce competitions within their respective countries and provide more key information than the WCA). Book a hotel if the competition is quite far or if it’s a weekend long competition.
Now you play the waiting game – Just practice like normal until the competition. If there’s a thread on the Speedsolving forums about the competition make sure to be active in there to check if anybody is selling anything or has any useful information for you. If there isn’t a thread, make one!
On The Competition Day
You walk into the competition venue to find dozens of people who are just like you and share your hobby. This is where you might start to feel afraid. You don’t know these people, and they all look like they know each other. Don’t let that stop you being social. Go around and ask if you can join a group, even if you just ask for a seat. I’ve never been refused a seat before and everyone is incredibly friendly.
Speedcubing is a bit different in comparison to other hobbies that hold competitions. Age is not a factor. Although people tend to sit with their own age groups, everyone socialises with everyone. Don’t be afraid to go up to somebody because they’re older or younger. Speedcubing is a hobby for all ages. Another thing that doesn’t matter is speed. In other hobbies you may find that in competitions skill determines your ability to make friends. You might find groups ignore you because you’re not good enough. Speedcubing is completely different. Even if you can’t solve the cube in under a minute, solvers who can do it in under 10 seconds will be just as happy to talk with you. If you need advice on certain algorithms or even how to solve twisty puzzles, just ask around. If somebody has the time they’ll help you.
One final thing – Only 3 or 4 people actually go to competitions with their eyes on the prize. If only those who expected to win went to the competitions, they would be the only ones there. People go to competitions to better their own times and improve for themselves. Maybe one day you will end up winning competitions, but don’t let it be the only reason you go to them. They don’t come around very often, so take the opportunity to socialise and meet the people you’ve spoken to before on the forums.
Just remember not to be afraid of anyone. You won’t be ridiculed or mocked if you’re not as fast as everyone. You are your only competition!