The World Cube Association – WCA
The World Cube Association (WCA) was started in 2004 by Ron van Bruchem and Tyson Mao to expand the popularity of speedcubing across the world and set a standard for how competitions should be run and delegated. The idea to create the World Cube Association was spawned after the success of the first Rubik’s Cube World Championship, held in Toronto the year before. There were evident issues with this competition regarding delegation and rule following, because nothing like this had ever been attempted before, excluding the original, televised World Championship of 1982, organised off the back of the immense success that the famous puzzle had seen in the years before.
The World Cube Association started off slowly, hosting another competition in 2003 following the August World Championship. Over the years, the number of competitions grew almost exponentially; 12 competitions in 6 different countries in 2004 to nearly 700 competitions in over 70 countries in 2016.
The World Cube Association’s mission consist of their goal and spirit:
Goal – To have more competition in more countries with more people and more fun, under fair and equal conditions.
Spirit – That people from all over the world have fun together in a friendly atmosphere, help each other and behave sportsmanlike.
Different competitions across the globe offer different combinations of 18 total events. These events have official times logged in a giant database which tracks both individual and average times/results for each competitor for each event. These are the events that are held at WCA competitions:
- NxNxN Events – 2x2x2, 3x3x3, 4x4x4, 5x5x5, 6x6x6, 7x7x7
- 3×3 Variations – One Handed, With Feet, Blindfolded, Fewest Move Count
- Blindfolded Events – 3x3x3, 4x4x4, 5x5x5, Multi (multiple 3x3s solved blindfolded)
- Side Events – Square-1, Pyraminx, Rubik’s Clock, Megaminx, Skewb
Some competitions choose to hold other events unofficially; the results of these events are not recorded officially and are mainly just for fun.
Each competition is different in its own way – Ranging from single day competitions holding a handful of the pool of 18 different events, to four-day global scale World Championships holding multiple rounds of every event. Most countries that partake in the WCA hold several competitions each year across the country, with one major national competition that holds all WCA events.
Each of these competitions is regulated by assigned delegates – Members of the WCA that ensure all the standards and regulations that the WCA impose are carried out duly and properly – and a competition cannot be affiliated with the WCA if a delegate is not present.
Each competition also has an organiser – This person needs to find a venue for the competition to be held in, negotiate the prices (the cost of competition venues is usually covered by the national branch of the WCA), and contact the members of their country’s delegate team to ensure that they can attend and delegate the competition.
Different competitions will have different restrictions imposed on them relating to mainly time and cost – There will most likely be an entry fee that all competitors must pay to compete, which may vary depending on the number of events you register for. There are also different cut-offs for each event:
- Hard Cut-Off – A time limit that you must be able to solve a given puzzle within. Failure to meet this cut-off during a solve will result in termination of the attempt, and a DNF result (did not finish).
- Soft Cut-Off – A time limit that you can go over, but will restrict the number of solves you can do officially (In an Average of 5 solves, if you have not completed a solve under the soft cut-off after two attempts, you will not be allowed to complete the rest of the average. In a Mean of 3 solves, you only have one solve to meet this cut-off).
Internal Hierarchy of the WCA
The WCA has different levels of delegates that have jurisdiction over certain regions across the globe. This hierarchy is as follows:
- Board Members – These are the main members of the WCA. They also have delegate power in competitions, but they mostly function as organisation leaders and incident managers, making sure that their delegation team is properly co-ordinated. The Board Members also ensure that the mission of the WCA is achieved.
- Senior Delegates – These are the lead delegates for both continents and regions within continents. They have standard delegate powers, but they also ensure that their region’s delegate team is properly co-ordinated. They are leaders of their own communities, and may be contacted for regional matters/issues.
- Delegates – Appointed by the WCA, the delegates of a region must ensure that all competitions are carried out properly and delegated per the regulations that the WCA has written. A delegate must be present at each competition that is considered WCA official.
- Candidate Delegates – These are newer delegates that must first show that they can manage and delegating competitions in the ways listed above to be considered full delegates.
The World Cube Association recognises National Organisations, led by delegates of the area they represent, to act on behalf of the WCA at competitions. These organisations manage their country’s competitions and usually help to organise competitions happening in the country they represent.
The WCA has an online database which stores the results of over 50,000 unique speedcubers from thousands of competitions over the years. Each competitor that has attended at least one official WCA competition is assigned an ID, constructed as follows:
Year of first competitions + First four letters of surname + 2-digit identifier that distinguishes competitors who share the rest of the ID.
An example of a WCA ID is 2003BRUCH01 – This ID belongs to Ron van Bruchem, who competed in his first competition in 2003.
Another example is 2010WANG68 – This ID belongs to Bill Wang, a Canadian speedcuber, who competed in his first competition in 2010, and was the 68th person with the first four letters WANG to compete for the first time in 2010.
Each speedcuber has the following details stored on their profile:
- WCA ID
- Number of Competitions attended
- Personal Records -National, Continental and World rankings for both their best single and average time in each event they have competed in.
- (If applicable) History of World Records – A list of World Records that the competitor currently holds / used to hold.
- (If applicable) History of Continental Records – A list of Continental Records that the competitor currently holds / used to hold.
- History – An entire history of their performance in each round of each competition of each event.
The WCA database also stores a ranking list for each event. This can be narrowed down by continent, country, single, average, and year. The database also has a list of all World Records for single and average times in each event, along with an accessible history of each record.
The WCA regulations are a readily-updated rule book that is accessible to anyone. It is advised that every competitor is familiar with the regulations before they compete officially. Rules, suggestions, penalties and punishments are all listed here. In the event of a specific situation not covered by the regulations, the delegate of the competition has the final say (this could be anything from granting an extra solve to disqualifying a competitor entirely).