Hi, My name is Ashwin Narendran and I am a speedcuber from Chennai. I started cubing at the age of 11. My main event is 3x3x3 and my current average is 8.18 seconds. Apart from cubing my other hobbies are playing chess, watching cricket, Formula1, and MotoGP.
This blog is about how I started cubing and how CSUL has helped me grow during pandemics, so let's begin with my journey.
How it started
In early 2020 the Covid 19 pandemic began to spread in India. This meant that schools were shut down. I couldn’t meet my friends nor could I go out and play any physical games. Amidst this, my father bought me a Rubik’s cube. The moment I received the cube in my hands I scrambled it. At the time I knew nothing about the cube other than the fact that it exists. I got panicked and tried really hard to solve the cube. Eventually, I gave up. A couple of months passed by and the cube was staring at me each day on my shelf. After feeling an immense amount of regret, I sat down determined to solve the cube. A few hours later I had solved the cube with the help of some Youtube tutorials. I didn’t learn anything special, just the average beginner’s method which involves solving the cube layer by layer without using a ton of algorithms. My first ever timed solve was 4 minutes. Eureka! I became a Cuber.
How I became a Speedcuber
Once I solved the cube, the passion fire took over me. I was desperate to reduce my solve time. I started learning advanced algorithms by watching Youtube. I discovered some popular channels like Jperm, Cubehead, etc and I realized that I was using a sub-optimal cube. My search for a speed cube ended at Cubelelo. I was overwhelmed and purchased a variety of cubes from different brands along with timers, mats, and cube lubricants. The new cubes and the cubing set-up inspired me and I practiced all the way to becoming an intermediate solver.
My cubing setup
My introduction to CSUL (Cubelelo Speedcubing UnLocked)
Being inspired by WCA champions like Max Park, Feliks Zemdegs, and Tymon Kolasiński, I was keen to participate in a WCA competition. Unfortunately, the pandemic got in my way of achieving my dreams. I started looking for alternate cubing competitions online and that’s how I got introduced to CSUL. From then, there was no stopping and I participated in most of the events from 2020 onwards till now.
How CSUL improved my average
Every CSUL event preparation resulted in a marathon of practice sessions. I have completed close to 60k solves over the last two years. My first ranking in CSUL was 238 with an average of 19.35 seconds and a best of 19.03 seconds.
1st CSUL Ranking
Post CSUL event is a time for reflection on what went wrong and learning to stay composed, keep my hands warm and avoid distractions. Every CSUL event resulted in a leap in my solving time. I am proud to say that CSUL competitions served as a catalyst to become a speedcuber with a sub-10 average.
1st position in 3x3 Live Battle of CSUL
My Achievements through CSUL event participation
- Becoming a sub-9 average solver
- Becoming the first CSUL participant to have reached finals in consecutive four CSUL events
- Winner of CSUL 21 against NR holder and My Mentor Kunal Oak
- Runner-up of CSUL 22 against NR holder Aamir Saifee
My cube collection
How cubing influenced my life positively
With lots of time available post online classes, I became glued to cubing as a hobby. I started time blocking the day - online classes in the morning, homework in the afternoon, and cubing from evening till night.
CSUL events introduced me to other cubers and I am excited to gain the friendship of enthusiastic like-minded cubers. These days I ensure to spend time for CUTS (Cubing Together Session). It is fun to practice as a group knowing about each other, sharing tips & tricks, and listening to mentors to refine my cubing.
Practice session with cubers
Cubing has become my best buddy and taught me life values like time management, socializing, facing failures, learning from setbacks, using failure as a stepping stone, and aiming for the best.
My first ever WCA competition and my journey further
What started as a curiosity to solve the cube, has led me all the way to my first WCA Cubing competition (SSN Cube Open 2022) in Chennai. I am glad to share that I ranked 3rd in the first round of the 3x3 cubing event, 2nd in the second round, and reached the finals.
With Vijay Kishore sir at SSN Cube Open 2022
Although I ranked 6th in the finals, I am happy to accomplish my dream of participating in a WCA competition and meeting WCA cubers like Vijay Kishore, Ram Thakkar, Shubham Maharana, Sripad Sarma Katrapati, and many more. The experience of being among passionate cubers by itself was overwhelming.
My ranking in SSN Cube Open 2022
My ranking in India for 3x3 Average
Proud to have received my WCA ID (2022NARE01) and to be ranked 12th in India for 3x3 Average. My ultimate aim is to be in the Top 5 in India and the Top 50 in the world. Thanks to my parents, my cubing friends, and special thanks to Cubelelo for playing an important role in my cubing journey.
Thank you for reading my blog!
Happy Cubing!Ashwin Narendran