Hi everyone, Naren Ramesh here! Cubing is in an interesting period right now, especially in India, where many of the new cubers who started in the past 2 years have not been able to attend a WCA competition due to COVID-19. While cubing as a hobby has persisted despite this lack of competitions, I still think competitions are some of the most fun places to experience cubing, which is why the emergence of new competitions after the 2 year drought is very exciting! Since many of you have not yet experienced a competition yourself, I figured that I should tell you about my experience at my first competition!
The year was 2015. It was May, and I had been cubing since January. Interestingly, rather than going to a local competition for the first time, I went to Indian Nationals 2015, as it was the earliest one available when my dad started looking for one to go to (I was very young at the time). It was in Chennai, so we had to travel there a day before, a part of Nationals that I am now used to as it has never happened in Bangalore.
I was very nervous leading up to the competition, not just to perform well, but to make friends, as I was a rather antisocial kid, not having great social skills. Leading up to the competition, I watched many videos on US Nationals, so I had rather high expectations, and when I stepped into the venue, it did not disappoint. It was a large auditorium, and I was in awe when I stepped in.
After arriving, I sat around not doing much more the first few minutes. Then, I saw a boy that looked to be my age. His name was Rhaghav. He was new to competing as well, and happened to sit next to me due to the shortage of chairs. We ended up talking for a bit, seeing as we had nothing else to do, as we both went on the first day to check out the venue and didn’t have any events. We ended up clicking and had a fun time chatting and racing that day.
The next day, I had all my events, which were 2x2, 3x3, 4x4, Pyraminx, and Skewb. I met my friend Rhaghav and started participating! To be honest, I don’t remember much about all my events. I specifically remember doing my first 3x3 solve, since the delegate Shubayan Kabhir explained the process of solving to me. I also remember performing very poorly in 2x2, as I had practiced quite a bit for that, even more than 3x3. I also remember being very disappointed that I could not make the 4x4 and Skewb cutoffs. Here are all my results from that competition:
Another important part of the competition was another friend I made, whose name I can’t remember due to not keeping in touch with them for that long. However, I do remember the three of us fooling around a lot at the competition, and I legitimately felt like I knew these guys for a long time. Interestingly, he told me that he specialized in Pyraminx, and I remember watching him solve and seeing his mess and do way worse than when he practiced, an introduction to the idea of competition nerves for me. I also find it interesting because Pyraminx went on to be the event that I specialize in.
Overall, the majority of my first competition experience was taken up not by my solving, which was actually rather insignificant, but by the friends I made. Even though I haven’t been able to keep in touch with them, I had a lot of fun with them at the competition, and for many of you it will be the same. Most cubers bond well with each other, as we share an interest that we are very passionate about, so don’t be afraid to talk to people and be social, as you could make friends that will last you years to come.
Naren Ramesh is the former Pyraminx (Single) National record holder from Bengaluru. Currently, he is in the 2nd position. He started cubing when he was 10 and has been cubing for the past 7 years and loves every aspect of cubing, from speedsolving Pyraminx to having fun with friends at competitions. He has attended 49 competitions and won a total of 62 podiums with 26 Gold medals and 1 National record. He also has a World Ranking of 39 in Pyraminx Single.