What is a Cubing World Record?
A cubing world record, just like other world records, is the fastest time that a person has solved the Rubik’s Cube in an official competition. There are 18 events in total in WCA competitions, which means so many world records! In this blog, we’re going to focus on the 3x3 event, the original Rubik’s cube. Specifically, the 3x3 single world record.
The one and only World Record in the 20th century
The Rubik’s cube was invented by Erno Rubik in 1974 and was licensed to be sold on a big scale in 1980. Since 1980, there was a huge craze for the Rubik’s cube, and 1982 was when the first Rubik’s cube record was set. It was set by Minh Thai of the United States, who managed to hit a time of 22.95 seconds.
Minh Thai managed to hold on to his record for 21 years, till it was broken in 2003. The record by Minh Thai was the only record to be set in the 20th century. The credit for this goes to the lack of competitions anywhere in the world and the loss of popularity of the Rubik’s cube.
Foundation of the World Cube Association
The World Cube Association(WCA) was founded in 2004. Around that time, the competitions started again. There was a competition in Canada in 2003, in which the longest-held world record by Minh Thai was broken by Dan Knights with a 16.71-second solve.
This isn’t a drastic margin considering there were no competitions for around 21 years. Unfortunately for Dan Knights, his record was broken on the same day at the same competition by Denmark’s Jess Bonde, with a 16.53 solve. There were no more records for the rest of 2003.
The whole year of 2004 was dominated by Japan’s Shotaro Makisumi, he broke the world record with a 15.07-second solve. The rest of the year, Shotaro Makisumi proceeded to break his own record 3 times and reduced the world record to 12.11 seconds till April 2004, this record was held for a year and a half till October 2005.
From 2005 to 2008, the world record was broken multiple times by multiple people till Erik Akkersdijk recorded a 7.08-second solve and held this record for 2 years till the arrival of Feliks Zemdegs.
The arrival of Feliks Zemdegs and Modern Cubing
If you’re a cuber, there is no way you haven’t heard of Feliks Zemdegs! From 2010, Feliks proceeded to dominate the world records for 3x3, starting off with a 7.03 in 2010, then reducing that to a 5.66 second solve in 2011.
Feliks held this world record for 2 years till 2013, till Mats Valk broke his record with a 5.55-second record. Mats held on to this record for 2 years till 2015.
Collin Burns broke this legendary record with a 5.25-second record in 2015. But later in 2015, Keaton Ellis broke this record with a 5.09-second solve. But sadly for Keaton, this record was broken in the same competition by Lucas Etter with the first sub-5 solve ever recorded in a WCA competition. He clocked 4.90 seconds and held that record for a solid year.
Mats Valk broke this record by getting a 4.74 in late 2016 but just a month later, Feliks Zemdegs broke his record marginally by getting a 4.73-second solve in dramatic fashion. He broke Mats Valk’s record in front of his own eyes sitting right beside him at the competition table!
Feliks held this record for almost 10 months before it was broken by Patrick Ponce with a 4.69 in 2017, and later in the same year by Korean cuber SeungBeom Cho with a 4.59. Feliks got his record back in 2018 with a 4.59 solve and broke it again in the same year with a 4.22.
The Apparent Unbreakable World Record
In November of 2018, a Chinese cuber Yusheng Du clocked 3.47 at Wuhu open 2018. It has been four years since this record was set and it is yet to be broken at the time of writing this (October 2022).
Although you can’t see his name on this blog and it isn’t on the 3x3 world record history page of WCA, this cuber has broken the world record average of 3x3 multiple times, his name is Max Park. He has gotten the closest to breaking the 3.47 world record with a 3.63-second solve in August 2022. Asher Kim-Magierek also got close in May of 2022 with a 3.89.
Tymon Kolasiński is another honorable mention, he has also broken the 3x3 average world record multiple times and has also clocked a sub-4 solve with a 3.97 in July 2022. So, at this moment, there are only four “sub-4” solves ever recorded at official WCA competitions and three of them were recorded in 2022. With this information, it isn’t too absurd to say that the 3.47 world record, which hasn’t been broken for almost 4 years now, is not very far from being broken, considering the wonderful improvements in cubing and the dramatic benchmarks being set by the honorable mentions here.
Sarthak Masta is a speedcuber from Raipur. He started cubing in 2013 and now has 9 years of cubing experience. Apart from cubing, Sarthak enjoys making music and singing. He has attended a total of 7 competitions in Raipur and has gotten 10 podiums, with 2 gold medals, 4 silver medals and 4 bronze medals.