As if solving a Rubik’s Cube isn’t tricky enough, cubers seeking a greater challenge competed this past weekend in Natick in a blindfolded competition.
The NaticubeBLD event, organized by 16-year-old Natick High School junior Caleb Retik, drew 15 competitors on Saturday to Morse Institute Library. About a year ago, we wrote about an event organized by Retik dubbed Naticube that took place at the Elks Lodge and attracted “speedcubers,” those who race to solve the popular combination puzzle.
Participants largely solve the cubes in silence, so many of those attending the children’s book sale adjacent to the competition on the library’s lower level may not have even known it was taking place. A guard sat outside the closed and unmarked doors, allowing people to peek in if they were curious.
According to Retik’s mom, Ava, speedcubing “combines speed, agility, and memory.” Retik has all those skills, honed from participating frequently in competitions, and increasingly, medaling at them.
To give you a sense of how fast speedcubers go, Thiago Han (representing Brazil) solved a 3x3x3 cube in just 25.21 seconds, and Abner Brijesh solved 23 3x3x3 cubes in under an hour. Or check out this practice “multiblind” video recorded at the library in which Retik solves 10 cubes in hour.
Aside from practicing, other work that goes into the prep for a competition like this includes scrambling cubes according to random configuration set by a computer.
Comfortable on familiar turf, organizer Retik medaled in all 4 events and set some personal records.