A Quebec teen has broken a national record for the fastest time to solve a Rubik’s cube while wearing a blindfold.
In a flurry of colour, Elliott Kobelansky twisted a three-by-three cube into order in just 15.86 seconds – a period which includes studying the unsolved puzzle before putting on the blindfold.
“I feel great,” he told CTV News Saturday afternoon, just hours after breaking former world champion Jake Klassen’s previous record of 16.56 seconds.
“I’ve been working towards this for a while, and it’s good to see all my practice pay off,” he said.
Kobelansky first picked up a Rubik’s cube when he was six years old. After solving it the first time, his father says, he was hooked.
These days, regular practice can take up to five hours every day.
“It’s a lot of training,” said his dad, Allan Kobelansky. “This is not something you can take lightly.”
For the blind category, there are no physical markings on the cube to help its solver. In other words, after Kobelansky peeks at the scrambled cube, he solves it completely from memory.
“In my head, I have sort of a mental image of the cube. Not the colours, just a blank cube, and I’m seeing the moves as I do them,” he said.
“I have a method to transform the cube into letters, a string of letters that I memorize. Then, when I put the blindfold on, I have a way of transforming those letters into moves on the cube to solve it.”
He says he was proud of the record, adding that he’s been able to do it even faster at home.
He was one of dozens competing in a competition hosted by the World Cube Association. His talents have taken him far from home in Canada and south of the border. There are plans to compete in Korea next year.
Kobelansky said his success was made possible by the support of his father, who accompanied him to the event Saturday.
“Basically I told him any event we can drive to we will go to without question,” said Allan Kobelansky.
Several competitors told CTV Saturday that they felt happy to appear at the event after a two-year pandemic hiatus.
Athletes of all ages signed up, and none were turned away for a lack of experience.
“Cubing is a very inclusive sport, everyone is invited to join no matter how fast or how slow you are. I don’t feel any different being relatively new,” said Maxence Leboeuf, a young cuber who picked up the sport in December.
It’s a philosophy shared by the event’s organizers.
“Competitions are meant to be fun for everyone,” said World Cube Association Delegate Nathan Dwyer, who specializes in four-by-four and five-by-five categories.
“Even though it is technically a competitive event, everyone is just here to support each other and have fun,” he said, adding that most people come to “race against their own personal times rather than being cutthroat with others.”
“It’s very welcoming and it’s a lot of fun.”
The event continues Sunday.