|John and Jonathan Nerz organizers for the WCA Event|
When most readers hear the word “cube”, office-related shudders run through the body. However, to the 150 participants in last weekend’s World Cube Association (WCA) competition, the word cube takes on an entirely different meaning. “Cubers” are lovers of “twisty puzzles”, the most famous of which is the Rubik’s cube. And last Saturday, January 9, 150 “cubers” and about 250 people total gathered at the Antique Design and Event Center in Fort Thomas for the first official competition to be held in Cincinnati in eight years, The Queen City 2016 event.
For those who may not know, the Rubik’s cube is a puzzle wherein each side contains 9 squares of the same color (when solved). Each square can be twisted in any direction and the object of the puzzle is to take the cube when it is mixed up and solve so that all 9 squares on each side are of the same color. Sound simple? It is not. But if you think so, try beating the current world champion Feliks Zemdegs who can complete the puzzle in 5.69 seconds (the blindfolded champion takes just over 21 seconds).
While no one beat that time at the competition, Lucas Etter (who won the main event) finished in 6.93 seconds. Get out your stopwatch, press start, and read the previous sentence out loud; that took about as long as Etter took to complete a Rubik’s cube.
Rob Robinson, owner of the Antique Design and Event Center and self-admitted Rubik’s cube novice, was surprised at the number of participants: “I was completely surprised by the turnout. Thirteen states were represented and one family flew in from Germany.”
The Antique Design and Event Center, which was only licensed last June, has quickly become a hotspot for different events. Jonathan and John Nerz, son and father organizers in that order, found the event center and given its proximity to downtown, thought it would be the perfect place to host the competition.
Says the younger Nerz, “The competition went very well. I would call it a great success because it allowed many cubers from the tri-state to come out and compete in Cincinnati.”
While the Midwest is not a hotbed for cubing (predominated by the east coast and California) Nerz did state that cubing is really big in Columbus and further south from Cincinnati so it is not often that the Queen City gets to host such an event. However, after the event this past weekend, he could see it happening again: “The venue worked very well for us. In addition to the large event area, the antique mall provided a place for parents to browse while kids competed. The coffee bar also provided excellent food for the competitors and guests during lunch.” First time organizer of such an event, Nerz was excited at how well things went, but more importantly, he stated “it was exciting to know that the world record holder for the Rubik’s Cube was also in attendance.”
Robinson echoed that excitement saying, “also an interesting note, but the world champion is in here.” To Nerz, though, it was neat to see “all the future engineers” and to provide a different opportunity for kids to compete. “Most kids compete through sports but there are still many kids, like myself, that have very little interest in sports; cubing allows those (kids) to engage in competition.”
For more information on the World Cube Association or to view the results from last weekend’s competition, visit here. To host an event at the Antique Design and Event Center, visit their website for more information here.