Meet Full Sail’s Blindfold ‘Speedcubing’ World Champ

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Full Sail faculty members have distinguished themselves in many areas of media and entertainment. They’ve won film festival awards and design competitions, and have been credited on blockbuster films, games, and albums.

Now Full Sail can boast of its own Rubik’s Cube world champion. Math teacher Chris Hardwick became the world champion for blindfolded 5×5 cube solving in Bangkok, Thailand this month at the 2011 World Rubik’s Cube Championship.

Hardwick competed against as many as 366 champion “cubers” from at least 39 countries Oct. 14-16. His time for a blindfolded solve of a 5×5 Rubik’s Cube (also called the “professor’s cube”) was 15 minutes, 6 seconds, making him the reigning world champion in that event.

While solving a Rubik’s Cube blind might seem an impossible task, Hardwick explained that cubers first spend a minute or two studying the cube, during which time they visualize and memorize the moves they will make to solve the cube. Then the blindfold goes on, and the cuber has to remember each move to solve the puzzle.

“The world record for this event is 9 minutes, 48.58 seconds,” said Hardwick. “My time was quite a bit slower than the world record, but it was the fastest in the competition and good enough for first place.”

Hardwick came in 2nd place in the 4×4 blindfolded competition with a time of 6 minutes, 9.85 seconds.

The top three winners in each competitive event earn trophies and prize money. “The combined prize money that I won for both events was 825 euros, which is almost enough to pay for my plane ticket!” Hardwick said, laughing. “But I was very excited for the placement.”

The World Rubik’s Cube Championship takes place every other year and there have been five years competitions since its inception. Hardwick has competed in four of them. This is his third world champion title. Stateside, he holds the North American records for both the 4×4 blindfolded and 5×5 blindfolded events. He has also held eight national titles and set 16 world records.

Hardwick likes sharing the secret to solving the puzzle, and he is the faculty advisor for Full Sail’s Rubik’s Cube Group. Although the club has been in hiatus for a few months, Hardwick said he is about to start scheduling regular club meetings again. (Contact chardwick@fullsail.com).

Last year, Hardwick and the club sponsored an official Rubik’s Cube competition on campus, and he plans to do the same in early 2012.

And if you want to learn to solve the Rubik’s Cube, who wouldn’t want to learn from a world champion?

Want to learn to solve the Rubik’s Cube? Hardwick recommends: 
Dan Brown’s How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube on YouTube
Speedsolving.com

To learn to solve blindfolded, check out Hardwick’s page on Speedcubing.com.

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