Rubik's Cube masters square off

It's challenging for some and maddening for others, but the popularity of the Rubik's cube remains more than 40 years since its invention.

PARIS • The experts can do it, not only with their hands, but also with their feet and blindfolded.

Today, more than 1,100 masters of the Rubik's Cube - the puzzle that became the top-selling toy - will gather for the start of the four-day world championships in Paris.

The "speedcubers" will battle not only with their hands - the world record is 4.73 seconds - but also in other categories.

With more than 43 quintillion (a quintillion is a billion trillion) ways of solving the challenges posed by the toy designed by Hungarian architect Erno Rubik, records could fall, organisers noted.

Australian Feliks Zemdegs, 21, who holds eight world records in six disciplines, is the man to beat.

He will face stiff competition from archrivals Mats Valk, 21, from the Netherlands, and 15-year-old American wunderkind Max Park.

The three-dimensional puzzle consists of 26 coloured "cubies" set in a cube. The goal is to start with the cubies randomly distributed by colour, then twist and turn the rows of cubies along different axils until they are arrayed with a single colour on each face.

More than 450 million of the toy have been sold since it was invented in 1977, with the goal of piquing students' interest in geometry.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2017, with the headline 'Rubik's Cube masters square off'. Print Edition | Subscribe