Girl Scouts learn about cubing

Published 5:14 pm Saturday, August 22, 2015

Suffolk resident and Girl Scout Junior Claire Askew tries her hand at solving a Rubik’s Cube with the help of Maggie Jordan and Ankush Hommerich-Dutt.

Suffolk resident and Girl Scout Junior Claire Askew tries her hand at solving a Rubik’s Cube with the help of Maggie Jordan and Ankush Hommerich-Dutt.

Two top local Rubik’s Cube competitors, known as cubers, demonstrated their skills recently at A Place for Girls for Girl Scout campers.

Maggie Jordan, a student at James Blair Middle School in Norfolk, and Ankush Hommerich-Dutt, a high school student from Hampton, performed what seemed magic at an afternoon session.

In 18 seconds, Ankush twisted and turned the cube, and “voila” — it returned to its original pattern. The cubers brought out an assortment of cubes and had members from the audience mix up the square panels on each cube until it was a mix of colors.


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Then each cuber was clocked while solving the cube’s puzzle. When Ankush solved a cube puzzle blindfolded, the girls were in awe and the question “How do you do that?” came from several in the room.

There’s no quick answer, Ankush said. “It takes time and practice.” He recommends watching skill-building videos on YouTube and investing in quality cubes. As a cuber who competes in speed cubing regularly, he is constantly on the lookout for new cubes and ways to become better.

Aditi Dutt, a parent educator and mother of Ankush, says the time her son spends on the Rubik Cube is time well spent.

“It helps with geometry, algebra, direction-following, memorization and perseverance, just to name a few,” she said. “It also gave him a sense of accomplishment, and he is rewarded every time he solves a hard puzzle. And I love to watch him perform!”

In addition to performing, Maggie and Ankush gave a short history presentation on the origin of the sport.

After the invention of the Rubik’s Cube in 1974 by a Hungarian professor named Erno Rubik, the Cube took off and gained a worldwide following. Cubes were everywhere, and the first Cube World Championship was held in 1982.

While interest in cubing was somewhat lost in the 90s, it came back in 2003 with speedcubing. Since then, a World Championship has been held every two years, with nationals and regionals held in between. Speedcubing competitions are held worldwide at major engineering and science centers.

Individuals of all ages compete for times in traditional 3×3, 4×4, 5×5 and 7×7 cubes as well as Pyraminx, one-handed solves and blindfold.

This fall, there will be a local competition at Old Dominion University, thanks to Maggie and Ankush. They contacted the National Championship division and requested a delegate for a local event they are hosting with ODU’s Engineers Without Borders.

The competition will be at Webb Center on Oct. 24. Chester Lian will be the official delegate from the The World Cube Association, the organization that regulates and holds Rubik’s Cube competitions, and times will be listed in the World Cube Association Site and can be tracked during the competition on Cube Comps.