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People across Canada test their strategy and speed at Rubik’s Cube competition in Airdrie

More than a hundred people from across Canada and other countries tested their strategy and speed at a Rubik’s Cube competition in Airdrie on Sunday.

Sixteen-year-old Samuel Edwards has been solving Rubik’s Cubes for the last five years. Each time, his goal is to get faster.

“Just takes practice and learning the algorithms,” he said.

Edwards is an organizer and one of the 110 people who competed in the World Cube Association’s Afraid in Airdrie event at the Town and Country Centre.

The Halloween-themed competition featured five categories, including the headline 3×3 event, where people raced to solve a traditional Rubik’s Cube.

“It’s lots of fun. It helps with some real world things, like it helps improve your intuition and focusing on more than one thing at a time,” Edwards said.

Each competitor got the same scramble, determined by a computer system.

They had five chances to solve it, then their best and worst times were taken out, and their final score was determined by the average of the remaining three.

When they weren’t competing, they got to judge and record other people’s scores.

“The Rubik’s cube has this stigma of being so hard and impossible to solve, but when you really get into it, it’s not that bad and I think a lot of kids just find it really, really satisfying,” said Alex Mutch, a delegate with the World Cube Association.

Competitors ranged from as young as five years old to 47.

Jaxon Szczerba, 11, says he enjoys beating his own records.

“My dad says, you go against yourself, and if you cheat, you’re basically just shooting yourself in the foot. And yeah, it’s just fun, it’s a good way to make friends,” he said.

The competition even drew a few national record holders, including Edmonton’s Kyle Santucci.

He holds the record for 2×2 at half a second, and is second overall in 3×3 at 4.26 seconds.

Santucci says his secret to success is simple.

“You want to repeat good habits, not bad habits. If you repeat bad habits, you’re just going to get used to doing bad things. So, good practice is make sure you’re doing the right thing, then do repetitive practice on that,” he said.

For some, the best part is the connections they make along the way.

“There’s a really good community in Alberta for cubing and there’s a whole bunch all around the world,” Edwards said.

The top 3 players in each category got a certificate and a gift card to an online cube store called TheCubicle. 

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