Twisting their puzzling ways to the top

  • Metro News
  • Tuesday, 19 Nov 2019

Darren showing how a Megaminx cube is solved. — Photos: NORAFIFI EHSAN/The Star

MEMBERS of the public can witness the wonders of speedcubing at the Malaysia Cube Championship 2019.

The event will be held at The Space in Citta Mall, Ara Damansara, from this Friday to Sunday.

This will be the second time Citta Mall is hosting such a competition.

Speedcubing is a competitive event where participants solve puzzles like the Rubik’s cube or other variations of it.

Malaysia Cube Association (MYCA) founder and president Leow Yi Jun said the competition would feature 18 categories.

“Basically for all the 18 events, there will be 18 individual winners and podiums.

“Sometimes we would see different winners for every category and sometimes there would be the same faces in different categories,” said Leow, who was a Malaysia World Cube Association (WCA) delegate.

“For normal speed-solving cubes, the winners are determined based on the fastest average time taken to solve the puzzle.

“There is one different category called “3 x 3 x 3 Fewest Moves” where participants have to use the least average number of moves to solve the cube in one-hour attempts,” Leow explained.

Established in 2017, Leow said MYCA played the role of regulating cubing competitions in Malaysia and supported cubing-related events.

“Another thing we do is we ensure cubing competitions are held all over Malaysia and not just in the Klang Valley.

“There are quite a lot of ‘cubers’ who are not exposed to these kinds of competitions because they may be too far for them,” he said.

He said MYCA’s vision was to hold cubing competitions in every state in Malaysia.

About 300 competitors hailing from 15 different countries are expected in the championship.

Participant Darren Siew, 19, who comes from a family of cubers, has been competing officially for 10 years.

“I started in 2009 but slowly lost interest as the cube back then did not turn well.

“In 2016, a friend brought a cube to class. She couldn’t solve it so my twin brother and I showed her the solution.

“Our friend’s cube turned really well, so my curiosity and interest in the game was reignited.

Darren, who is pursuing a degree in engineering, said he had an affinity for problem solving.

“One of my favorite categories is the Megaminx in which I hold the national record.

“I really love Megaminx because it has many colours and it is more difficult to solve,” he said.

Darren said most people did not understand the sport.

“I get a lot of mixed feelings, some even question whether speedcubing is even a sport so I would show them what I do,” he said.

He said most cubers competed in the sport to build their profile which includes the number wins, results and other statistics.

Malaysia Cube Championship 2019 organising chairman Siew Hann Wen, who is a speedcuber himself as well as Darren’s father, said he first started cubing with his wife to help his sons solve the Rubik’s cube.

“We bought a cube for our son in 2007 because he was very interested but he could not solve it, so our whole family sat together and tried to find the solution.

“It took us two days to solve that cube and ever since, we would play with cubes together after dinner,” he said.

Hann Wen said he had been competing in speedcubing competitions since 2009 with his family.

“Sometimes during the holidays, we would find a place or country that is hosting the competition so we would combine our family vacation and participating in the competition,” he said.

He added that his wife Tiffany Soh was the overall first-ranked female cuber in Malaysia.

Citta Mall advertising and promotions manager Allison Chan said the mall decided to host the competition as cubing was a unique and healthy activity.

She also said that as a neighbourhood mall, their goal was to connect the community.

“This is something very new and we think that it can attract people to come here and observe the game as well as introduce it to the people in this area,” she added.

Chan said the championship would be a preparatory competition for the 2020 WCA Asian Championship, which MYCA has won the bid to host in Malaysia. However, the venue has yet to be determined.

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