In this incredible world of ours where people have their own hobbies and interests, there are a few who manage to carve out a unique place for themselves in this mix of unique hobbies that exist in the world. Some even take the hobbies further and make it something serious that leads them to a world of possibilities.
Rakesh M Vaideeswaran, a student of Class XI in the Hindu Senior Secondary school has a habit of solving the Rubik’s Cube in a staggering 10 odd seconds. India’s 11th fastest cuber, Rakesh has also picked up prizes in competitions. Here is what Rakesh shared with us:
Q: When did the hobby of cubing start and who introduced you to it?
A: I started cubing at the age of 12, when I was in grade VIII. I was taught to cube by one of my classmates, Ajay Narayanan. He is an official speed cuber and can solve a 3×3 Rubik’s cube in less than 17 seconds. He held the national record single for solving the skewb puzzle with a time of 5.26 seconds and is now ranked 2nd in the country for that puzzle (current national record is 4.98 seconds). I saw him teaching some of my friends the easiest way to solve the 3×3 Rubik’s cube. I really got interested on seeing the 6-coloured puzzle. I soon learned to solve it and was initially happy in being able to solve it, though not fast enough.
Q: When did you start to evolve into a serious cuber who wanted to make a hobby into something more?
A: I used to average like 2 minutes when I saw some of the speed cubing videos on YouTube. I then started to take cubing seriously and with practice, my average came down to 50 seconds. I attended my first competition in 2012 held at The Chennai Mathematical Institute. I averaged at 40 seconds when I attended the competition. I saw many speed cubers there and I also saw people who could solve the 3×3 in less than 12 seconds.
I was then inspired and wanted to improve my speed of solving as well. I was also determined to break the national record. I then began to practice everyday. I also learnt some advanced algorithms for solving the cube. After learning many algorithms, one can only get faster with practice. I did that and my speed gradually went up. Then I started to win some competitions with an average of 12-13 seconds. I came 2nd in the Shaastra Cube Open 2014 with an average of 13.28 seconds, 2nd in The CMI Open 2014 with an average of 12.57 seconds. I also came 2nd in the
C3 Open with an average if 11.91 seconds.
Q: One of your more amazing skills is solving the cube blindfolded! How do you do this?
A: Blindfolded cubing involves memorising the cube and then solving it. The total blindfolded time includes the memorisation time as well as the execution time. But blindfolded solving is not as hard as it sounds. The cube is memorised using a sequence of alphabets or numbers assigned to each sticker of the cube. The execution involves performing 10-15 move algorithms that affects only a small portion of the cube.
The world record for solving the 3×3 blindfolded is 23.80 seconds, which involved 10 seconds of memorisation and 13 seconds of execution. I can solve the 3×3 blindfolded in about 3 and a half minutes. However , I don’t take blindfold cubing seriously. I am happy that I can solve the 3×3 blindfolded.
Q: What are your other hobbies and passions?
A: Apart from cubing, I like cricket, volleyball, carrom board and chess. I also like to watch movies. But I like nothing as much as I like cubing. My goal is to break the 3×3 national record single and average (current national record for the 3×3: 8.29 single , 10.13 average). I still practice for about half an hour a day so that I don’t lose my speed.
Rakesh has been amazing at cubing for almost 3 years now. His records are published on www.worldcubeassociation.org as well.
We took leave wishing this prodigy to bring further laurels and glory to the school and himself by cubing his path to fame.