Right now, somewhere in the world, a person can solve a Rubik’s cube in less than six seconds.
His name is Mats Valk. He’s a Dutch 17-year-old, and he holds the current World Record for the fastest single time solving a typical Rubik’s cube: 5.55 seconds.
In honour of National Puzzle Day, we wanted to explore the people behind one of the world’s hardest puzzles. Watch the video of Valk’s winning moves below:
In all fairness though, Feliks Zemdegs, an Australia 18-year-old, deserves some credit, too. While Valk may have flipped the coloured squares the quickest, he only did it once. Zemdegs holds the current World Record for fastest average time solving a normal Rubik’s cube:
Zemdegs is also the current World Champion, solving his cube in 7.63 seconds at the official competition in July 2013 in Las Vegas. As you can see, nailing the lowest time with any regularity is a difficult task.
Last January, Zemdegs also hosted an AMA on Reddit (when he still held the world record). He claims he hit 4.68 seconds but at home without proof. One of the most upvoted questions, from user bolshoi, asked how he learned to solve these impossible puzzles.
Zemdegs answered with a maths-heavy, complicated answer. But never fear, user IHaveNoNipples translated:
“He makes a plus-shape on one side (cross). Then he solves the first two layers of the cube (F2L- first two layers). These first two steps can be done with a fairly simple series of twists and you don’t need any memorized patterns to do them. This leaves one layer left. He first gets all of the pieces of the last layer facing in the right direction (OLL- orient last layer). Once they are facing the direction they should be he puts them into the correct locations (PLL- permute last layer). These two steps each require memorized sequences of twists. The particular algorithm he uses for each depends on the arrangement of pieces he is looking at. There are around 55 different such algorithms he uses to orient the last layer and 21 to permute it.”
Zemdegs also suggested an online guide, found here. And don’t forget to lube your cube. Seriously, adding oil helps the puzzle twist more easily, according to Zemdegs and other “speedcubers.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.