Minutes before 14-year-old Bennett Orlando was blindfolded, he took a good look at all the dimensions of the Rubik’s Cube in his hand.
The current world record holder for solving a 5*5*5 cube in 55 minutes, Orlando is also the winner of the 2007 Rubik’s Cube World Championship. On Friday while demonstrating his skills at a Rubik’s Cube workshop at a city mall, he shared the secret of his technique.
He begins with weaving a story around the placement of each square piece in the cube and gives meaning to their colours. “One piece becomes a squirrel, the other a bird. Then it’s about the story falling into place, for which I don’t need my eyes,” he said explaining his technique. In just over a minute, he unscrambled the cube.
A resident of Trichy in Tamil Nadu, Orlando’s act included solving the cube with one hand, his feet, blindfolded and two cubes simultaneously.
Since he became the world champion three years ago, Orlando has taken part in championships in Japan, the Netherlands and Singapore, and even learnt to solve a cube underwater. “My dad taught me the basics when I was 7, and followed it up with advanced techniques. Through this workshop, I want to help youngsters with those methods,” he said. Other cubers at the meet, some younger yet equally adroit, seemed eager to learn and participate in the competition that followed.
Eight-year-old Dhanayush Ranina, a fourth grader at Vibgyor High School, who averaged at 30 seconds, said: “The activity helps me concentrate on studies, and learning new skills will only make me better.”
Most of them have taken to the activity only within the past year, and say it's not difficult to pick up. “I use the Frederick method to solve the cube, and am keen to learn movement patterns and algorithms,” said Akshay Rao (20), who got addicted to the Rubik’s Cube in August, 2009. “The memory techniques are beneficial. They will help young cubers memorise their lessons faster,” Orlando added.