The RubeTube

Life's a cube.  Solve it.

September 21, 2007
Last August 25 (geez that was a loooong time ago), I joined the first-ever Rubik's Cube Philippines Open (RCPO 2007). It was the first Rubik's cube tournament held in the Philippines that was officially sanctioned by the World Cube Association (WCA), and I felt tremendously honored to have been part of history in the making! The event was organized by the Philippine Cubers Association (PCA), of which I am a very active member lately.

See the official RCPO 2007 results here... in a nutshell, Mat Almeida (Fil-Portuguese guy, and also the WCA delegate) and JB Canares (who flew all the way from Cebu) dominated most of the events. My results: 17th (out of 28) in the 3x3x3 event, and 8th (out of 17) in the 2x2x2 event. I also have some photos and a couple of videos from the event.

The RCPO 2007 was held at Robinsons Metro East, from 10 AM lasting into the night. I went with Akie and Allan, who unfortunately (for them?) chose not to compete in the event, but they still accompanied me and I was very glad for their company even if they both had to leave early. It's a really good thing I went with them because I didn't know anyone and I was worried about embarrassing myself with my relatively slow times, but because I had my friends with me I could just laugh and just enjoy the day no matter what.

There were a couple of events in the RCPO 2007: 3x3x3, 3x3x3 one-handed, 3x3x3 blindfolded, 4x4x4, 5x5x5, and 2x2x2. Among those events, only the 3x3x3 had a 3-round structure: only the top 20 from round 1 would make it into round 2, and only the top 8 from round 2 would compete in the final round. For every event/round, each person has 5 tries to solve the puzzle. The puzzle is scrambled (by people designated as "scramblers" who also act as timekeepers) according to a computer-generated random sequence of moves. The best and worst among the 5 times are dropped (to account for good/bad luck) and the remaining 3 middle times are averaged to comprise your official average time for that event/round, and contestants are ranked according to their averages.

I only chose to join the 2x2x2 and 3x3x3 events. The 3x3x3 was the first event of the day. I was really nervous going up to the stage in front and I didn't even have any idea how to use the Stackmat timers! Fortunately, the Stackmats were a breeze to use and I didn't encounter any problems.

In round 1, I posted an average of 44.56 seconds, which was good for 19th place and barely made it to round 2! In round 2, I fared even better: an average of 38.31 seconds (my personal best average at the time!), good for 17th place, which unfortunately was far from the cut-off for the final round. So all in all, I ranked 17th out of 28 competitors... definitely better than I expected! My "X method" (corners-first) was not a very fast method, not ideal at all for speedcubing so I think I got a bit lucky here and there. Here is a video of my first-ever official solve (first try in round 1), with a time of 45.08 seconds:

Here is a photo of the Stackmat of my best time in round 2, 30.81 seconds, which was also my personal best at the time:

The 2x2x2 event was one of the final events of the day, just before the final round of the 3x3x3. I was pondering whether to even participate in the event because I had a ticket to a film-showing in the evening of Pisay the Movie (directed by Aureus Solito), set in my high school alma mater. I'd miss the film-showing if I chose to stay for the 2x2x2 event. It was a chance to meet up with some of my high school buddies but I decided that the RCPO was more important to me at the time; it would later turn out to be a very good decision and I'm very glad that I stayed...

...I managed 8th place (out of 17), with an average time of 14.21 seconds (the photo below is my official timesheet; yes it's just an index card):

...all this despite only having bought a 2x2x2 cube earlier in the day! So I didn't have a lot of time to practice solving the 2x2x2 cube. Luckily, my corners-first method was well-suited to solving the 2x2x2 (which is only made of corners, essentially) so the learning curve was not so steep. (Later on, after a few days of practice, my average dropped down to less than 12 seconds so I could've done better had I practiced earlier.) Here's a video of my best 2x2x2 solve (10.50 seconds):

All in all, my experience at the RCPO 2007 was a very memorable one. Not only did I come in the company of friends, I also made a couple of new speedcuber acquaintances: Victor, Benjo, Jerome, Vernon, and Mat! It also rekindled my passion for speedcubing and now I'm more determined than ever to reach new heights in speedcubing (i.e., beat my personal records), and hopefully win an event or two someday.

(I have an official record page with the WCA now... woohoo! Watch out for me in the future!)

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1 Responses to “Rubik's Cube Philippines Open 2007”

  1. # Anonymous sheila

    wow! "sir mark" i just can't believe i get to see you here again... after that "impromptu cube lesson" at Starbucks megamall! i haven't had the chance to THANK YOU! tsaka natuwa ako sa anecdote.. hehehe it was really fun to read!

    But sad to say, i still cannot solve my cube... i'm a kinesthetic learner kasi eh - i need to hear and at the same see how things are done. And up until now, wala naman akong makitang "cuber" doon na simple lang... i can really get easily intimidated din kasi... :) hehehe...

    the internet is still my best resource for now. but i get confused na after several illustrations... :)

    pero, basta... i'm not giving up! not yet... i will find ways!

    Cheers to the Cube and goodluck to You!

    - sheila  

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