Second annual Windsor Classic a tremendous success
Published 10:27 am Wednesday, June 20, 2018
By Ken Gustafson
AMERICUS — On Saturday, June 16, competitors from mostly the Southeast met in the Fine Arts Theater of Georgia Southwestern State University for the second annual Windsor Classic: a Rubik’s Cube tournament put on by the World Cubing Association and sponsored by the Windsor Hotel.
Joshua Cherian, one of the event organizers, told the Americus Times-Recorder that the competitors were here to solve the Rubik’s Cube in all kinds of different ways. “We’ve got a bunch of different competitors from all over Georgia, Florida and Alabama coming to compete and to solve Rubik’s Cubes blindfolded, with their feet … all kinds of different ways,” he said. “We’ve already had at least one person set a national record for feet solving. It’s just been a great time so far.”
That one person Cherian was referring to was Kevin Min. Min, born in South Korea, set a South Korean national record in foot solving the 3x3x3 Rubik’s Cube with a time of 24.18 seconds. Later on, he broke his own South Korean national record, setting an Asian record with a time of 22.42 seconds in the 3x3x3 foot solving competition. Min actually lives in Auburn, Alabama, but having been born in South Korea, competed for that country. Min will be a junior in high school this fall. He started practicing solving the Rubik’s Cube with his feet about two years ago. “To get here, it took a lot of effort … many, many solves per day,” Min said.
According to Cherian, there were competitors who excelled at solving the Rubik’s Cube blindfolded. He was also really excited about the turnout at the tournament overall. “We’ve had some great times with blindfolding so far,” Cherian said. “We’ve had a pretty great turn out. I’m pleased with the number of competitors we’ve had and the speed they’ve had today. I think everyone has been enjoying themselves.” Cherian said they built a gigantic cube mosaic just outside the entrance to the theater. This mosaic contained 561 cubes and had the message “Happy Fathers’ Day.”
There were several different competitions: 3x3x3 (regular solving of the Rubik’s Cube), the Skewb competition, which involved trying to solve a diamond-like puzzle with four triangles, Pyraminx, which involved trying to solve a pyramid-like object and the 2×2 competition, which involved solving a cube with just four squares on each side. That was not all, however. Contestants competed in the foot solving competition, which involved trying to solve the regular 3x3x3 Rubik’s Cube with their feet. There were two other competitions as well. The 3x3x3 blindfold competition, which involved trying to solve the Rubik’s Cube while blindfolded. Amazingly, there were some fast times set in that competition. There was also the Megaminx competition, which involved trying to solve an octagon-shaped object.
Cherian said he believes the World Cubing Association has been putting on Rubik’s Cube competitions since 2003. According to the website www.cubecomps.com, there are Rubik’s Cube competitions going on
all over the world, and one of them is right here in Americus: The Windsor Classic. Nikita Cherian, sister of Joshua Cherian and co-organizer of the event, said, “We have a variety of events each year too,” she said. “Last year, we did one-handed and clock, which is another kind of puzzle. We’re trying to change it up each year. It’s pretty neat.” According to Sharad Patel, owner of the Windsor Hotel, he met Joshua Cherian two years ago and was convinced that it was a good idea to get involved in sponsoring the event. “I saw that they arranged one or two tournaments prior to last year,” Patel said. “I was interested in that immediately. I got interested in helping his tournament grow, so that’s how we got in.” Patel said he believes that this cube tournament will bring more people to Americus and interest some students in GSW in the future. He also said that he is hopeful that the town will get some economic impact as a result of the tournament. Nikita Cherian pointed out that the sport of “cubing” has gotten very popular and very competitive. “A lot of people are very serious when it comes to doing these competitions,” she said. “They will go to extreme lengths to practice, memorize and even to come to these events from far-away places. It’s crazy. We’ve gotten people from New Mexico. They will travel just to compete in a competition.”
There were several contestants competing in the Windsor Classic for the first time. “We’re grateful for first-time competitors,” Nikita Cherian said. “We love the fact that there are people who want to join this and want to be involved in Rubik’s Cube competitions. We love the fact that we’re actually bringing them here and that they’re enjoying these competitions.”
Nikita explained the scoring system used in the Windsor Classic. In all of the competitions, contestants compete in three rounds. “There are five attempts per round for each person,” Cherian said. “During the attempts, the average is calculated by all the attempts together, excluding the lowest time and the highest time.” In other words, the total average is calculated from scores during three of the five attempts. A contestant’s highest score and lowest score are dropped. However, a contestant’s best score would still counts as a single, which is different from an average. One example would be Kevin Min’s Asian record. “It would count as a single. That’s different from an average,” Cherian said. “It would count as a single because there are different kinds of records. You have a single and an average record, so his (Kevin Min’s) record would count as a single record, but his average would not include the 22.42 seconds if that was his best time.”
Cherian said some competitors compete for national, continental and world records. “I heard that some kids were competing for state records,” she said. “There’s a very wide variety of the kinds of records you can break.”
The Windsor Classic is open to people of all ages and skill levels. No one has to qualify to participate. They only have to register. Most of the contestants were kids and teenagers, and many were from the Atlanta area. There were others from other parts of Georgia, as well as Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee. Jacob Keener, a native of Villa Rica, will be a sophomore in high school in the fall. He said he’s been practicing at solving the Rubik’s Cube for a little over two years. “I got a Rubik’s Cube for Christmas the year before,” Keener said. “I decided to learn how to solve it. I saw all these cubing videos and got interested.” Though he didn’t make it to the finals, Keener still did well. He finished in 25th place in the first round of the 3x3x3 solving with an average time of 19.97 seconds and his best time was 18.72. in the first round of the 2x2x2 Solving, Keener finished in 20th place with an average time of 5.21 seconds and a best time of 2.92. Though he did well, he was not able to make it to the finals of that competition. Keener made it to the finals of the Pyraminx competition and finished in 14th place. His average time was 7.31 seconds and his best time was 5.53.
Noah Paredes, a native of Melbourne, Florida, said that he saw his friends solving Rubik’s Cubes back in 2016. “I got jealous,” Paredes said. “I wanted to beat them, so I started solving Rubik’s Cubes.” That jealousy motivated Paredes to make it past the first round of the 3x3xz3 solving competition. He finished in 21st place with an average time of 17.51 seconds and a best time of 14.19. The top 41 competitors made it on to the second round of that competition. In the second round, Parades barely missed making the top 16 and competing in the finals. He finished in 17th place in the 3x3x3 Solving competition. His average time was 15.61 seconds and his best time was 15.33. In the first round of the 2x2x2 cube solving competition, Paredes finished in seventh place, good enough to make to the finals. His average time was 3.52 seconds and his best time was 2.70. Paredes finished 12th in the finals with an average time of 5.19 seconds and a best score of 3.93.
Jack Riordan came down from Dunwoody to compete in the Windsor Classic and put up some impressive numbers. What’s even more impressive, he has not been cubing very long. “I think I pretty much started last year because my friend was doing it and my dad was also into it,” Riordan said. “I started learning it and then I think I had my first competition in August of last year.” Riordan said the competition he competed in was in Athens, and that he didn’t do very well. However, in the first round of the 3x3x3 solving competition at this year’s Windsor Classic, he finished just five spots outside the top 41 and making to the second round. Riordan finished in 46th place with an average time of 44.96 seconds and a best time of 38.95. Riordan finished only three spots outside the top 38 in the first round of the Pyraminx competition. His average time was 18.97 seconds and his best time was 17.28. He was a little over three seconds from qualifying for the second round in that competition.
Sean Hartman, a 16-year-old from Orlando, Florida, had an excellent showing at the Windsor Classic. He made it to the finals in all of the competitions, and finished on the podium in third place in the Skewb Competition. His average time in that competition was 4.82 seconds and his best time was 3.65. Like several other competitors, he has been perfecting his cubing skills for at least two years. “I use to have a cube when I was younger,” Hartman said. “When I got older, I was like, ‘Oh, I want to solve that’, so I did.”
There were some first-time competitors at the Windsor Classic. One of them was nine-year-old Callum Parker of Marietta. He learned cube solving from his sister and got hooked. “My sister learned how to solve the Rubik’s Cube, and I thought that would be cool,” Parker said. “I asked her to teach me and she taught me how to solve it. I just went on from there.” Of all the competitions, Parker’s favorite was the 3x3x3 cube solving. He also competed in the Pyraminx and the 2x2x2. While he didn’t make it out of the first round of any of those three competitions, Parker has just started competing and will only get better.
Daniel Mullen, a native of Locust Grove, was introduced to Rubik’s Cube solving by his friends. “It was a couple of my friends that could do it,” Mullen said. “I got interested in it. Then I got a little deeper into it and decided to compete.”
Mullen made it to the finals in all of the competitions he competed in. His best competition was the 3x3x3 Foot Solving Competition. He finished in eighth place in the finals. He finished with an average time of 1:06.15 and his best time was 52.47. Mullen also competed in all the other competitions except the 3x3x3 Blindfolded competition.
Noah Daniels, a 10-year-old from Macon, set a personal best time of a little over nine seconds in the Pyraminx competition. According to his mother, Kristen Daniels, her son has been practicing for about two years. “My father-in-law gave us a cube for Christmas a couple of years ago,” Kristen Daniels said. “They’ve been doing it since then.” Noah made it past the first round in the 3x3x3 Solving Competition, finishing in the top 41. His average time in the first round was 27.60 seconds and his best time was 24.63. He made it to the finals of the Pyraminx competition, where he achieved his personal best time of 9.48 seconds. His older brother, Josiah Daniels, made the top 41 in the first round of the 3x3x3 Solving Competition, finishing in 19th place. His average time was 16.63 seconds and his best time was 11.29. Josiah barely missed making the finals of the 3x3x3 Solving Competition. He finished in 18th place, two spots from the top 16. His average time in the second round was 17.72 seconds and his best time was 14.31. In the Pyraminx Competition, Josiah Daniels made it past the first round, finishing in 12th place. His average time was 7.27 seconds and his best time was 6.03. The Daniels brothers did extremely well and will only improve as they hewn their skills in cube solving.
After all of the competitions were concluded, it was time to give out the awards.
Tommy Cherry took home several awards in the Windsor Classic. Cherry won the 3x3x3 Cube Solving Competition with an average time of 8.81 seconds, with his best time being 8.44. Kieran Dizon finished in second place with an average time of 8.92 and a best time of 7.82, and Katie Hull finished in third place with an average time of 10.22. Her best time was 8.92.
In the 2x2x2 Cube Competition, Katie Hull took first place with an average time of 2.77 seconds, with her best time being 2.64. Tommy Cherry finished in second place with an average time of 2.86 and his best time was 1.89 seconds. Sean Skinner took third place with an average time of 3.47 and his best time was 3.07 seconds. Americus Mayor Barry Blount was there to hand out the award certificates and trophies, along with Patel, owner of the Windsor Hotel.
Cherry also won the 3x3x3 Blindfolded Competition. His best time was 23.15 seconds. Noah Joiner finished in second place with a best time of 54.81 seconds, and Raymond Goslow finished in third with a best time of 1:05.41.
Cherry won the 3x3x3 Foot Solving Competition. His average time was 31.49 seconds and his best time was 25.84. Kevin Min took second place with an average time of 31.83 seconds. His best time was 26.83. Kieran Dizon took third place with an average time of 34.96 and his best time was 25.26.
In the Megaminx competition, Heewon Seo won first place with an average time of 53.83 and a best time of 46.76. Tommy Cherry finished in second place with an average time of 1:00.48. His best time was 52.82. Katie Hull took home third place in the competition. Her average time was 1:00.56 and her best time was 59:05.
Kevin Min won the Pyraminx Competition with an average time of 3.15 seconds. His best time was 2.36. Tommy Cherry took home second place. Cherry’s average time was 3.86 and his best time was 2.32. Noah Joiner took third place in the Pyraminx with an average time of 4.43 seconds and his best time was 3.28.
Finally, in the Skewb competition, Tommy Cherry won it with an average time of 3.97 seconds and his best time was 3.09. Kevin Min took second place with an average time of 4.02 seconds and a best time of 3.69. Sean Hartman took home third place in the Skewb competition. His average time was 4.82 seconds and his best time was 3.65. All of the times listed by the competitors were obtained from the website www.cubecomps.com.
Windsor owner, Patel had an interesting perspective about the contestants at the Windsor Classic. He was very impressed with their intellect and the mental discipline, logic and reasoning that they had to work out problems and to achieve such fast times in the various competitions. “These are the kind of students that you want in your university: math and science students,” Patel said. He is also excited about the event’s potential to grow even more in the coming years. “The whole purpose of creating this event is that we have one annual event every year. Then we can grow from this,” Patel said. “We are already at 60 families coming from all over the place. These are the kind of students you want in your university. Today, GSW arranged the campus tour for their parents. I was very excited. This event is going to grow every year. It’s going to get bigger and better. Hopefully, it’s going to make an economic impact for everybody,” Patel said.