Alex the New Zealand Ru­bik’s cube mae­stro

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KERRY MCBRIDE

He can solve a Ru­bik’s cube in 15 sec­onds, but Whitby stu­dent Alex As­bery is also a New Zealand record-set­ter when it comes to com­plet­ing a tricky puz­zle.

The 18- year- old re­turned to Welling­ton last week af­ter at­tend­ing the world Ru­bik’s cube cham­pi­onship, with a New Zealand record un­der his belt in the ‘‘fewest moves’’ com­pe­ti­tion.

Com­peti­tors are given a mud­dled cube and an hour to work out the fewest com­bi­na­tion of moves re­quired to solve the cube. Mr As­bery com­pleted the chal­lenge in 38 moves, one bet­ter than the pre­vi­ous New Zealand record.

Mr As­bery, who stud­ies maths and physics at Vic­to­ria Univer­sity, learnt how to solve the cube three years ago, but gave it up when he be­came bored. He started work­ing at the puz­zle ‘‘prop­erly’’ last Novem­ber.

‘‘I started again af­ter I found it in my room when I was clean­ing up. In Fe­bru­ary, I de­cided I wanted to go to the world champs, so just worked to­wards that.’’

One of two New Zealan­ders in the com­pe­ti­tion, held in Las Vegas, Mr As­bery made it to the fi­nal of the fewest-moves round and his 38-move ef­fort placed him 59th in the world.

‘‘It was quite amaz­ing be­ing there, hav­ing so many peo­ple in the same room work­ing on the same thing.’’

Solv­ing Ru­bik’s cubes had be­come a bit of an ad­dic­tion.

‘‘I just do it while I’m walk­ing some­where or talk­ing to peo­ple, or what­ever. I only put it down when my dad yells at me,’’ he said. ‘‘If you ask any of the fastest peo­ple, it’s just about prac­tice. Any­body can solve one, you just have to put the time in.’’

Fa­ther Chris As­bery pointed out in his de­fence that he only shouted when con­stant click­ing of the cube solv­ing gave him a headache.

Fast mover: Alex As­bery com­peted in the world Ru­bik’s cube cham­pi­onships and set a New Zealand record.

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