Alex the New Zealand Rubik’s cube maestro
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.