Highlights from the Red Bull Rubik’s Cube World Cup

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/11/26/highlights-from-the-red-bull-r.html

Is there no event Red Bull won’t sponsor? “World Tonsillectomy Finals Sponsored by Red Bull.”


I mean, would I watch that? Yeah, probably.


I was given a Rubik’s Cube for Christmas last year by one of my young children. I never learned to solve them as a kid, and I think I felt my life was a little more complete having finally done so.

But also I’m just going to call it the Rubik’s Cube World Cup. Corporate sponsors aren’t buying my time.


Do women have an intrinsic gender-based advantage over men in cubing? Is that why there is a separate track for female competitors?


I actually just came here to post about this. There is debate about this idea of creating a womens’ class in competitions that don’t require physical strength. The idea is that it creates a safe space to encourage female participation in male dominated tournaments. Pinball has done the same thing for the same reasons, recently (to much controversy). The trade off, of course, is that you are othering the women and creating the impression of a lesser class of competition in that group.

I don’t think it’s clear if this is a net win, but a lot of skills-based tournaments are trying it now. My personal feeling is that it’s a good idea if the gender imbalance is really large. If your ratio is 1000:1 (like competitive pinball has been, historically) few women will ever walk into the mouth of that dragon and the ratio won’t ever improve. However I do think a special class like this should be eliminated as soon as your ratio is half decent (maybe 70:30).


I worked out a generalized solution, but this solution is more complicated and slow than if I were to memorize patterns like the speed cubers. Totally worth it, even if it isn’t the fastest solution out there.

1 Like

I think it’s definitely a win. In a lot of these competitions we have absolutely no reason to believe that men have any latent advantage that would explain why men are at the top. And that means we have a good reason to think that the “best in the world” are only the best because we cleverly excluded the people who would have beat them.

I read this interview with Chris Rock where he said something like, “Do you think Barack Obama became the first black president because he just happened to be the first black man who was qualified to be president?”

If we all agreed that what we want for cubing or chess or Overwatch was to have the highest level competition possible and have the most talent possible then we need to attract currently marginalized groups to the field. And you can’t just say, “Let’s stop discriminating and the problem will take care of itself” because we have decades of evidence of where that leads and it doesn’t work.

By comparison we know that having role models does work. You see it over and over again, for example, in Tennis where you see a breakout star from a country that isn’t known for Tennis and then 20 years later you’ve got a number of serious competitors from that country. The point of having a womens’ championship is that it will encourage young girls to enter the field and in the next generation you’ll see some amount of catch-up.

I don’t expect the best woman at cubing is going to become a household name, but I still think somewhere out there there’s got to be at least one little girl who is saying, “I want to be like her!”


Truly a sport for our time. It doesn’t require moving any large muscles for a long period of time.

1 Like

I don’t understand why in the contest between the two brothers, the one on the right was declared winner. The one on the left clearly puts the cube down first. Does the clock keep running until the cube stops bouncing around? (Surely it should stop when it first hits the table, no?)

Edit: it’s because he started sooner – they’re timed at both the start and the end, as in a marathon or a time trial. Thanks for clearing that up, @Legolepsy!

1 Like

They don’t necessarily start at the exact same time. The mats have individual timers; after inspection, the cubers put their hands on the sensitive touch pads on the mat. Each timer starts when the cuber lifts his hands from the mat and each timer stops when the cuber puts back his hands on the mat (it has nothing to do with the cube being placed on the table or with the cube bouncing).

In this particular case, the cuber on the left started first (and the cuber on the right started 0.119 seconds later) and so the timers were not synchronized during this match (you can pause at any time to compare the timers). Even though, visually, on the video, the cuber on the left finished first, the cuber on the right clearly won (by 0.001 seconds).


So now they need a “strength cubing” event using a giant steel cube with heavy internal flywheels?

Competitors forfeit if the cube touches the ground before it’s solved?


I assumed the one brother was scripted to fail, but that sucker broke Kayfabe and had to be put in his place. The scripted result stood.

@smulder Xtreme Cubing to the MAX!

Buzzfeed News Reporting, April 1, 2020:

Macau - In a “terrible tragedy,” Logan Paul has succumbed to injuries suffered in last weekend’s Xtreme Rubik’s Cubing World Championship, when Paul’s cube malfunctioned, causing him to fall and injure his spleen. After emergency hospitalization, doctors were able to stabilize Paul’s condition and early reports were encouraging. However, after two surgeries, Paul’s ego eventually crushed several of his internal organs, causing total system failure. [/fiction]


I recently spoke with a top female speedcuber about this issue. She affirmed there’s no inherent reason why a female can’t compete with the best male cubers, it’s just a numbers game. There are so vastly many more male cubers that it’s statistically unlikely that any individual woman will break into the top ranks.

So VeronicaConnor’s point is well taken. Creating a separate women’s competition should definitely increase female participation, which should ultimately increase the numbers to the point where, statistically, it’s more likely that a woman will become a top-tier competitor.

Furthermore, supposedly “gender-neutral” environments often end up de-facto discriminating against minorities, including girls and women. Boys and men might think the competition is open to anyone but female cubers may (quite understandably) feel very uncomfortable trying to participate in a “gender-neutral” sausage-fest.


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.