History of cubing in Korea
There were multiple online cubing communities in Korea, corresponding to different portal sites. The oldest cubing community, "Solving the Cube" group, existed since 2001. One other major group, KCRC, was founded in 2005 or 2006.
Beginning of WCA competitions in Korea (2005-2006)
Since 2005, the most important members of the Korean cubing community were thus split between these two groups; this is the cause of the cubing politics at the beginning of the Korean WCA competitions in 2005.
The first South Korean from Korea to speedsolve was Lee Jun-Kyo, who competed in the World Championship 2005. (The first South Korean competitor was James Song in 2005, who lived in Southern California.) Upon coming back to Korea, he became the first to let known in Korea that such competitions existed. At the time, there was one big cube group, a community page in one of the Korean community websites, translating to "solving the Rubik's Cube." Jun-Kyo was a member of the group and suggested there that such competitionts should be held in Korea. The administrators of the group found members who could speak another language. One such competitotor was Ilkyoo Choi.
Ilkyoo sent emails back and forth with Tyson Mao and Ron van Bruchem, but there were miscommunications. Mr. Hwang, the distributor of Rubik's Cube in Korea and who worked for Seven Towns, became the first delegate. The first competition held in Korea was delegated by Mr. Hwang. The president of the KCRC lost faith in Mr. Hwang after this competition. Ilkyoo planned to hold competitions in summer 2006 with Mr. Hwang as the delegate. Because KCRC did not like the idea that Solving the Cube would host a competition, their members were not motivated in carrying out this competition, which resulted in the competition not happening. Also, in summer 2006, Ilkyoo came to the United States to study.
The Korea Cube Association was founded in early 2006, with board members from Solving the Cube and KCRC.
After this, the main Korean organizers wanted hold another competition, but with a new delegate. Coincidentally, one of the administrators of Solving the Cube group, Cho Won-Bang, was planning to visit Europe. In 2006, as planned, he competed in a European competition, met Ron van Bruchem, and became a new delegate. In January 2007, KCRC hosted another competition with Cho Won-Bang as the delegate. Wong-Bang left the competition for about an hour during the competition. Because president of the KCA (who was also the aforementioned president of KCRC) did not like the fact that the delegate was from Solving the Cube, he complained about this based on the WCA regulation stating that the delegate must be at the competition at all times. Seeing this discord within the Korean cubing community, Ron proposed having a delegate from each major group. As a result, Choi Jae-Jung from KCRC became a new WCA delegate.
World-wide recognition (2007-2008)
In January 2007, at KCRC2007, Yu Jeong-Min (Gungz) set the 3x3 speedsolve average (11.76) and OH single (19.34) world record. The 3x3 speedsolve average was especially greeted with surprise in the western world since it shattered Anssi Vanhala's previous record of 13.22. The news immediately placed Korea on the map in these events. Shortly after this competition, Tyson Mao emailed Ilkyoo, offering to pay both Gungz and Ilkyoo to fly to US Nationals. However, the sponsor refused to pay for their trip because Gungz and Ilkyoo were not US citizens.
Further growth (2008-2011)
In January of 2008, the national competition was held. There were four other competitions held in 2008. The WCA regulations allow ticket system; results in one round can be used to decide qualifications for another round. The competition of January 2009 was planned to be only for those competitors who had obtained a ticket through their performances in 2008. It was during one of these 2008 competitions that Lee Seung-Woon set the OH single world record of 14.34.
KCA dominance (2008-2011)
After this, Won-Bang went to the military, so that Jae-Jung became the only delegate in Korea. Because of the close relationship between Jae-Jung and the KCA, during this time, KCA had almost complete control over official competitions in Korea. Thus, until 2011, competitions that were not hosted by KCA were not held officially since Jae-Jung refused to delegate them.
End of KCA, beginning free competitions (2011-present)
In 2011, four Korean cubers went to the World Championships in Thailand and informed Filippo Brancaleoni, an Italian delegate, about the situation in Korea, that not everyone in Korea was able to organize a competition because of this polarity between KCA/KCRC and Solving the Cube. Filippo communicated the situation to the WCA Board, including Tyson. Tyson and Ilkyoo Choi worked together to solve this situation. Ilkyoo became a delegate and hosted a number of competitions in Korea, while Jae-Jung was demoted to an inactive delegate by Tyson because all recent results from Korean competitions had been sent by the KCA president rather than Jae-Jung. As a delegate, Ilkyoo was able to subvert KCA's claim on their website that KCA is the only organization allowed to host official WCA competitions in Korea.
Ilkyoo returned to Korea for a month, between December 2011 to January 2012 and held four competitions (all competition names starting with "Cubing Korea"), one a week. Numerous national records were broken at these competitions. During January 2012, KCA made an announcement that they would become inactive because they no longer had the delegate. Since Ilkyoo still studies in the US and there is no other delegate, he currently emphasizes unofficial competitions in Korea.
Korean name transliteration
Transliteration of Korean names in the WCA database was changed in 2011 by Ilkyoo Choi. The original format was decided by the KCA, who allowed registration using only Korean and decided on the transliteration himself. Ilkyoo called for Korean competitors to request transliteration changes and have changes dozens of names.
Notable cubers from Korea include
- Korea Cube Association - Recognized by the WCA as the official Korean national organization, currently inactive.