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Interview with Collin Burns

Jan 29, 2015 - 4:33 PM - by pjk
January 29, 2015 : Interview with Speedsolving.com member Collin Burns : Currently (at the time of this interview) holds the North American record for 3x3 Single (5.93 seconds), is ranked 12th in the world for 3x3 Average (8.06 seconds), and is ranked 7th in the world for 3x3 One-Handed average (13.22 seconds). He is the current 3x3 US Nationals champion (2014) after winning with an average of 8.32 seconds during the finals.

Outside Philadelphia


What is your favorite event, why?
Probably 3x3. As the main event it's just what I've always practiced the most. It doesn't take much time like some big cubes, but it's also not as dependent upon luck as, for example, 2x2. While I really only practice 3x3 and OH at the moment, I am interested in trying other events, especially BLD and FMC.

What made you become interested in solving puzzles?
Several years ago I found out my friend's brother could solve a Rubik's Cube in a couple of minutes. I was really impressed, so later I looked it up on youtube and learned how to solve it myself. I didn't know anything about speedcubing and stopped for a year or two after that. A little over four years ago I somehow picked it back up and this time learned about the cubing community. That's when I started trying to become faster, and I've been improving ever since.

What, in your opinion, is your biggest "cubing" accomplishment?
Either getting NAR single or winning Nationals. The single was quite lucky with a 7 move last layer, but it could've been a lot better without the lockups during LL. I'm nonetheless quite happy about it.

As for nationals, going in I was just hoping to podium, and even that I wasn't really expecting, so it came as a huge shock when I won the whole thing. I still feel like I didn't deserve to win though. But I suppose in that sort of situation it's all about who can best handle the pressure. I did well and just about everyone else in finals didn't. Several other people could've just as easily won. Still, winning was an absolutely incredible experience and not one I'll forget.

What are your other hobbies?
Playing Magic: The Gathering and more recently Dungeons and Dragons
Occasionally watching anime (my favorites being Steins;Gate, Attack on Titan, and FMA: Brotherhood) and other tv shows (such as Firefly, Doctor Who, and Sherlock)
Every once in a while playing video games (my favorites including Portal, To The Moon, and more recently Don't Starve)
Cooking (Including Thai, Japanese, Italian, and a bunch of other types of food)
Reading (some of my favorite books being LOTR, the Foundation series, Fahrenheit 451, Ready Player One, His Dark Materials, and Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman)
I'm really interested in science--particularly physics and astronomy--so I spend a lot of my time browsing wikipedia, doing MOOCs, reading science books, and watching science and math related videos (SixtySymbols, Numberphile, Veritasium, etc.)

What is/are your pet peeve(s)?
People talking during movies. Once is okay, but repeatedly is incredibly annoying.

What will the future of cubing be like and how would you like cubing to progress?
I expect it will continue to grow and records will continue to be broken and it will receive more and more media attention, all of which I think are good things.

So far, what has been your most enjoyable cubing experience?
The 3-day competitions I've been to, Worlds 2013 and Nationals 2014, have by far been the most fun, even though I didn't compete well for the most part (other than 3x3 finals at nationals). Getting together with so many friends whom I hadn't seen in a while and making so many new ones made those weekends some of the best and most memorable of my life.

Interview with Kevin Hays

Jun 02, 2014 - 11:55 PM - by pjk
June 3, 2014 : Interview with Speedsolving.com member Kevin Hays : Currently (at the time of this interview) is the world record holder for 6x6x6 speedsolve average (1 minute, 50.30 seconds) and single (1 minute, 40.86 seconds), and is ranked 2nd in the world for 5x5x5 speedsolve average (59.06 seconds) and single (51.85 seconds). He is the current 5x5x5, 6x6x6, and 7x7x7 world champion (2013).

St. Louis, Missouri at Washington University in St. Louis.
Hometown: Renton, Washington, USA

Kevin HaysOccupation:
Swim coach at Maple Hills Marlins swim team
School: Washington University in St. Louis

What is your favorite event, why?
6x6. 6x6 has been my best and favorite event since US Nationals 2009 when I surprisingly placed 4th at my first competition ever. Ever since 6x6 has always given me the most success and been my claim to fame.

What made you become interested in solving puzzles?
I’ve always had a mind for puzzles and mind games so learning to solve the Rubik’s cube was something that I was just naturally interested in. It wasn’t until my freshman year of high school that another speedcuber I met inspired me to become faster.

What, in your opinion, is your biggest "cubing" accomplishment?
Definitely my 3 world championship titles from last summer in the 5x5, 6x6, and 7x7.

What are your other hobbies?
I’m also a varsity swimmer at Washington University in St. Louis. I specialize in the breaststroke events.

What is/are your pet peeve(s)?
My biggest pet peeve would have to be people that don’t understand the tremendous amount of work I have put into cubing over the year.

What will the future of cubing be like and how would you like cubing to progress?
I really don’t know what the future of cubing will be like. I would definitely like it to continue and grow as a sport as I think it could be entertaining for the average viewer if it got more publicity. Personally, I’m probably never going to have another performance similar to the 2013 world championships, but I’m definitely going to be involved with going to competitions and hopefully contributing to the community.

So far, what has been your most enjoyable cubing experience?
My most enjoyable cubing experience would probably be the final day of the world championships 2013. I have absolutely 0 complaints about my performance that day (something that rarely ever happens) and that doesn’t even mention how fun it was to hang out with cubing friends from around the world. Either that or being on the Queen Latifa Show; that was pretty cool.

Interview with Marcin Kowalczyk

Nov 01, 2013 - 12:45 AM - by pjk
November 1, 2013 : Interview with Speedsolving.com member Marcin Kowalczyk : Currently (at the time of this interview) is the world record holder for 3x3x3 Multi-Blind (35/35 in 55 minutes). He has held (or broke) the world record 7 times in the last 18 months.

Poland, Dąbrowa Górnicza

Multi Blind World Record HolderOccupation:
Mnemonist (really, I make money on it).

What is your favorite event, why?
Multi-blind, because this is the only one event where your memory is more important than solving methods, I did my first "almost WR" (21/25) with only 12 algorithms (TuRBo edges/Old Pochmann corners). Unfortunately I learned BH corners before I really beat it a few months later

What made you become interested in solving puzzles?
I got my first cube on 23th December, 2010. It was an accident, my ex-girlfriend bought one, nobody knows why. Then I tried to solve it and I discovered that it can be done faster and faster, as well as blindfolded. BLD was the only one reason why I didn't give up after 4 months; I was bored of solving cubes.

What, in your opinion, is your biggest "cubing" accomplishment?
I lost at Euro 2012 and I wasn't at Worlds so I don't have any interesting titles but I'm proud of having a much stronger MBLD memo than everybody else. 7 WRs is nothing if somebody can be able to beat me in the future. 35 points is still too low for me to call it an "accomplishment". I will be happy only when I can feel that I did my best and I can't be faster. And when nobody will be able to be faster It will be a real accomplishment.

What do you see the limit being for 3x3 multi blind in a one hour limit?
I have no idea but 50+ points is possible. I can't say anything else because we still know nothing about the limits.

How come you don't compete in big cube BLD?
I said to myself a long time ago that I won't compete in big BLDs until I know everything that I want to know about the 3x3x3 cube. Not only about BLD, but about all aspects of 3x3x3 cube. I don't see any fun in solving other cubes than 3x3x3, the true Rubik's Cube.

How did it feel to break your first WR?
My first WR was something special, being best in the world at something that you like is a splendid emotion. Second WR was also exciting. Rest of them? Nothing more interesting than getting any other official PBs. I was more happy after my official 9.58 in 3x3x3 than after 35/35 MBLD.

What are your other hobbies?
Mnemonics. I also spent 4 years of my life on swimming, 6 years on playing Dungeons & Dragons (I was a GM). I'm longing for it but after school I lost all my players in different parts of country and I don't feel than I can start it again.

What is/are your pet peeve(s)?
Intentional loutishness, aggression with no reason, disrespect to others. These things made me very aggressive when I was younger.

What will the future of cubing be like and how would you like cubing to progress?
I hope that one day it will be a more official sport, with many more cubers and with sponsors. If somebody will pay real money for it then we will be able to see the real limits of all disciplines.

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