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Interview with Colin Burns

January 29, 2015 : Interview with Speedsolving.com member Collin Burns : Currently (at the time of this interview) holds the North American record for 3×3 Single (5.93 seconds), is ranked 12th in the world for 3×3 Average (8.06 seconds), and is ranked 7th in the world for 3×3 One-Handed average (13.22 seconds). He is the current 3×3 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 3×3. 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, 2×2. While I really only practice 3×3 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 3×3 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.