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Interview with Shelley Chang


Staff member
Mar 13, 2006
August 28, 2008 : Interview with Speedsolving.com member Shelley Chang : Currently (at the time of this interview) is ranked 20th in the world for 3x3x3 Blindfolded with a time of 1:23.96, which places her 6th in North America. She is currently the fastest female blindfold solver, and has attended nearly 30 competitions.

Los Angeles, California, USA

Materials lab technician

What is your favorite event, why?
3x3 BLD. Anyone can solve a puzzle while looking at it. It's more fun and a greater challenge to do it without, and a bigger thrill when you succeed. Of course, being decent at it doesn't hurt either.

What made you become interested in solving puzzles?
I had a Rubik's cube when I was 7 or 8 years old but could only work out one layer on my own. My brother who was less patient than I took the cube apart and we ended up losing it. I had more success with a Binary Arts Topspin (as seen here), which I would bring to school and speedsolve on the playground during recess.

My interest in the Rubik's cube was rekindled in a big way many years later when I went to Caltech. I saw that a lot of students knew how to solve it, so I got a cube of my own, worked out a very inefficient way to do the first two layers, and looked up algorithms online for the last layer. I met Tyson Mao and Leyan Lo through the Caltech orchestra (we all play the violin), which eventually got me into competitive cubing. The rest is history.

What, in your opinion, is your biggest "cubing" accomplishment?
I solved a 5x5 BLD. Not in competition, but still.

What are your other hobbies?
Playing violin and piano. Dabbling in computer stuff - web design, programming, learning about Linux, etc. I also like to make craft things (check out my crochet octopus).

What is/are your pet peeve(s)?
Immaturity and closed-mindedness. Online, people who use chat/text message speak in situations that don't involve chat/text messaging and using "this isn't English class" as an excuse.

Also, if I had a nickel every time I heard "I used to peel the stickers off" or "I used to take it apart," I would have a lot of nickels. I should start charging nickels. Or quarters.

What will the future of cubing be like and how would you like cubing to progress?
With increased media exposure of the Rubik's cube as well as everything that's available on the Internet nowadays, there will be more and more people discovering and getting into speedcubing. Cubing is still a very new sport, and as such we've seen over the past few years incredible progress in people's performances as well as what we once thought was possible. I expect this to continue for a long time to come.
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