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Interview with Stanley Chapel


Staff member
Mar 13, 2006
September 5, 2018 : Interview with Speedsolving.com member Stanley Chapel : Currently (at the time of this interview) holds the World Record for 5x5x5 Blindfolded (3 minutes, 45.42 seconds), is ranked 2nd in the world for 4x4x4 Blindfolded (1 minute, 29.42 seconds), is ranked 14th in the world for 3x3x3 Blindfolded Average (24.82 seconds) and is currently overall one of the top speedsolvers in the USA.

Where are you from and where do you live now?

I am originally from Iowa City, IA, but I currently live in Ann Arbor, MI and have been there for most of my life.



I am a high school student right now, and I plan to attend the University of Michigan dual majoring in engineering and violin performance.

What is your favorite event, why?

My favorite event is 3BLD. Although it is already being done at a somewhat high level, there is a lot of untapped potential for optimization that I am interested in exploring. My best events, 4BLD and 5BLD, definitely have the same room for improvement, but it won't become important for a very long time since there are still a lot of optimizations to be made with the current methods.

What made you become interested in solving puzzles?

Back in 2012, long before I learned how to solve a cube, I stumbled across a video of the world record 3x3 single at the time, which was the 5.66 by Feliks Zemdegs. This intrigued me to the point where I bought a Rubik's brand cube and looked up a tutorial, but I quickly gave up out of frustration. However, my interest lingered, so I watched cubing channels that didn't really require much experience with cubing to enjoy, such as CrazyBadCuber and his Traiphum unboxings. After my interest died down in 2013, I didn't really think about cubing for a few years, but once again the world record video showed up in my recommended on YouTube in 2016, and I have stuck with cubing ever since.

What is your current practice routine and how has it changed since you started?

When I started cubing, the way I would practice would just be picking up whatever puzzle I felt like solving and doing solves until I felt like doing something else. Nowadays, my practice is very deliberate and goal oriented, and I try to take short breaks often in order to make sure that my focus is refreshed. I try to focus on one event at a time, giving that all my attention. Additionally, I try to analyze my solves frequently in order to isolate weaknesses and improve upon them.

Out of the 34 competitions you've attended so far, which one is most memorable and why?

World Championship 2017 was definitely one of the best experiences of my cubing career and life as a whole. Aside from travelling to Europe for the first time, I got to experience some great moments of cubing history like the 38.52 5x5 single, and socialize with many cubers from around the world, many of whom I would not get a chance to meet otherwise. Additionally, my placement in bigBLD at the competition inspired me to become world class at the events, and I would not have any of the records I have had without that motivation.

What are your other hobbies?

In addition to cubing, I play violin. I am planning to major in violin performance at the University of Michigan in addition to engineering and if possible, play professionally as an adult.

What will the future of cubing be like and how would you like cubing to progress?

I can't comment much on what the future will be like, but I'd like to see a shift away from 2x2 and 3x3 and see more equal focus on all events, even though this will likely not happen. The best way into this would likely be to create more tutorials for side events and lower the barrier to entry that way, and I already see this happening in events like 3BLD.

So far, what has been your most enjoyable cubing experience?

Probably getting my first world record at CubingUSA Great Lakes Championship, the 1:29.42 4BLD single. It wasn't on a lucky scramble and after I realized that it felt to me like one of the most fulfilling solves of my entire cubing career, and it still does to this day.

In 5 years, where do you see yourself both in cubing and in life in general?

Obviously I can't say for sure, but in cubing I expect to have developed somewhat further in blindsolving, while also increasing my all-roundedness. I'm hoping to push kinchranks to 75 points at some point, and doing other events is the only way for that to be accomplished. As for life, I will be starting grad school at that time, and I'm unsure of what my plans will be at that point. As it stands, I'll probably go for a doctorate in violin performance, but only time will tell where my interests will lie.

Here is a video of his currently 5x5 Blindfolded World Record:

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