Dan Knights

Dan Knights
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Dan Knights
Background Information
Alias(es):
Country: USA
Born: c. 1979 (age 39–40)
Occupation(s):
Years Active: 2001-2009
WCA ID: 2003KNIG01
Claim to Fame: 2003 Rubik's Cube World Champion

Dan Knights is an American speedcuber. He is the first 3x3 speedsolve World Champion of modern speedcubing, winning the World Championship 2003 in Toronto, Canada with an average of 20.00 seconds, and one of the first modern cubers to learn and use the CFOP method to reach world-class times.

He was a computer scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder, studying machine learning. He is also an avid rock climber.

History

Dan Knights' involvement with cubing began when he wrote a Cube Applet computer program in early 1998. He got his first cube in March 1999; his roommate Matt Wilder already knew how to solve one in less than a minute. After "a month or two" of non-stop cubing Knights also got down to around 1 minute. He began learning Jessica Fridrich's method (CFOP) from her web page, bringing his times below 30 seconds by the summer.[1] Around that time he also achieved a blindfolded solve using "a brutal standard ad-hoc" method. He thought (incorrectly) that it might be the first ever blindfolded solve.[2]

In the summer of 1999 when he was "averaging about 26 seconds" he visited Jessica Fridrich and Mirek Goljan at Fridrich's house at Binghamton, New York. This visit he describes as "indispensible" to his speedcubing career because they demonstrated some of their finger tricks.[3] After posting his times on his web page, he received a request in the autumn to appear with Erno Rubik on a British morning show, "The Big Breakfast". Knights hopped onto a plane and spent a week appearing on several British news and talk shows with Rubik. By the beginning of 2000 he was averaging around 18 seconds, and improved over the next couple of years to 16.8 seconds. He made a few other TV appearances, including a reunion show of, "That's Incredible" in the USA.[4]

The World Rubik's Games Championship 2003 was the first world championship since 1982, and Dan Knights won the tournament with the fastest average time of 20.00 seconds. He beat Fridrich into second place. He competed in one more World Championship and several US tournaments between 2005 and 2009. He achieved his best official time in the Boulder 2008 tournament of 11.93 seconds.

In 2004 he became a mathematics teacher. He later became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the Biotechnology Institute at the University of Minnesota. His "Knights Lab" department models host-microbiome interactions in human disease.[5]

Achievements

World Titles
Preceded by
Minh Thai
1982
3x3 Speedsolve World Champion
2003
Succeeded by
Jean Pons
2005

External links