World Rubik's Games Championship 2003

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World Rubik's Games
Championship 2003
Location: Toronto, Canada
Date(s): 2003 August 23–24
Preceded by: WC1982
Succeeded by: WC2005

World Rubik's Games Championship 2003 (usually called World Championship 2003, abbreviated to WC2003) was a speedcubing World Championship held at the Ontario Science Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was the first World Championship since WC1982 and the first World Championship of the modern speedcubing era. Since it took place before the creation of the WCA, it was retroactively declared an official competition.


The previous world championship, WC1982, had occured during the 1980s cube craze. However interest in cubing collapsed with the end of the craze in 1983, and it wasn't until the late 1990s that a new community of cubers arose. Ron van Bruchem, Chris Hardwick, and Ton Dennenbroek attempted to organize a world championship, planned for 2001 in New York, but they failed "for several reasons".[1] The following year Toronto-based engineer Dan Gosbee stepped in and arranged a new championship, securing crucial support from Seven Towns, the owners of the Rubik's Brand. As the main organizer and head of the Rubik's Championship Committee, Dan Gosbee had the title of "World Championship Chief".[2] The events were organized by the WC2003 Organization Team, headed by Ron van Bruchem.

The contestants were offered discounted accommodation at the Crowne Plaza Don Valley Hotel. A dinner was held on Sunday evening after the competition for all competitors and championship coordinators.


Competitors were permitted to use "their own authentic Rubik's brand cubes", but they were "NOT allowed to round corners or sand square edges down". There was a dress code, which permitted, among other things, the wearing of hats. 3x3x3 cubes were scrambled using 25 move scrambles, and competitors were allowed the standard 15-second inspection period. The winner of the 3x3 contest won 5000 Canadian dollars, whereas the winners of the other events won $500 to $1000. There were also $1000 prizes for the best 3x3 speedsolver in the categories of 18 yrs & under; 19–39 yrs; and 40–above.

The competition was overseen by the Rubik's Championship Committee, which as well as Dan Gosbee, included representatives from the sponsors Seven Towns, Kroeger Inc., and Hessport Inc./ The RCC members did not act as judges (except as a final authority) but were responsible for choosing the judges.


The competition took place over two days, with Saturday being the "Qualifying Day" and Sunday the "Finals Day". Eighty-eight competitors took part, and ages ranged from seven (Wiktoria Zborowska) to seventy-three (Rune Wesström). Also present (not competing) was Hana Bizek with a display of her "sculptures" she had created using multiple 3x3x3 Cubes. At end of Sunday, once the tournament was over, there was a dinner reception at the hotel.


The 88 competitors were:

Masayuki Akimoto, Rafael Algarin, David Allen, Joe Allen, Paul Attar, Michael Atkinson, Peter Babcock, Frédérick Badie, David Barr, Joe Barratt, Andy Bellenir, Iliya Bluskov, Jess Bonde, Jonathan Bouthilet, Kenneth Brandon, Kevin Brandon, Wes Brandon, Bob Burton, Rob Butler, Andy Camann, Nick Cegelka, Ton Dennenbroek, Corey Duford, Justin Eastman, Michal Falmyk, Jessica Fridrich, Jeff Goetz, Mirek Goljan, Jay Goodell, Carvo Grant, Chris Hardwick, Cory Harnish, Dan Harris, Shiraz Hazrat, Jason Hildebrand, Peter Jansen, Eric Johanson, Kirt Jozwiak, Ryan Knapton, Dan Knights, Elizabeth Knights, Katsuyuki Konishi, Anders Larsson, Benjamin LeBlond, Jasmine Lee, Doug Li, Marty Licht, Heath Litton, Mark Longridge, Shotaro Makisumi, Frédéric Martineau, Gene Means, Jim Mittan, Brent Morgan, Frank Morris, Jon Morris, Suzanne Papin, Richard Patterson, Bob Peters, Lars Petrus, Yasmara Pourrier, Michael Powers, Iman Rastegari, Jake Rueth, Keith Sauer, Andy Savoy, Jaap Scherphuis, Adam Slate, Guido Staub, Kevin Swan, Dave Swart, Michael Swart, Thomas Templier, Matthew Tingle, Sandy Thompson, Betty Tregay, Grant Tregay, Ron van Bruchem, Michiel van der Blonk, Lars Vandenbergh, Dror Vomberg, Cameron Webley, David Wesley, Rune Wesström, Ian Winokur, Lucas Winter, Wiktoria Zborowska, Zbigniew Zborowski.

In total 46 competitors represented the USA; 17 for Canada; 6 for the Netherlands; 4 for Sweden; 3 for Japan; 2 for France, Poland, UK; and 1 for Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Israel, Switzerland.


Dan Knights won the 3x3x3 final with an average time of 20.00 seconds. Jessica Fridrich was second and David Wesley was third.

The championship also featured a Siamese Cube round in which Kenneth Brandon solved the Siamese cube in a "world record" time of 1 minute 10.96 seconds.[3]


  • Dan Knights won 3x3 speedsolve with an average of 20.00 seconds in the final round.
  • Jess Bonde set the 3x3 single world record of 16.53 seconds.
  • In all, Minh Thai's 20-year-old world record of 22.95 seconds was broken 99 times, contrary to the former record holder's statement before the competition that breaking his record would be very difficult.

World Records Set

Since this became the first official championship for nearly all the events, world records were set in every discipline:

  • 3x3 single of 16.71 by Dan Knights (First Round)
  • 3x3 single of 16.53 by Jess Bonde (Second Round)
  • 3x3 average of 20.00 by Dan Knights (Final)
  • 4x4 single of 1:20.16 by Masayuki Akimoto (First Round)
  • 4x4 average of 1:30.57 David Wesley (First Round)
  • 5x5 single of 2:19.69 by David Wesley (First Round)
  • 5x5 average of 2:50.68 by David Wesley (First Round)
  • 5x5 average of 2:50.45 by Masayuki Akimoto (Final)
  • 3x3 Blindfolded single of 3:56.00 by Dror Vomberg
  • 3x3 Fewest Moves of 29 by Mirek Goljan
  • 3x3x3 One-Handed single of 44.98 by Chris Hardwick
  • Megaminx single of 2:12.82 by Grant Tregay
  • Pyraminx single of 14.09 by Andy Bellenir
  • Rubik's Clock single of 38.97 by Jaap Scherphuis
  • Square-1 single of 41.80 by Lars Vandenbergh
  • 4x4 Blindfolded single of 22:35.00 by Dror Vomberg
  • Rubik's Magic single of 3.06 by Jaap Scherphuis
  • Master Magic single of 8.22 by Jaap Scherphuis


Although the tournament was ultimately successful there were many unanticipated problems. There was a shortage of timers, and there was also no official rulebook available.[Scheffler] One competitor, Rafael Algarin, who had turned to cubing following the death of his sister,[4] had entered the 4x4x4 and 5x5x5 events despite not being able to solve these cubes, and took a minimum of 30 minutes on each cube.[5][6] When asked to stop, he pointed out that "There's no rule to stop me. I can go on forever if I want to."[Scheffler]

The qualification for the 3x3x3 event was chaotic. Around 35 contestants had to finish the qualifying round on Sunday due to delays on Saturday.[7] Other puzzles were pushed over to Sunday and the 3x3x3 event moved at a very slow rate. With many people waiting to get on stage, the officials had to send eveyone out of the room and only let a few people in at a time.[8] On several occasions the timing pads failed to stop properly in the qualifications,[9] and the main stage had bad lighting.[10] According to Gosbee there were also just "three people scrambling the Cubes". Gosbee regards the tournament as "the most exhausting thing I did in my life".[Scheffler] Nevertheless, Jessica Fridrich stated that "this competition had a lot more cubing and cubers participation than the first championship and it felt like one friendly get-together of like-minded people".


After the presentation ceremony on Sunday evening, a "banquet dinner" (or sandwich buffet) was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. According to Jasmine Lee: "we did pause briefly to eat, but everyone still had their cubes with them and continued cubing and discussing algorithms in between visiting the sandwich buffet."[11]

Lars Vandenbergh recalls that after the dinner some of the 3x3x3 finalists (Lars, Dan Knights, Jessica Fridrich, David Allen, and Gene Means) started cube-racing each other in the bar of the hotel. The lighting was terrible so David Allen found a floor lamp and put it on top of a table. And so they stood in a small circle around the lamp "racing each other like that until the early hours."[12]


Following the tournament Ron van Bruchem and Tyson Mao founded the World Cube Association. Tyson Mao started competitions in the USA (at Caltech University), and Ron van Bruchem and Ton Dennenbroek started competitions in the Netherlands and Germany. Dan Gosbee, however, had been stung by the criticism levelled at him during the tournament, and felt that he was no longer wanted, and left the cubing community, only returning, as a guest, for WC2013.[Scheffler]


The 2003 World Championship is the initial focus of the film Cubers - a 70 minute documentary directed by Canadian filmmaker Richard LeBlanc. LeBlanc's original intention was to make a lighthearted documentary when he heard a world championship would be taking place in Toronto. In the end he spent five years making the film tracking a group of Cubers in places such as Orlando, Budapest, Paris, Tel Aviv and Chicago. The film premiered at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax in 2008, and then was shown on CBC television.[13]

Media and reports


  • Competitors at WC2003 were asked what their cross color was, even if they were color neutral (e.g. Lars Petrus) or did not use Fridrich (e.g. Lars Petrus). It has been said that the scrambles were hand-picked to avoid easy cross cases.
  • Although the WCA Database only shows one round of 3x3 blindfolded, there was in fact an additional preliminary round consisting of 1 attempt. Out of several competitors, only Dror Vomberg and Shotaro Makisumi (respectively first and second in the final round) had a successful solve.
  • Dror Vomberg was the only competitor for the 4x4x4 and 5x5x5 blindfolded. However, he did not achieve a finish for the 5x5x5 blindfolded, so no title was earned.


  • Ian Scheffler (2016) Cracking the Cube: Going Slow to Go Fast and Other Unexpected Turns in the Unexpected Turns in the World of Competitive Rubik's Cube Solving. Pages 25, 67-70. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 1501121928

External links