Feliks Zemdegs celebrating at Red Bull Rubik's Cube World Championship at Cyclorama in Boston, MA, USA on 22 September, 2018.
© Chris Tedesco / Red Bull Content Pool
Mind Gaming

Meet the speedcuber who thinks a 2-second solve could be possible

Forty-three quintillion solutions solved in two seconds? Red Bull Rubik's Cube World Cup star Feliks Zemdegs is a multiple world champion. Read why he believes a two-second solve could happen.
Written by Joe Batchelor
4 min readPublished on
Australian Feliks Zemdegs is defending his Red Bull Rubik’s Cube 3x3 speedcubing title in Moscow on November 17. The 23-year-old, dubbed the Usain Bolt of Rubik’s Cube solving in some circles for his sensational speed, has won 554 World Cube Association competitions in his career including the 2013 and 2015 3x3 world titles.
Zemdegs first picked up the famous puzzle aged 12 after being inspired by a YouTube video and has gone onto dominate the scene around the globe. His 3x3 world record of 4.22 seconds might have been toppled recently, but Zemdegs is still the man to beat at the Yota Arena.
Champions will be crowned across four different game modes. 3x3 Speed Cubing – solving the Rubik’s Cube as fast as possible; Fastest Hand - a challenge that solves the Rubik’s Cube with only one hand; Re-Scramble – pits competitors trying to replicate a computer generated pattern from another cube as fast as possible and; 3x3 Female – a competition exclusively for female competitors.

2 min

Event hightlights

Check out the best bits from the inaugural Red Bull Rubik's Cube World Championship Final in Boston.

Hungarian inventor Ernő Rubik created the Rubik’s Cube in 1974 with it gaining huge international popularity in the 1980s. It first took him about a month to figure out his own invention, far longer than YuSheng Du’s current record of 3.47 seconds.
But Zemdegs thinks, theoretically, that it might actually be possible to get closer to two seconds to solve the puzzle with more than 43 quintillion solutions. We caught up with Zemdegs as he made the trip from Australia to Russia.
Feliks Zemdegs practices while watching other competitors at Rubik's Cube World Championship in Boston, Massachusetts, USA on September 22, 2018

Feliks Zemdegs practicing

© Michael Lang / Red Bull Content Pool

What are your aims for the Red Bull Rubik’s Cube World Cup?
I'd like to make the podium in both regular solving and the fastest hand events, and winning either of those would be a really nice bonus! I'm just aiming to compete well, if I do that then the outcomes will take care of themselves.
What speed do you think is possible in the future? If all the stars were aligned, and everything went 100 percent perfectly?
I think it's possible to average five seconds flat for the 3x3 cube consistently, but for a single solve, anything down to two seconds flat is probably achievable because of how much luck can theoretically be involved.
Are you motivated by records, or just winning? I see your 3x3 record was recently beaten. How keen are you to get that back?
I am motivated by both. Winning a big tournament is awesome, but so is breaking a world record, in a slightly different way. The 3x3 single world record is now at a point where significant luck is required to beat it, and so that's somewhat out of my control, so it's not really a key goal anymore.
Sebastian Weyer (left), Feliks Zemdegs (centre), Bill Wang (right) in Boston at the Red Bull Rubik's Cube World Championship.

Sebastian Weyer (L), Feliks Zemdegs (centre), Bill Wang (R) in Boston

© Chris Tedesco/Red Bull Content Pool

When did your fascination of the Rubik’s Cube first begin? Do you remember the first time you tried to solve it?
I was 12 years old (in 2008) when I came across videos of speedsolving on YouTube, and so decided to look up a tutorial to learn how to solve it. I've been addicted ever since.
Where is the most random place you have ever solved a Rubik’s Cube?
Nothing particularly crazy, I've done it whilst skiing a few times.
Winner Feliks Zemdegs gets congratulated by Rubik's Cube creator Erno Rubik.

Feliks Zemdegs and Erno Rubik

© Michael Lang / Red Bull Content Pool

How much practice did it take? Did you practice in class, at home, on holiday, on planes and trains etc? 24 hours a day?
I brought it to high school for the first few weeks, but stopped that pretty quickly. I mainly just do practice at home, but that's probably at least an hour a day for the past 12 years or so. So, a lot of practice!
Do you believe anyone can train their mind to solve a Rubik’s Cube?
Certainly! All it takes is a bit of patience and practice, and a few hours following a tutorial on YouTube.