Rubik's Games World Championships 2003

Autographed picture of Ernö Rubik amidst some of my puzzles

Introduction:
Hello everyone, my name is Chris Hardwick and I was a competitor at the 2003 World Rubik's Games Championships. This was the first World Championship for the Rubik's Cube in 21 years. For information on the first world championship click here


The Championships
The 2003 Rubik's Games World Championships were held on August 23rd and 24th in Toronto at the Ontario Science Center.

My experience at the Championships
August 20th - 21st: Departing for Toronto - First time meeting other cubists - Appearing on Much Music
My family rented a van along with my friend Andy Savoy and our family friend Bethany Bradford and we left for Toronto on August 20th. It was a 15 hour drive, with stops for gas and food, which was quite grueling. I spent much of the time on the way there showing my friend Andy some more cube tricks. Andy and I have been friends since 5th grade (1993) and I had recently taught him how to do the cube two months before the trip. Andy had shown some interest in learning several years ago, but since we haven't gone to the same school since elementary school there wasn't a lot of time for me to teach him the entire solution method. Two months before the Championships Andy decided that he wanted to learn how to solve the cube too and compete, since he had planned on going to the championships anyway. I showed him a layers solution that solves the first two layers using a "working corner" and "working edge" and some corner orienting algs and he was set. We had helped each other practice under contest conditions by timing ourselves in the fashion of the speedstacks timers, the official timer for the competition, and by providing as much distraction as was humanely possible to the person doing the solving :) After we arrived in Toronto we checked into the Crowne Plaza Don Valley Hotel and moved all our stuff into the room. Andy and I wandered around and ran into Frank Morris and Doug Li by sitting outside the main lobby with our cubes. Not much later than that we ran into Dan Harris and David Wesley, David and I were to head downtown shortly to race each other on TV (Much Music). Andy Savoy and Doug Li accompanied us and we got to walk around the city of Toronto a little bit with Andrea Craig from Strategic Objectives. When it came down to the racing on TV I came in a respectable 2nd place :) with a time of 21 seconds to David's 17. After that we headed back to the hotel and hung out near the bar where people would soon be gathering to meet. Andy Savoy, Frank Morris, Dan Harris, Joe Barratt, and I did a handi-cap race: each person had to start a set number of seconds after the first person went, and the start times are worked so that we should all end at the same time. It was quite nerve racking! Lars Vandenbergh joined us as people started arriving and shortly after we all got up to walk around and meet people. Once everyone got there, there was lots of talking and exchanging tips as well as cube races. As it got late people started trickling out and eventually Andy and I made our way back to our room and got some sleep for the next day.

August 22nd: Appearing on Canada AM - more cube meetings - Niagra Falls
Andy and I had to get up early to go to the set of Canada AM, where they were interviewing Dror Vomberg, myself, and Dave Charbonneau on blindfold cubing, speedcubing, and the Championships respectively. I got to make an idiot out of myself by saying the exact number of combinations a rubik's cube has (they asked me to) *breath* "Forty three quintillion two hundred fifty two quadrillion three trillion two hundred seventy four billion four hundred eighty nine million eight hundred fifty six thousand" *breathe*. I also managed to solve the cube in 22-23 seconds, though I can't remember the exact number. Below is a picutre of me solving as well as a picture of all of us sitting on the set. I consider the time I got fairly good because I did the wrong orientation alg the first time due to being nervous (nerves were intense that whole weekend!).


Me solving on Canada AM


Dror Vomberg, myself, and Dave Charbonneau on Canada AM

Thanks to Ron van Bruchem for the pictures

After the filming we got back to the hotel to meet more people and walk around. I had some free time before I had to meet with Andy Camann to be interviewed by David Hayes, a reporter for the New York Times. In the couple of hours I had before the interview my family and I went to see the CN tower. Here are some pictures,



Mine and Andy Savoy's feet on the glass floor in the CN Tower


My little sister Jade having fun at the CN Tower

After coming back to the hotel: Andy Camann, Andy Savoy, and myself got to talk with David Hayes from the New York Times about our cubing experiences. That was the first time I got to meet Andy Camann and I learned for the first time that he averaged sub-17 after only 2 years of speedcubing! I was very much impressed and a little intimdated, seeing as I had been cubing over twice as long as he had and was still working on consistent sub-20 averages :) . After the interview I left with my family to see Niagra Falls. Below are some pictures of this amazing sight (pictures really don't do it justice).


Niagra Falls


The spray from the falls is quite a sight to see!

After coming back from Niagra falls Andy Savoy and I arrived quite late to the big cube meeting in one of the meeting rooms of the hotel. There were still a lot of people there, but a lot of people had left already. There I got to meet many of the people I had known through the Yahoo! Group, and I also got to try out the official timer for the first time. After most everyone had left, me and Andy practiced some more on the timers with the remaining people there and after that we went to bed to get ready for the big day tomorrow, qualifying round!

It was finally here..... Competition Day!

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