Meeting with Dan Knights
November 19, 2005 Duke Math Meet

Novbemer 19, 2005:
Today I met with Dan Knights in person over at Duke University. He had brought some of his students to compete in the Duke Math Meet this weekend. One of my best friends from high school at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, Paul Wrayno, was one of the administrators and organizers of the event. Paul is an absolutely brilliant math mind, and I'm not surprised at all to see him continuing on with math competitions by helping administrate. Dan and I got to hang out with Paul some over the day as well, but Paul was so busy that it was usually only for a short time.

I took the Robertson bus over from UNC at 1:00, and arrived at Duke around 1:30. I walked to the Gross Chemistry building where they were holding the tournament. Everyone was at lunch so I wandered around till I met Dan. It didn't work to just look for someone with a cube, since so many of the high schools students there had cubes (one girl later solved a 5x5x5 !). Dan and I got to hang out for a bit and cube, but the tournament was starting up again at around 2:00.

At 2:00 we entered the big auditorium, where all the students were gathered in the seats ready for the test. I had done one competitive math meet like this before at Furman, South Carolina, so I knew 1) how hard the tests are and 2) how much pressure you feel just before start time! Paul needed a volunteer to help proctor the exam, since another proctor from an earlier exam had left. Dan was already a proctor, and I decided to help out too. The exam lasted about an hour and was in several sections. I got to proctor for the East Chapel Hill team. I tried to talk with them and encourage them some between rounds, but as overtalkative judges can be to cubers in a competition, I suppose an over talkative proctor is the same. I tried to always say something encouraging or nice, but generally I was quiet to let them stay focused. At the end of the test though I tried to wish them luck and congratulate them.

At the end of the exam Paul had arranged for Dan and I to race at the front of the auditorium, in front of over a hundred people! It was nerve racking of course, particularly racing Dan Knights(!), but we had fun. We did two races, and I won with 19 seconds the first race and 18 the second race, but both were quite close, which was also very nerve racking :-)

Afterward Dan and I headed outside the auditorium and gathred together two chairs and a table. We must have cubed for about two hours straight, it didn't seem like long but the next time I saw a clock quite a lot of time had passed. We compared cubing styles (which was quite interesting for me, since for the last 6-7 years I have tried my best to copy Dan's style!), algs for certain cases, etc.. We did a few races, some of which Dan creamed me heh heh, so he is still doing quite well :-) I showed Dan some stuff about Petrich and extended cross, as well as some of Richard Patterson's opposite cross and regular cross solving idea. Dan showed me a few really nice F2L tricks that I had never seen before as well.

Here are a few pictures someone took of us cubing.

Dan and I cubing

Dan and I doing the signature Dan Knights U2 move :-)

Me and Dan

Overall today was quite a lot of fun. It's always awesome meeting one of the first cubers that got you started in the first place. Dan you're still my cubing hero :-)

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