Most of us would find it hard to solve a Rubik's cube at all - let alone blindfolded.
But Jack Cai (Australia) has a knack for solving the tricky puzzle without looking at it - a talent which has earned him the record for the fastest time to solve a Rubik's Cube blindfolded. His incredible record time is 16.22 seconds, which he achieved at at Koalafication Brisbane 2019 on 6 April, beating the previous record by just 0.33 seconds.
We recently interviewed Jack on all things cubing, including his motivations, strategy and inspirations.
What are the particular difficulties to solving a cube with a blindfold on, and what are your solutions to these difficulties?
It's a bit more mentally draining than doing it with your eyes open. You kind of have to do everything almost perfectly, because one wrong move and the cube might not be solved at the end.
I spend a lot of time training the mental aspect of things, stuff like meditation and simulating competitions, just to make sure I’m on my A-game at the actual competitions. I also try and turn more accurately to prevent any mis-turns during the competition.
Which Rubik’s cube events have you attended?
I regularly attempt competitions around Australia, sometimes internationally as well. The largest competition I've ever attended was the world championships in Paris back in 2017.
Have you held other Rubik’s Cube Guinness World Records titles?
Around three weeks after breaking my initial world record, I broke the world record for the fastest average time to solve a Rubik’s cube blindfolded, with a time of 20.03 seconds. So the fastest average of three solves in a round of a competition. That did get broken again by a guy in Canada called Jake Klassen who broke it with a time of 19.79 seconds. [The current record is held by Max Hilliard with an average solve time of 18.28 seconds.]
What is the enduring global fascination with the Rubik’s Cube?
From my understanding it kind of peaked around the 80s and sort of died in the 90s but it made a comeback in the 2000s and 2010s. Now it's starting to become a bit more of a bigger thing again which is pretty awesome.
At what age did you solve your first cube?
I first solved a Rubik’s Cube when I was around 14 years old. I initially saw a bunch of friends at high school do it and I just asked them 'how'd you learn how to do it?', and they said they looked up a YouTube tutorial. I kind of got hooked on it since then.
Are there other Rubik's Cube experts that you admire?
A bit of a generic answer in the speed cubing community, but Feliks Zemdegs. He’s a fellow Australian, arguably the greatest speed cuber of all time. Breaking world records across a variety of events, like 118 more records than me so, he’s pretty good!
What do your friends and family think of your Rubik’s Cube skills?
They think it’s really cool and they’re really supportive and encouraging of me. I’m truly grateful and appreciative of that.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to attempt similar records?
In terms of attempting blindfold records for solving a Rubik’s Cube, definitely a lot of mental preparation goes into that, because like I said previously maybe a small loss in focus could be all it takes between a solved cube and a not-so-solved cube.
How does it feel to have a world record?
It feels pretty good, especially since I’ve worked towards one for quite a while. It’s great to finally achieve that goal, but of course it’s also that feeling of 'where do I go from now?'. Because I’ve broken both the world records in my category, I guess I have to set new goals now.
What does being recognised by Guinness World Records mean to you?
I always like going through the old Guinness World Records books, ever since I was a kid, just to see the progression of the Rubik’s Cube records and how far we’ve come.
Ten years ago the world record for solving a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded was something like a minute. We’ve come pretty far from that, now it’s 16 seconds, and it feels great to be a part of history. Maybe one day I’ll see my picture in the book, and I think that’s pretty awesome.
What does the future hold? More competitions? Other world record attempts?
Definitely more competitions and more world record attempts. Both of the world records for solving a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded are sort of breakable. I may also venture into some of the other attempts, like the 4x4x4 Rubik’s Cube blindfolded events, where I might try to expand my world record portfolio.
In terms of major competitions coming up, there are the world championships in 2019, which just so happen to be held in Melbourne, Australia, which is where I live. It’s a lot closer than like, Paris from 2017, which is very nice.
It also means I’ll have the home turf advantage, which should hopefully maximise my chances of being the next world champion.
If you love Rubik's Cubes, make sure you check out our Viral sports cubing spread in Guinness World Records 2020