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Competitive Cubing Comes to Mount Kisco for Tournament

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Long Island’s Parker Trager who set a state record for fastest solve in the one-handed 3×3 competition in the World Cube Association tournament in Mount Kisco last Saturday.

Last Saturday was quite a day for Rubik’s Cube enthusiasts Parker Trager and Carson Widjaja.

They were two of the standout competitors in Mount Kisco’s first-ever officially recognized World Cube Association tournament featuring about 60 contestants who matched their skill, dexterity, motor skills and love for the hobby against one another.

Trager, from Long Island, placed second or third in four of the five events, which are different types of puzzle competitions during the day-long tournament, including recording the fastest solve for a one-handed 3×3 cube in New York State at 7.67 seconds.

Widjaja, a 16-year-old high school student from Summit, N.J., was the highest overall finisher, capturing two of the events, solving the 4×4 cubes in an average time of 29.40 seconds and clocking in with an average of 6.54 seconds in the 3×3 event.

“I feel like every single solve is different each time,” Widjaja said of the appeal of cubing, which was the rage in his school when he was 10 years old. “So, it really helps with strategizing, so like for me I can learn how to manage my time well.”

The tournament was organized by Mount Kisco resident Juan Barbecho, whose son discovered cubing and has entered competitions as far away as Cape Cod. Barbecho thought that his home community would be a good place to hold one, so the American Legion Hall was the site of the village’s debut cubing competition, recognized by the World Cub Association (WCA) as an official tournament.

“It is a lot of work to organize, but it’s a lot of fun,” he said.

In order for a competition to be a sanctioned event, there needs to be at least one WCA delegate on hand to oversee the competition to make certain rules are being followed, said Evan Liu, one of two delegates last weekend. There are digital clocks at each table to keep the time of each competitor, which virtually all events use as the benchmark to determine placing, he said.

A competition can feature as many as 17 different types of puzzles and variations, Liu explained. There are up to four rounds for each type of puzzle.

The group of competitors at last Saturday’s World Cube Association competition in Mount Kisco who had at least one top three finish in the five different events – the standard 3×3, the 2×2, the one-handed 3×3, the Pyraminx and the 4×4.

Last Saturday, there were five different types of cubes: the standard 3×3; the 2×2; the one-handed 3×3; the Pyraminx; and the 4×4.

Aside from a player challenging themselves, cubing enthusiasts are a relatively tight-knit group, Liu said. There are no age limits in the official competitions; children compete against adults, although last weekend’s event was comprised largely of teenagers to young adults.

“Mainly, it’s to meet a bunch of like-minded individuals, everyone who shares the same hobby and everyone gets together,” Liu said. “In practice, they are against each other, but when it comes to actually doing official solves, everyone is cheering everyone on. It’s a very friendly community, and really just part of the competitions is just everyone going against themselves to get better personal records.”

About four years ago, Eli Rogers, 15, of New York City began cubing. He estimated that he has now competed in 18 tournaments in that time, mainly because cubing is fun and so are the people.

“I just want to hang out with everyone here and to do official solves,” said Rogers, finished second on the 2×2 final. “The community is great and it’s fun to just solve.”

Trager picked up cubing in mid-2015, and the following January he began entering competitions. He said his initial fascination with it was the speed of many of the top solvers, and thought he would like to try. It took plenty of practice to start moving up the competitive ladder.

“I bought (a cube) and then that led me to the world of competitive solving,” Trager said. “I just wanted to get faster and faster.”

Winners in the remaining categories were Clement D. Tucker in the Pyraminx and Shaun Mack in the 2×2 and the 3×3 one-handed events.

To learn more about cubing, visit

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