Rubiks cube exponent, 14 year old Jayden McNeill at his home in Weston on Wednesday. Photo: Graham Tidy
FINGERS flying, Jayden McNeill can solve a Rubik's cube in little more than the blink of the eye.
The 14-year-old Alfred Deakin High School student fell in love with the puzzle about two years ago, when friends introduced him to the concept of speed cubing.
Now he is rarely without one, carrying them to school in his bag and sometimes cubing under his desk between classes.
Jayden has travelled to Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle for competitions, and in July he and his mother Lyn Svanosio will fly to Las Vegas to compete at the World Championships.
Jayden said he is not in training for the championships, he just cubes for fun.
"It's just relaxing, something like that, I don't see it as a puzzle, it's more like a toy," he said.
While a cube with three-by-three tiles is standard, there are also cubes with four tiles on each side, and much larger ones, including eight-by-eight.
At competitions, enthusiasts compete to solve cubes in the fewest moves, or as quickly as possible. There are one-handed solving competitions, and some people even solve blindfolded.
At the most recent National Championships in Melbourne, Jayden solved a three-by-three cube in 33 moves, making him the reigning national champion in that division. His official average speed for solving a two-by-two cube is 2.96 seconds, which places him 43rd in the world out of about 20,000 players.
While maths is his best subject at school, Jayden insists that is not what makes him a great cuber.
Ms Svanosio said competitive cubers were mainly aged between about 14 and 18. She said the cubing community was friendly and competed mostly against themselves, so were willing to help each other with tips.
"I think it's been really good for [Jayden] … he's made a lot of friends and the people who are involved in it, they're not nerds or anything like that, but they're good kids, they have fun," she said.
On Saturday, Ms Svanosio held a Rubik's cube competition in Fyshwick, and was surprised by how many people entered. She hoped a Canberra cubing community would emerge.