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Iconic Rubik’s Cube launched 30 years ago

July 26, 2010 - HUNGARY

The 30th anniversary of the launch of the Rubik's Cube arrives during a new surge of interest in the extreme puzzle. In quest of a working model to help explain three-dimensional geometry, Hungarian architect and inventor Erno Rubik ended up creating the world's best selling toy. Some 300 million cubes have been sold, and Speedcubing championships have proliferated around the world. At the 2009 World World Rubik's Cube Championship, a Scottish teen solved the puzzle in 10.74 seconds.

The 30th anniversary of the launch of the Rubik's Cube arrives during a new surge of interest in the extreme puzzle. In quest of a working model to help explain three-dimensional geometry, Hungarian architect and inventor Erno Rubik ended up creating the world's best selling toy. Some 300 million cubes have been sold, and "Speedcubing" championships have proliferated around the world. At the 2009 World World Rubik's Cube Championship, a Scottish teen solved the puzzle in 10.74 seconds. A 25th anniversary release of the toy was released in 2005, and the 30th anniversary could see the same for the cube collector market. Encyclopedia Britannica describes Rubik's Cube as consisting of 26 small cubes that rotate on a central axis, with nine colored cube faces, in three rows of three each, forming each side of the cube. When the cube is twisted out of its original arrangement, the player must then return it to the original configuration&mdashone among 43 quintillion possible ones. If all the cubes that have been sold were placed on top of each other, according to the official Rubik's site, it would be enough to reach the North Pole from the South Pole. The site notes that "at the height of the Rubik's craze in the mid-1980s, it was estimated that one-fifth of the world's population had played the Cube. 'Cubing' still infects people of all ages. &lsquoCubaholics' are said to suffer from &lsquoRubik's wrist' and &lsquoCubist's thumb.'" The new surge also sees variations on the classic Rubick's model. They include the Rubik's 360, ILLuson, Dazzler and TouchCube. Breandan Vallance, 17, beat hundreds of rivals from 32 countries to be crowned the Rubik's cube world champion in Dusseldorf, Germany, in Oct 2009. He won a 5,000 euro prize for his feat. The first world championship took place on 5 Jun 1982 in Budapest. Nineteen contestants took part in the event. The cubes were scrambled by computer, then brought to the site of the competition in sealed cases. The competitors had 15 seconds to examine their cube before starting to solve the puzzle. The next World World Rubik's Cube Championship will be in 2011. Nov/2009

World Cube Association

Rubik's web

Teenager grasps top Rubik's title (BBC 12 Oct 2009)

Britain's fastest female Rubik's cube solver (Telegraph 3 Nov 2009)

Date written/update: 2010-07-26