Inside Texas Woman’s University, nursing student Channae Anderson is solving a world-famous puzzle.
“So, you want me to start now?” Anderson asks as she holds a Rubik’s cube in her hands. “Okay, so at first I’m going to make a cross on the bottom.”
Solving this cube can be frustrating for most, but for Anderson—it just looked like fun.
“I was in class one day and I saw a guy solving it and I thought, ‘I want to try that!’” Anderson said.
Her first attempt took several days to solve, but she kept trying.
“I would say, maybe a month into it I realized, ‘wow, I’m getting better every day,’” Anderson said.
She continues to practice anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours a day, and now she solves for speed.
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“My first competition, I think my average was 28 seconds,” Anderson said.
Her next competition is CubingUSA Nationals.
Among her 700-plus competitors, not many will be women.
“Not many, maybe—it’s probably about five-to-six percent. It’s majority male,” Anderson said.
To help her practice, we put her up to an iPhone-timer test.
“And start,” Anderson said as she quickly got to work solving the cube, which gives us time for a quick history lesson: the 3-D puzzle was invented in 1974. Originally, it was advertised as having three billion combinations, but only one solution, which Anderson solved in just over 12 seconds after we started the iPhone timer.
Her advice for the rest of us non-speed-cubers who can get a little frustrated by not being able to solve the puzzle?
“You want to throw it against a wall, I would say just be patient,” Anderson said.
Anderson said her personal best for solving a Rubik’s cube is nine seconds. She said to win nationals she’d have to finish in around six seconds.