A puzzle-loving barmitzvah boy stunned his parents after solving 13 Rubik’s cubes in 3 minutes and 40 seconds in a bid to raise money for Jewish Child’s Day.
Yavneh College pupil Rafi Niman, 13, from Borehamwood, raised nearly £600 at his barmitzvah in London earlier this month by solving 13 cubes back-to-back in under four minutes.
“I’ve never heard of [world records] for 13 Rubik’s cubes, but there’s a world record of somebody solving 100 Rubik’s cubes,” Rafi told Jewish News.
All money raised will help Rafi’s “twin”, a boy in Israel with special needs, celebrate his own rite of passage as part of the charity’s twinning programme.
“I wanted to make a difference to a child,” Rafi said, adding that he would feel “proud” and “happy” to meet his “twin” living in Israel.
Rafi’s mum Gabby said she was “absolutely delighted,” adding: “Everyone was rooting for him and there was such a lovely atmosphere, everyone behind him. Also because it was such an amazing cause that he was running money for.”
Rafi taught himself how to solve the puzzle at 9 by watching YouTube tutorials and has since gone on to compete in UK-wide championships, including more recently the London Open 2019, where he got through to the semi-finals.
Ranked 77th in the UK across all age groups by the World Cube Association, Rafi runs his own YouTube channel, called SpeedyGoneCuber, where he shares weekly tips and tutorials.
Since its invention in 1974 by 29-year-old Hungarian design professor Erno Rubik, originally named the “Magic Cube”, an estimated 350 million Rubik’s cubes have been sold around the world.
The world record was set by Yusheng Du who solved a 3x3x3 cube in 3.47 seconds in 2018.
Rafi’s top tips to solve a Rubik’s cube in record time:
• “There are great tutorials on YouTube, but my biggest tip is that when you watch those tutorials, you need to spend a lot of time practicing and don’t give up.”
•”When I learn an algorithm, I do that algorithm on the cube again and again until the moves come into my muscle memory which can help me solve algorithms faster.”
•”When I learnt how to solve the Rubik’s cube, I didn’t just practice again and again, I learnt extra algorithms for different combinations which could help me solve it even faster.”