Task 2 (10 points)
Read the text and decide if each statement (1-10) is true, false or not mentioned, according to the text. Choose the appropriate word. An example (0) has been given.
In Bangkok on a low stage, a young man examined a Rubik’s Cube. Around him, an audience stood, precariously, on tables and chairs, or peered down from skyboxes. In one fluid motion, he activated a timer on the table before him and his fingers disappeared in a blur of activity. When he set the puzzle down and stopped the timer, just seconds later, the audience erupted, “Feliks with a 7.95!”
Feliks Zemdegs, an Australian of Latvian origin, had been there before. In 2011, when he was just 15 years old, he travelled to Bangkok from his native Melbourne to attend the biennial World Rubik’s Cube Championship for the first time. The year before, he had become the first person to solve the puzzle in fewer than 10 seconds on average. Together he has set over 100 Rubik’s Cube records during his speedcubing career and has previously achieved this title on multiple occasions. In 2018 he completed the world-famous puzzle in just 4.22 seconds, an achievement recognised by the World Cube Association and Guinness World Records. As a result, in the events and forums where competitive Rubik’s Cube solvers congregate he is something of a celebrity.
When, in the spring of 1974, Ernő Rubik, a Hungarian professor of design, invented his eponymous cube, he was certainly unaware that it would become one of the world’s best-selling toys. Nor did he envision that it would impact fields as diverse as science, art, and design. He certainly could not have imagined that, one day, his puzzle would be at the centre of a competitive sport in which the top performers can solve it in less time than it takes to read this sentence aloud. The first Rubik’s Cube competitions began in the early 1980s and were largely a promotional affair that vanished with the collapse of the initial fad for the puzzle. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Internet allowed hobbyists around the world to find each other and run competitions of their own.
Actually, when Rubik invented his cube, he had little idea how to solve it. No matter which way he turned the puzzle, the colours seemed only to get more mixed up. Still, he refused to believe that it could not be solved. “It was a code I myself had invented!” he wrote in an unpublished manuscript, quoted in a 1986 Discover profile. “Yet I could not read it.” Eventually, Rubik began to develop sequences of moves that would allow him to rearrange a few pieces of the puzzle at a time. First, he aligned the corners. Then, he attacked the edges. After about a month, he could solve the puzzle at will.
The biggest factor in the speed of today’s cubers has more to do with practice than anything else. Wayne Gretzky, the greatest hockey player of all time, could famously predict where the puck would travel before it arrived – a skill he attributed not to innate talent, but simply to his father’s coaching. The same principle applies in cubing. Having solved the puzzle so many times, elite cubers like Zemdegs are able to visualize what it will look like several steps in advance – an ability known in the sport as ‘look ahead’ – so that, once the solve begins, they rarely have to pause to figure out their next move. It is even more important than turning fast.
Interestingly, hardly anyone uses a traditional Rubik’s Cube in competition anymore. Most cubers employ models in which the interior mechanism that Rubik originally designed has been revamped to minimize friction thus allowing the players to turn it faster.
0. Feliks Zemdegs is a Rubik’s Cube speedsolver. – TRUE
1. The first time Feliks solved the Rubik’s Cube under 10 seconds was in 2011.
2. Feliks has a reputation among Rubik’s Cube speedsolvers.
3. Feliks decided to set a world record when he was 15.
4. Ernő Rubik anticipated that his cube could be used for various purposes.
5. The main goal for the first Rubik’s Cube competitions was to advertise the cube itself.
6. When Ernő Rubik made the Rubik’s Cube, he needed to figure out a solution to the puzzle.
7. Ernő Rubik’s solution of the puzzle was accidental.
8. Wayne Gretzky was not only a keen hockey player, but also a Rubik’s Cube fan.
9. Being able to solve the Rubik’s Cube remarkably quickly is a natural ability.
10. The original Rubik’s Cube has been modified to boost performance in competitions.