Nine-year-old Atharva Bhat was fascinated by the Rubik’s cube since he was a toddler. “I tried solving the cube with my father and also learnt from YouTube videos. He taught me to solve the first two layers and I figured out how to solve the third one for the first time in 2016,” he says.
He discovered competitive ‘cubing’ in 2017. He registered with the World Cube Association (WCA) and entered the IIA Summer Open in April of that year. “Then I took one minute and 10 seconds to solve 3x3x3 puzzle. Today my best is 10.89 seconds in the official competition,” he says.
WCA has 18 different categories of puzzles which introduced Atharv to a variety of challenges. “I was interested in exploring it all and improving my solve timing,” he says.
His favourite category was an official event with the WCA until 2019 — the feet solve. “I was at the sixth position in the country and 75th worldwide and was working my way to number one when they removed it,” he says.
This motivated him to make a mark in the field through a different medium, a world record.
“I decided to try and solve it with my feet and both hands simultaneously to make it more challenging. I practised for close to nine months during the lockdown period,” he says.
The current Guinness World Record (GWR), held by a Chinese teenager stands at one minute and 36.39 seconds.
Atharva recorded his attempt on December 9 and beat the time by 6.68 seconds.
“In my first attempt I broke the existing record by five seconds. I got the best time in my third attempt,” he
When asked if he was nervous, he says he was was relaxed and confident, “Even during practice at home I was consistently getting world record times.”
The video and the new record has been submitted to GWR team and is awaiting approval.