Competition was incentive for speedy Rubik’s cube solver

BY GAIL M. WILLIAMS
Muleshoe Journal Correspondent

Oscar Cabrera, a freshman at Muleshoe High School, is blazing fast at solving a Rubik’s cube puzzle. Yet Oscar says that solving the famed cube is not all that hard.
“It’s not an intelligence test, and it’s not that hard to solve,” Oscar said. “Five- and six-year-old kids can learn to solve them.”
Oscar first watched a close friend solve the puzzle in about 35 seconds. His competitive streak drove him to go online to find solutions for the puzzle and practice until he picked up speed. At this point, his warm-up time is 15 seconds; his fastest time is 10 seconds.
Oscar said the key to solving the cube is memorizing algorithms, or sequences of moves, and following up with practice.
“The centers are always the centers, the edges, edges, and the corners, corners,” he said.
Oscar, the son of Jose Luis and Josefina Cabrera, discovered his competitive spirit while playing chess with his older sister Esmeralda, who graduated from Muleshoe High and is now a teacher.
Although he is on the UIL mathematics team, Oscar doesn’t consider himself particularly mathematical. He also competes in science, computer science, film and speech events.
“Oscar is a great kid, a great asset to our school,” said Cindy Bessire, Muleshoe high school principal. “He participates in many UIL events. We’re really enjoying him at the high school.”
“I’ve always been fascinated with puzzles, about making puzzles with images,” Oscar said.
Those visual skills will stand Oscar in good stead, as he plans to pursue a career as a producer/director of cinematic movies.
For those who tremble at the idea of picking up a Rubik’s cube, Oscar has some advice:
“If you think that you cannot do something, put your mind to it and you can achieve it,” he said.

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