- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 17, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A 20-year-old California Institute of Technology student set a new world record for solving the popular Rubik’s Cube puzzle, turning the tiled brain-twister from scrambled to solved in 11.13 seconds.

Leyan Lo is part of Caltech’s Rubik’s Cube Club, a student group that hosted the competition at the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco. Mr. Lo’s record-setting time came early Saturday, among his first five tries in the preliminary rounds.

The record-setting solution caught competitors and Mr. Lo himself by surprise.

“It’s kind of scary now that I set it because I have two more [attempts] to go,” Mr. Lo said humbly afterward. His time of 11.13 seconds broke the previous record of 11.75 seconds, set by Frenchman Jean Pons at the Dutch Open competition last year.

Still, the world record alone didn’t gain Mr. Lo the overall champion’s title at the event, which was determined by averaging three of five solution times in the final round. For that title, Mr. Lo went up against the teenager widely considered the fastest Rubik’s Cube solver on the planet — Shotaro “Macky” Makisumi, a 15-year-old from Pasadena, who took first place with an average time of 14.91 seconds in the final round.

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