Master solver: Stone Amsbaugh organizes and competes in Summit’s first speedcubing competition

Summit's Stone Amsbaugh poses for a photo while at a speedcubing competition. Amsbaugh recently helped organize the first speedcubing competition in Summit as the World Cube Association's junior delegate of Colorado. Amsbaugh hopes to host and compete in more competitions in the future.
Stone Amsbaugh/Courtesy photo

How fast can you solve a Rubik’s Cube? Summit High School rising senior Stone Amsbaugh probably has you beat. 

The 17-year-old sports a personal best of seven seconds outside of competition and eight seconds in competition, squarely beating out the majority of the world in solving the combination puzzle cube.  

Amsbaugh got into the often-overlooked sport of speedcubing sort of on a whim four to five years ago.

“I got a Rubik’s Cube for my birthday or something and I learned how to solve it through YouTube,” Amsbaugh said. “I don’t actually remember how I found it but it was the World Cube Association’s website and I saw there was a competition in Colorado.”

Amsbaugh recounts he then signed up for his first cubing competition shortly after finding the World Cube Association’s website. After competing in his first competition Amsbaugh was hooked on the adrenaline rush speedcubing gave him at his very first competition. 

Amsbaugh now competes regularly in speedcubing competitions across the state and region. Amsbaugh has competed in 12 speedcubing competitions in the state of Colorado, three in Utah and one in Wyoming. Along the way, Amsbaugh has earned a total of nine podium finishes, racking up three gold, three silver and three bronze medals.

Speedcubing competitions are unlike any other in the world of sports. Competitions primarily have an individual focus with competitors focused on solving the cube as fast as they can. Prior to the start of the competition, competitors are called up to a scrambling station in order for “scramblers” to scramble the cube in a certain way for all the competitors.

“They scramble the cubes the same way so everyone has the same shot,” Amsbaugh said. “People will then sit down at tables with timers and stuff and will be brought their cubes and they do their solve at the station. Everyone is doing the same scramble and the (time) result is based on that one scramble.” 

Competitors have 17 events to choose from to compete in at any given time. Amsbaugh says his best events are the 4x4x4 cube solve or 5x5x5 cube solve and the 3x3x3 blindfolded cube solve. Other events include the 7x7x7 cube solve and the 3x3x3 with feet cube solve.  

For Amsbaugh speedcubing is a thrill that is hard to find anywhere else. Amsbaugh continues to chase the rush that speedcubing gave him when he competed in his first competition. 

“I attribute a lot of it to the instant gratification you get from a solve,” Amsbaugh said. “As soon as you finish you get a time and can see if it is good or bad. I think that is pretty addictive.”

Amsbaugh works hard for his performances and list of accolades — often practicing different solves on his cube for several hours a day in order to be prepared for any scenario in competition.

“There’s a code that is displayed each time on how to unscramble a cube so I do that code to unscramble the cube according to how the computer generated it,” Amsbaugh said. “I time myself solving that and just keep doing that for hours and hours each day.”

Beyond competing in speedcubing competitions on a regular basis, Amsbaugh also serves as a Junior Delegate for the World Cube Association.

“I had been helping out and staffing a whole bunch of these competitions for fun,” Amsbaugh said. “Colorado had had bad luck with delegates but I helped out with enough of the competitions that I got promoted to a trainee delegate. Recently I was promoted to delegate so now we have a representative for Colorado.”

It was because of his position with the World Cube Association that the first speedcubing competition in Summit County was recently held at Summit Middle School on June 25. 

“We hadn’t had one in this county yet so that was something I wanted to do,” Amsbaugh said. “It went really well, we had 80 competitors and probably 150 people showed up. We had people traveling pretty far for it.”

Competitors came all the way from Ohio and Texas for the first annual Slopeside Solving 2022 speedcubing competition. Amsbaugh competed himself but was not extremely satisfied with his performance — placing 14th overall in the 3x3x3 cube solve, fifth overall in the 3x3x3 blindfolded cube solve, eighth in the Pyraminx cube solve and ninth in the Megaminx cube solve

Looking toward the future, Amsbaugh hopes to continue to compete in cubing competitions and organize speedcubing events. There is a large demand for competitions in the state of Colorado with most competitions filling up within the first 10 minutes of registration being open.

Like competing, being a delegate for the state of Colorado gives Amsbaugh another source of satisfaction. 

“I like being able to make the competition your own and run it how you want,” Amsbaugh said. “I feel proud after I can run a competition really well and make everyone really happy.”

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