Taking Rubik’s cubing up to the next level

Senior Dawson Lam scored a 2019 personal record for solving a Rubix cube at the Cubing USA Western Championships

Senior Dawson Lam scored a 2019 personal record for solving a Rubix cube at the Cubing USA Western Championships 

Rubik’s cube in hand, Diamond Bar High School senior Dawson Lam races against time, returning the jumbled toy back to its factory state in a matter of seconds. Taking his skills to the top, Lam competes nationally and organizes events locally to help others improve in the field.

Introduced by a friend to the Rubik’s cube in sixth grade, Lam’s interest led him to train under his companion. At lunchtime, the two sat together, and his friend would show him the solving process of the beginner’s method while Lam took notes.

“After I learned how to solve a cube, I thought that was it,” Lam said. “Then I discovered the realm of speedcubing.”

With every passing second, a sense of fulfillment accompanied him. Lam said he fondly remembers every milestone he’s passed on his path to mastery—one minute to 30 seconds, then to 20 seconds and most recently 15 seconds.

 “My practice definitely got a little obsessive during my first 3 years of cubing—it would be the only thing I would do in my free time,” Lam said. “I am definitely proud of where I’m at.”

To date, Lam has participated in 18 speedcubing contests state-wide and the fastest time he’s solved a scrambled Rubik’s cube is 10.44 seconds, with an average time of 12.36 seconds. In each competition, proceedings are done in one large room with a designated area for competitors to solve, with timing and cube randomization done by special machines. Several hosts from the World Cubing Association (WCA) monitor the event to ensure integrity and maintain the schedule.

For his next competition, Lam will be simultaneously organizing and participating in the event with seniors Kyle Hong and William Li in association with West Coast Cubing. The trio contacted DBHS staff to make reservations for the contest to take place at the gym on Sep. 17 and spoke with delegates from the WCA, who gave advice and explained the manner of organizing competitions.

“It’s going to be a really fun experience while hanging out with a lot of people I care about,” Lam said.

Looking to support both competitive and ordinary cubers, Lam said that he, along with the other seniors, plan to start a club at DBHS that aims to gather those with a passion for cubing. The trio also plans to use the club to help newcomers get started and to teach them about the basics of Rubik’s cubing.

“I would love to plan for potential members to join competitions one day, to have a representative DBHS cube team,” Lam said.

But with the preoccupation of other time-consuming activities like college applications and academics, Lam said he doesn’t currently have the time to worry about his cubing skills. Though he occasionally picks up the puzzle again for a bit of entertainment, he no longer practices with the same intensity as he did in his younger years.

“That doesn’t mean that my progress has stopped, I’m still looking further ahead for ways I can improve myself even more.”