Published: 29th September 2021
Here are the fastest fingers this side of the coast and they're bringing a cube revolution
Sisters Chandrika Vasanth and Bindu Priyanka started speedcubing classes in 2011 in Madurai and later in Chennai. Now, their brother Anand is hopping on the bandwagon
In 2011, when sisters Chandrika Vasanth and Bindu Priyanka first launched their classes to teach children how to solve the Rubik's cube, they were the only ones of their kind. The concept of classes for the Rubik's cube was novel, so it took a while for it to catch on. "For the longest time, the Rubik's cube has been considered a toy and people really couldn't understand why one would need classes to solve a puzzle," says Bindu. But the sisters ventured on, launched their classes and now, ten years later, they are now known as the Tamil Nadu Cube Association.
So, how did it all begin? "An aunt who lived in the US got us our first Rubik's cube when we were very young," says Bindu, "While I couldn't solve it, Chandrika, who is a few years older, learnt how to solve it. She fell in love with the cube and tried to improve her speed. After months of practice, she moved on to other types of cubes." Chandrika taught Bindu all she knew about speedcubing. "Our classes began in Madurai but then we launched it in Chennai too. Now, our brother, Anand, has also launched classes in Hyderabad," says Bindu, who is a former chess player.
Over the years, Bindu and her siblings have managed to train thousands of students across various schools in Chennai and Madurai in speedcubing. "We are not just teaching children how to solve the cube fast, but Chandrika has also invented a new formula to achieve it," says Bindu, adding, "Instead of algorithms that have to be memorised, we are using storytelling as a method to solve the Rubik's cube faster." They are writing a book about it too and are hoping to get a patent for their innovative method.
But the battle to register their classes was a long and hard one. "When we approached the authorities, they refused, initially, because they too thought it was just a toy. While we began the classes in 2011, it was only in 2018 that we could finally get registered," says Bindu. And registration brought with it several perks. "We are now authorised to conduct state and national level competitions from where we choose the best speedcubers and send them for World Cube Association (WCA) tournaments," explains Bindu.
And it is not just the traditional 3x3 cube that the classes are for. Bindu, Chandrika and Anand are teaching children complex cubes like the 4x4 and 6x6 variants and even those in the shape of an apple. "We have tied up with 15 schools in Chennai, including the Velammal Group of Schools and Aachi Global School," says Bindu. However, due to the pandemic, they have now taken their classes online. "It was very difficult at first because it's really a hands-on process, but we soon figured out that the phone's back camera works better while teaching," explains Bindu.