The YJ Malaysia Cube Open 2022 became part of the nation’s history as the national cubing event with the most participants and the most first-timers.
When registration for the YJ Malaysia Cube Open 2022 opened, the organisers had no idea that participation would exceed 300 to 350 spots, making it Malaysia’s largest cubing event to date. The competition had 155 first-time competitors, setting a new record for the most new participants at the event.
“We were amazed by the flood of registrations and had to request the World Cubing Association (WCA) to increase our participation limit to 350 spots,” Manfred Siew, one of the three organisers, said. “We were also grateful to be able to host this event at The Space, CITTA Mall, which could easily accommodate such a large number of participants, including their supporters by way of family members and friends.”
He opined that the recent Movement Control Order (MCO) caused many youngsters to take up cubing while they were sequestered at home. “In fact, many new cubing Tik Tok channels came about during this time, further igniting interest in this sport,” the 22-year-old added.
The full cubing event, which featured the complete 17 speedcubing competitions, drew participants from a total of 17 countries, including neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Brunei; and further ones such as the USA, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Turkey, Russia, New Zealand, South Korea, India, China, and Australia.
Cubing fans of all ages took part, with the youngest participant being a 6-year-old boy and the oldest participant being Siew’s father, Siew Hann Wen, aged 48.
National Records Set
Siew was pleased to report that there were a number of national records set in the 3-day event. Tee Kai Yang of Malaysia won the 3x3x3 Cube Final event with an average score of 6.88 seconds (he broke the National Record in the 3x3x3 Cube Second Round with an average of 6.66 seconds), followed by Natthaphat Mahtani of Thailand (average score: 7.43 seconds) and Yap Jia Yang of Malaysia (average score: 8.20 seconds). Ang Chin Zhen of Malaysia was the champion in the 3x3x3 Fewest Moves Final event with an average score of 24 seconds, which was also the national record. Singaporean Wong Chong Wen was the first runner-up with an average score of 24.67 seconds, followed by Indonesian Firstian Fushada with an average score of 26 seconds. Theodore Chan of Singapore emerged as the champion of the 3x3x3 Blindfolded Final with an average score of 23.17 seconds, which is a national record. Second place in the 3x3x3 Blindfolded Final Event went to Hill Pong Yong Feng of Malaysia (average score: 27.69 seconds) and Chih-Chuan Yang of Taiwan (average score: 28.88 seconds).
“Hours upon hours of practice are needed to be an excellent speedcuber who wins competitions,” said Siew, who participated and won third place in the Clock final event with an average score of 7.31 seconds. The 6-time National Record holder in 2019 admitted that his practice time has dwindled considerably now that he is helping out in his father’s hoarding board design business and running his fledgling woodwork product business at Shopee. “I am now focused on supporting the cubing sport by taking over the mantle of organising the national cubing championship from my father, and together with the support of my co-organisers – twin brother Darren and older brother Eason, 23 years old – and dad and my mom, Tiffany Soh, 48 years old, we will continue to take speedcubing to greater heights.”
A Well-run Event
Under the capable leadership of the Siew brothers, the organisation of the event went smoothly with practically no delays, save for a 2-minute delay for one event. “Apart from that, the other events either ended on time or earlier, much to the delight of participants. We received a lot of positive feedback because everything went smoothly, without a hitch,” said Siew. “The one thing that cubers hate is delays, and once that is eliminated, the event becomes even more enjoyable,” he said with a charming grin.
He attributed it to the willingness of the participants who stepped up to be judges of the event. “With the high number of new participants this year, of which none could qualify as a judge, we had to rally the support of many seasoned participants to help out as judges to man our 30 competition tables,” Siew divulged. “On behalf of the organising committee, I would like to thank all those who have contributed their time and effort. I hope to see more of this cooperative and generous spirit as we continue to be willing to help out and give back to the speedcubing community.”
Another contributing factor to the well-run event, said Siew, was the system his father had created when he first organised the event two championships ago. “I basically adopted his system and everything went smoothly as he had basically covered all the bases.”
For all the benefits of cubing, which include being in a network of friendly kindred spirits willing to share their knowledge and experiences with each other, Siew cautioned cubers to adopt a balanced lifestyle. “Many cubers can be very introverted, and being cooped up indoors to practise all day will not be healthy in the long run. As such, I recommend that cubers participate in sports and physical activities like badminton, running, and the like to build up their health and make them well-rounded people. I would also advise them to make friends outside of the cubing community to expand their horizons.”