Some do it blindfolded, others one-handed, and the best with the speed it takes the world's fastest men to run 100 meters. In a celebration of some of the most nimble-fingered humans on the planet, more than 300 people from 32 nations will head to the Hungarian capital next month in a competition between the world masters of the Rubik's Cube.
Hungary is hosting the 4th Rubik's Speedcubing Championship for the first time since the inaugural world competition in 1982, at the height of the global craze over the mechanical puzzle invented by Erno Rubik, a Hungarian.
The current world record for solving the classic cube - which has six sides of a different color with nine tiles each on each side - is 9.86 seconds by Thibaut Jacquinot of France, set in May at the Spanish Open, barely a tenth of second slower than the world men's 100 meters sprinting record.
Organizers said the United States was expected to send a delegation of 39 competitors to the event being held Oct. 5-7, while 22 cube solvers would be coming from Japan, 29 from Poland and 19 from France.
Other countries planning to participate are Mexico, New Zealand, Lithuania and Indonesia.
"Some 7 million Rubik's Cubes were sold last year," said Janos Kovacs, director of the Budapest-based Rubik Studio, set up by the cube's inventor.
The championship will feature 17 events, including some where competitors try to solve the cube while blindfolded or with one hand, as well as races featuring variations of the classic 3x3 cube, such as the 4x4 and the 5x5 cubes, and other puzzles invented by Rubik.
Prize money will total EUR20,000 (US$28,000). World championships were also held in Canada in 2003 and in the United States in 2005.