Around the time Anouk turned four, Arun started introducing the 2x2x2 Rubik's cube to her. From simple beginnings trying to make her grasp the problem statement, from seeing her eyes amazed at how the moves can be made and the much bigger task for Arun- to make her visualise the steps while she grappled and excelled with the logical thinking behind each step- it was and is quite a journey in itself. Arun realised that his standard techniques of teaching algorithms had to be completely overhauled to teach a 4 year old who refuses to make a move unless she is able to figure in her head the end result. None of the techniques available out there could cater to her, so Arun had to spend time everyday by himself trying to devise ways to teach her. The initial two months saw very little progress, yet Arun was commendably patient and understanding as well as giving her room for her to think it through by herself. Then all of a sudden as she learnt to solve the first layer, the progress accelerated and the next 4 weeks saw her wanting to learn 3x3x3 as well. As a matter of fact, she always wanted to start on 3x3x3, but knowing that its too much for her to begin on that, Arun had striked a deal with her that she could start on 3x3x3, only after she learnt to finish 2x2x2 J. And that kept her motivated. There was no mugging up of algorithms involved and she was not doing it the easiest way. Infact she was taking it through the old text book way of solving it which really convinced the onlooker that she was thinking through and visualising the step(s) ahead.
Tournament - preps
Around the time Anouk learnt both the 2x2x2 and 3x3x3, we learnt that the Canadian Open championship is being held 26-28 July, 2019. The fact that it was held at Niagara falls (yaaay), plus there would be both 2x2x2 and 3x3x3 categories among much more (since its a national championship) plus the fact that a short trip sounded appealing to all the parties involved made us enthusiastic to participate in the Canadian Open 2019. And the preps began (couple of weeks before the tournament). Ordered speed cubes and a mat with timer and Anouk was overjoyed. Dad-daughter duo spent almost half an hour everyday with their preps. Ofcourse we learnt that there were a few challenges in the pipe line. For the 2x2x2, there is a cutoff of 30s for the first two trials, to complete the rest three and get an official timing. At that time, Anouk was in and around 31-32s. We definitely did not want to stress about timing at all (guess we never will), so thought we will see how it goes on actual day.
On 26th July, we went for registration at the Canadian Open 2019. Anouk was super excited to get her goodie bag and T-shirt (the smallest size they had was for an adult-S ) and was a source of amusement to the organisers and the other participants' families. The organisers were very accommodating of our request of a trial solve at the competition hall, so that she will not be taken aback on the environment on the actual day (27 July). On the tournament day, we watched her with pride and relief as she cleared the cutoff on the first two rounds of 2x2x2 and went on to do the all the rest of trials of 2x2x2 and all the five trials of 3x3x3. We were glad that there was sufficient time break in between the two categories. She was so enthsiastic seeing all the older kids solving it and watched in amazement for a while.
Anouk clocked an average of 30.09s in 2x2x2 and 2m 38s in the 3x3x3 at Canadian Open, 2019, her first tournament at the age of 4 years, 5 months and being the youngest contestant. Extremely proud to see her resilience, the effort in logical reasoning and the will to hold on in the face of roadblocks. Here's to many many years of love of logical reasoning and the places it will take you, Anouk.
|Canadian Open 2019|
Jul 26-28, Scotiabank Convention Centre, Niagara falls