Practice, practice, practice: Baton Rouge 11-year-old hopes to beat world record in Rubik’s Cube _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Dylan Miller, 11, is a world-ranked Rubik's Cube solver and is ranked nationally in the 2x2 cubes and is competitive in the 3x3 cubes.

6.47 seconds.

That’s the fastest Dylan Miller can solve a Rubik’s Cube. Miller’s time is a little more than a second longer than the world record.

Still, this 11-year-old Baton Rougean can consistently solve the cube in under 10 seconds.

“I’m hoping to be a world record-holder one day,” he said. “But you can’t really predict the future, can you?”

No, but it’s a safe bet he won’t stop trying any time soon.

“He practices all the time,” said his father, Marshall Miller. “He probably practices more than anybody I’ve seen on the circuit. It never leaves his hand. It goes with him everywhere he goes. He’s always got it with him.”

Not that Dylan has become a total Rubik’s robot. But if there is an idle moment, expect him to be holding a cube, spinning it constantly.

Dylan ranks 183rd nationally in the 3-by-3 cube that was invented in 1974 by Hungarian Erno Rubik. He’s ranked 264th in the world for his average time solving the 2-by-2 version and 56th nationally.

The Rubik’s Cube features six sides with red, green, blue, yellow, orange and white squares. Once scrambled, the trick is to get each side filled with just one color.

For enthusiasts such as Dylan, it’s merely a question of how fast.

The cubes used in competition are not the same as those sold in most garage sales. Competition cubes are engineered for speed. Serious competitors use lubrication and sandpapering to achieve the perfect balance of speed and control.

In competition, the cube is covered until the competitor is ready, and he or she gets 15 seconds to examine it before starting. The timer begins when the competitor’s fingers lift from a touch pad and stops when they return the cube after it’s solved.

Experienced cubists learn the algorithms necessary to move the colored tiles.

“What I do is I plan out my first maybe six to 10 moves … and that gives me time to look around at the rest,” Dylan said. “Whenever I’m solving it, you don’t want to pause. That’s really what makes you good. You want to consistently look ahead during your solve. You don’t want to be focusing on what you’re doing. You want to be focusing on what’s ahead of you. That, and turning fast is what makes you fast.”

See a video interview with Dylan Miller and watch him solve the puzzle at theadvocate.com.