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Meet Larry Kiprop, Rift Valley’s Fastest Rubik’s Cube Solver

Rift Valley’s fastest Speed-Cuber Larry Kiprop from Highlands Primary in Kericho Town has stood out against the odds to beat all the best-ranked Cubers in the region by solving a six-by-six version of Rubik’s Cubes in 7 minutes.

According to the Last Mile Cube Association Founder Mr Samuel Kamau, the 12-year-old grade 8 pupil also emerged the fastest in Rift Valley to solve the five-by-five version of Rubik’s cube at a speed of 4 minutes and 50 seconds.

Mr Kamau revealed that in the region, only Kiprop was able to solve the five by five and six by six Rubik’s cube in under ten minutes admitting that solving the cubes was a complex sport that requires practice, experience and mental strength to coordinate the 3-D combination puzzle.

“We run the cubing programs across the country and we are yet to come across anyone else who can solve five by five in four minutes,’ said Kamau, who pointed out that Kiprop can sometimes solve the cubes in three minutes.

Surprisingly, Kamau disclosed that Kiprop trained himself since the school does not offer the program.

The teenage champion who spoke to KNA said his passion was ignited in the year 2021 when he started watching tutorials on YouTube and started practicing daily and gradually attaining perfection.

Kiprop disclosed that apart from the YouTube tutorials, he has been engaged in other online tutorials such as studying CFOP which stands for Cross, F2L (First Two Layers), OLL (Orienting the Last Layer), and PLL (Permuting the Last Layer), a method that is popular among speed-cubers and offers more efficient algorithms for solving the cube.

“I am very passionate about cubing and it’s fun as well. I am still learning, and now I can solve very complex puzzles and I hope to become the fastest in the country.” Kiprop said

Kiprop says it took him three months to be able to solve the Rubik’s cube three-by-three version which is the beginner’s stage, then he gradually graduated to higher levels of cubing.

“I am now preparing to participate in the upcoming Creative Integrated Talent Show and Competition next month where I will showcase my prowess in solving Rubik’s cube and I am confident that I will emerge the best in the region as I have always been but I want my personal best to be 3 minutes in solving the five-by-five cube.” Explained Kiprop

Indoor gaming activities such as Rubik’s cubes, Chess, and Scrabble which Kiprop actively participates in, are deemed to boost cognitive power, patience, and perseverance, and also help in developing problem-solving skills and have significantly contributed to his good academic performance.

Maureen Marylyn, a mathematics teacher at Highlands Primary School attributed Kiprop’s overall good performance to his passion in solving Rubik’s cubes puzzles during break time and lunchtime and has been teaching his fellow pupils to play the game.

“He is always carrying around his cubes and his academics have improved especially mathematics and sciences; he is one of the best students in the school. At least five other students in the school can now play the game all thanks to Kiprop who passionately trains them,” added Ms. Marylyn.

Speed-cubing also referred to as speed-solving is a competitive sport centered around the rapid solving of various combination puzzles prominently referred to as Rubik’s cube according to the World Cube Association (WCA).

According to the Last Mile Cube Association Founder Mr Samuel Kamau, the essential aspect of solving these puzzles typically involves executing a series of predefined algorithms in a particular sequence.

“Other benefits of cubing include brain-hand-eye coordination and reflexes since players in speed solving watch the colors as they move very fast and change patterns based on the colors they moved before; therefore, the player’s hands will be moving in response to the colors they are visualising before they appear,” added Mr Kamau.

Kamau has trained teachers in over ten schools within Kericho County who have already trained students to play indoor games during their leisure time.

“We have started training students at Kericho Teachers Training College every Saturday and we believe the knowledge and skills they acquire will add value to the schools they will teach in the future,” said Mr Kamau

He said his organization will continue supporting Kiprop who is the fastest Speed-Cuber in Rift Valley to hone his skills and talents further.

“We have awarded Kiprop with several Rubik’s cubes, a chess board, and a Scrabble board game so that he can continue practicing even from home. We also hope to guide him in the future to start a YouTube channel so that he can offer tutorials to many other people online,” said Mr. Kamau.

By Kibe Mburu

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