Hall of fame: Czech outstanding cubers
Many articles about distinguished people, who are linked with a speedcubing in some way, can be found on the internet. These mainly deal with a foreign speedcubers.
The Czech Republic, however, has also a lot to offer. Since I could not find anything about the Czech cubers, I decided to write shortly just about them.
On the site you will find these interesting Czech persons:
- Luboš Bartík
- Vojtěch Dvořák
- Jessica Fridrich (formerly Jiří Fridrich)
- Miroslav Goljan
- Josef Jelínek
- Tomáš Novotný
- Robert Pergl
- Martin Zahradník
He was a world class in speedsolving the 7x7x7 Rubik's cube, and especially a 6x6x6 Rubik's cube. Within the Czech community, Luboš excelled due to a very little thinking time he needed among the particular moves in order to solve puzzles. His official profile.
He was excellent in blindfolded solving events. Vojtěch was the first Czech who officially solved both 4x4x4 and 5x5x5 Rubik's cube blindfolded. Solving of multiple cubes while blindfolded was not a problem for him either. Among others, he used to be an owner of the Czech record for solving a 3x3x3 Rubik's cube blindfolded. His official profile.
Jessica Fridrich (formerly Jiří Fridrich)
She is one of the world's most famous persons in the area of speedcubing, thanks to a so-called Fridrich method. This method is nowadays used by most 3x3x3 speedcubers.
Jessica Fridrich (born as Jiří Fridrich - she has changed her name after her arrival to the USA, see below) comes from Ostrava. After she passed school-leaving exams at local Wichterle high school, she went to study mathematical modeling at the CTU in Prague. At that time, in a year 1982, the first 3x3x3 Rubik's cube speedsolving championship were taking place in Czechoslovakia. Jessica won it with a time of 23.55 s, which guaranteed her a right to participate in the first world championship held in Hungarian Budapest in the same year.
Jesicca finished 10th out of 19 competitors, with a time of 29.11 s. Back then she was using a layer by layer solving method, yet considerably advanced one. After solving the first layer, the second one has been solved by inserting there two cubies at once. The last layer has been solved by an orientation (OLL) and then permutation (PLL) of the remaining cubies. OLL + PLL system occurred to Jesicca (with an assistance of her high school classmate Luděk Marek - who ranked at 5th place in the first Czechoslovak championship) independently. She was searching for algorithms by means of trial and error. It's not a point of this article to tell who actually invented the OLL + PLL system, not to mention we will probably never know. However, Kurt Dockhorn from the Netherlands and his countrywoman Anneke Treep were among the first ones who published it in Europe already in 1981. That's why we can meet a so-called Dockhorn-Treep system in older literature. It is worth noticing that Anneke was sixteen years old girl at that time (and Jessica was 17).
The technique of solving the first two layers, today denoted as F2L, was apparently known to Jessica (thanks to her classmate Robert Krajča, who has been solving a cube in such way) even before the beginning of the world championship. At first, this manner didn't seem to be that fast to her. Nevertheless, after the championship, she changed her mind and embraced it fully. Again, it is not possible to tell who invented the F2L system for sure, however, Dutchman René Schoof published it among the first ones in Europe in 1981.
After graduating from FNSPE CTU, Jessica (under the name of Jiří, which was used by her until then) went to postgraduate studies in the USA, where she works as a university professor to this day (written in 2013). She changed her name, as well as nationality. Jesicca Fridrich (USA) was the first who has been publishing Cross - F2L - OLL - PLL method on the internet (in 1997), under the name "My system for solving Rubik's cube". Since there wasn't existing simple name for the method yet, the users just started to call it "Fridrich method". The term Fridrich method became popular and spread spontaneously into the speedcubing community. Today we can meet CFOP designation, reflecting English initials of individual steps of the method.
Jessica attended even second world championship in 2003, held in Ontario, Canada. She finished second, with an average time of 20.48 s. Her fastest time in the finals was 17.12 s. Her official profile.
Excellent theorist of the Rubik's cube. He has been publishing articles about a solving of this puzzle in Mladý Svět magazine in the first half of 80's (around 1982 - 1983). In Czechoslovakia recognized as a "RcDr." - Dr. Rubik's cube.
He placed second at Czechoslovak championship in 1982 (J. Fridrich won by a difference of roughly 2 seconds). Fourteen years after completing studies at Charles University, he went to study in the USA at the same university as J. Fridrich (State University of New York at Binghamton). Today (written in 2013), he and Jessica are colleagues, working in the field of steganography and forensic analysis of digital photographs and cameras.
Miroslav Goljan is the first Czech person ever who has held the official world record, yet the first Czech who held the world record several times (twice to be specific). This has been achieved in the event of solving a 3x3x3 cube by fewest moves. He solved the cube by 29 moves at the world championship in 2003 and he improved it to 28 moves two years later. Miroslav's personal best (not in a competition) is 19 moves. His official profile.
Retired speedcuber, currently a programmer. The holder of former official world record in the average solve of a Rubik's magic event (it doesn't exist anymore), when he set a time of 1.52 s in 2005.
On his website rubikscube.info he describes Waterman solving method of a Rubik's cube, as well as other methods based on solving of corners first (and edges last). Josef deserves to be credited for a popularization of the Ortega method, which is often being used for a solving the 2x2x2 cube (one of the first who has been using Ortega when solving a 3x3x3 Rubik's cube was American Jeff Varasano in 1981. A year later (1982), Canadian Gaétan Guimond was among the first ones who has been solving the first step of a method - corners - by a different manner).
Abroad, Josef is better known as the creator of ACube analytical program. He is also the author of the Rubik's cube java applet, which has been widely used on websites. Last but not least, he participated in the development of WCA (World Cube Association) website. Josef graduated from FEE CTU, currently (2015) he works as a software engineer in the U.S. Google. His official profile.
He was extremely fast when solving the Rubik's cube with feet - in this official event (feet solving is not an official event anymore) he had no competitors in the Czech Republic. He was also solving very well the same puzzle using the fewest moves. Tomáš was being involved, among others, in organizing of official competitions as a part of the organization team. His official profile.
The second Czechoslovak championship in speedsolving a Rubik's cube took place in 1983. Robert Pergl, a former speedcuber, won it at the age of 14 with a time of 17.04 s. Piquant is that it was probably the fastest time ever in terms of competitions. However, since WCA organization wasn't existing yet, this time was not recognized as an official world record. Thus the holder of it was still American Minh Thai, a winner of the first world championship in 1982 with a time of 22.95 s. The record was valid till 2003 (WCA itself was founded in 2004 and until this year, only one competition in 1982 and two competitions in 2003 were recognized by it).
After winning the championship in 1983, Robert has been asked "how many algorithms do you know?" and he replied: "I don't know exactly. I know six hundred (!!) of them by heart". Robert also mentioned that his personal best is 11 seconds and his best average of 10 is 16.7 s - which were top times at that time. Thanks to so many learnt algorithms, he was able to solve the last layer in only one step far more often than anyone else.
He graduated from law school and is currently (2015) working as a lawyer.
When being active in competitions (especially in 2008), he has been attacking the official world record time for an average solve of the Square-1. However, since he has been attending only one competition a year - Czech Open - unfortunately it has been unsuccessful attack. Globally, he has been also excellent in the Rubik's clock event. His official profile.