When I was just a young kid several decades ago, I used to stare at the different-coloured squares of a Rubik’s Cube for hours, trying hard to bring them all into perfect order. For a Maltese kid who’s only eight years old, though, that whole process only lasts seconds.
Michael Schembri’s proud mother Elisa kicked off 2021 by sharing a video of her genius son completing a 3×3 cube (the most popular Rubik’s iteration) in just half a minute. And while it might not be the World Record of just over four seconds set by 23-year-old Feliks Zemdegs, the Maltese boy’s time keeps getting better with every attempt… and 30 seconds isn’t even his best.
“His personal best time for a 3×3 is 16 seconds,” Elisa tells Lovin Malta, beaming. “And he only started around seven months ago!”
And that’s using two hands – Michael can even solve the 3×3 cube with one hand in a minute and three seconds!
And while Michael is definitely onto something with his impressive new skill, the island doesn’t really offer a cubing community.
“He has no friends who share his passion”, Elisa says. This was after all what drove her to share the video of her son on Facebook, saying she was looking for a cubing community for Michael to join. And while some friends of the family did get in touch, the island’s love for the cube remains very small.
Lately, however, the 3D puzzle (which was created all the way back in 1974) has been gaining worldwide cult popularity. Last year’s Netflix short documentary The Speed Cubers greatly helped the community, with millions following the lives of young prodigies like record-holder Feliks Zemdegs. Meanwhile, 2021 has already started off with announcements of a film and even a game show being based on the small colourful cube.
“This is just one of his passions,” Elisa clarified. “Michael has been reading and writing since he was 18 months. He is also very intrigued by geography, flags, maths, general knowledge, cultures.”
But as he gets older and continues developing his impressive skills, Michael could be in for bigger things soon enough.
“Until now, he wasn’t comfortable with exposure, so we’ve only discussed cubing competitions overseas,” Elisa says. “But these have inspired him to share his gifts with others and hopefully meet like-minded people.”
Before that, though, Michael was so inspired by all the feedback he received to the video that he actually decided to start his own YouTube channel… so look out for more impressive showings by this promising Maltese boy in the near future!
Share this post if you think more people need to check out Michael’s talent and tag someone who shares this passion!