Rubik's Cube 3x3 - Pro Cuber Interviews for the Beginner - Frank Morris

Cubefactor's Note and the Interviewee Profile

Simply put, Frank is the epitome of brilliant determination. Before I understood the scope of his work ethic I labeled him as a cyborg. Eventually I discovered that his achievements with and beyond the cube were the product of a concrete work ethic. I'm honored to be his friend.

Frank emerged on the scene as a serious force on bigger cubes. It was an energetic time for that discipline, because efficient solutions were not well known or wide spread. Developing methods is a tiresome and extraordinarily difficult thing. Frank and a few others were pioneers in this respect, and paved the way for future generations.

Check the website for 4x4x4 & 5x5x5 solutions: www.bigcubes.com

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Name: Frank Morris

Profession: Hotel Management

Location: Fort Worth, TX

# of Years Cubing: 10 years. (Holy $#!+ really?)

National Records and World Records:

National Records – 15 , World Records - 6

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The Interview!


This series has been put together with the Beginner in mind. Tell us about how it all started.

I first picked up the cube and attempted to solve it in April 2002. I didn’t think to look anything up online, so I spent the entire week working out crude algorithms to solve it. I managed to solve it with a bit of luck at first and then found algs and other solvers online. I practiced a lot until I was down to around 2:30 and then stopped practicing until I had to have a tonsillectomy that kept me out of work for 6 weeks. I spent that time getting down to around 45 seconds and then quit practicing until I suffered an injury to my ankle that kept me out of work for another 6 weeks. At that time, I was dealing with some other bad stuff and all I had to do was practice solving the cube. Next thing I knew I was sub 20 and getting ready to compete at WC2003.

Not that you’re a slacker on the 3x3, but your dominance with bigger cubes is well known. When did your focus shift in that direction? How did your method evolve over time?

After an incredibly poor showing at WC2003 in the 3x3 event, and a mediocre result in the 4x4, I thought that I would practice more at that since I didn’t really train for the 4x4. Just before US Nationals 2004, I spent a couple of weeks working on the big cubes and placed second in both events behind Chris Hardwick. On the flight home I decided I was going to focus solely on the big cubes and since there was very little information on solving them out there, I had a pretty clean slate to work with. I don’t know what to say about the evolution of the method. Really, I tried several different weird ideas that I figured would never work. Several all night cubing sessions when I couldn’t sleep let to the development of the method.

With consideration to the last question, do you have any advice for beginners interested in learning the higher order cubes?

My main advice is to try and solve the cube yourself before you jump on the internet and get a solution. Don’t cheat yourself out of the accomplishment. If you still need help, bigcubes.com or youtube.

What are some of the obstacles/barriers you’ve overcome as a speedcuber?

I used to feel like I couldn’t have a bad result at a competition. It used to stress me out a lot. In fact, it was one of the reasons I quit actively competing. When I showed up at the Harvard Fall 2011 competition, I had more fun solving than I had had since 2005. All because I didn’t care about what people thought or how terrible I did. I even had some good results. (For me anyway)

It shouldn’t be forgotten that you were heavily involved with V-Cubes before they became wildly popular. What was it like working with the company? Can you speculate on how much it improved the game for everyone?

Working with V-Cubes was a great experience. I got to see the manufacturing process early on and testing the prototypes was pretty slick. Developing a relationship with the Verdes family was the best part of it all though. They are wonderful people. I think it goes without saying that V-Cubes clearly revolutionized the big cube movement. The times dropped like a rock right after they were released and have even dropped lower than anyone ever believed possible. When we no longer had 5x5 explosions we could take extra chances to twist faster. It was nice to stop breaking x center pieces as well.

How has cubing affected your life in a positive way? (travel experiences, friendships, memories, etc)

I have seen the world, and made tons of friends from cubing. Prior to cubing, I rarely traveled out of Idaho and I would have never realized what I was missing out on. Maintaining the friendships even though I have gotten away from the cubing world is a great thing. Not to mention being able to call myself a world champion, and having my own trading card. Kinda crazy to think about.

According to a statistic that I just made up for this interview, 99% of cubers use CFOP. Thoughts?

It’s probably a pretty accurate statistic. I like that there is at least 1% of the cubers out there trying other methods like CF, Petrus and Roux. It’s hard to fault the other 99% though. Now that the information is out there and we all know it is possible, you can get really fast in a really short period of time.

Have you ever considered upper-cutting a punk on to a table (preferably one with cake and punch)?

On more than one occasion… And it would take place at a party, dance, gala event.

Young speedcubers tend to emulate the Legends, and so it is probably healthy to mention your strong relationship with physical fitness. Would you mind telling the readers about your 100-mile race, the Buffalo Run?

I started running 2 years ago and progressed very quickly from 5k races to the 100 mile distance. I ran my first 100 mile race this last March and it was one of the most rewarding experiences that I have experienced. Not only did I complete the race, but I also completed it in less than 24 hours (23:50) which is pretty uncommon for a first timer. The race actually went far better than I could have ever hoped for. I had a rough patch at mile 26 where I was sick to my stomach, weak and with absolutely no understanding of how I could possibly run another 74 miles. I managed to come back from the rough patch and actually hit new personal records for the 50k (5:33), and 50 mile (10:35) distances. I had never run further than 53 miles at that point. I ended up finishing in 14th place and I recovered very quickly after the race. I am currently training for another 100 mile race that will be in October of this year as an attempt to qualify for my dream race. (Western States 100) I find running to be an incredibly fulfilling sport and it has helped to keep me in good physical and mental condition. Because I have progressed so quickly and have had a bit of success, I am anxious to see how far I can take it.

Additional thoughts and/or shout-outs?

I read earlier on a post that Nationals 2013 was canceled. Perhaps I read it wrong, but I am not sure. If that is the case, I just want to say to everyone not to give up on cubing. Be selfless and give back to the community. Don’t just wait around for someone to do something, instead take the initiative and do it yourself.

Shout outs to my big inspirations and good friends Ron Van Bruchem, Chris Hardwick, Dan Knights, Richard Patterson and Clancy Cochran. I hope to see you all again some day soon.

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