In 2020, with the pandemic in full force, 7-year-old Sid Shivnath found himself at home with a lot of time on his hands…
As time went on, he started watching YouTube tutorials and getting deep into robotics and coding.
One day, Sid’s mom handed him one of the 2×2 Rubik’s Cubes that they had around the house.
“You can try solving this, if you want,” Sid’s mom told him.
“Sure,” Sid said.
Initially, he wasn’t quite certain how to figure it out. But he studied some YouTube tutorials, and within days, it all started to click.
“At first, it was hard. I had to memorize all these algorithms,” said Sid in an interview with The Beat. “But then it got stuck in my head. And now it’s muscle memory.”
To solve the 2×2, Sid had to learn 3 algorithms. Once he accomplished that task, he moved on to the 3×3, which has 7 algorithms. Currently, he’s able to solve a 2×2 in .5 seconds and a 3×3 in 10.6 seconds. He can also solve a 2×2 completely blindfolded. When he moved on to the 4×4, that one took him close to a month to learn – he had to memorize parity, which was 21 moves.
From there, Sid kept working his way up, and he can now solve up to a 10×10 Rubik’s Cube.
After mastering the Rubik’s Cube, Sid went on to make mosaic patterns out of the cubes, designing numbers, emojis, faces, and all kinds of other patterns for their surfaces.
His first mosaic was his dad’s company logo. His dad, Shivnath Babu, is co-founder of the software company Unravel Data, based in Palo Alto. Sid has also made the Tesla logo, the face of India’s Prime Minister, and the Super Mario Brothers.
Sid Shivnath has recently been featured on Indian news outlets, such as ACV News and Manorama News. Earlier this month, he took part in the World Cube Association competition, which happened in Berkeley, California. For the first time, Sid competed against all different age groups and even made it to the second round of the signature 3×3 event. He will be participating in two other competitions next month.
Gayatri Balachandran, Sid’s mother, is happy to see her son doing something that he truly enjoys. Although she does have to remind him to take a break sometimes:
“When he finds something he likes, he will put in all of the effort,” said Gayatri to The Beat. “But sometimes I have to tell him to take a break. One night, I heard him reciting the algorithms in his sleep!”
Along with cubing, Sid also has a first degree black belt in mixed martial arts. He currently practices at Ernie Reyes Martial Arts, and will be testing next year for his second degree black belt.
As he is also very much into robotics, Sid has created three of his own original builds. One of them is a fully functioning lego robotic clock that can remind him about different things, like when it’s time for bed or martial arts class. He also made a robot that stirs coffee for his mom.
“Once, I asked my mom if she likes doing laundry,” said Sid. “She said: ‘Of course not.’ So I built her a robot that can fold t-shirts.”
When asked what he wants to be in the future, Sid said, “When I grow up I want to be the founder of a company, like my dad.”
Meanwhile, Sid is currently in the 6th grade at Curtner Elementary School. He hopes to start a Rubik’s Cube Club there, so he can help other kids learn how to master the cubes.
You can subscribe to Sid’s YouTube channel and check out his content on programming, robotics, martial arts, and mastering the Rubik’s Cube.