Rubik's Cube
A competitor at the World Rubix Championships aims to complete the puzzle with his feetReuters

One of the world's most famous puzzle games happened by accident. The Rubik's Cube was invented in 1974 by Erno Rubik, an Hungarian architect, who wanted a model to explain three-dimensional geometry.

Rubik had been hand-carving the "cubelets" himself, but did not realise he had created a puzzle until he scrambled the cube and tried to put it back together. He obtained an Hungarian patent for his "Magic Cube" in 1975.

Forty years after the Rubik's Cube was invented, professional competitors still take part in "speedcubing" in the race to solve the puzzle in the fastest time. According to the Daily Mirror, Labour Party leader Ed Miliband can solve the puzzle in one-and-a-half minutes.

The cube's six faces are each made up of nine coloured squares, with each row and column being independently moveable around a central pivot. The aim is to return the cube to its original configuration, with each face one colour: red, blue, green, yellow, white and orange.

The first test batches of the Magic Cube were produced in late 1977 and released in Budapest toy shops. In September 1979, a deal was signed with Ideal to release the Magic Cube worldwide, and the puzzle made its debut at the toy fairs of London, Paris, Nuremberg and New York in early 1980. It was renamed the Rubik's Cube shortly afterwards.

By January 2009, it was the biggest-selling toy of all time and a retro favourite, with over 350 million sold worldwide.

Every average cube is solvable in just 20 moves and there are over 43 quintillion permutations of the cube.

World Records

The Rubik's Cube has been involved in several world records, from the fastest single time to one-handed solving.

Fastest single time: The current world record was set on a 3 x 3 x 3 Rubik's Cube by Mats Valk of the Netherlands in March 2013. He set a time of 5.55 seconds at the Zonhoven Open in Belgium.

Average time: The world record for average time per solve was set by Feliks Zemdegs at the Melbourne Cube Day 2013, with a 6.54 second average solve time.

One-handed solving: A time of 9.03 seconds was made by Feliks Zemdegs in 2014.

Solving with feet: Fakhri Raihaan solved a Rubik's Cube with his feet in 27.93 seconds at the Celebes 2012.

Group solving in 12 minutes: The record for the most people solving a Rubik's Cube in 12 minutes is by 134 individuals. It was set in March 2010 by pupils from Dr Challoner's Grammar School in Amersham, England.

Blindfold solving: The record for blind solving is held by Marcin Zalewski of Poland, who solved a cube blindfolded in 23.80 seconds at the Polish Nationals in 2013.

Non-human solving: The fastest non-human time for a physical 3×3×3 Rubik's Cube is 3.25 seconds, set by CubeStormer III, a robot built using Lego Mindstorms and a Samsung Galaxy S4.