Our friend and fellow cuber François Courtès died in the evening of September 7, 2016, from a cerebrovascular accident. He was 45 years old. It is very sad news.
François was a special member of our community. He competed in more competitions than any other member: 184 competitions in 18 different countries. In the years 2009 to 2014 he competed in more than 20 competitions per year.
Because François competed in so many competitions, many of us had the chance to meet him in person. He was a friendly person, always kind to everyone. He was a reliable person who was helpful with judging and scrambling.
François participated in every type of event, from Rubik’s Cube, to with Feet and all Blindfolded events. He was one of a select group of members who solved successfully in all different events of WCA. François was one of the few cubers who solved ‘corners first’ for Rubik’s Cube, but also for bigger cubes like 7x7x7 Cube.
François was a successful competitor. He broke 26 French national records and still holds the French national record for Multiple Blindfolded. He won 296 top 3 places in WCA competitions: 108 first places, 106 second places and 82 third places.
In the personal messages below fellow cubers express their feelings and bring back memories about François. It is clear from these feelings and memories that François was a person with many friends and people who appreciated him.
You were an international cubing model for me, and a man with a great kindness. Rest in peace.
Mickaël Paquer, France
A pillar of the french cubing community has gone. What you can't take away from him: his passion and his unique way of approaching the cube. He was of great knowledge and even in methods he did not master. He was kind enough to always, systematically, lend a hand in competitions. My next competition will feel sad knowing he wont be there. Farewell.
Loïc Petit, France
If I had one thing to say, it's that if paradise exists he just won 10 people at once.
Clément Cherblanc, France
I only met him at one competition, in Lyon, 4 years ago.
From the small interactions I had with him, I can say he was very kind.
My thoughts go to his family and relatives.
Alicia Mitsuko, France
I lost the most gentle fellow speedcuber I have known. RIP François. Mes pensées vont à sa famille et ses proches.
Ton Dennenbroek, The Netherlands
Sad news. RIP
Guilhem Puyfoulhoux, France
Simone Ciancotti Petrucci, Italy
I met François several times, he was someone I really appreciated, we used to talk a lot about speedcubing and mathematics together. I think I only did 3 competitions out of my 15 without him, and now I'll miss him.
My thoughts go to him and his relatives.
Yann Droy, France
I am profoundly shocked by this news.
My thoughts go to his family and relatives.
Thank François for having been you.
Ayumi elisa Lee, France
For me, François will always stay this exceptional man who came to our first competition in Vesoul, and who’s talent and patience motivated my students.
Aude Duvoid, France
He was for me a major figure in the French speedcubing... I met him at every single competition I went to, especially those in Belgium. I saw François for the first time at the Spols Open 2011, for my first competition. I remember him being very welcoming and kind to the newcomers. He never stopped helping people and proposing things to improve speedcubing. Rest in peace, he was a kind, nice, and sincere person. To TMOY
Martin Minnaert, France
François was very well known in the cubing community. He was always helpful during competitions, he loved cubing and sharing his passion.
His loss will leave a gap in the French community.
Philippe Virouleau, France
François was a special friend for me. We met each other in many competitions across the world. On several occasions we encountered each other somewhere in a large city where a competition took place, and then went for a drink or dinner. We shared hotel rooms a few times. We did not talk much, but when we did I discovered we had similar thoughts on topics.
François was always positive and was often the first person to stand up when help was needed. It was a good feeling that wherever you hold a competition, François will be there to help. He was a good example of how ‘older’ competitors can contribute to our community, among the younger competitors.
One special moment with François was in German Open 2012. After the first day we went for dinner in the city of Gütersloh. We had brought the game of Set with us. Although he had never heard of the game, he amazed me by beating us all, even though the rules can be quite difficult to understand and there is no luck involved.
I feel sad to have lost a good friend. He will be missed by many of us.
Ron van Bruchem, The Netherlands
I did not know personally François Courtès.
Often looking at his profile I was impressed by the number of competitions he participated.
Being my age I well understood the genuine passion that animated him.
I told in my head "I should meet him sooner or later" ... the announcement of the World Championship in Paris seemed a good opportunity …
Rest in peace François.
Gianluca Placenti, Italy
I also met François at my first competition, and almost all my competitions afterwards he was there as well.
Always so helpful and respectful at every competition he attended. Also wonderful person to work with as an organizer and delegate.
He was an admirable character and I will always have great memories of him. This is a great loss for the cubing community.
Geert Bicler, Belgium
I have met Francois at European competitions; he was always quiet, but kind. Speedcubing gets its strength from the dedication of the community, and we will miss his presence.
Lucas Garron, USA/Germany
What sad news to receive today. The number of UK cubers expressing likewise as the news has spread is testament to his widespread influence. He attended many UK competitions and was always helpful and sociable, despite the very strong French accent that made communication difficult at times!
The legend of Francois will live on, and one story that will be passed down the ages is of the time he fell asleep briefly during an official 5bld, woke up, and got a success.
Here is another great anecdote from Robert Yau about Square-1:
Because he does left twists, it poses a problem with scrambling, particularly at competitions. Once during a competition that I attended, someone noticed that he would still read the scramble forwards and apply every move except he would apply U and D turns to the other layer and simply turn the puzzle upside down to compare it to the images on the scramble sheet.
Scramble: (1, 0) / (2, 5) / (-5, -2) /
He would do: (0, 1) \ (5, 2) \ (-2, -5) \
Daniel Sheppard, United Kingdom
François was a distinctive person in our community and even though he was a lot of the time lonely, I honestly think that most of us loved him for the way he was. I know he needed us and being together with us made him happy. We also needed him and he was part of our European community for so long.
Personally, I was always happy to see him and I went to him every time to say "hello", shake hands and chat a bit. Last time when this happened it was at Euro2016, 2 months ago. He was staying at a big round table and playing with his Square-1 when I approached him. It seems it was also his last competition.
Rest In Peace!
Radu Faciu, Romania
I have never met him in person, only through forum posts and looking at competition results.
Being a competitor with so many competitions (most competitions of all), it is obvious that he had a real passion for speedcubing and for taking the time and effort to go to so many competitions.
It's very sad to see a member of our community go.
Antonio Gomes, Portugal
This is absolutely devastating news…
I met François for the first time at my very first WCA competition in April 2008, which was his second WCA competition. At the time, he was just one of many new faces for me, but one which kept reappearing at almost all of my following competitions during which I slowly got to know him better. François was a rather quiet character, but he was also a very nice, humble and helpful person who enjoyed a lot being among cubers. When it was possible to spend the evening at the competition venue after the scheduled day had ended, François was always there and among the last ones to leave. Often, he surprised me, when for example after knowing him for more than a year, he suddenly talked to me in German and I found out that he speaks German just as well as I speak French. At another competition evening, we had a piano in a corner of the venue, and François suddenly entertained us with amazing pianist skills!
François enjoyed attending WCA competitions so much. He attended 184 in his lifetime, more than anyone else so far. I had the pleasure to attend 73 of these competitions with him together and knowing that a 74th is not going to happen makes me very sad. François has definitely enriched my cubing life for the past 8 years. I am going to miss him in the future and, more importantly, keep him in very good memory.
Sébastien Auroux, Germany
The French cubers also posted their personal reactions on the French cubers forum:
Merci François, for all the nice moments we had together.
Our thoughts and sympathy go out to the family and friends of François.
Philippe Virouleau and Ron van Bruchem
On behalf of WCA