Championship disciplines under the microscope: Cylinders



Lockpicking of cylinders is probably the most prestigious discipline of the lockpicking championship, as it features some of the most difficult locks. The contestants bring their own cylinder which they need to open in 5 minutes before the start of the competition, otherwise they are eliminated. As can be expected, the range of difficulty of locks is very wide. The less experienced pickers usually bring simpler lock in order to minimize the chance of getting knocked-out before the competition starts. The seasoned lockpickers often bring very difficult locks that are very difficult to pick, although sometimes it leads to their early elimination.

Pro tip: If you are not sure you can open the lock in 5 minutes, don’t risk it. It is normal to get a bit nervous, before the competition which makes picking much more difficult.


We are bringing you an interview with the champion of lockpicking of cylinders of the last Czech Championship 2018, Akos Subecz.

Akos, how did you start with lockpicking?

I’ve started picking as an interesting hobby when i was 21. It was pretty hard to find a way to it, but i met my friend Tamas Varadi that time, he was active member in the German SSDeV group and helped me a lot to get into this world 🙂 

What do you like about it and how often do you practice?

Its fun to have an interesting hobby, helps to turn off your mind a little bit. Im working as a full time locksmith so i practice every day.

So your job is connected to locks and lockpicking isn’t just a hobby for you?

Yes I’m working in the locksmith industry, after some time i left the commercial door service and doing safe opening and car lockouts and electronics most of the time, however i still get phone call if other techs got stuck on a job and needs some help 🙂 

Are you a member of any organisations?

Im member of SAVTA from 2018. 

Do you have any preferred brand of lockpicks? What is your favorite pick?

I like Southord euros and Multipick Elite series so much, but my very favorites are the Sparrows hooks and the Spooxe dimple picks. 

Do you have some lock you would like to pick?

I have a huge collection from “pick virgin” locks i want to be opened in the future, but the one what is the most frustrating with is an Assa Twin 6000 i got from from my friend Julian, I’ve picked a few but never managed to open this one. 

What do people around you think about lockpicking?

Some of them look at it like some kind of magic trick and says Woaaa if they see me in work, the other part always fires the usual and not so funny “what’s your second job in night shift? – joke. 

What else do you like to do when you are not picking locks?

In my free time, I am usually taking care of my car, watching a movie of go out to the city, just the regular stuff. My life is around the lock world and I totally enjoy it.

Is there something you would like to say to fellow lockpickers or people that just started with this hobby?

If somebody says its impossible, just don’t listen and try to make it happen.


The rules of the padlock competition remained unchanged. These locks must be Euro profile, commercially-available double-sided pin-tumbler cylinders and cannot be re-pinned or modified in any way. The contestant needs to have a working key. The locks should not require specialized tools like magnetized picks. The time limit for each lock is 15 minutes and the maximum number of competitors is set to 48. The rules are described in more detail below.


Allowed tools

  • Lock picks (commercial or home-made)
  • Tension tools (commercial or home-made)
  • Vice, or other holding tools (optional)
  • Pen and paper (optional)


  • Every contestant brings his own euro cylinder to provide it for the contest. The cylinder must be double-sided, with both sides having the same bitting. It may be standard or dimple style and must be commercially available (not modified).
  • Arrive early (at least 15 minutes before the start of the competition)
  • Every contestant needs to have his/her own equipment!


  • At the beginning of the competition, each contestant has to open his/her cylinder in 5 minutes. The contestants that fail to open the cylinder are eliminated from the contest.
  • The cylinder brought by the contestant will be given to the organizers for labeling and registration. During the registration, the opened side of the cylinder will be marked.
  • The cylinder brought by the contestant must be undamaged, perfectly functional and clean, else they will be eliminated from the competition. A working key must be available to test the functionality of the cylinder.
  • If specialized tools are required to open the cylinder, the contestant needs to inform the organizers in advance.
  • Based on the number of contestants, qualification groups will be formed. The groups and seating places will be assigned randomly.
  • At the beginning of each round, the contestants pass the cylinders around the table until all the contestants have had the chance to open each cylinder in their group.
  • In each round, the contestants have 15 minutes to open their lock.
  • For each cylinder opened, the contestant gains one point. The opening times will are added together.
  • For each unopened cylinder, 15 minutes are added to the total of opening times.
  • From each qualification group the first 2-4 contestants, based on the total opening time advance to the “A finals”, and the following 2-4 contestants to the “B finals”. There will be usually 6-12 contestants in both the final groups.
  • At the end of the last round, the contestants check their own cylinders with the key, to confirm that they will work perfectly in the final.
  • The cylinders are then collected by the organizers and will be given back before the start of the finals.

Additional info

  • Maximum number of participants are 48 competitors (in the order of signing in).
  • Before the start of each round, the contestant may try out their tension tool in the lock and take it out. Insertion of any manipulation tools inside the lock before the start is prohibited! At the start of the round, no tool may be inserted inside the lock (not even the tension tool). Contestants that do not obey this rule may lose a point.
  • The contestants may choose, whether they will be opening the cylinder in hand or in a vice. If vice is chosen the cylinder should be fastened in the vice before the start.
  • The cylinder is considered open when the core is turned at least 90 degrees and there is no tool inserted.
  • When the contestant opens the cylinder, they indicate this by pressing the button, saying “Open!” out loud and raising the hand. The referee then tells the contestant the opening time and the contestant writes it down into the provided sheet.
  • If a tool gets stuck in the lock or if the lock is damaged, the contestant will be disqualified.
  • If the lock is faulty, it will be withdrawn from the competition by the referee.
  • After opening the lock, the contestant should remain silent and must not disturb other contestants.