Hints for speed cubing
It is very important to customize each
algorithm for your hands. Some of us are right handed, some left
handed, some may prefer algorithms which use only 2 or 3 faces so
that alternate twisting from left hand to right hand is avoided.
Sometimes, it may be wise to perform an algorithm with the cube
turned upside down, or twisted by 180 degrees. This adjustment must
be done by each individual separately because everyone may have
different views of which algorithms are user friendly and which are
not. This takes a lot of time, but it may cut an important chunk
from your total time.
Multiple algorithmsAs you
may notice, some positions in the last layer have several algorithms
associated with them. I alternate between them to minimize turning the
cube as a whole, thus cutting on time.
Finger shortcutsMost speed
cubists have also developed special sequences ("shortcuts or macros")
of two to four moves which can be performed astonishingly fast by
pushing the faces with your fingers. Yes, it does require some
dexterity. On my video page you can watch
me solve the cube a few times. I also perform some finger tricks.
Move algorithms to your
subconsciousnessIt is also important that your brain automatizes
the algorithms into inseparable units - elementary actions, because
then you will not have to think about individual moves. The individual
moves will be performed "by your hands" rather than making your brain
busy. At this stage, one can afford to think more about the next step
rather than about the algorithm which is being performed. It is done
for you automatically by your subconsciousness! I noticed that this
automatization goes that far that if I am interrupted while performing
some longer algorithm, I will not be able to finish it! In a sense, I
do not know the sequence of moves and perceive the algorithm as one
unit. This may sometimes create comical situatioins when somebody asks
you about a specific move, and you will not able to show it slowly
- and will get stuck after several moves having to start over again to
see the remainder of the algorithm.
No delays between algorithms
Another thing which is very important is to cut on delays between
consecutive algorithms. One should minimize the decision time to
almost zero. This issue is strongly connected with another one - the
question of twisting speed.
Faster twisting does not have to
mean shorter timesDogma: One needs to be especially dextered to
be able to solve the cube that fast (in 17 seconds). I would be lying
to say that some dexterity is not important, but I insist that an
average person possesses the necessary dexterity to solve the cube in
really short times. I believe that almost everybody can achieve the
twisting speed of 3 twists per second. Remember, all you are required
to do is to learn a finite set of algorithms perform quickly. This
relates to the important issue of adjusting
algorithms for your hands. So why is it possible that faster twisting
speed may bring you longer times? By performing the moves really fast,
one deprives him/herself of the [important] knowledge of what is
actually happening to the cube. After performing an algorithm, one is
then suddenly thrown into a new position and needs some time to decide
which move to choose next. If you had turned the cube just little
slower, you could actually see what is happening to the cube, and
choose the best next move during the last couple of moves of the
previous algorithm. If you compare the times: fast turns + delay
between moves and slow turns + shorter delays, you will find out that
the second summation may be shorter! Another argument for the second
alternative is that it is very hard to turn the cube really fast, and
one often encounters "stuck" cubicles, or breaks the cube to its atoms.
This can slow you down as well as frustrate.
Preparing the cube for record
times.I have heard people recommend a variety of different
lubricants for the cube. Among others, sillicon oil, graphite, and
soap were mentioned. From my experience, sillicon oil worked best. Be
careful before using other lubricants because some of them may be
pretty aggressive and speed up the aging process of your cube. Intense
twisting causes a fine dust to develope inside the cube. Some cubists
say that this kind of natural lubricant is the best one. I recommend
to grease the cube because a lubricated cube will turn easier and you
will be able to "cut corners" while speed cubing. But be aware of the
fact that putting lubricant into a cube will make the cube more
vulnerable to an accidental dismemberment.
I would like to end with a couple of more remarks on the cube. First,
the secret of achieving amazingly short times is not just the
algorithms themselves. After all, a system will never solve the cube.
Humans do! Probably the most important factor is dedication and a lot
of practicing. As you may notice, some positions in the last layer
have several algorithms associated with them. I alternate between
them to minimize turning the cube as a whole, thus cutting on time.
So, what is the best system for speed cubing? I do not
think that there is such thing as the best system. One system may
better fit one person, other system may be more natural for somebody
else. I believe that any system which is worked out into sufficient
perfection is good. We should not be comparing systems but cubists.
Those certainly are comparable.
What are the limits of speed
cubing?Any algorithmic set which can be performed by a human must
be limited to a couple of hundreds at most thousands of algorithms.
These algorithms need to be performed in a fast manner without too
much thinking. This puts limits on the amount of time needed to solve
the cube. If there was a hypothetical person who could see the
shortest or the almost shortest algorithm right away in the beginning
(which is quite improbable), he or she would need about 2 seconds,
provided the farthest position is around 20 face moves at the twist
rate of 10 moves per second. Since the assumption for this estimate
will probably be unrealistic for many years to come, I estimate the
limit for speed cubing at 5 seconds (the average time). One should
totally abandon the concept of a record time since it has very little
informational value. If somebody messes up the cube carelessly, one
can take advantage of it and solve the cube in a few seconds.
Therefore, for comparing purposes, I suggest to use an average of 10
consecutive times. For my system, I defined the concept of a modified
record: I discarded record times whenever more than one stage was
skipped during the cube solving. By skipping a stage, I mean: placing
the four edges using less than 3 moves, too much luck for the four
blocks (in the second layer), skipping the orientation of 8 cubicles
from the last layer, skipping the permutation part in the last layer.
For the first two layers, it is hard to estimate the probabilities,
but the last layer can be calculated exactly. The probability that
after solving the second layer, the last layer will have the correct
color is 1/216, and the probablity that after orienting the cubes in
the last layer one will not need to permute them, is 1/72. So, for
example, if the last layer got assembled by chance right after the
second layer, I discarded the time since the probability of that
happening is too small: 1/(216*72). So, what is my modified record?
It is 11 seconds. My best average out of ten was often 17 in 1983. I
kept myself in a good shape for many years, and I can still get to an
average of about 18 after all those years. Going back to 17 or lower
would require a lot of effort, good cube, and a complete devotion that
only a rookie can possess. So, good luck everybody and do not give up!