Posted by: kaitagsd | November 17, 2009

## How to be fast at the Rubik’s Cube

A breakdown of cubing methods

The basic method for solving the Rubik’s Cube is quite easy to learn, only takes a few hours or less with proper guidance.

A good place to start would be Dan Brown’s tutorials on Youtube under the name “pogobat.”

However, it would be ultimately a worst investment of time than if you started off learning the Fridrich method. It is much faster and when executed well can easily get you all the way to around the 20-25 second mark. The Dan Brown method, for me, hit a wall at 50-55 seconds. There just isn’t much ways to improve much beyond that.

The Dan Brown method is as follows:

1. form a cross

2. put in the corners

<now you’re done the first layer>

3. put in the second layer edges

<now you’re done the second layer>

4. make the dot or line or small L into a yellow cross

5. line up the third layer edge pieces with the centre pieces

6. permute the corner pieces and you’re done

The Fridrich method, on the other hand, is something like this:

1. form a cross

2. F2L

<now you’re done second layer>

3. OLL

4. PLL. done

The downside is that the Fridrich method requires a basic memorization of around 15-20 algorithms. To achieve the blitz speeds you see on YouTube, you would need an additional 50, or even more. Holy cow!

It isn’t that daunting. The Fridrich method is much faster in the long run, though it might be a bit of a pain to learn at first.

Short for F2L as most speedcubers would refer it to, the Fridrich “First two layers” method emphasizes on speed by placing the corner and edge pieces together. So do the cross + insert 4 of these corner+edge pairs and you’re done two layers of the cube already. Fast cubers can get this done in less than 10 seconds, that is why you see so many sub-15 second cubers floating around. I’m obviously not there yet.

A good place to start off is looking up badmephisto’s videos. Learn how to do F2L (doesn’t require much memorization, it is logical), memorize 6 or 7 OLLs then another 6 or 7 PLLs. I forgot the exact number. You can do OLL and PLL in 2 steps instead of 1 step so that you don’t have to memorize 20+ more algorithms.

Choice of cube

DIY this, DIY that. Hella confusing.

For starters, do yourself a favour and skip Toys’r’us. Go on Cube4You and get yourself a DIY Type A III-F. That is one of the best cubes around right now. Fine I’ll be a little less confusing…

DIY means do it yourself. There is a lot of different types of DIY cubes.

DIY type As are all produced by a Chinese company called Guo Jia (country armor). There are 8 types of type A’s or something, but only the newest one matters anyway. That is the Type A III-F.

I don’t give a crap about the rest. I know the Rubik’s brand DIY isn’t bad, then there is the Korean Joy/Edison cubes, and JSK (Japanese speedcubing kit), as well as many of the other DIYs, notably type BCDEFG (I actually haven’t looked into those lol).

Go to a hardware store and buy silicone lubricant spray. Jig-a-loo will do. Its orange and in the form of a big spray can. Open up your cube and spray a bit and then play around with your cube. Don’t spray too much.

Things that will confuse you

How to do the cross – maybe you are less intellectually gifted. The cross takes a fair bit of intuition to learn, but shouldn’t take that long. Remember the centre pieces have to line up.

Algorithms??? – just sequences of cube rotations notated by cube notations that tell you what to do whenever you encounter a specific situation. There are only so many situations. Just use muscle memory to memorize it. Don’t memorize it like a poem or dictation.

Timing? – Cubetimer.com

What is a good time? You should be able to get down to 1 minute in around 1-2 months of regular practice. With some extra help, cutting down to 30 seconds will take you a few more months but isn’t really that hard. The rest depends on how motivated you are.

How to improve – once you really can’t improve anymore, focus on fingertricks, maybe a better choice of cube, and sooner or later you’ll need to memorize more algorithms.

DO NOT use your palms or the non-fingertip sections of your finger to turn the cube, this will slow you like hell. Try to use fingertips only. Improve your recognition speed as well.

How fast am I? -  I’m around 30 seconds. I’ve been lazy to learn the PLL algorithms (I don’t know the advanced OLLs either, since PLL only has 21 algorithms to memorize in total while OLL has god-knows-how-many) Solving it in less than 50 seconds is really no big feat as long as you keep stall times to zero.

What about 2×2, 4×4, 5×5, and so forth? – 2×2 is a breeze once you learn the 3×3. 4×4 and on is just a more complicated 3×3, because you do an extra step or two (build the center and edge) and then you solve it like a normal 3×3. There are advanced methods but I don’t know any. 🙂 There are also parity cases where you get messed up orientations even if you’re supposed to have solved the cube normally, so there is a little bit more to memorize… not much though. Focus on the 3×3 first!

I hope my post was informative. Thank You.