May 14, 2014

How to become a Speed Cuber? | Part 2

19:35 Posted by DurgaSwaroop , 1 comment
Finally we are back with the Part 2 of this How to become a Speed Cuber series. (For Part 1 - Click here). This article and the previous one mainly concentrate on the original Rubik's Cube, 3x3x3.

Many people liked Part-1, but one thing they wanted was me to explain each of the speed solving methods, i discussed about in detail. Well, I would like to do that for sure, but this article doesn't seem like the correct place for that. So, for now, i'll give a few links at the end of this article to a few sites and videos, that helped me with Speed Cubing. 
But, since, many people asked me to cover the methods, i'll explain the basic procedure, strategy and tips and tricks with each method in this and the successive articles in this series. Here, i need to be honest with you. Jessica Fridrich's method (CFOP), is the most popular and well used. So, as you probably can guess, I use CFOP for solving. At the same time, i know Petrus method too, So, i'll cover these two methods in great amount of detail than the other two methods (Roux and ZZ). But, i'll still give my comments on them but they are mostly from seeing others solve and not my own personal experiences. So, for these two methods i'll provide a few resources for you guys to look at, if you are interested in learning these.
So, Let's get started .

1)Fridrich's Method (CFOP): 

As, I have already mentioned in my previous post, this is the widely used and well known Speed solving method, because of its simplicity. As a matter of fact, the current top three Cubers, use CFOP, the last time i checked. So, you can find a lot of resources for this method.

So, what is CFOP?
CFOP, is the abbreviation given to this method and the letters C,F,O,P represent the four steps in this method.
C - Cross     F - F2L     O - OLL     P  - PLL
  • Cross - The method starts with solving the cross on one side (any side), with the matching edge pieces 
  • F2L - This step involve solving the first two layers at a time. 
  • OLL - Orienting the lat layer, so that all actual colour that need to be there is present, but not essentially all permuted (placed in their right position)
  • PLL - Permuting the last layer. This step completes the solve.
At each step you have different algorithms for completing the solve.But, atleast for the cross try to do it intuitively. If you are familiar with any of the beginner's methods, you should be able to get past the first step easily.
After, you are done with the cross, next comes F2L. Even this can be done intuitively which is the easiest way and but requires a lot of practice. But, you can also go with the algorithms. There are about 41 cases that you can run into at this stage. You can remember them and complete this stage easily or do it intuitively.
Then comes OLL & PLL. You have to remember the algorithms for these stages to get faster. There are 57 OLL algorithms and 21 PLL algorithms. Don't get frightened by this huge number of algorithms. Most of these are easy and there is a high chance of you knowing many of these already as part of the beginners method. So, you only have to know a few more to get through.
         F2L  - 41 Algorithms  
         OLL - 57 Algorithms
         PLL  - 21 Algorithms

2-Look OLL & 2-Look PLL: (Also called 4LLL : 4-Look Last Layer)
If you think the number of cases in OLL and PLL are very high, you can go with 2-Look alternatives of these. These are not as fast as the full blown OLL but still fast compared to regular beginners method.
The word 2-Look means, 2-steps. Instead of doing the OLL or PLL in one step, you can do it in two steps, hence the name 2-Look.
In 4LLL, the number of algorithms is significantly less compared to full blown PLL and OLL. There are 17 Algorithms in 4LLL instead of the regular OLL and PLL which has 78 Algorithms (57 + 21). So, many people usually start with this and slowly start learning the remaining algorithms.

Now its time for some tips,tricks and advice.
First is first. Get a good Speedcubable cube. They are many famous brand as explained at the end of my last article in the speedcubing series, here.
Once you have a good cube try getting a good lubricant as well. That will help your cube to stay smooth and helps you in your speed. Also, instead of turning the faces like Up, Down with hand, just flick it with your fingers. That is much faster. (called Finger tricks). Apart form these some more are as follows...
  1. Before going into this method directly try learning the beginners method. That will help you a lot
  2. Start learning with 2-Look OLL and then proceed to 2-Look PLL.
  3. If you have mastered all the 17 algorithms in 4LLL, your average solve time should be about a minute or less. ( < 60 secs )
  4. Keep practicing a lot. As Michael Jackson would say, Don't stop till you get enough. So, keep practicing until the algorithms become your muscle memory i.e., you should be able to do the algorithm without even thinking of it. That can be achieved by practicing a lot.
  5. Once you average sub 50 ( <50 secs), start learning about intuitive F2L. Also, try learning some of the full blown OLL & PLL algorithms. That should help to drag your averages down.
  6. With these you should be able to go sub 40, even sub 35, in no time.  Again, Keep practicing a lot.
  7. Once you are sub 35, start learning the remaining OLL and PLL's. Incorporate them into your solves. 
  8. After that learn the F2L algorithms because this will make you faster than the intuitive F2L.
  9. After these steps there is not a lot for you to learn. You just have to practice a lot. Try looking-ahead. See the pieces of the next step while you are in the current step. This can help you to increase your speed much more. 
  10. Once, you are sub 15, all you need to do is keep practicing. Learn all the OLL's,PLL's, F2L if you have left anything. Try learning the advanced algorithms and incorporate them into your own method. 
So, that is a brief outlook of what your plan should be to get very fast at cubing. One thing that i have been repeating a lot is, "Keep Practicing" and i can't stress it enough. You can only get faster through practice. Even if you learn all the algorithms there are but don't practice, you will still be miles away from setting your own records.
 Expected times of your improvement if you follow the above procedure (On an average)

 Current Time                   Goal Time                  Expected time taken (on an average)
    1:30+                                 Sub 50                               5-7 weeks
    Sub 50                               Sub 35                               4-5 weeks
    Sub 35                               Sub 20                               1.5-2 months
    Sub 20                               Sub 15                               > 3 months
    Sub 15                               Sub 10                               Depends on you. Can take many months!
Some more tips:
  1. Use an online/pc timers. This will generate the scrambles and also record and store your solve times, giving all stats like averages,best time,worst time etc.
  2.  Once you have mastered all the PLL's, OLL's, F2L and you are sub 20, you can start looking at some of the advanced methods which can help you in some more ways. You can start by learning the Extended Cross, then move on to the Winter Variation (also called F2LL), some ZBLL cases, Looking ahead and a lot of other things. But, you'll know about them once you get there.
  3. Also, save the printable pages of OLL, PLL and other algorithms so that you have them all the time with you.
And, one final thing before we wrap up this article, Keep Practicing. The more you practice, the more fast you'll get. So, Good luck with your journey in the Speed Cubing World.

Some useful Links for all the things mentioned above:

Famous Websites:
Speedsolving Wiki  - Has almost everything you need. All algorithms, resources and a lot of stuff
Bob Burton's Site  - A famous speed cuber. Covers many practical issues of cubing and tips, tricks to memorize the algorithms.
Cube Freak   - Another cool site which covers everything.
Algorithms - All the algo's you need to learn
DanBrown's Video - One of the most popular videos on YouTube for beginners method
Andy Klise's Site - Another well rounded website
Speed solving Forum -  Great place for all the cubing related discussions
Cube Timers:
Cube Timer - Famous, easy and intuitive timer 
Ultimate Rubik's Cube Timer - Another well known and widely used timer
 qqTimer - Another popular timer
 Popular YouTube Videos/Channels
  BadMePhisto - One of the famous YouTube cubers
 Me Myself And Pi  - Popular , Fun, Reviews 
 RedKB  - Another famous Cubing, Reviews channel
Thrawst - Another well known cubing channel
           Feliks Zemdegs - Official channel of the Current No.2

To buy a cube :

 That is all for this article. Stay tuned for more articles on speedcubing. You can see all the posts about speedcubing here. The next article on Lars Petrus Method, will be out soon. So, stay tuned.

 As always have a Happy reading !

Taken from Bob Burtons Cuing site

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1 comment:

  1. A complete overview of the Jessica Fridrich's method with other helpful resources, tips and tricks.


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