Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Speedcubing

My Beat up Cube
I've been able to solve my Rubik's cube for a few years now. I learned from a simple Layer By Layer(LBL) method from Popular Vlogger Dan Brown. It was enough for me. I manage to get my time to around 1 minute and progressed no more. I didn't try to learn any more advanced stuff, but I did manage to pick up a lot of tricks along the way. I learned why each algorithm I used was important and understood what they did. Recently, I felt like I wanted to do it faster, so I looked into speedcubing.

My cat doesn't like photography
I thought I would just be hit with a wall of algorithms and have to learn those. I had known that there were at least 60 or so cases I would need to learn and a separate algorithm for each. To my surprise, the first step of learning how to speedcube (at least with the Fridrich method) is to make your own algorithms. I'm exaggerating a bit. I'll explain.

First off, I'm going to throw out a lot of cubing lingo. I don't want to explain all of it, because that would take too long and this isn't a tutorial.

Anyway, the first part of the Fridrich method is the same as and LBL method, make the cross. That's easy and even a person who's never solved before could probably make one with some ease.

The Second Step is probably the most difficult part to learn, and the most important. It's called F2L, First Two Layers. The idea is that you solve the first two layers at the same time. There are tutorials on how to do this, and there certainly are a lot of them. All of them are confusing, as well. Not because they're bad, but because this is very difficult. Most of the tutorials start off with, "This is supposed to be intuitive, you should probably just make your own algorithms and learn that way." I thought that was really silly, and really difficult.

It's like a toy and a math problem
At first I couldn't even understand what I had to do, I just started doing things. At first I tried to learn some algorithms, but they're pretty short and often don't have the result I was looking for. Sometimes, I didn't even know what I was looking for. As time went on, however, I started to see what I was doing. In a couple of days I went from staring at the cube aimlessly to actually solving it with F2L. I can't say I'm doing it faster than before, but it feels less stressful. Like I feel like once I get good at this, I'll be very fast. I'm learning it slowly, but I think that's the point. It's actually kind of fun.

I haven't at all learned the rest of the Fridrich method and I'm not sure if I'll ever learn the full OLL and PLL (which some tutorials say aren't even necessary to learn), but it's all really fun and interesting. Hopefully I'll be down to 30 seconds one day or maybe even 10 seconds.

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