Have you seen those kids on the net solving the Rubik’s cube in what, a matter of seconds? The fact that people can solve it that easily is just mind-blowing. I cannot seem to solve the Rubik’s Cube even after trying for hours altogether. This skill of solving the Rubik’s cube the fastest is called speedcubing or just cubing. Those who solve the cubes in a flash are called speedcubers.
Did you know the current record for solving the Rubik’s Cube the fastest is 3.47 seconds by Yusheng Du? He beat the record set by Feliks Zemdegs by only 0.75 seconds!
- Rubik’s Cube History
- Types of Rubik’s Cube
- Speedcubing: CFOP Method
- Speedcubing: Roux Method
- Speedcubing: ZZ Method
- Other Methods of Solving Rubik’s Cube
Rubik’s Cube History
In the year 1974 a Hungarian professor of architecture, Ernő Rubik was keen on modelling three-dimensional movement. Months after breaking his head on it, he crafted the Magic Cube which was later named Rubik’s Cube. IT was made of wood and paper, held by rubber bands, glue, and paper clips. The second challenge faced by him after creating the cube was how to solve it. In an interview, he mentioned that it took him around three months to solve the Rubik’s Cube the first time.
Types of Rubik’s Cube
The standard sizes of the cubes are 2X2X2, 3X3X3, 4X4X4, 5X5X5, 6X6X6, and 7X7X7 which can be solved in many ways like 3X3X3 one-handed, 3X3X3 blindfolded, 4X4X4 blindfolded, and 5X5X5 blindfolded. You can also find different shapes of the cube-like Pyraminx, Megaminx, Skewb, and Square-1.
But the burning question is, how can we solve the Rubik’s Cube when it has about 43 quintillions (quintillion has 18 zeros!) possible configurations?
Well, there are many ways of solving the Rubik’s Cube, but not all are intended for speedcubing. Most speedcubers use the CFOP method to solve the Rubik’s Cube. It is the the fastest method but Roux and ZZ methods are also popular methods.
Speedcubing: CFOP Method
The CFOP method which is also called the Fridrich method was named after Jessica Fridrich who finished the 2003 Rubik’s Cube World Championship. It is called CFOP because it is abbreviated for Cross-F2L-OLL-PLL, which is considered one of the most widely used speedcubing methods. The first step of the method is to solve a cross-shaped arrangement of edge pieces of the first layer, after which you solve the remaining pieces of the first layer and all of the second layer. This step is the F2L step- the first 2 layers step.
The last layer is then solved in two steps, first, all the pieces in the layer are oriented to form a solid colour, which is one side of the same colour. This step is called orientation and is usually performed with a single set of algorithms known as OLL- Orientation of the Last Layer. Now, all the pieces are permuted to their correct spots, this step is called PLL- Permutation of the Last Layer. OLL and PLL use 57 and 21 algorithms, respectively. In case you’re a beginner, like me, and do not understand this language, don’t fret, you should start learning CFOP with 4LLL which is the Four-Look Last Layer, which is a less advanced, slower, and algorithm-reducing way to learn CFOP.
Speedcubing: Roux Method
The Roux method was invented by Gilles Roux, is considered to be one of the most efficient speedcubing methods. The average move count of the Roux method is 45 to 50 moves for an experienced solver. The first step of the Roux method is to form a 3X2X1 block which is generally positioned in the lower portion of the left layer. The next step is to create another 3X2X1 on the opposite side, now each block would share the same bottom color.
The remaining corners are solved by using a set of algorithms known as CMLL-Corners of the Last Layer, without regard to the M-slice. This leaves you with six edges and four centres which are solved in the last step, LSE- Last Six Edges. However, it has been criticized off late mainly because it requires the middle slices to solve the LSE, which makes it harder to achieve higher turns per second.
Speedcubing: ZZ Method
The Zbigniew Zborowski method, or commonly known as the ZZ method is a modern speedcubing method proposed by Zbigniew Zborowski in the year 2006. It was designed specifically to achieve high turning speed. It is a combination of a block-building method and a layer-by-layer method. The first pre-planned step is called EOLine which is the hallmark of the ZZ method. It is done by orienting all the edges while playing two oppositely placed down-face edges aligned with the corresponding colour of the centre.
Next, we solve the remaining first two layers using only left, right, top and bottom face turns. Now, the last layer’s edges are correctly oriented because of EOLine. The last layer can be solved by using an algorithm. The reason the ZZ method is not famous is that EOLine is difficult, which then hinders foresight and turns per second, this makes the ZZ method slower than CFOP.
Other Methods of Solving Rubik’s Cube
Corner-first methods were one of the most popular methods which were employed by Minh Thai, world champion of 1982. The method involves solving the edges with slice turns. This method is rarely used today by speedcubers.
Fewest moves challenge can employ any technique they like, like block-building, Normal-Inverse-Scramble-Swap, commutator insertions, and Domino Reduction. Most of the cubers utilize multiple of these methods to solve the cube.
Lastly, the method used when blindfolded is 3OP- 3 Cycle Orientation Permutation, it orients and then permutes pieces using 3 cycles. Today, 3-Style and M2 are the most popular and the fastest blind solving techniques. Now, I’m sure you’re wondering how anyone could solve the cube blindfolded. Well, they use letter patterns to help them memorize the sequences of moves to solve the cube.
The Rubik’s Cube World Championship is the main international competition once in two years. The latest championship was held in Australia in the year 2019. The most surprising fact is that no Indian has ever won the championship. You have the opportunity to be the first-ever Indian to win the championship. What are you waiting for? Go, speed cube, the country awaits its international title.