In the world of competitive cubing, or speedsolving as it’s commonly called, every single solve counts. Puzzles are scrambled before each competition, and the worst solve times are discounted to ensure that no one wins by luck.
Basic fingertricks can help even beginners break the 1 minute barrier. However, most beginners don’t use them.
As the cube turns faster, it’s important that it has good stability to prevent corner twists. Good stability also allows the cuber to see the entire face during an inspection (per World Cube Association regulations A3a1).
Typically, the best 3×3 speedcubes have high stability. They have a more controlled feel and are less likely to warp. They also have good spring tension, which makes them feel’smooth’ or ‘buttery’.
Intuitive manipulation of the cube is essential for speedcubers. This is difficult to teach, but with practice it should eventually just ‘click’.
The first step toward becoming a speedcuber is to buy a good cube. You can find many excellent options on the market, but it’s important that you choose a cube that feels comfortable to you when turned at high speeds. You’ll also need to lubricate it with a quality lubricant, such as the popular sicilone. Some of the more expensive cubes have better stability, but you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a great cube for speedsolving.
Often, when executing algorithms on a cube, the corners can get stuck and have to be turned back into position. This is called catching, and it can cause the cube to slow down or even stop solving. In older speed rubik’s cubes, this happened frequently and was a major obstacle to faster solve times. However, modern speed cubes have improved designs that eliminate catching.
Speed cubes also have lubrication that reduces friction between layers, which allows them to turn quickly and feel light in your hands. However, beginners may find it hard to control fats turning speed cubes.
Max Schwan has a passion for travel, and South Korea is high on his list. He has friends there, and wants to visit them for their cubing expertise. But he is also excited about the prospect of seeing his family again. “I think that’s going to be a really great experience for me, and my parents, too.” He said.
When solving the cube, you need to twist (orient) and move (permute) the pieces. This requires memorizing algorithms which are sequences of moves that do a specific thing to the puzzle. These are very hard to remember, so you need a cube that allows you to make these moves quickly and with minimal effort. Good corner cutting enables this, and it is one of the most important qualities of speed cubes.
Cubes optimized for speed have very little friction between layers, and this makes them fast to turn. This can be a disadvantage for beginners as it may make the puzzle feel uncontrollable.
To reduce friction, most cubers use lubricants on their puzzles. These are usually silicone oil-type solutions and can be bought from most cube stores. Some people even debate over the ideal lubricant based on how much friction it reduces. It is recommended to apply the lubricant before each solve. This will help your cube to be faster and more enjoyable to use.
When Max Park was a toddler, he couldn’t unscrew the cap on his water bottle. He lacked the fine motor skills that come with autism, and his parents were frustrated. But then, one day, he took an interest in the Rubik’s Cube they had lying around the house and went on to become the fastest 3x3x3 cuber in the world.
The Dayan Zhanchi is a popular speed cube manufactured by Dayan (also known as DY, Daiyan, or Taiyan). It was used by Felix Zemdegs to obtain multiple former world records and it has excellent corner cutting, speed, and stability.
Speed cubes should not have spring noises, which are a squeak that you can hear when turning one of the sides in your cube. These can disrupt the execution of algorithms and distract you resulting in slower solves. These can also wear down your spring and screw over time so it is a good idea to fix them as soon as you notice them.