It's the holiday season, and I have two weeks off work. My parents have been visiting for the holidays. So it's been a lot of hanging out, watching movies, and drinking. My Dad and I were playing chess, knocking back whiskies, and having a great time. Somehow we got on the topic of solving a Rubik's cube. I've never solved one before. I don't know how the conversation started, but one of my boys ran upstairs and came back with a Rubik's cube.
I remembered that a friend of mine from work chalked up some kind of tutorial on solving the cube. He gave it to me years ago, way before my kids even had cubes. I held onto it in the event that it would come in handy one day, and when the kids got cubes for Christmas last year, I forgot all about even having the instructions.
I printed out a copy and got to work on figuring it out.
Some of the instructions weren't that intuitive, but after watching a YouTube video, the use of nomenclature like of "F, R', L2" was made clear. Once I figured out how to do it, it was just a matter of memorizing a few algorithms. I went from never being able to solve a cube before, to being able to solve one in under 5 minutes. After a few days of some serious practicing, I managed to get my time down to a little over 3 minutes. And not just here and there, but consistently.
A few times, I even managed to solve it in under 3 minutes!
The fastest that I've been able to solve one with a random shuffle generated from Ruwix.com
is 2:04. I may have just gotten lucky with the shuffle, but the yellow cross was already solved when I got to the third layer, so I saved myself a lot of time there. So I don't really feel like 2:04 was a real win.
I do feel like I could solve it faster, but the cube jams up. I think I'm at the point where I might have to start looking into other methods of solving that go above and beyond the beginner's 3-layer method. I have to learn more advanced techniques that allow you to solve the first two layers simultaneously That, and I think I need to get a better cube; one that allows me to move faster without it binding up. I've done some reading online and it seams that, although the Rubik's brand is the most popular, they don't make the best cube. The "regular" $12 Rubik's cube you can buy in places like Target or your local toy store isn't made for speedcubing.
I'm not saying that I'm going to be beating any Word Records. Those guys have been working at speedcubing for years, and I've been at it for a week. With that sad, I still feel like it's a pretty good accomplishment being able to consistently solve a cube in 3 minutes after only being at it for a week. I just want to set a personal goal of being able to solve a cube in under 3 minutes and just get better from there.