Can you solve a 3x3 puzzle in N moves, knowing...

gurthbruins

Member
Can you solve a 3x3 puzzle in N moves, knowing that N moves have been used to scramble the Cube? For instance if I scramble a Cube by doing 17 moves, can you solve it in 17 moves? Or if 17 is too high a number to manage, what number can be managed?

Billabob

Member
You can always solve it in X moves where X <= N. Whether you can figure out those moves is a whole other thing.
Not entirely true. In QTM, a scramble with odd/even N will always take an odd/even number of moves to solve. This is because a single turn does an odd number of swaps on both corners and edges, so if the scramble has an odd permutation of corners it will always take an odd number of moves to solve. (At least I think so. Please correct me if I’m mistaken)

In HTM your statement is true because you can just do U2 U' instead of U to add 1 to the move count.

Last edited:

AbsoRuud

Member
I still think my statement is true. The lowest number of moves needed to solve a cube is always lower or equal to the number of moves used to scramble. Whether it needs to be a multiple of 2 less than the number of moves to scramble is another discussion altogether.

cuber314159

Member
I still think my statement is true. The lowest number of moves needed to solve a cube is always lower or equal to the number of moves used to scramble. Whether it needs to be a multiple of 2 less than the number of moves to scramble is another discussion altogether.
Well obviously as long as the same way of counting the moves is used.

SenorJuan

Member
I've tried this 'solving challenge' quite a number of times, in fact we even did it back in the 80's. I would scramble, then put the puzzle down for an hour, so I didn't have any worthwhile memory of what moves I did.
A limit of 12 turns is the best I can manage, but I'm sure more competent people could do better, especially with practice. 17 turns is a lot, though. It would also be very time-consuming.
I recall Jessica Fridrich mentions it on her website, at an early competition she attended, another competitor was solving 10-move scrambles easily.

xyzzy

Member
17 turns is a lot, though. It would also be very time-consuming.
At that point, you're really doing an FMC attempt, trying to look for the optimal solution. 17 moves is enough to cover around a quarter of all possible scrambles.

(Granted, a large proportion of 17-move scramble sequences will have optimal solutions that are 15 or 16 moves long, but that still doesn't mean it's easy to find a 17-move solution.)

SenorJuan

Member
Solving success depends on the 'rules' you choose. If you choose to only make 'counting' turns, and work it out entirely in your head, it's unsurprisingly harder than allowing 'trial moves' , to see where a two or three-move sequence gets you.

Maybe it's an idea for a Forum competition.

It's obviously best if someone else executes the scramble for you, then you're totally unaware of the scramble, and the length of it.
If you're self-scrambling, one strategy is to scramble, say, 4 cubes with different scrambles. Mix them up, put them away for a few hours. When you come to the solve attempts, you'll have no idea which is which, and hopefully gain no advantage.

Klaudiusz Szyprocinski

Member
A limit of 12 turns is the best I can manage, but I'm sure more competent people could do better, especially with practice.
Do you have any proof?