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future competitions and lucky scrambles

Eric79

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Future competitions and lucky scrambles or "Should luck be legit?"

This thread is NOT about 2x2x2 in specific or about the recent set 2x2x2 records in specific, but about lucky scrambles in general (mainly for puzzles like 2x2, Pyraminx, Clock,...). Mentioning the 2x2x2 records is only meant for leading you into the topic!

(Preface: ) At the Trentin Open 2011 last weekend a new world record for 2x2 was set (4 move solve, 0.69s). But not only that, also two more competitors, all averaging from 4.xx-5.xx seconds solved the 2x2x2 in less than a second and even faster than the former WR (0.96s) held by three people at once for a long time. So now those three participants from the Trentin Open 2011 are ranked places 1-3 in the WCA rankings for single 2x2 solves which led to new discussions regurding lucky scrambles.

(Main Topic: ) As the topic of "lucky scrambles" recently and every now and then before already arose here at speedsolving, at other forums as well as in cube related groups and chats elsewere (e.g. on Facebook) I thought about it for a while if I really should make this new thread and get the trolling or if the people actually care and are open minded for a productive discussion regarding lucky scrambles. As you see, I chose to start it...
This should not be about discrediting those people who got records by being lucky with scrambles, I just want to ask you to talk about the pros and cons, share your thinking and ideas reagarding what you think about lucky scrambles - simple "BS" and similar crappy comments don't help anyone. At least not the developing of cubing:

Should lucky scrambles (few move solutions) not be used in future competitions?
(or in other words: should luck be excluded from cubing competitions as much as possible for more compareable results?)

Here is something I want to start with - not necessarily my opinion, surely not planned right down to the last detail... just some thoughts hypothetical which I had:
In sports as well as in other disciplines there usually is no luck included. It's all on the competitors ability or on how good the competitors interact with/against each other. In sports it is all on how good competitors are trained and what their body is capable of or how good they play together as a team, in "mental" competitions like chess, it is on how good you attack and defend your king. In short: It is all about doing something better than someone else can.
In cubing it is quite different: There are different scrambles for every competition and every round, it's just part of it that scrambles have to be different every time to avoid cheating by previous training of a specific scramble. But thus luck gets involved. The quesiton of fairness and comparability rises as is the case in sports, where all that counts is proficiency, and lucky solves are like doping for cubers one could say.
Ok, people may get lucky and be able to solve their twisty puzzly with only few moves, while others don't recognize the easy solve and need longer to solve it. So of course getting good times with lucky scrambles also involves some abilities, but for the most part it's probably the easy scramble.

So, what could be done regarding "lucky" scrambles?
1) A limit could be set for the fewest move solution "legit" for each puzzle
2) All scrambles used in competition could be checked for the fewest move solution using software like e.g. cube explorer so even one who is not good enough to "see" the easy solution can check. (Or - to make it easier and not as time consuming - use a scrambler which excludes scrambles not nard enough.)

What about the records/rankings set so far?
Well, if there was a major change in how things as legit scramblings are done, there is only one solution:
1) Rules have to be changed to make all this possible
2) All previous set records are listed as "outdated", "pre 'lucky scramble rule'", or something similar and everything starts over from the beginning again. (Those people actually good enough get there records back anyway...)

Who does take care and eventually decides if a scramble is legit?
1) Well, as said before, software could be used but also
2) WCA delegates should not compete in a competition where they act as delegates at the same time - they only should be the controllers of everything happening at the competition and also have an eye on the judges
3) Also judges and organizers should not compete in a competition where they are involved
2) and 3) mainly should avoid cheating and things as happened at other competitions before

Why all this?
Well, we call it cubing "competitions". Doesn't that imply the real competition should be to be as fast as possible with what we do instead of "just" getting an easy scramble which allowes to have great times even if we are not as good in general at the single event? Achievements should be more compareable and not the outcome of luck.
 
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Kirjava

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Luck is a part of cubing.

People were almost complaining about the new BLD world record being too easy. I don't understand how you don't expect world records to be on easier solves than others and even get annoyed when it happens.

This only effects single times, so the actual competition element isn't voided at all.
 

superti

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at WC 2009, i scrambled first round, with one 4 moves scramble. (thirth scramble i think)
and i did not see the world record.

with this point

1) A limit could be set for the fewest move solution "legit" for each puzzle

there are one problem.
this rule, limit de next 3x3 fewest WR . if you limit the solution

lucky scrambles is a part of competition
and... for this reasson exist, the AVG

Pda. sorry my english
 
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tim

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2) All previous set records are listed as "outdated", "pre 'lucky scramble rule'", or something similar and everything starts over from the beginning again. (Those people actually good enough get there records back anyway...)
You can't be serious. o_O
And as I've already stated in the other thread: Setting a scramble length doesn't help much in terms of "lucky scrambles".
 

Nostra

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First, I want to apologize for my english.

During WC 2009, I was in the group with the 4 move solution. I get a 1.75 which is still my PB. When I did this time, I averaged about 7-8 seconds. I was ranked like 1000th in the world for Avg and 15th for single.
This is just to emphasize how stupid official lol scramble are.

I think it's very important to have a real distinction between being lucky (let's say a 4 move solution (about 1/5000 scrambles, so 4 move solution will appear again)) and to be at the right place at the right time and have a 1 or 2 move solution. I don't know how rare this kind of scramble are likely to be, but my guess is something like 1/100000 (EDIT : I actually find this : A 3 move solution is about 1/25000; 2move solution is about 1/100000 and 1 move solution is about 1/500000). So this kind of scramble will appear in competition really rarely, so almost nobody will be able to solve it. Do you find it fair that having a World Record can be resume to : being at the right place at the right time?

Eric79, you made some comparison with other sports. Of course, speedcubing is so different that is quite impossible to write our rule thanks to other sport rules. But if I can try one, in athletism for a race like 100m or lenght jump, some times there is wind. And if there is too much wind, a world/continental/etc record cannot be set. And never a competitor will say "this was just luck, when I jumped there was wind and not when the other jumped". A record cannot be set in lucky conditions, this is call fairness.
Even if this is quite far from speedsolving, this is my opinion about 2x2x2 single and similar things. A record should be set only if anyone could have similar conditions/scrambles. Having a World Record with a 1 or 2 moves solutions is totally unfair because one can never have this in is entire competition life.

Kirjava, you were asking in the other thread for a good reason for rejecting some scrambles, I really think that equality is a good one. As several 4-move solution as already existed, and will appear again, this is for me the right limit for the 2x2x2.
 
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Kirjava

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Do you find it fair that having a World Record can be resume to : being at the right place at the right time?
Once the FMC WR goes sub20 it will actually be impossible to beat a lot of the times that people compete in it.

So yeah, I'm fine with the 2x2x2 single WR being difficult to beat.

Having a World Record with a 1 or 2 moves solutions is totally unfair because one can never have this in is entire competition life.
You can say the same of 4 move solutions.

Kirjava, you were asking in the other thread for a good reason for rejecting some scrambles, I really think that equality is a good one. As several 4-move solution as already existed, and will appear again, this is for me the right limit for the 2x2x2.
Everyone is able to get 2 move scrambles. How is this not equal?
 

adragast

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I personally like Stephan idea to set the minimum length to 4 for the 2x2 so that we avoid ridiculous scrambles and we don't need to touch current records (also it will be fair for those who were supposed to get a 2-move scramble and did not get it because it was judged too easy).

For other puzzles, the WCA probably needs to set some limits. 7 for 3x3 ? 50% of the average moves needed ?

I don't care about long but lucky solves (5x5 with centers already solved, 2 moves 1x2x3 roux block, sq-1 already in square shape, ...) but I really would like to avoid too short solves which would discredit our sport in the eyes of many, especially in the eyes of the public/sponsors and media.

People here tend to say we don't care about what non-cubers think but if we want out sport to expand, get some attention, ... we need to be a bit more open-minded. Someone mentioned in the other thread that non-cubers think inspecting the cube is cheating but well, we can explain to the public that this is the way it works. It will not make them despise our sport and they will probably find it fair (everyone has the same amount of time to inspect ...). But if they know a world-record on a 3x3 was set in one move (R2, M', ...), they will have a harder time to take this sport seriously.

Edit: I now think only 2-move away from solved state and maybe 3-move away from solved state should be removed not matter the puzzle. The aim is to remove trivial scrambles.
 
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peterbone

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I think there should not be rejection of easy scrambles. I think that everyone knows by now that the 2x2x2 single record means nothing. We can tell from the guy's reaction, who got the 0.69 record, that he did not consider it a major achievement. Maybe the WCA should just stop listing the 2x2x2 single results. Lucky scrambled should not significantly effect the 2x2x2 average.
 

Nostra

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First, I actually agree with you for the FMC, I first wrote a paragraph about it but I deleted it because I wanted to speak about the 2x2x2 first.
But let's say that the new WR for FMC is 19 or 18, even if it won't be possible to make a WR with every scramble, it will still be possible on a high percentage of them. That's what I'm comparing for the 2x2x2. If breaking a record on 2x2x2 means having the shortest scramble... I'm sorry but I can't find it fair.

And you said : "the 2x2x2 single WR being difficult to beat" we're not talking about difficulty, but about luck. The 3x3x3 or 4x4x4 singles are difficult to beat, not the 2x2x2, as shown this week end, you don't have to be good at 2x2x2 to be the record holder, do you still find it fair?

You can say the same of 4 move solutions.
Yes, but 4 move solutions already appears, not less. I was proposing this number to prevent from deleting all previous 2x2x2 record... Speaking about having a 4 move in our competition life, it's more likely to have one than a 2 move. But having a higher limit at 5 should be more fair, the probability to have one is about 1/1000, it means to do 200 rounds of 2x2x2, that is clearly not impossible. To have a 4 move solve it means doing 1000 rounds of 2x2x2, I guess that some people will do it in a few years, so this is not really the same that having a 2 move solves (1/100000 => 20 000 rounds of 2x2x2!)

And I really don't understand your last statement. You're playing on word.
Everyone is able to have a 10 move scrambles => Everyone actually did it
Everyone is able to have a 4 move scrambles => Several (I guess) 100 people have one
Everyone is able to have a 2 move scrambles => Quite nobody will have one...

What I mean is 2 move scramble will be so rare that it'll me very unlikely you'll be in the right competition, in the right group to have it. Let's say that we are 15000 and that there are 60 persons in a comp, and 3 groups of 2x2x2. Only 20 persons out of 15000 will have a 2 move scramble, so only 0.1% of the community will be able to try to beat the WR. I'm sorry, but this is still not fair for me cause this kind of scramble will appear once in like 5 years, so not everyone will have a 2 moves scramble, that's why I find it unfair.

And you didn't answer about the wind stuff, do you find it unfair that someone who beat the WR in lenght Jump thanks to wind can't be the official world record holder?
 

rowehessler

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if easy scrambles are deleted, then .96 will be WR pretty much until someone learns how to one look 2x2. you cant just make up a new rule about 2x2 scrambling after 8 years of cubing just cuz the WR is too fast. Sure its dumb that the record is .69 with 4 moves by someone who averages 4, but who cares? vincent averaged 7.

Also, if everyone is always saying how 2x2 single WR means nothing (which it does), then why make such a fuss about it? just relax and let christian kaserer have his WR until some other dude comes along and gets a 3 move scramble. then he can have the dumb WR for a while.

However, i believe scrambles should never be deleted. It isnt fair how some delegates delete scrambles and others dont. that gives an unfair advantage to cubers depending on where they live/compete.

2x2 is dumb, i cant believe there are like 3 threads about this bullcrap.
 

Kirjava

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you don't have to be good at 2x2x2 to be the record holder, do you still find it fair?
Luck is an aspect of cubing.

Yes, but 4 move solutions already appears, not less. I was proposing this number to prevent from deleting all previous 2x2x2 record... Speaking about having a 4 move in our competition life, it's more likely to have one than a 2 move. But having a higher limit at 5 should be more fair, the probability to have one is about 1/1000, it means to do 200 rounds of 2x2x2, that is clearly not impossible. To have a 4 move solve it means doing 1000 rounds of 2x2x2, I guess that some people will do it in a few years, so this is not really the same that having a 2 move solves (1/100000 => 20 000 rounds of 2x2x2!)

And I really don't understand your last statement. You're playing on word.
Everyone is able to have a 10 move scrambles => Everyone actually did it
Everyone is able to have a 4 move scrambles => Several (I guess) 100 people have one
Everyone is able to have a 2 move scrambles => Quite nobody will have one...

What I mean is 2 move scramble will be so rare that it'll me very unlikely you'll be in the right competition, in the right group to have it. Let's say that we are 15000 and that there are 60 persons in a comp, and 3 groups of 2x2x2. Only 20 persons out of 15000 will have a 2 move scramble, so only 0.1% of the community will be able to try to beat the WR. I'm sorry, but this is still not fair for me cause this kind of scramble will appear once in like 5 years, so not everyone will have a 2 moves scramble, that's why I find it unfair.
I just realised. Maybe 2x2x2 single is unfair. If so, that's just how it is.

And you didn't answer about the wind stuff, do you find it unfair that someone who beat the WR in lenght Jump thanks to wind can't be the official world record holder?
There are no scrambles for long jump.
 

Nostra

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Just to say it, I totally don't care about the 2x2x2 WR. This is just about fairness and equality, and just because it's totally stupid to have a record holder which is not one of the best in the world...

There are no scrambles for long jump.
But luck is forbidden
 

Eric79

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Luck is a part of cubing.

People were almost complaining about the new BLD world record being too easy. I don't understand how you don't expect world records to be on easier solves than others and even get annoyed when it happens.

This only effects single times, so the actual competition element isn't voided at all.
Sure I expect world records on easier solves and don't like them too much (it's not annoying to me) but I am not sure if it is a good thing to just leave it like that and have luck as such an important factor in cubing for competitive reasons (as explained above). Maybe you could reword the question to: Should luck be excluded from cubing competitions? I don't even like my own PBs too much if they were lucky solves as in my personal opinion a real solve involves all steps of the used method without skipping a complete step to be representative, but that's another story.
Ok, so what if some get REALLY lucky and get 5 easy scrambles in a row and thus even a new WR average? Maby several seconds better than their usual times? Ok, it's unlikely to happen, but not totally impossible... shouldn't be taken care of those contingencies BEFORE they happen? Rules could be set for any type of puzzle... for blind it could be at least 6 corners and 10 edges have to be in the wrong place (or something like that, just as an example).

So Thom, would you go one step further and say "don't even list and keep track of the single world records as almost all of them will be a product of luck in the long run?
at WC 2009, i scrambled first round, with one 4 moves scramble. (thirth scramble i think)
and i did not see the world record. [...] there are one problem.
this rule, limit de next 3x3 fewest WR . if you limit the solution[...]
You didn't see it and of course not everyone can see an easy scramble - which is why I said scrambles should be checked with software or limited by the scramble software itself.
Well, there's nothing wrong in setting a rule which defines at which point a cube is considered scrambled or not and thus "too easy" to solve. And sure, seperate "rules" had to be set for every single event. But in general this rule would not really "limit" the WRs in general, it just rises the bar and makes it harder to achieve very good times when it is about speedsolving and expludes the ridiculous easy scrambles.

Think of an U2 D2 R2 L2 solution for 3x3 (just an hypothetical example to explain the principle) the WR set with that solution probably would be sub 1s... I wouldn't really be proud of it. Or tell anybody if about that WR - everyone would make fun of it or (when talking to non-cubers) cubing in general. It is nothing too sepcial with such a scramble. There's almost nothing to know, no real ability, no real training needed just 4 fast turns to get that world record. It couln't be taken serious and respected as an real achievement by anyone but still it was an official WR.
You can't be serious. o_O
And as I've already stated in the other thread: Setting a scramble length doesn't help much in terms of "lucky scrambles".
Tim, as said, this is some thoughts and not neccessarily my opinion. But if you would want to change something that big to make a competition less depending on luck to the benefit of competition itself, of course such drastic steps hat to be done.
That's why it was about setting a minimal move count for the solve instead of setting a minimal length of scrambles.
Do you find it fair that having a World Record can be resume to : being at the right place at the right time?[...] Eric79, you made some comparison with other sports. [...] in athletism for a race like 100m or lenght jump, some times there is wind. And if there is too much wind, a world/continental/etc record cannot be set. [...] A record cannot be set in lucky conditions, this is call fairness.
Exactly, if there is too much wind in the stadium (which has walls and sometimes even a roof to explude the factor weather) they set pauses for times when there is just to much of outer influences. Sports is just a very good example for showing what all is excluded to reduce it only to the competitors abilities.
You can say the same of 4 move solutions.
[...] it will be fair for those who were supposed to get a 2-move scramble and did not get it because it was judged too easy[...].
For other puzzles, the WCA probably needs to set some limits. 7 for 3x3 ? 50% of the average moves needed ?
I think at this point it should not be about the details, as this is something the WCA has to decide... some people should sit together if something like my hypothetical thoughts were agreed on and make those decissions in detail.
I don't care about long but lucky solves (5x5 with centers already solved, 2 moves 1x2x3 roux block, sq-1 already in square shape, ...) but I really would like to avoid too short solves which would discredit our sport in the eyes of many, especially in the eyes of the public/sponsors and media. [...] Someone mentioned in the other thread that non-cubers think inspecting the cube is cheating but well, we can explain to the public that this is the way it works. It will not make them despise our sport and they will probably find it fair (everyone has the same amount of time to inspect ...). But if they know a world-record on a 3x3 was set in one move (R2, M', ...), they will have a harder time to take this sport seriously.
And this was one of the reasons why I decided to trigger that discussion in a seperate thread as I think it is important to be discussed.
I think there should not be rejection of easy scrambles. I think that everyone knows by now that the 2x2x2 single record means nothing. We can tell from the guy's reaction, who got the 0.69 record, that he did not consider it a major achievement. Maybe the WCA should just stop listing the 2x2x2 single results. Lucky scrambled should not significantly effect the 2x2x2 average.
That's kind of like the 400m runner saying "Oh, who cares about 100m sprint" or the one doing a marathon saying "Oh, those spoiled sissies runnning in a stadium only a few hundret meters, who cares about them". It's personal preference. But a competition is not really competitive as long as luck decides to a big chunk who's the winner.
 
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Kirjava

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Maybe you could reword the question to: Should luck be excluded from cubing competitions?
Yeah, go for it. That's a less legitimate argument.

Ok, so what if some get REALLY lucky and get 5 easy scrambles in a row and thus even a new WR average? Maby several seconds better than their usual times? Ok, it's unlikely to happen, but not totally impossible... shouldn't be taken care of those contingencies BEFORE they happen?
Nope. That should be perfectly valid.

So Thom, would you go one step further and say "don't even list and keep track of the single world records as almost all of them will be a product of luck in the long run?
No, that is a terrible idea.
 

Eric79

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if easy scrambles are deleted, then .96 will be WR pretty much until someone learns how to one look 2x2. you cant just make up a new rule about 2x2 scrambling after 8 years of cubing just cuz the WR is too fast. Sure its dumb that the record is .69 with 4 moves by someone who averages 4, but who cares? vincent averaged 7.

Also, if everyone is always saying how 2x2 single WR means nothing (which it does), then why make such a fuss about it? just relax and let christian kaserer have his WR until some other dude comes along and gets a 3 move scramble. then he can have the dumb WR for a while.

However, i believe scrambles should never be deleted. It isnt fair how some delegates delete scrambles and others dont. that gives an unfair advantage to cubers depending on where they live/compete.

2x2 is dumb, i cant believe there are like 3 threads about this bullcrap.
Rowe, for me it seems you kind of misunderstood what this thread is really about: The recent 2x2x2 records just started discussions again, but this thread should NOT be about 2x2x2 and the records in specific, but about lucky scrambles in general.
You are right about what you say regarding some delegates deleting scrambles and some don't and that is why maybe a rule regarding which scramble has to be deleted and which hasn't should be created.
Yeah, go for it. That's a less legitimate argument.
Less legitimate? You didn't mean less illegitimate? Just asking - I'm a bit confused. Either way, I decided to add it to the original post.
Nope. That should be perfectly valid.
No, that is a terrible idea.
So you are "pro-luck"?
 

tim

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But if you would want to change something that big to make a competition less depending on luck to the benefit of competition itself, of course such drastic steps hat to be done.
1.) No:
2. less than or equal to the smallest minimum distance that we know to have already existed in a competition - if this is done, then it's reasonable to maintain the current records as they are reasonably.
2.) "that big"? Huh, did I miss something? Removing short scrambles would be barely noticeable. It's not like the average 2x2 solve will increase by 0.5 seconds...

That's why it was about setting a minimal move count for the solve instead of setting a minimal length of scrambles.
I used "scramble length" and "length of optimal solution" synonymously, since we're mainly discussing 2x2, 3x3 and Pyraminx (we already have random state scramblers for them). So, my argument remains valid.

I love Rowe's post btw. :)
 
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Eric79

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I am quite missing the context of that statement. But anyway, this was Mikes opinion, mine is different. And I enver said they should be "deleted"... Say in formula one (not that I was a fan of that) they used to use an "auotmatic starting automatic" to start driving as quick as possible after the lights turned green. It's not allowed to use it nowadays anymore. But still, the "old" records remained "legit", they were not taken back. I talked about... just making the "old" records in cubing "previous lucky scramble rule" (if done) and start over again. Why not, they still were achieved once, but new records would be achieved under a different condition.
2.) "that big"? Huh, did I miss something? Removing short scrambles would be barely noticeable. It's not like the average 2x2 solve will increase by 0.5 seconds...
Big in the sense of affecting the setting of records - of course not regarding the average solve times. Luck was eliminated when setting a record - well, at least regarding the below mentioned events.
I used "scramble length" and "length of optimal solution" synonymously, since we're mainly discussing 2x2, 3x3 and Pyraminx (we already have random state scramblers for them). So, my argument remains valid.[...]
Sure, you could scramble a cube with 100 turns and still solve it in one single turn - so you are right regarding that scramble length does not affect lucky scrambles. But you said
[...]Setting a scramble length doesn't help much in terms of "lucky scrambles"
Leave the scramble length aside, they are not topic of this thread as there are already rules regarding them, it's not like there are 3x3x3 scrambles for 3x3 legit for competitions which only are 6 (just an example) turns long - this one simply is about the minimal move count legit to solve the puzzle. (It may result in the same, but doesn't include each other from a certain scramble length on.)
 

Eric79

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[...]'m certainly not against luck, but I do not think we should be filtering averages so they contain at least one scramble that is 'lucky'.
Do I get this right? You think one lucky scramble for each average is al right? Ok. So, what's your opinion on average scrambles containing more than one lucky scramble?
Filtering scrambles cannot eliminate luck.
Well, it can eliminate "lucky few move solves". That's what we are discussing in this thread. We are not talking about the luck one has when using a random method and gets a skip of a step of the used method.
 
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