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Journey to ZBLL + Why ZBLL is so important

Will you learn ZBLL?


  • Total voters
    51

Tao Yu

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I don't think the statement that ZBLL is important makes any sense unless you're saying what it's for. So many of the arguments at the start of this thread don't make any sense to me. Clearly there are things that ZBLL is good for, and things which ZBLL is overkill for. If you're just aiming for a 8-9 average
ZBLL is very clearly just a lot of unnecessary effort and you'd be better off spending your time on F2L. On the other hand, top cubers learn large portions of ZBLL because it does give them an advantage, and it makes sense to start earlier if you do want to know a large part of it.

I think it is the most important alg set BESIDES oll/pll
I agree with this however.
 
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I'm gonna reboot my dead account to chime in. This isn't a direct comment on OP's statement on ZBLL, but I want to get it out there: learning this method may break you.

When I last participated in the cubing community, ZBLL was the next best thing. My semester abroad in high school was just spent crunching algorithms trying to find any that were remotely speedy. Everyone's goal was to be the first to learn all the cases, or to at least be there to witness it. January 1st of 2010 (iirc), I came out with the first publicly available set of speed-oriented ZBLL algorithms. The path was finally open to people learning the method. And then nothing.

I tried to learn the cases and made many edits to my algorithms over time as I made adjustments for situations where COLL+EPLL were faster. But the hype in the community was gone, and I was really struggling to maintain recall on all the last layer cases. My times weren't improving because all my effort was going into learning this new thing, and as I had just started college time was becoming scarce. I remember my last update to my algorithms: an angry upload to google docs after back to back all nighters writing essays. That was the last time I picked up a cube to do anything serious.

Back in 2017 or 2018 I got an email! Someone wanted to learn ZBLL and wanted permission to use my algorithms for something. I got excited. Maybe there weren't any other methods to speed. Maybe the competition was pushing people into the tightest corners looking for edges. Maybe I was just ahead of my time. I looked at my cube when I got home from work that night and then remembered all the pain. Nope.

In late 2019 I got an email from another person! They wanted to know if I'd ever finished learning. Made me feel sad, but I saw something growing. Looked at the cube again. Felt those all nighters deep in my soul. No thanks.

Recently I got another email, this time from someone who wasn't at the top of the game. I wrote out some of my pain and encouraged this person to grow their skills in other methods until it seemed like nothing was improving. I looked at my cube again. Solved it once. Put it back.

----

This thread popped up in my speed solving summary email that I get. It's still fun to look, but now the first post is about learning ZBLL. I felt the pain again. After updating my password (it was had the security of a 2010 password uggggh), I just did a search for ZBLL. Holy moly! People have been doing things! And they've stayed in the community! There are threads where people are talking to each other about their progress and encouraging each other. I didn't shed a tear but I did get a little glassy eyed.

Maybe if I had started today I would have been encouraged to keep going. Maybe I could have known someone in person who I could theory craft algorithms with. Maybe I could have done it. After all, I only had H and the Sunes left to learn when I gave up, and that was entirely on my own, alone in my dorm room. I have a significant amount of pride associated with being the first to slog through all the cases and write them up for everyone else, but I also have a lot of shame and pain associated with failing to achieve what I had really wanted.

----

My goal from 30 second on was always ZBLL, so I learned COLL and VHF2L. I dabbled with ZZ, Petrus, even some perverted version of Roux to figure out ways to get to a ZB-style finish. When I started learning ZBLL earnestly I was averaging around 16 seconds. At most 3 of those seconds were spent on the last layer because I spent so much time mastering it. Instead, I could have worked on my lookahead, block building, being color agnostic, or even some snazzier F2L to get better edge orientation more easily. Instead I focused on the algorithm-heavy method and burned out.

Is ZBLL important? Maybe. It's not nearly as important as people thought it was in pre-speed algorithms 2009, and for speed-oriented algorithms the move saving promises that got the method started in the first place are also lost. My experiences have taught me that the last layer is the least important layer to put effort into, mostly because you'll time yourself on PLLs and OLLs constantly anyway (who doesn't want a sub-second step?).

This was far too long of a comment. I'm not rebooting my account, and I'm not picking up a cube again. But I do want to make sure that those of you who are active now still have the energy to be active in the community in a few years.
 

Tao Yu

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I'm gonna reboot my dead account to chime in. This isn't a direct comment on OP's statement on ZBLL, but I want to get it out there: learning this method may break you.
Wow, it's great to see you on here once again. I never realized how much work you had put into finding the algs.

I couldn't tell from your post, but are you aware that there are about 20 or so people (myself as an example) who know full ZBLL by now? I think we would all agree that your work laid the foundation for us and that your sheet marks an important historical landmark in the development of the algset.

Is ZBLL important? Maybe. It's not nearly as important as people thought it was in pre-speed algorithms 2009, and for speed-oriented algorithms the move saving promises that got the method started in the first place are also lost. My experiences have taught me that the last layer is the least important layer to put effort into, mostly because you'll time yourself on PLLs and OLLs constantly anyway (who doesn't want a sub-second step?).
It's possible that the hype around ZBLL isn't as big as it was back then, but it is still believed to be faster, and it is generally considered worth learning at least a large portion of it. We've also improved many things since 2009. Better algs have been found, we don't use Baum-Harris anymore, and there are alg trainers which can help you to learn the algs quickly and also help develop perfect recall and execution. We have a very different impression of how difficult ZBLL is now - many problems simply turned out not to be problems. People seemed to think back then that you'd constantly need to review your algs in order not to forget. In reality, I think most serious ZBLL users could go on a several months break and not forget a single alg.

It is true that working on other things usually brings more improvement, but even so, it's very feasible nowadays to learn full ZBLL in 2-3 months. It may not be the thing that brings you the most improvement for 3 months of work, but so what? It's only three months - many cubers take breaks longer than that. Just do it and get it over with. In practice, you'll see a decent number of top cubers knowing at least 200-300 ZBLLs, with the fastest person knowing full ZBLL probably being Daniel Rose-Levine (6.78 official average).
 

hexacuber

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tl;dr

I understand that ZBLL won't be cake. I'm planning on learning around 350 of the algs, and it will likely take me over a year. Honestly I just like learning algs, and if I ever get tired of learning ZBLL then I can always take a break.
 

Jam88

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tl;dr

I understand that ZBLL won't be cake. I'm planning on learning around 350 of the algs, and it will likely take me over a year. Honestly I just like learning algs, and if I ever get tired of learning ZBLL then I can always take a break.
IMO you should learn it, because then when you get faster, the algs are good in your muscle memory.
 

ketchupcuber

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Personally I am trying to get sub 10 at least before I learn any subsets I'm just trying to increase tps and work on lookahead. I don't think you should learn ZBLl yet because the fundamentals of a good f2l is so much more important than subsets and you should only learn them once you feel as though every other part of your solve is as good as it will be. Take Max Park World champ with no real subsets whereas Anthony Brooks full ZB and not that fast this just shows how much more important 2lll and f2l is than ZB.
 

hexacuber

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As I have said earlier, ZBLL is not required to average sub 7. However, knowing ZBLL is definitely beneficial in the long run. And as Jam88 said, knowing ZBLL early on is good because when you are faster the algs would be in your muscle memory.
 

OreKehStrah

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May 24, 2019
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Personally I am trying to get sub 10 at least before I learn any subsets I'm just trying to increase tps and work on lookahead. I don't think you should learn ZBLl yet because the fundamentals of a good f2l is so much more important than subsets and you should only learn them once you feel as though every other part of your solve is as good as it will be. Take Max Park World champ with no real subsets whereas Anthony Brooks full ZB and not that fast this just shows how much more important 2lll and f2l is than ZB.
There's no reason you can't work on both at the same time. There are lots of ZBLLs that you can learn and implement in like 2 minutes. For example, T-32. It's just F perm with the 2 corners that swapped flipped, so there are two sides that are solid colors. Super easy to recognize, and learn the alg for. There's no downside to learning these kinds of cases at any speed.

Also as a side note, IIRC, Max Park said on a reddit AMA a while back he was learning some ZB and TTLLs.
 

branson_lau

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Feb 18, 2020
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Wow, it's great to see you on here once again. I never realized how much work you had put into finding the algs.

I couldn't tell from your post, but are you aware that there are about 20 or so people (myself as an example) who know full ZBLL by now? I think we would all agree that your work laid the foundation for us and that your sheet marks an important historical landmark in the development of the algset.



It's possible that the hype around ZBLL isn't as big as it was back then, but it is still believed to be faster, and it is generally considered worth learning at least a large portion of it. We've also improved many things since 2009. Better algs have been found, we don't use Baum-Harris anymore, and there are alg trainers which can help you to learn the algs quickly and also help develop perfect recall and execution. We have a very different impression of how difficult ZBLL is now - many problems simply turned out not to be problems. People seemed to think back then that you'd constantly need to review your algs in order not to forget. In reality, I think most serious ZBLL users could go on a several months break and not forget a single alg.

It is true that working on other things usually brings more improvement, but even so, it's very feasible nowadays to learn full ZBLL in 2-3 months. It may not be the thing that brings you the most improvement for 3 months of work, but so what? It's only three months - many cubers take breaks longer than that. Just do it and get it over with. In practice, you'll see a decent number of top cubers knowing at least 200-300 ZBLLs, with the fastest person knowing full ZBLL probably being Daniel Rose-Levine (6.78 official average).
Baum harris recognition is fast if you are exactly at the reference angle, but it is really bad to auf before zbll, imagine U2 recognize zbll and U2 again to solve the case.
Do you know 2 sided recognition for all algorithms or just auf to find the patterns you know
 

Anthony

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Take Max Park World champ with no real subsets whereas Anthony Brooks full ZB and not that fast this just shows how much more important 2lll and f2l is than ZB.
I've worked on ZB for 5 years. The first 3 years were primarily development of the method (thousands of hours spent revamping the algorithms through play with the cube and relentless CubeExplorer searching). During this time I constantly relearnt algs as I discovered faster ones. As I became more fluent with ZB (ZBLL + ZBLS), I expanded the system to work out inefficiencies never before highlighted as I ventured into uncharted waters in the world of speedcubing.

The last two years have been working towards mastery of the method based on the foundation I created myself. Considering I've maintained a top100 average in 3x3 during this time, I do believe I am "fast." Max indeed *was* the world champion in 3x3 (he is currently not), and he is indeed faster at solving the cube than I am. However, this does not justify your argument.

At the end of the day, my speedcubing resume speaks for itself. From a competitive standpoint alone, I've been top 100 for nearly a decade, only Feliks and Mats can claim the same.

@eastamazonantidote: what's up man, if kids these days only knew what we've been through...

Edit: actually now that I check, I’ve been top 100 for *over* a decade.
 
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