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Older cubers discussions

Old Tom

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Joined
Oct 16, 2014
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176
Location
Virginia
WCA
2018DOYL02
@Old Tom While it is undeniably true that older folks get slower, I like to look at musicians for inspiration. Such as Vladimir Horowitz, who was still performing nearly flawlessly at age 85. Clearly, if you can already move fast at something, it is a bit easier to stay fast than it is to get fast in the first place; I'd like to think there's a reasonable chance we can hold onto our speed much longer than the average person does, with practice.
I applaud you for that attitude. But the odds that it will happen for you are poor. So, another avenue would be good to have. Look at all the golfers who now play on the senior circuit. Keeps them happy, and rich.
 

One Wheel

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Wisconsin
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2016BAIR04
Personally I don't see a problem with exposing birth year info, for example in WCA exports, as long as (a) it's opt-in only, (b) excludes minors, and (c) includes only the year, which is a good enough compromise for rankings but of little use to identity thieves.
I concur wholeheartedly. You could get more information from Whitepages.com than from the WCA site with this modification. I personally support splitting people into 20-year groups: under 20, 20-39, 40-59, and 60+. We could break out 60-79, 80-99, and 100+ as well, I'm just not sure there are enough competitors that age to warrant those categories.
 

Mike Hughey

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I applaud you for that attitude. But the odds that it will happen for you are poor. So, another avenue would be good to have. Look at all the golfers who now play on the senior circuit. Keeps them happy, and rich.
By the way, part of why I look to musicians is because I am one. I'm hoping my odds are better than most. Maybe just wishful thinking. :) Anyway, I've always said I plan to give a concert on my 100th birthday. No guarantees how good it will be or how many people will attend, but I assure you that if I'm still around, I'm giving a concert!!
 

One Wheel

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I've always said I plan to give a concert on my 100th birthday. No guarantees how good it will be or how many people will attend, but I assure you that if I'm still around, I'm giving a concert!!
My favorite plan is my sister's: she's got a couple of oak trees planted in the yard about 10' apart, 7' tall. On her eleventy first birthday she plans to hang a rope swing between them, grab the rope, and yell to all of her assembled children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren "hey ya'll, watch this!"

I'll be happy to die chasing cows at 80, nothing so dramatic for me.
 

Logiqx

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Jul 10, 2012
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Herts, UK
WCA
2015GEOR02
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Gosh, it's been a long time since I visited the forum. So many posts to catch up on... I can't believe the thread has gone beyond 1000 pages!

A few updates from my end:

- During the month of July, I pretty much didn't cube with the exception of Sq1 which I was getting better at every day. I got my times down to sub-50 globally but when I realised that I wasn't going to be eligible to compete at UKC in October and unlikely to get a chance until next year, I stopped practising it completely. My other events had got significantly worse since late June so I decided I should start practising them again.

- In August my brother's family visited for a few days and during that time, I re-taught my nephew to solve the cube. I taught him about 3 years ago but it was quite rushed and he basically forgot how to do it afterwards. He's really got into it this time, done hundreds of solves and wants a decent cube for his birthday. His parents are happy that he has found something that keeps him off the X-Box! Maybe I'll bring him along to a competition next year.

- My times have suffered big time after almost 2 months without proper practice and I'm trying to get back to where I was earlier this year. My OH times were worst hit from being almost sub-23 globally and falling back to being sup-26 globally (really quite depressing after the hard work to get down to 23s). It's taken weeks and weeks of practice to get back to low-24 globally but I'm hoping that I can get back to my ability in June for the UKC in October. My 2H times weren't as badly hit but they dropped from low-15's globally to mid-16's globally.

- I've registered for UKC in October but I've got to be realistic that I can't practice 10-12 events and do well when all of my times have gotten worse in recent months. I've therefore decided to do just 6 events - 3x3, OH, 2x2, 4x4, Pyra, Skewb. For the last couple of weeks, I've only practised 3x3, OH, Pyra and Skewb which is the most I can squeeze into my schedule but I seem to be making progress in all of them. Global times are currently as follows; 3x3 ~mid-15's, OH low-24's, Pyra ~mid-6's, Skewb ~mid-9's. I haven't touched a 2x2 since early June and I haven't touched a 4x4 this year but I'll start them in late September. These are the 6 events where my official times are a long way off my best global times at home which is why I've decided to do them at UKC.

- I've recently gotten myself a GTS3M and Gans 354. I'm really not that keen on the GTS3M but I really love the Gans 354 which is possibly now my main and the hardware is helping me to regain my old times in 3x3 + OH. I really like it for OH and I'm also finding it works well for my 2H solving.

- I'm going in Cornwall next week with my other half but that means yet another blanket ban on any cubing. My cubing progress sometimes feel analogous to the punishment of Sisyphus (click if you don't know the story). Sigh...

There were a few posts that I was going to comment on but I see they have already been addressed.

@Selkie regarding age categories in the WCA database - feel free to contact me directly as an experienced software + data professional. I have a number of ideas as to how it could be implemented and concerns mitigated.

I’ve finally picked through the accomplishment thread and have found what I think are my current PBs in the events I practice. Can someone add me to the pb sheet if I just write them here?
Send me a PM with your e-mail address and I'll give you access to the spreadsheet.
 

pglewis

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Sep 23, 2016
Messages
1,220
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Cincinnati
WCA
2016LEWI07
@Old Tom While it is undeniably true that older folks get slower, I like to look at musicians for inspiration. Such as Vladimir Horowitz, who was still performing nearly flawlessly at age 85. Clearly, if you can already move fast at something, it is a bit easier to stay fast than it is to get fast in the first place; I'd like to think there's a reasonable chance we can hold onto our speed much longer than the average person does, with practice.
I've been a guitar player for 35 years and can confidently say my physical ability continues to improve. I'm more capable today, at 50, than I've ever been. At some point it'll turn the corner but I haven't quite peaked yet. But I think the real edge/bottleneck in cubing is reaction time. I often explain to people that what I do in a solve is more akin to playing Tetris than solving a puzzle. There was thinking and reasoning involved while I was learning but now it's entirely reacting to patterns and that's an area that highly favors young minds. Barring something catastrophic I feel like my physical ability could continue to improve for at least another ten years but I've already lost a step or two on reaction time in the past decade.

I think you, Ron, and Mats Bergsten are the primary examples we have for exploring the question and so far all three of you have continued to maintain your 3x3 pace. August was a minimal practice period for me and after a couple days of getting the rust off it seems like my brain continued to work on unfinished F2L refinements even when I wasn't practicing as I'm seeing more sub 20s and even sub 19s than ever. I lost a few OLLs that were never strong in the first place but even if I had to 2-look I feel like I could maintain where I currently am with a few days of brush-up every few weeks. I have an understandable curiosity on the topic :D.
 

SpartanSailor

Member
Joined
May 21, 2016
Messages
730
WCA
2016DUEH02
Good morning (or afternoon as may be appropriate)...

Just a quick morning couple attempts with my 5x5 and just did 2:29.76—new PB single and my first sub-2:30! Everything about that one felt pretty good. Not too many long pauses searching for edges/wings and relatively smooth centre building as well. Great start of the day.
 

Old Tom

Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2014
Messages
176
Location
Virginia
WCA
2018DOYL02
@pglewis, @Mike Hughey, and others: This discussion of decline (or lack of it) in manual and reaction skills is really interesting. Your correlation with musical abilities seems apt. Obviously, not my area of experience, but I can think of others where I have exposure: speed chess, pocket billiards (pool), etc. There are of course plenty of computer games in addition to Tetris. I was once a reviewer for one of the original first-person-shooter games (Doom) and actually had my name on the back of the box for one version of that. I was 50 at that time, and plenty good, though better at 40. Not so much, or rather, not at all, today!

One thing we have not mentioned, or not much: nerves (anxiety). That is really bothering me now when speed cubing. Since I never aimed at speed before, can't compare to my younger self. But I was pretty cool playing speed chess until I stopped at 60.

It occurred to me that all this must have been already studied scientifically. Sure has! Google "decline in manual dexterity with age" and take your pick among many interesting (to me, anyway) scholarly articles. I haven't yet Googled the "mental" or "reaction time" topics, but I'm sure there is plenty there also.

Read it all if you like, don't get depressed, I'm not. We are all biodegradable, just at different rates.
 
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Selkie

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I cannot say how delighted I am, that returning today, I see the number of people who have contributed to the discussion on age and aged based rankings.

The board election process included a week of debate with delegates, an aspect of the election that I found highly rewarding. Whilst this debate was not public I am happy to share with you a excerpt from one of my replies:-

....I also believe there are ways we can engage and motivate those competitors who form the other 90%. As you well know my own solves are never going to challenge any NRs but I gain a lot of motivation from competing virtually with other solvers over 40. There is an unofficial over 40's ranking system for those who opt in. One of the main reasons I am motivated to practice every day is to try and catch Ron at 3x3 or try to to regain my 6x6 no1 spot etc. As cubing has grown so has the vast number of people who just challenge their own personal bests. Should we be trying to devise new mechanisms to give other cubers milestones or ranks to attain? The interest in Nemesizer and KinchRanks demonstrates the appetite for cubers to have something to quantify their progression against their peers.....

There are some very good arguments in the last couple of thread pages about data protection, about ethical considerations, about methodologies that could be adopted to deliver a solution. All very useful collateral for which I have made notes.

I am but one board member and my views may not be shared with others. There may not be change tomorrow, next month or within a year but I will fully raise, support and endorse this. The unofficial over 40 rankings developed and maintained by @Logiqx is invaluable and I believe has given great motivation and a sense of inclusion to many senior solvers. The officialisation of this would be great for our community in my humble opinion.

The only other thing I would like to raise at this stage is again a comment I made within the debate:-

...I would firstly like to say that if elected I would view my position more in the ethos of "I am an elected representative" rather than "I am a board member"...

I am very eager in the position to spend time talking with the community and understanding any issues, concerns, recommendations and challenges. Never hesitate to drop me a line if you want to chat about anything.
 

mark49152

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@Selkie - I think it's worth noting that the comprehensive WCA pages showing complete results history, personal records and rankings are one of the great things about competitive cubing. Those pages publicly acknowledge what we have achieved and give us our goals for the next comp. I would personally be far less motivated to compete if my results were discarded or invisible unless I podium, as is the case in many other competitive activities.

IMHO this is fundamental to the culture of competitive cubing and is one of the greatest assets the WCA has. Without it we would think and behave differently and our competitions might be very different experiences than they are today. The interest in age-based rankings, as well as Kinchranks and other unofficial views created on the results data, is a product of that same culture. It would be great to see the WCA do more to build upon and enhance that, whether for subgroups like over-40s or for the overall community.
 

Logiqx

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FYI - I dropped the following thoughts to @Selkie in a PM:

Jo and I are heading over to Cornwall (Polzeath) for a week but I thought I would drop some thoughts into a message whilst I remember.

The database export itself doesn't require an actual DOB or YOB. I'm not sure if you've ever looked at the database but there are two main tables which include peoples times; results and rankings. A convenient way to produce age based rankings would be an additional "virtual age" column on the results table. It would then be possible to produce things like over 40's rankings, over 60's or any other category with simple SQL queries.

The "virtual age" column could work in the same way as it does on my unofficial rankings. Each WCA competitor could choose whether it is to the day, month or year as part of their preferences, resulting in a virtual DOB. My actual DOB is 1972-07-04 but my virtual DOB for the year-only preference would be 1972-12-31 under the covers. Someone opted out of it would have a virtual DOB of something like 9999-12-31. The "virtual DOB" doesn't need to be included in the export since it is only required to generate the "virtual age" column on the results table.

Any single export of the database would not include anything resembling a DOB but depending on the age granularity for a single competitor and their frequency of competitions it may be possible to derive something approximating their DOB using multiple database exports. IMHO anyone who attends competitions infrequently or has month/year granularity is very unlikely to have their actual DOB surfaced through multiple database exports and subsequent analysis. So long as people can opt in to day/month/year/no virtual DOB then it's a hell of a lot safer than having your DOB publicly visible on Facebook or any other random page on the internet
 

SpartanSailor

Member
Joined
May 21, 2016
Messages
730
WCA
2016DUEH02
Goo
FYI - I dropped the following thoughts to @Selkie in a PM:

Jo and I are heading over to Cornwall (Polzeath) for a week but I thought I would drop some thoughts into a message whilst I remember.

The database export itself doesn't require an actual DOB or YOB. I'm not sure if you've ever looked at the database but there are two main tables which include peoples times; results and rankings. A convenient way to produce age based rankings would be an additional "virtual age" column on the results table. It would then be possible to produce things like over 40's rankings, over 60's or any other category with simple SQL queries.

The "virtual age" column could work in the same way as it does on my unofficial rankings. Each WCA competitor could choose whether it is to the day, month or year as part of their preferences, resulting in a virtual DOB. My actual DOB is 1972-07-04 but my virtual DOB for the year-only preference would be 1972-12-31 under the covers. Someone opted out of it would have a virtual DOB of something like 9999-12-31. The "virtual DOB" doesn't need to be included in the export since it is only required to generate the "virtual age" column on the results table.

Any single export of the database would not include anything resembling a DOB but depending on the age granularity for a single competitor and their frequency of competitions it may be possible to derive something approximating their DOB using multiple database exports. IMHO anyone who attends competitions infrequently or has month/year granularity is very unlikely to have their actual DOB surfaced through multiple database exports and subsequent analysis. So long as people can opt in to day/month/year/no virtual DOB then it's a hell of a lot safer than having your DOB publicly visible on Facebook or any other random page on the internet
Good thought. another variation on that...

WCA could do competitor age similar to how the do nationality. A competitor can change their nationality, but not mid-year. (Maybe that’s just USA CUBING, but stick with me).

So instead everyone’s virtual DOB would be Jan 1, “year”. Then you are your age as of Jan 1 regardless of when your actual birthday may occur.

So if you “age out” or “in” to a new category in say, August, then you don’t change category until Jan 1 of the following year.

Idk... something like that.
 

Logiqx

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Goo


Good thought. another variation on that...

WCA could do competitor age similar to how the do nationality. A competitor can change their nationality, but not mid-year. (Maybe that’s just USA CUBING, but stick with me).

So instead everyone’s virtual DOB would be Jan 1, “year”. Then you are your age as of Jan 1 regardless of when your actual birthday may occur.

So if you “age out” or “in” to a new category in say, August, then you don’t change category until Jan 1 of the following year.

Idk... something like that.
That's how I initially did the unofficial rankings but some people requested their actual dob be used otherwise they missed out some results.

In sports such as athletics you become eligible for official records such as first over 40 under 10 seconds for 100m on your birthday.

My proposal is that we give people the option of actual dob being used or the yearly principle. There happens to be a third option in the middle as well (month)

All 3 options are used in the unofficial rankings so they'd transfer well to the official database.
 
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pglewis

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Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Messages
1,220
Location
Cincinnati
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2016LEWI07
That's how I initially did the unofficial rankings but some people requested their actual dob be used otherwise they missed out some results.

In sports such as athletics you become eligible for official records such as first over 40 under 10 seconds for 100m on your birthday.

My proposal is that we give people the option of actual dob being used or the yearly principle. There happens to be a third option in the middle as well (month)

All 3 options are used in the unofficial rankings so they'd transfer well to the official database.
Yeah, I'm a January b-day and wanted to enter the 50+ category sooner rather than later.
 

Sergey

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Joined
Feb 16, 2018
Messages
281
Ha, did my first comps after about seven months of cubing! Just for fun. And it was fun! And it is "slightly" different from solving at home ;). During the first 3x3 solve in the first round the glare from the sun on the puzzle was blinded me and it was 39.74 ;), average 34.24, 27.71 best, 49/83. But it was surprisingly enough for the pass to the second round. So I finished at 38/50 with avg 26.74 and 22.95+ best. Puzzles which I'm not hard training - 4x4 - 21/32 with 1:30.08 best, did not passed 1:30 cutoff, 5x5 - 18/22 with 3:39.45 best, did not passed 3:00 cutoff. So the goals to do sub30 for 3x3 and to pass limits on 4x4 and 5x5 on comps was achieved, do sub25 for 3x3 - not. ;)

Puzzles used (all stickerless) - MoYu Weilong GTS2, QiYi WuQue Mini M, QiYi WuShuang.

Now I'm thinking to buy timer and mat, because this component - physically taking/dropping puzzle and using timer - needs to be training too, IMO. ;)
 
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SpartanSailor

Member
Joined
May 21, 2016
Messages
730
WCA
2016DUEH02
Ha, did my first comps after about seven months of cubing! Just for fun. And it was fun! And it is "slightly" different from solving at home ;). During the first 3x3 solve in the first round the glare from the sun on the puzzle was blinded me and it was 39.74 ;), average 34.24, 27.71 best, 49/83. But it was surprisingly enough for the pass to the second round. So I finished at 38/50 with avg 26.74 and 22.95+ best. Puzzles which I'm not hard training - 4x4 - 21/32 with 1:30.08 best, did not passed 1:30 cutoff, 5x5 - 18/22 with 3:39.45 best, did not passed 3:00 cutoff. So the goals to do sub30 for 3x3 and to pass limits on 4x4 and 5x5 on comps was achieved, do sub25 for 3x3 - not. ;)

Puzzles used (all stickerless) - MoYu Weilong GTS2, QiYi WuQue Mini M, QiYi WuShuang.

Now I'm thinking to buy timer and mat, because this component - physically taking/dropping puzzle and using timer - needs to be training too, IMO. ;)
nice job!
 
Last edited:

Old Tom

Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2014
Messages
176
Location
Virginia
WCA
2018DOYL02
Ha, did my first comps after about seven months of cubing! Just for fun. And it was fun! And it is "slightly" different from solving at home ;). During the first 3x3 solve in the first round the glare from the sun on the puzzle was blinded me and it was 39.74 ;), average 34.24, 27.71 best, 49/83. But it was surprisingly enough for the pass to the second round. So I finished at 38/50 with avg 26.74 and 22.95+ best. Puzzles which I'm not hard training - 4x4 - 21/32 with 1:30.08 best, did not passed 1:30 cutoff, 5x5 - 18/22 with 3:39.45 best, did not passed 3:00 cutoff. So the goals to do sub30 for 3x3 and to pass limits on 4x4 and 5x5 on comps was achieved, do sub25 for 3x3 - not. ;)

Puzzles used (all stickerless) - MoYu Weilong GTS2, QiYi WuQue Mini M, QiYi WuShuang.

Now I'm thinking to buy timer and mat, because this component - physically taking/dropping puzzle and using timer - needs to be training too, IMO. ;)
Really excellent, after just seven months. Since you are posting here in the Older Cubers group, would you mind letting us know your age? It's OK if you don't, but I for one am always curious about the age of the posters here. The thread has recently been discussing how age affects abiliity, and especially speed. We did not discuss speed-of-learning, specifically, but this is obviously an important aspect of that.
 
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