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Older cubers discussions

Dr. Lube

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Aug 1, 2019
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I find it very difficult to 'see' the pieces I need for my F2L pairs as everything seems to blend. This leads to some very long gaps in what should otherwise be a smooth process as I go hunting around the puzzle. I put it down to my age (48) and my lack of experience in the hobby as I only started solving in May 2018 and, from what I understand, good F2L takes a number of years of practice.
 

Lapse.

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2016WYNG01
from what I understand, good F2L takes a number of years of practice.
No it doesn't actually, F2L in less than 20 seconds if you've been cubing for less than a year should be pretty obtainable. I have some friends who have only learnt to solve the cube in less than a year and they are sub-30 already.

The easiest advice to give would be to do a ton of solves. You'd naturally get better(and faster) at what you're doing. I did this for a long time, getting to about 30 seconds using a crappy easy-F2L hack I made myself when I started.

Some other advice would be watching example solves and focusing on how the person solves each F2L case. Its very hard to explain what to do to improve your F2L in a short paragraph anyway since I don't know much but these are what i use to get sub-10 F2L. Not very fast but I think my opinion still applies.
 

mark49152

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I find it very difficult to 'see' the pieces I need for my F2L pairs as everything seems to blend. This leads to some very long gaps in what should otherwise be a smooth process as I go hunting around the puzzle. I put it down to my age (48) and my lack of experience in the hobby as I only started solving in May 2018 and, from what I understand, good F2L takes a number of years of practice.
Age is certainly a factor. Kids can improve very quickly, but it took me (in my 40s) a year to get sub-30 then another year to get sub-20. I didn't have time to sit and solve all day every day, but I wasn't limited to a few solves per week either. I did put in a reasonable amount of regular practice to achieve that rate of progression - several thousand solves, plus a lot of targeted practice on steps like F2L and cross, and drilling algorithms.
 

Lapse.

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I suppose I could try that for F2L, always starting with red, blue for example, but being neutral about which F2L pair I'm going to insert first is faster, isn't it?
No that's a pretty bad technique for 3x3 i think, it works for megaminx because there are so many other pieces its hard to be 'f2l neutral', most people have a set solving route. For 3x3 you shouldn't do that, because you might be fixed on solving only one pair which may take a longer time to find if a corner or piece is in your blind spot which is what a lot of people who have bad f2l (me included) suffer from. Fluid cross-F2L transition may take a long while to do, but what I have been doing recently is tracking your first f2l pair while doing your cross slower than normal so at least the pause isn't so significant and you already tracked an f2l pair beforehand giving you even more time to work with your other f2l pairs.

I would also say to solve the blind spot first which for most people would be either the back left or right slots depending on you, i heard this from somewhere on the internet before but I'm not sure who originally said this but it helps if you can't really see it.

Blind solving F2L can help but you have to put that into use when you solve, it is good if you can solve f2l pairs blind which gives you confidence but while you solve them you should be looking and tracking a white corner or an edge. I kind of randomly got the hang of it so sometimes i can spot another f2l case while solving my first and cancel into the second one straight away without pausing.

Also look up algs for hard cases if you haven't done that yet, and watch walkthrough solves to learn some tips and tricks, try to watch ones near your skill level and not what i did, i tried to watch some advanced colour neutral walkthrough solves when i was a slowpoke and got some bad info that wasn't applicable to me.
 

pglewis

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Sep 23, 2016
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2016LEWI07
I find it very difficult to 'see' the pieces I need for my F2L pairs as everything seems to blend. This leads to some very long gaps in what should otherwise be a smooth process as I go hunting around the puzzle. I put it down to my age (48) and my lack of experience in the hobby as I only started solving in May 2018 and, from what I understand, good F2L takes a number of years of practice.
Some people ease into lookahead really easily, I've been rather slow developing it. Youth has a couple advantages with faster reflexes and typically more practice time but I'm still kinda slow getting my lookahead going even by "seniors standards".

I'm 51, took up speedsolving a little over 3 years ago, and my F2L has been under constant refinement along the way. Early on I intuitively generalized the cases and I've gradually become more specific in dealing with them as I've improved. I find a case or two that are slowing me down or taking too many moves, lookup or discover a better way to deal with them, get them incorporated into my solves, repeat (most cases should be 8 moves max, 11 for some exceptions). This process is still going on for me: right now my focus is cases where an edge is in the wrong slot and then I have the cases with a corner in the wrong slot to work on after that.

Blind-pair exercises are designed to help you make the execution automatic with the goal of looking for your next pair while solving the current pair. When my lookahead isn't working well it hurts me at least two ways: I'm not even looking for my next pair until I finish the one I'm solving and spotting pieces tends to be easier when they're moving vs. when you've stopped. More enlightening to me than blind pair exercises has been doing slow solves where I'm just looking at what's happening while solving a pair. Not even trying to spot the next pair, just watching things move... anything except looking at the pair itself. In my best solves that's what's going on, I just "see things" and never seem to have to look for anything. If only I could catch it and bottle it.
 

BMcD308

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Jun 20, 2019
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I am by no means an expert at F2L. In fact, when I use F2L right now, it takes me about as long to solve F2L as it takes me to complete the entire puzzle using LBL, so using F2L results in times that exceed by LBL solve times by pretty much the whole last layer.

That said, I find the corners MUCH easier to spot than the edges, and I find that I spend a whole lot less time "hunting for pieces" if I find an edge that is already on top when I'm finishing my cross and then find its corner (rather than the other way around).

I am good enough at the right hand and left hand insertions that I can normally find another edge while inserting the pair. I'm not sure why I feel like this is easier, but try it. As you finish the cross, see that (for example) the red and blue edge is on top. BAM. Decision made. Where is the white - red - blue corner? For whatever reason I can normally find it instantly. Pair them up. During the R U R' or L' U' L sequence find another edge. As soon as you see it, just be done. That's your next pair. For me, that tends to make things much quicker than trying to find multiple pairs, assess which might be easiest, then execute. And for some reason it's WAY easier (for me anyway) than picking a corner that is on top then hunting all over the cube for the edge that goes with it.
 

Mike Hughey

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@openseas : Are you really going to be at the Korean Championships this weekend? Just curious how you managed to swing that.

I'll be at the Indiana competition in Fort Wayne this weekend. Life at home has been pretty hectic with 2 of my kids moving into their own apartments out of town this past week, so I haven't had the time to practice I'd like (or the time to sleep, which is really important for the BLD events!), but I guess we'll see how it goes. I will try to get some good sleep tonight, but not sure how it will go - still a lot going on. :)
 

h2f

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I put it down to my age (48) and my lack of experience in the hobby as I only started solving in May 2018 and, from what I understand, good F2L takes a number of years of practice.
In my opinion, age doesnt matter for being sub15.. Yes, you need few years to master your f2l, but for sub30 solves it's enough to practice and used to 41 basic cases. Of course young people has a greater ability to learn new things needed in speedcubing - like TPS - but for sub30 you dont need TPS. What kids have is a lot of free time and they can practice a lot.
 

openseas

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@openseas : Are you really going to be at the Korean Championships this weekend? Just curious how you managed to swing that.

I'll be at the Indiana competition in Fort Wayne this weekend. Life at home has been pretty hectic with 2 of my kids moving into their own apartments out of town this past week, so I haven't had the time to practice I'd like (or the time to sleep, which is really important for the BLD events!), but I guess we'll see how it goes. I will try to get some good sleep tonight, but not sure how it will go - still a lot going on. :)
@Mike Hughey yes, just finished yesterday. I was lucky, it happened on a week when I needed to make a biz trip.
How was your comp?
Oh, just checked your results. Congrats on your all big BLD & MBLD podium + MBLD PB!

All big BLD and MBLD were disaster - all DNF’d. I blame jet lag - arrived the night before / couldn’t trace.

3BLD was ok, one 54s.
 

bossel

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Aug 18, 2019
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Hi there! It's bossel here, registered just yesterday. I am 51, guess that might qualify me as an older cuber :) Started with CFOP 2 months ago, and I guess it will take me a lot of time to get faster. I feel that I am learning and getting better, but still way to go. Haven't measured a solve yet (too scared about the outcome) :) But it's fun and I enjoy learning new stuff!!
 

phuque99

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Aug 19, 2019
Messages
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Hi there! It's bossel here, registered just yesterday. I am 51, guess that might qualify me as an older cuber :) Started with CFOP 2 months ago, and I guess it will take me a lot of time to get faster. I feel that I am learning and getting better, but still way to go. Haven't measured a solve yet (too scared about the outcome) :) But it's fun and I enjoy learning new stuff!!
Do try roux once you're familiar with R2L. There's a lot less algorithms to learn, at least for me as an old guy as well.
 

Torrente

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Jun 5, 2019
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Hi there! It's bossel here, registered just yesterday. I am 51, guess that might qualify me as an older cuber :) Started with CFOP 2 months ago, and I guess it will take me a lot of time to get faster. I feel that I am learning and getting better, but still way to go. Haven't measured a solve yet (too scared about the outcome) :) But it's fun and I enjoy learning new stuff!!
Hello more or less same here, 51yo and around 3 months, currently around 60seconds. I measure it from time to time but more than 95% of my solves are untimed.
 

bossel

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For now I have chosen cfop and this will keep me busy for a while, before I move on to anything else. Not saying I might not have a first look, but just improving my cfop will eat up all my available time.
 

Tom Joad

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Jun 29, 2016
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Great to see this thread going strong, so here’s five random tips for all the newbies who are getting into cfop and starting to count their times in seconds rather than minutes:

1. Jperm is the best tutor on youtube. Get involved even if you just watch him for five minutes a day.

2. Watch colourfulpockets and brodythecuber (on youtube) for comedy value. It’s mildly disconcerting how self deprecating these guys are for ones so young but if you have a dry sense of humour, they will entertain you.

3. Think about the bits of your solve you can definitely minimise (irrespective of your age or TPS) like “two sided pll recognition” and enjoy becoming super efficient at it.

4. Same for cross. If it’s taking more than eight moves every go you’re doing it all wrong. Make your cross really good sooner rather than later.

5. Learn algorithm notation.

5. There seems to be loads of strange “intuitive v algorithmic” f2l arguments out there, which make no sense to me. I think the best way to learn f2l is a mixture of the two but such is the bipolarised world of social media we now live in (coupled with the lack of people capable of articulating the point) this gets hardly any press.

I am surprised (given how good he is at explaining stuff) jperm hasn’t made a youtube video on it though...

For what it’s worth, I reckon, as you start to learn f2l, you should slow solve whilst having a list of (maybe the basic 41) algorithms at hand.

So you come to a case in your solve and you don’t recognise or don’t know what to do. You look up the case and see the algorithm. But that’s just a list of letters. So here’s the key thing. As you execute it, you translate it into a description of what the pieces are doing.

So you certainly don’t learn a list of letters. You learn something like “ah, this is the up and over the top and do two U moves then it’s paired up and now I know how to insert that case” or “ah, the towards then away case” etc

But you do start with the list of algorithms at hand. And use it. So as soon as possible, you’re turning the algorithms into “movement descriptions”. And the lists of letters become redundant. You see the case and think “up over” or “towards away” etc

Then, over time, your muscle memory takes over (because you’ve executed it so many times). And you see the case and just execute it. Not only has the list of letters faded away but now your wordy description has also faded away.

Or something.

No doubt somebody (smarter than me) somewhere has (already¿) explained this succinctly, so that newbies to f2l will, on the one hand, happily have an algorithm sheet next to them, but on the other hand, will understand the goal of ultimately rendering the algorithm sheet redundant (possibly using wordy descriptions as an intermediate that will also ultimately become redundant)

*puts kettle on*
 

Mike Hughey

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I guess I never did give a report on my competition last weekend. It was a really good time; I always like Nathan Dwyer's competitions in Fort Wayne, and this one was no exception.

On Friday I had a pretty rough time with 5BLD; I did get the first solve, but then kept making mistakes on my wing parity algorithm. Sometimes I just blank on an algorithm that is in muscle memory, and can't think of it, for no good reason. I really think it's an older cuber thing. (One time I actually couldn't remember how to do Sune in a regular 3x3x3 solve a few years ago; most younger cubers can't believe it's possible to forget Sune. :)) But at least I got the first solve. Since Stanley Chapel and Mark Boyanowski both DNFed all 3 (a very unusual event!), I actually won 5BLD, and can say I beat the World Champion! :)

4BLD was nothing special; I got two okay solves, and on the third, cycled 3 wings the wrong direction and so missed the mean. Not that it was a particularly good mean anyway. Enough to get on the podium at third place.

Multi was nice! While memorizing, I almost felt like giving up, because I felt pretty drained from the 4 and 5 BLD attempts earlier. But I stuck it out, and I actually got a new PB - 15/16! I think at this point, it makes sense to not just keep trying for perfect; I will go ahead and try to speed up a little more. I'll probably start trying 18 in the weekly competition this week. I'm sure it will be a disaster, but 16 used to be a disaster, and now I seem to be able to handle it! Again I made podium, third place to Mark (with 40/52!), and Stanley (with 34/45!). The gap is quite ridiculous. :)

I did okay in FMC; about the same as I do in the weekly competitions.

Saturday was so relaxed. I wasn't able to attend Sunday, so I didn't really have to worry about whether or not I made it to second rounds - I wouldn't be able to compete in them anyway. I got a new PB single in 6x6x6, but it was still well above the cutoff. I'm capable of making that cutoff, but it seems like 6x6x6 rarely ever goes well for me in competition (whereas I do pretty well relative to my ability on 7x7x7 - not sure why 6x6x6 gives me so much trouble). Other highlights were that I actually got a sub-10 pyraminx average, more than 2 seconds better than my previous best in competition! And I also got another sub-20 3x3x3 average - only my third one ever! And this one felt unique in that it actually felt like a typical average, instead of a lucky one, like my previous ones did. I actually feel like I finally genuinely average sub-20 (barely).

I also was able to help out a fair amount at the competition. It's been a while since I've been able to help out that much at a competition with scrambling and running - I had a great time! And I got to meet a fellow older cuber - Wally Kolcz - he was judging for me on a few of my solves, so it was nice to get to meet him.
 
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