Finger tricks

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Finger tricks are a tool that involves the cuber using his fingers to pull off the moves of an algorithm faster. The goal is to reduce the number of times the cube needs to be regripped (to take one's hand off of a side to change the position of the hand on the cube for future moves), and to overlap move times (meaning that two moves are being performed at that same time, overlapping and thus shortening their execution time). The less regrips, and the more overlapped moves, the faster the algorithm can be performed. This turning method is used as opposed to what are commonly called "wrist turns", which mean that the side is turned with the rotation of the wrist instead of the flick, push, or pull of a finger.

Finger tricks also influence which algorithms are chosen for certain solution cases because certain algorithms may be easier or faster to perform with finger tricks than others. Because of this, the ability (or inability) to do finger tricks greatly influences a cuber's style as well as speed (as testified to by Dan Knights). Finger tricks are also the reason that corner cutting is considered an important quality of a good speedcube. It is because of corner cutting that moves are able to be overlapped with finger tricks.

The most common algorithm connected with finger tricks is the sexy move, R U R' U'. This is also a trigger. Some algorithms are chosen based on the number of easy to perform triggers found in them. Other algorithms may be selected based on which sides they involve so that the finger tricks performed can be efficient, the most common combination of selected sides being R, U, and F (these algorithms are sometimes called "RUF" algs).

Finger tricks can also be applied to other puzzles in the same manner.

Tutorials/Development

Finger trick tutorials are usually found on youtube. A list of a few beginner tutorials can be found here.

Even though finger tricking is a commonly used method for performing algorithms, it is recommended that a cuber that is learning to perform finger tricks discover his/her own method of performing the tricks that is both comfortable and efficient.

Finger tricks can be developed by looking at combinations of moves and testing which turns can be more effectively turned with certain fingers, testing which grips allow for more efficient finger tricks, and trying to group moves together as much as possible in order to leave as little time as possible between moves or groups of moves (aka triggers). The groups of moves found are usually performed in spurts with short regrips in between if necessary. If it is thought to be more efficient, the algorithms may be modified using reorientations and multi-layer turns (For example: The alg R U F' can be modified to R d R')

Once a set of finger tricks has been developed for an algorithm, then it is recommended that the cuber frequently practice or drill the movement, first starting slowly to get into the habit of accurately performing the movement, then gradually increasing in speed to solidify the habit and shorten performance time. It is not recommended to just start pushing to do the finger tricks as fast as possible, especially in the beginning, because it leads to sloppy finger tricks and bad habits that are hard to break. If this has happened, then it is recommended that the cuber start slow again to make sure it is being performed accurately, then gradually build up speed again.

Types of turns

A lot of different ways to fingertrick turns exist. The most important ones are listed in the following section.

Wrist move

Wrist moves use the whole wrist to turn a layer. This is the most intuitive fingertrick and is thus used by virtually everyone who turns a Rubik's Cube the first time. They are, however, still very important for speedsolving and also the most common way to do L and R moves on 3x3.

Push

A push is when a finger is used to move a layer by bending the finger inwards. An example of this is U done with your right index finger.

Pull

A pull is the opposite of a push, where the finger is bent outwards to move a layer. An example of this is U' done with your right index finger.

Since pushes are usually more comfortable and also faster to do than pulls, the most common use case of pulls is when the other hand is able to do a push, e.g. by being already used for a different turn.

Flick

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Double flick

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Rolled move

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Eido

An eido (pronounced /'eɪdoʊ/, /'aɪdoʊ/, /'eɪduː/ or /'aɪduː/), sometimes also called a "smooth turn", is performing a double move in one fluent motion using only one finger. (As opposed to a double flick, which requires two fingers.) It is named after Andrew Nelson, also known as Eidolon, who was one of the first to upload a video showing his special fingertrick [1]. The U2 and U2' eidos are commonly used in One-Handed, especially in Roux LSE (as a double flick would require a regrip).

Feido

Feido (short for Forward eido) describes all eidos that go in a forward direction, i.e. move the layer towards the solver. Due to being easier to perform than Beidos as the finger is bent in rather than bent out (cf. Push and Pull), feidos should usually be preferred.

Beido

Beido (short for Backwards eido) describes all eidos that go in a backward direction, i.e. move the layer away from the solver. As they are harder to perform than Feidos due to the finger being bent out rather than in (cf. Pull and Push), beidos should only be used when the other finger is occupied and thus can't perform a feido.

Disjointed half turn

A disjointed half turn (different types of this can be called disjointed double flick, disjointed eido etc.) describes the fingertrick of performing a half turn that in the middle is interrupted by a different turn, effectively splitting the half turn into two quarter turns. This is done to make the two quarter turns more fluid and prevent even small regrips.

An example of this would be a disjointed double flick as it appears in the well-known T perm, R U R' U' R' F R2 U' R' U' R U R' F'. The two marked U' moves form this disjointed double flick. When the algorithm is executed, instead of performing a U' flick, the R' and then another U' flick, the solver performs a double flick with the R' in between, which saves the small regrip. This means that the first U' is done with the left index finger, then the R' is performed and finally, the last U' is executed with the left middle finger, which means that the two U' moves are executed the same way as in a normal double flick, but with a longer pause between them.

Table abuse

Table abuse is the technique of making use of the table during a solve, either to align layers, make rotations quicker or even to perform full moves.

In One-Handed Solving

Table abuse is most commonly employed in One-Handed Solving, Roux OH solvers are especially known for using the table for performing M-slice turns, and have turned this into a real style; Thom Barlow is believed to be the first to have popularised this.

The concept of "table abuse" was originally negative, as some people thought it went against the spirit of one-handed solving to be so reliant on the surface. Indeed, the WCA regulations between 2004 and 2007 [2][3][4][5] actually forbade the use of the table to assist with turning in OH (although it is now allowed):

Article C: One-handed Solving
...
During the solve no other body part or the table or any other available object may touch the puzzle. Once a competitor touches the puzzle with one hand, he may not touch the puzzle with the other hand.
If the competitor drops the puzzle unintentionally during a solve, the competitor may start doing moves again when the puzzle has no contact with the surface anymore.

The mention of table was removed in the 2008 regulations [6], thus legalising any amount of table use in official solves. However, until 2010 many people still asked if table use was allowed. Some, like Thom Barlow, dispute the term "abuse" and think there should be no stigma about using the table as much as necessary. [7]

Most Roux practitioners of table abuse press on the cube's DR edges at a 45 degree angle onto the table. Another method is to lean on the FR edge at a 45 degree angle (see Alex Lau's video in #External links).

Notation

Due to the widespread use of finger tricks, many attempts have been made to create a method of notation in order to quickly communicate them (as opposed to verbose text descriptions or time heavy video uploads). Though, there has not been any general adoption made of any of the notations due to the impracticality of their methodologies and the unlikely-hood of most people taking the time to learn a notation. Of the attempts, there have been a few notable methods developed, which are listed below.

DeeDubb (DW) Fingertrick Notation (for 3x3)

The DeeDubb Fingertrick Notation was developed in collaboration in this thread on the SpeedSolving forums. (Credits to DeeDubb, Kirjava, Dane Man, Lucas Garron, Hypocrism, and others).

Notation is based on the description of three things.

  • The finger being used.
  • The piece of the puzzle being used.
  • The grip of the fingers on the cube.

Anywhere that these things are not described in the algorithm, it is left to the solver to figure out (or assume) what to do (or what can be done) on his/her own. This method is only meant to highlight the parts of algorithms where one uses a unique or not so obvious finger trick to perform the moves.

The finger notation

Upper case is used to describe the right hand, and lower case is used to describe the left hand.

  • I - Index
  • T - Thumb
  • M - Middle
  • R - Ring
  • P - Pinkie
  • W - Wrist move (generally not needed)

For example (M) means that the right middle finger is in use, while (i) means the left index finger is in use.

The piece notation

As described by DeeDubb, each corner of the side being turned is labelled with the numbers 1-4 in a clockwise fashion. The front face starting with the corner UFL, the U face beginning with UBL, the D face with DFL, R with UFR, L with UBL, and B with UBR.

Ergo: On U: 1 = UBL, 2 = UBR, 3 = UFR, 4 = UFL

On F: 1 = UFL, 2 = UFR, 3 = DFR, 4 = DFL

...and so on...

On slice moves, the numbers correspond with the edges "behind" the corners of the side with which it turns. For example M turns with the L side, and so it's edges will have the same numbers as the corresponding corners on the L face. S with the F face. E with the D face.


Together, the finger and piece notation form the basic finger trick notation. It is written 'move(fingerPiece)'.

  • Example: U(I2) means that the right index finger performed the move U by sliding the UBR cubie to UFR.

Two-turn moves such as F2 are described using two fingers and two pieces, and can use prime to indicate direction like so: F2'(T3,i1)

The grip notation

(copied and editted from post in thread) Fingers will be labelled the same (upper-case = right, lower = left). All grip notations are written in curly brackets {...} and only when necessary to define a non-standard or non-intuitive grip.

For basic grips:

  • TF - Right thumb on front, rest [of fingers] on back.
  • TU - Right thumb on up, rest [of fingers] on down.
  • TD - Right thumb on down, rest [of fingers] on up.
  • TB - Right thumb on back, rest [of fingers] on front (How the wrist is twisted depends on the direction of the following move)
  • TR, TL - You get the idea...

For basic groups with left hand: tF, tU, tD, tB, tR, tL (same as right hand)

Piece specific grips are separated by a dash (-). For consistency, corners use DeeDubb's number method for defining corners. The finger will grip on the side of the corner defined (e.g.: T-R1 means that the right thumb is either on the top or front face of the 1 corner of the R side, depending on the rest of the grip and on moves).

Edges are defined by the face letters (ex: M-BR, t-FL, t-FD, etc...).

Center pieces are defined simply by the face letter (T-F is different than TF. TF is a basic grip, meaning it doesn't matter which piece is held. But T-F means the right thumb must be on the center piece).

The grip defined on specific pieces is maintained until a regrip is defined, or a move/trick requires that it be broken. (ex: {M-UR} R U(M2). This means that the defined grip is broken to perform U.)

Where grip is not defined, a normal grip is assumed (As the cuber feels works for the algorithm).

Examples

  • {tF, TD} R U(I2) R' U'(i1) (a full description of the basic sexy move)
  • {t-F, m-B, T-R1, M-R2} (R2' D2 L2' U2)3 (This)
  • {M-R4, T-R3} R2 U S'(I2) U2' S(I1) U R2 (This)
  • {M-UL, T-UR} S2 D2 S2' {TD} R U R' U' D2(T2,r4) (Just to demonstrate certain part of the notation)

Tloh Fingertrick Notation

Tloh Fingertrick Notation is another, newer fingertrick notation. It is mainly used in Blindfolded Solving, although it can be used for virtually all puzzles and solving styles.

It is important to note that Tloh notation cannot be used on its own because it requires the algorithm to also be given in normal notation, e.g. Singmaster notation. This means that Tloh notation doesn't fully describe the moves themselves but how they are performed.

Rules

Tloh notation follows these rules: (taken from this sheet)

  • Starts with either L: or R: to denote which hand goes first, comma denotes switch hands.
  • Each move is indicated by a W or a digit.
  • W indicates a wrist turn, the direction is generally obvious.
  • Numbers denote which finger to use (e.g. 2 for pointer). Thumbs do not move relative to centers for these.
  • Quote mark indicates a push rather than pull.
  • Plus and minus indicate regripping the thumb up and down, respectively.
  • Asterisk for weird fingertricks.
  • R' U is always notated as W5 even if the drag isn't really with the 5th finger.

Example

As an example, we'll use an A perm that is often used in Blindfolded Solving: R' B' R U' R D R' U R D' R2' B R (video with fingertricks)

The Tloh notation that would go with this alg for the execution in the video is R:W4W,2,W,4,W2W,4',WW,2,W.

Going through the fingertrick notation step by step,

  1. R:: you start with your right hand
  2. W: the first turn (R') is a (righty) wrist turn
  3. 4: the next move, B', is done with a push your 4th finger, i.e. your ring finger
  4. W: R is a wrist move
  5. ,: the following moves are done with your other (here: left) hand
  6. 2: U' is performed with your index finger
  7. ,W: R is a wrist move with your right hand
  8. ,4: D is executed with your left ring finger
  9. ,W: R' is done with your right wrist
  10. 2: U is done with your (right) index finger
  11. W: R is fingertricked as a wrist turn
  12. ,4': switch to the left hand, the D' is a pull with your ring finger
  13. ,WW: R2' is a righty wrist move
  14. ,2: B is done with your left index
  15. ,W: Finally, R is performed with your right wrist

See Also

External links