Introduction to Speedcubing for Beginners

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Revision as of 11:24, 13 October 2019 by RFMX (talk | contribs) (Fix on formatting of title 'What method should I learn? Should I switch methods?')

This guide will give you a small introduction to speedcubing.

If you are new to speedcubing, you will find out there is a lot of information available. If you are dazzled about the amount of information, just take it one step at a time. The Forums has a lot great discussions, and this page will give you an overview of the most common questions.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Rubik's Cube?

The Rubik's Cube is a puzzle, invented by Erno Rubik in 1974. In 1980, the Cube was marketed world-wide, and 200 million of them were sold. Today many brands make cubes designed specifically for speedsolving - they are more robust, more loose, and better designed. The vast majority of speedsolvers use brands other than Rubik's, and the puzzle is often referred to as "a 3x3" in the community rather than a "Rubik's Cube".

What is speedcubing?

Speedcubing is the art of solving Rubik's Cube (and other twisty puzzles) as fast as possible. Most people would also say that speedcubing is more than that: Other disciplines, such as one handed cubing or blindfold cubing, or even solving non-cubic twisty puzzles can also be called "speedcubing". Speedcubing is a combination of solving efficiently, but also solving quickly. The shortest solution may not be the fastest.

How can I solve the cube?

If you are a beginner, there are a lot of websites available that will explain how to solve the 3x3x3 cube easily. There are also a lot of good tutorials on YouTube. There are many different techniques and methods. Beginners typically start with a simple Cross > First Layer > Last Layer (In 4 steps - Flip Last Layer Edges > Flip Last Layer Corners > Cycle Last Layer Corners > Cycle Last Layer Edges). Faster solvers typically learn more advanced techniques and study positions to find quicker solutions and faster algorithms (sequences of moves to solve a given position). Below are 2 tutorials to start:

How do I learn how to solve the cube?

There are many different ways to learn how to solve the cube. While most will suggest you learn the method in the instruction manual or a basic method from youtube, two great starting points are the super simple 8355 method and the (mostly) intuition-based Petrus Method. There are also many great YouTube tutorials to start from such as this one

What do these RU'BFzL2 things mean?

Nearly all methods use algorithms to perform tasks to advance to wards a completed cube. Algorithms are sequences of moves that are written in [cubing notation].

How do I do it blindfolded?

The method widely considered the easiest to use at the moment is the Pochmann Method. The page that is linked will give you a nice introduction to solving blindfolded and blindfolded methods in general.

What do I learn next?

The most popular method at the moment for speedcubing is CFOP. A good website for someone wishing to transition to CFOP is Badmephisto's site.

Where can I learn X? Where can I get algs for X?

If they exist, algorithms and information for most things can usually be found on the Speedsolving Wiki.

When should I learn OLL?

This question pops up a lot and the answer is quite frankly, whenever you feel like it. There is no 'correct' time to start learning a full set of algorithms. However, if you average over a minute there are probably other things in your solve that can work on to help you improve other than learning OLL. There are people who know full OLL and average over 2 mins and people who don't know OLL and average 12 seconds.

How do I get faster?

(Hopefully after people start to read this FAQ, threads that start with this question and continue with a flood of "Practise" will be curbed.)

The main way to get faster is to just practise. There's no secret, but there are things you can do to help improve. An example is analysing how long each part of your solve takes and seeing what you can improve on. No one knows how you can get faster better than you do.

Where can I learn fingertricks?

This video is a great tutorial to start. We advise you to try and start using fingertricks without focusing too much on them. As you watch videos of cubers to see how they do it, and speak to people at competitions to pick up tricks, you'll develop your own style of fingertricks over time. It helps to try and discover fingertricks yourself when learning algs.

I want to go to a competition. How do I know when there's going to be one near me?

All competitions that have been announced or have already happened are posted on the WCA website. If there's not a competition that is near you at the moment, be on the lookout! Sometimes future competitions are discussed in the Official WCA Competition sub-forum.

What's the best cube? Which cube should I get?

There is no 'best cube'. Personal preference and style contribute to the decision on which cube is best for you. However, there are some cubes that are more popular than others because many consider them to be the best for them. This thread on the forum has an updated list of the best cubes at various budgets.

Where should I buy my cubes/stickers/lubricant?

Checkout the Puzzle Shops forum for a list of shops to buy cubes, stickers, and lubricant from. You can also purchase puzzles on Amazon or eBay.

Which is the best method?

As with the 'best cube' question, there is no best method. The most popular methods at the moment for speedcubing are; CFOP, Roux, Petrus and ZZ.

What method should I learn? Should I switch methods?

This is another question with no real answer. Do some research for yourself and if you like the look of a method, go for it! Each method mentioned has potential to be very fast. People have gone further with certain methods than with others, but that doesn't mean that those methods are 'better'. You can search the million+ posts on the in seconds.

I discovered a new method! Is it good?

It's highly likely that the method has been already discussed at length. I advise you to do some research before posting about it and check if it already exists. If you're sure that it's a new and unique idea, post it and get ready to defend it from the people telling you that it's a bad idea :)

I heard that I shouldn't use a good cube until I get faster.

This seems to be a common misconception peddled by uninformed cubers. There is no advantage to gain from starting with an inferior cube. In fact, you may develop some poor techniques by doing this. It will only hold you back and make it more difficult for you to adjust to a better cube.

How does the notation system work?

The cube has six sides: Front, Back, Left, Right, Upper and Down (F, B, L, R U and D). A single letter represents a clockwise turn of that face. The 3x3x3 notation page has a more in depth description on how notation works. It takes a little practice to get used to, but gets easier with practice.

What is the best method for speedsolving the Rubik's Cube?

There is not a "best" method, but most of the fastest solvers in the world currently use CFOP, with several top 100 solvers using Roux Method. An overview of methods can be found on the 3x3x3 speedsolving methods page.

How can I solve higher order cubes? (4x4, 5x5)

There are several methods for solving he 4x4x4 and 5x5x5. To start, watch this YouTube tutorial on how to solve the 4x4x4 Cube. YouTube has many other tutorials on how to solve the 5x5x5 and other puzzles.

Where can I see all current official/unofficial records?

All official records (records that are done at an official competition) can be found here:

Should I go to a competition?

Of course! If you can solve a cube, you should go to a competition. There you will meet many people who share your interest. It isn't just about competition, it's about the community! To see if there is one in your area, click here (WCA competition page).

How do I lubricate my cube?

You can either take a piece or two out and spray the lubricant in directly, or disassemble and fully spray the lubricant on every piece with sweeps. There are many tutorials in YouTube if you need help. Also, check youtube for techniques to lubricate big cubes.

The best lubricants tend to be silicone based. Products like Jig-a-Loo and CRC Heavy Duty Silicone spray are very popular among cubers. There is a lubricant made specially for cubing which can be bought at Puzzleproz. You should never use WD-40 lube on your cube as it contains petroleum distillates which can damage the plastic. Some people do use petroleum jelly to break in really stiff cubes such as storeboughts, but it should never be used as lube.

For more info on lubricants see the lubrication page.

What does <insert some notation here> mean?

The official notation of the World Cube Association can be found here: [1]

The 3x3x3 notation page has more information on 3x3x3 notation, or see the Puzzle Notation page for other puzzle notation.

Where can I buy a timer like they use in competition?

It's also possible to make your own timer [2].

@ see related threads on forum here and here.

Are there timers on the Internet?

Yes, there are many. CSTimer is one of the more popular timers and works well.

Can I download a timer for my computer/phone/PSP?

CCT (CALCubeTimer) in JAVA (jar file), here, is very popular with many features like being able to connect a speedstacks timer with a data port to the computer and use it with CCT. Last update is version 0.9.5 (nov/2010). No longer maintained.

Prisma Puzzle Timer (PPT), also in JAVA (jar file), here here. This timer gives graphs, and other data charts for sessions. The forum discussion here.

Another great timer is JNet Cube. The forum discussion here.

iPhone and iPod touch, iiTimer (a port of qqTimer that works very well).

Android, jjTimer and JustInTime are both good options. Other with many features is Sune Timer (scrambles, algorithms for CFOP, WCA Regulation, etc!)

Note that for solves that take more than 15 seconds, a simple analog clock will work just fine if you don't need precise timing.

Where can I find a scramble generator?

Most speedcubing timers include scrambler generators. If your timer does not have scrambles, you can use this page to find a scramble generator for your puzzle. The Web-based Software Wiki page also has up-to-date info on online scramblers.

What is standard deviation? In probability theory and statistics, standard deviation is a measure of the variability or dispersion of a population, a data set, or a probability distribution. A low standard deviation indicates that the data points tend to be very close to the same value (the mean), while high standard deviation indicates that the data are spread out over a large range of values.

Where are the rules for WCA competitions?

On the WCA site of course!

How fast do I need to be to compete?

There's no requirement for speed to participate in most competitions. Even high level competitions like the US Nationals are open to all, if you see a time listed for "prequalification", this is a time that allows you to skip the qualifying round. If you are slower than that time you will still be allowed to take part in the qualifications.

If you have the opportunity to attend a competition, even if you're not very fast, most experienced competitors would advise you to go for the social interaction and experience.

What is the fastest method?

There is no ultimate method, its really down to personal preference. The most popular speedcubing method is currently Fridrich, although other methods such as Petrus, Roux and ZZ are rising in popularity. Fridrich is currently used by many of the top speedcubers, and is as such believed to be the fastest method. However, others attribute this to its popularity. The most obvious/natural progression from the beginner LBL method is Fridrich, which may explain its popularity. Being the most popular means it gains the most support and development, and is also more likely to be adopted by a talented cuber. More info can be found in the speedsolving forums, where this often comes up as topic of debate.

What is the easiest method?

The easiest method to learn is probably the beginner's layer-by-layer (LBL) method in which you solve the first, second, and the finally the last layer one by one. It's pretty basic, therefore easy to learn. However, this method however is relatively inefficient and is hard to achieve good times with. Other beginner methods exist, focusing on lower numbers of algorithms and/or more intuitive solving. Compared to the others, the LBL method has the easiest transition to the popular Fridrich speedcubing method.

What is the method that uses the fewest moves?

The most popular method for Fewest Moves solving is the Petrus method. Although it is designed for speed, it tends to have a very good move efficiency compared to other methods. The Heise method is another method that was designed specifically for move efficiency rather than speed. It is highly intuitive and very difficult to master. Other methods can be still be made efficient if you plan your moves carefully. More info on FM can be found on the Fewest Moves page.

Should I learn algorithms for F2L or learn it intuitively?

That is entirely your choice. Learning the algs isn't entirely hard since most cases can be seen and understood by practicing the algorithms, and it won't take as much thinking when solving. If you do it intuitively, it will take practice to be able to do with speed and efficiency.

Most people choose to learn intuitively and with some practice, it can be just as fast. Intuitive F2L may take more time to master but it is generally preferred because it allows for the use of advanced speed-reducing techniques such as multislotting and the use of empty slots.

How can I get faster?

Practice, practice, practice. That is the key way to get speed. Normally, with some work, your times will gradually drop without you doing anything. (If you are around 1 minute with LBL method than you should learn a faster method.)

If you haven't, try learning an advanced method. That should help you lower your times considerably.

Work on lowering your move count, look ahead and experiment with tricks.

Learn new algorithms.

Unglue your eyes from your computer screen, pick up your puzzle, and try to get faster.

It is also helpful if you do slow solves in order to train your look ahead. Here is an ongoing 10+ year old thread on how to get faster with CFOP.

I think I invented a new method, did I?

Probably not. If you haven't studied and don't fully understand the concepts behind all the major solving methods (CFOP, Petrus, Roux, ZZ, Waterman) and know the basic philosophy of the advanced variations (MGLS, ZB, Heise) then don't even bother asking.

Should I make a new web site about cubing?

Probably not unless you're actually going to provide something fresh and new and not just rehash the information already available on the 'net. @see the Wiki list of cubing sites

What does AUF mean?

Adjust U Face

What does XXX mean?

Are listed almoust all of them here: Category:Acronyms, or more general

Other Information

The best way to learn is to search the vast amount of posts on the Speedsolving Forum. You can search via the Search box in the upper right of the forum.

Here is a thread with the Best/Most Useful threads on the forum that is worth checking out.

How-To Guides

The How-To/Guides forum on has a vast amount of great tutorials on various topics.

Need more help? Checkout the Resources page, search the forums, or make a post on the forums so the community can help!

See also