Speedcubing

noun The art and sport of solving a Rubik's Cube as fast as possible.

Welcome to the obsession. My current speedcubing method for Rubik's Cube is the Fridrich method with the following additions:

  • Extended cross and other block approaches to F2L when possible.
  • F2L cross on bottom or left. Frequent use of empty slots and miscellaneous tricks.
  • Multiple algorithms for corner-edge pairs to minimize pause and regripping.
  • Avoiding 4 wrong LL edges when fixing the fourth slot (but only when it flows nicely from the rest of the F2L)
  • The nicer patterns from COLL when all LL edges are correctly oriented
  • PLL recognition by blocks of continuous colors

    With this method I have set world records multiple times in both single solve and average of 5 for 3x3x3 speedcubing. As of January, 2007, I hold the second fastest official average of 5 solves on record at 13.34 seconds.

    Fridrich Method is not for beginners, but for people who can already average close to 30 seconds and who want to get under 20 seconds. If you are a complete beginner in cubing, or want to learn a simple layer-by-layer method, see the first question on my FAQ.

    An Overview of the Fridrich Method

    Invented by Jessica Fridrich in early 1980s, Fridrich method gained popularity among the second generation of speedcubers when it was published online in 1997. Currently it is by far the most popular speedcubing method, with 95% of competitive speedcubers using it with minor modifications and variations. This page provides an overview of the Fridrich Method. Note that I solve with the blue cross (made in the first step) on bottom throughout the solve and that I use the Japanese color scheme (blue opposite white).

    StepDescriptionMoves (Average)Time (Average)Goal
    Cross The four edges of one layer are placed. (In the applet to the right, the cross has been made on the bottom layer.) 8 2 sec
    First Two Layers (F2L) Completes the first two layers by fixing the four corner-edge pairs between the cross edges in four steps, one slot at a time. 41 standard patterns counting mirrors for corner-edge pairs. 7x4=28 7 sec
    Orientation of Last Layer (OLL)

    printable page
    Corrects the orientarion (flip) of all last layer pieces in one step so that every piece has the last layer color on top. 57 patterns counting mirrors and inverses. 9 2.5 sec
    Permutation of Last Layer (PLL)

    printable page
    Corrects the permutation (placement) of all last layer pieces in one step. 21 patterns counting mirrors and inverses. 11 3 sec
    Total 56 14.5 sec

    Fridrich and Beyond

    When I entered the world of speedcubing in 2002, sub-20 average was the holy grail achieved only by a handful of speedcubers around the world. In the next few years, this barrier dropped down to 17, 15, and 14, times that many believed neared the limit of the Fridrich method. While Fridrich has remained mainstream, in search for faster methods, cubers developped a number of new system. Among these, what seemed the most logical extension of Fridrich, to combine another step in last layer by dramatically increasing the number of algorithms, was Zborowski-Bruchem method, or ZB.

    Although several cubers attempted to learn ZB, or at least ZBF2L (the ZB version of F2L), as far as I know there is no one as of yet who has memorized the full method. What's more, I, like many, now doubt that ZB would improve the solving time significantly. Although the number of moves used in ZB is very appealing, with such a large number of algorithms, it would take a tremendous amount of time to optimize and master every single pattern to an extent that top cubers have done for the Fridrich method. Now with the fastest cubers recording sub-12 averages with Fridrich, there is no longer any motivation to learn ZB.

    So where will speedcubing go? What's the true limit of Fridrich, and is there another method that can surpass Fridrich? These are the questions we're still trying to answer.


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