What is Speedcubing?


Fun fact about me: I am obsessed with Rubik’s cubes. Although I’m no Yusheng Du (My average solve time is about 40 seconds), I love to sit down with a cube (or tetrahedron, or dodecahedron) and work on my best time. So today, I thought I would introduce you to the exciting world of speedcubing.

What is speedcubing?

Simply put, speedcubing is the act of solving Rubik’s cubes or similar puzzles as quickly as possible. The main governing body for speedcubing is the World Cubing Association, or WCA. They hold international competitions in a variety of events, from the beginner-friendly skewb to the dodecahedronal (12-faced) megaminx.

How can I get into speedcubing?

Personally, I started learning how to solve the standard 3x3x3 Rubik’s cube, as this is a good introduction to ideas like algorithms and the basic notations for the cube. However, you could also begin solving an easier puzzle, such as the skewb, pyraminx, ivy cube, or 2×2. From here, the paths are limitless.

Two speed-cubing competitors stand with referee at centre who points to the person on the right that won the round

You could start solving larger and larger nxnxn puzzles such as the 4×4 (sometimes called the Rubik’s revenge) or the 17×17, the largest mass-produced cube in the world. Z3 cubing on youtube has excellent tutorials for most of these puzzles. Another option would be to learn puzzles with a different mechanism, such as the square-1. The third main option is to explore the wide world of modding.

What is modding?

After you’ve mastered the basic 3×3, there are a plethora of different puzzles which use the same internal mechanisms, but differently shaped or stickered pieces to increase the challenge. The prime examples of these include the many varieties of bandage cubes, the mastermorphix family of puzzles, or the mirror cubes. If you’re not interested in learning how to solve more puzzles, YouTuber Nathan Wilson’s 30 days, 30 mods series features some excellent how-to guides for everything from the simple Fisher cube to an enormous hexagonal prism.