Saturday 28 February 2015

My First Twisty Post and First Ever Puzzle!!

My first Rubik's Cube!!
Now, I was thinking of making my first twisy post about a different puzzle, but then I thought it wouldn't be right if it wasn't the first twisty that got me into puzzling to start with .... more than 10 years ago (BTW I turned 25 today!)!!!

So here it is, the first puzzle I ever had was ..... The Rubik's Cube (of course!)!!

Actually it wasn't mine, one of my parents (can't remember which!) had an Original Toy of the Year 1980 Rubik's Cube. I found it one day after rummaging around the house and decided I would learn how to solve one. So I did, albeit by using the internet!

White face Cross
When I first started I was using the method popularised by Jessica Fridrich, known as the "Fridrich method" (funnily enough!), however several cubers in the 80s actually contributed to its development. It is also know by speedcubers as the "CFOP" method, which is an acronym for; Cross, First Two Layers (F2L), Orient Last Layer (OLL) and Permute Last Layer (PLL). Also, the Last Layer refers to the face opposite the one the Cross was made on.

First Two Layers
The Cross is simply four edge pieces in the correct places on one face matching with that face's centre and the centres of the adjacent faces. Typically this is done on the White face.

The First Two Layers part was too advanced so I broke it down by putting a corner in first, to complete the face I started with the Cross, and then the edge after, completing the first two layers. The advanced F2L I learnt later, which makes it possible to put the edge and corner in place at the same time.

Last Layer Cross - Done
One step that isn't mentioned in the acronym is the Cross on the Last Layer, the reason being, there are many algorithms that do not need for the Cross to be made, (however there are less algorithms to remember that have the Cross made so I learnt only those instead!). Many speedcubers have memorised all the algorithms so this step is merged with the OLL step next.

Orient Last Layer - Done!
The Orient Last Layer step simply means rotate all of the Last Layer cubies so that all the same colour is on the top (irregardless if they are in the correct place or not!). In the beginner method, after the Cross has be done on the Last Layer, there is one algorithm which will rotate a single corner. This is then repeated until the correct colour is on the top, and then repeated on each corner until they are done. If the Cross was made on the White face at the start, this would mean all the top face has to be Yellow.

Permute Last Layer = Cube Solved!
The Permute Last Layer step means swap the edges and corners that need swapping so that they are all in the correct place, hereby solving the cube!!

So by using the beginner Fridrich method I had solved a Rubik's Cube!!!

Once I had practised this and could do it without referencing the algorithm sheet I had made, I began learning the F2L method, the OLL algorithms and the PLL algorithms. I still haven't learnt all of the OLL and PLL algorithms, but I know roughly 30 which is enough for me to consistently be able to solve a Rubik's Cube in under 50 seconds (28:79 secs being my recorded best!). As I don't plan on entering speedcubing competitions my algorithm knowledge is enough for me.

And that's what started it all off for me! Though, it wasn't till about 3 years ago that I bought my first puzzle which actually kicked off my collecting of puzzles, that of course being the Revomaze Extreme Blue! (That review will be coming soon!). After that one I knew I wanted more and then the collection started growing.
My 2x2 - 7x7 Cubes!

Since then I have acquired five 3x3x3 Rubik's Cubes of varying makes, my main one being a stickerless Gans III (so I'm not constantly buying replacement stickers when they get chipped!), and also cubes ranging from 2x2x2 to 7x7x7. At some point I will buy the rest that are in production; 8x8x8 to 11x11x11 and the 13x13x13 to complete my set, but by then some bigger ones will be out and it still won't be complete!!

But till then I'll always have my Original Toy of the Year 1980 Rubik's Cube that threw me down this rabbit hole of mind-boggling entertainment!!

That's all for now!!!

PS: Here is a link to Andy Klise's Rubik's Cube Guides website which has the updated versions of the printable PDFs I used for the Beginner's 3x3x3 Method and all the OLL and PLL algorithms:

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