Corner Cutting: Tips and Tricks
It might surprise you that the cubes used in competitions are NOT the original Rubik’s cube. Instead, cubers use speedcubes which have the same features as the original model with one key difference: the cube’s mechanism is more flexible. This makes it easier to solve the cube at high speeds without damaging it. On the other hand, for someone who is used to solving the original cube speedcubes it might feel loose and uncontrollable at first.
To be more specific, the technique that speedcubes facilitate is called “corner cutting”. This saves the cuber precious time since they can move one side of the cube to push another side back into alignment. By mastering the art of corner-cutting, anyone can improve their solving times. The best speedcubers can reach solve times below five seconds thanks to corner-cutting.
In order to corner cut, follow these steps:
1 – Take a speedcube and slightly turn the top face clockwise.
2 – The front right corner piece needs to be about an inch away from its original position.
3 – Slowly turn the right face clockwise. This will reset the top face’s position, finishing the corner cut.
If you’re having a hard time visualizing the technique, take a look at this video in order to get a good idea of what corner cutting looks like:
Possible issues while corner cutting
Corner cutting is great for saving time, but it can potentially cause issues with the cube, even if the cuber is careful. Different cubes have different qualities that make them subject to movements that can get the cube stuck. Below is a list of possible scenarios that can happen when corner cutting. After reading this list, you will know what to expect when solving a cube.
- Corner Twists
Corner cutting with speedcubes can lead to corner twists. The main reasons that contribute to this issue are rounded corners or very loose tension. Naturally, this corner twist prevents the cube from being solved, but thankfully it is easy to fix, without damaging the cube at all. The solve may be ruined, but the cube should be fine.
- Locking up
Another potential issue with corner cutting is the cube locking up. Instead of the pieces realigning, they get stuck together The main cause of this is speedcubes with square pieces. Just like with corner twists, loose tension speedcubes can lead to lock ups. If the cube’s pieces move around too easily, they can end up in the wrong position. Correcting a lock up takes a bit more effort than correcting a corner twist.
The final issue that can happen when corner cutting is “popping”. This means that a piece of the cube (usually the corner) will literally pop out of the cube. Thankfully, speedcube pieces are easy to pop back in, but doing so in the middle of a solve is not possible. The following elements can lead to popping: sharp turning, loose tension, or a faulty mechanism.
This concludes this guide to corner cutting. If you want to improve your solving time, corner cutting is the way to go. Hopefully, this guide will give you the confidence to try out this technique, even if you are just starting cubing! Assuming your speedcube is of good quality, none of the issues mentioned should damage it permanently. Like with any other activity, practice makes perfect.