Is There a Limit to the World Record for Speedcubing?
The world record for the fastest solve of the 3×3 Rubik’s Cube was set by Yusheng Du at 3.47 seconds. He beat Feliks Zemdegs’s previous record of 4.22 seconds in the process. Who do you think will be next to set a new world record? What if we told you that Du’s record is close to impossible to beat?
The Rubik’s Cube has thousands of combinations of moves or algorithms that can be used to solve it. However, the number of moves used to solve a cube as fast as possible is much smaller. The fewer the moves, the faster the solve time. Each solving method has an average number of moves to solve the cube:
The LBL (Layer By Layer) method is ideal for beginners and solves the cube with an average of 80 moves in half a minute.
The advanced CFOP (Fridrich) method solves the cube with an average of 60 moves in less than 10 seconds.
Another advanced method is the ROUX method, which solves the cube with an average of 48 moves in less than 10 seconds.
Finally, there is the ZZ advanced method, which can solve the cube with an average of 45 moves in less than 10 seconds as well.
Some solve methods are faster than others, but they all share something in common: a lowest possible solve time of two seconds. There are two limitations for speedcubers: physical and mental. It does not matter how good the speedcuber is, a human’s hands can only move a cube so fast. The fastest speedcubers in the world all maintain an average of ten turns per second. The other limitation is that speedcubers need to plan in advance which algorithms they will need to use and adapt as they solve.
The last element in this two-second-solve challenge is “God’s number”: any scrambled cube can be solved with a minimum of 20 moves. Even if we assume that a speedcuber knows the 20 moves in advance and executes them perfectly, the result would be between two and three seconds. In other words, luck plays a significant factor in reaching a solve in under three seconds.
Feliks Zemdegs stated in an interview in 2019 that he expects the next world record to eventually be 2.5 seconds. The reason he thinks this is possible is that there are always new techniques and methods being developed to shave off fractions of seconds. Additionally, new speedcube designs are always under development, which results in faster solve times.
For the time being the only way to reliably beat the two-second solve limit is by using a machine. Ben Katz and Jared Di Carlo designed a robot in 2018 that solved the cube in 0.38 seconds.
You can see this feat in action in this video:
Now that you know the true time limits of speedcubing solves, you can get a clearer picture for how fast you can eventually solve. We hope this article serves to inspire you to reach that limit rather than feeling restricted by it.