by Simon Tiger
A few major breakthroughs have happened since my last post about speedsolving, most of which were about blind solving. For a few months now, I have been trying to solve a 3×3 blindfolded. This means I first memorize the cube, then put on the blindfold and solve it. There are a few different methods for doing this, and the one I used when I first succeeded was called Old Pochmann. It first turns the scramble into letters, and then it uses those letters to solve the cube, one piece at a time. There are about 20 letters for each scramble, and to memorize all of them, I turn them into words and memorize an image for each word.
After I succeeded with the method, I decided to learn an intermediate method which is a bit faster. It’s called “M2”, and it’s like Old Pochmann but it solves each of the letters in a quicker way. I have not finished learning it yet, but once I have, I will probably time how long it takes me to see how fast I am.
In addition to 3×3 blindfolded, I tried to solve some other cubes blindfolded as well (no no no, not 4×4, that’s for later). The first one I tried was 2×2 blindfolded, which ended up being really easy. I didn’t even have to make words out of the letters, there were so few that I could literally memorize all of them. My PB so far is around 3 and a half minutes (including memorization).
Ok, so I tried something easier than 3×3 blind, now let’s try something harder. The hardest blind challenge I tried so far was 3×3 multiblind. This is the only one I didn’t succeed on yet. The way it works is that I first memorize all the 3x3s (I only tried 2 since I thought more would be harder), then put on the blindfold and solve them all. With this one I put more structure into the words: instead of just memorizing images, I mentally put the images into rooms I know well. I ended up using my room for one cube and Neva’s room for the other. I recalled the images quite well, I was surprised how confident I was about them! There were just two mistakes that ruined this. One, I think even though I memorized well, I made some mistakes in executing the algorithms. And two, I got what is called “parity” on both cubes. Basically, I grouped the letters into pairs, and I made one word for each pair. But what if the number of letters is odd? Then I can’t pair the last letter! The smart solution would have been to double up the last letter, since you can’t get the same letter twice in a row. But for some reason, I decided to instead just memorize the single letters separately. Surely that would work well, right? WRONG. When I got to the single letters on the second cube, I forgot them. So I had to guess and to this day I don’t know if I guessed correctly. Oops.
The final challenge I tried was solving a puzzle called Mirror Blocks blindfolded. This one has no colors, but it shapeshifts so you can actually solve this one just by feel. This means I don’t even need to memorize anything, I just put on the blindfold and solve it using a normal, non-blind method, just by feel instead. It took way longer than it should have, maybe about half as long as a 3×3 blindfolded.
Oh yeah, one more thing, not about blind solving but I still wanted to address it here. I GOT MY FIRST SUB-30 3×3 TIME!!! I have been waiting for this for a long time, and it looks like it finally happened. My PB has dropped to 26 seconds now. I can now finally say that I’m at least remotely close to being sub-20.