Hi, I am V Achyuthan and I am a speedcuber from Chennai. I started cubing at the age of 13. I average around 9 seconds in 3x3x3 which is my main event. I use the CFOP method. Writing poems, playing cricket and chess are my other hobbies apart from cubing.
You might know me from Speedsolving.com, discord, etc. I also participated in CSUL 4 times. This blog is about my cubing journey and how CSUL has helped me improve and grow.
How it started
I was always a huge fan of puzzles, whether it be a Jigsaw puzzle or a math problem. One day while searching for puzzles on the internet I stumbled upon the word ‘Rubik’s cube’.
So, I decided to try it as well. I pleaded with my father to buy me a Rubik’s cube even though I just knew what it was and didn’t even know how it worked or anything about it. My first ever cube was a Rubik’s brand.
Solving the First Layer
For a whole week, I sat with it all day long only taking breaks for eating and sleeping. I was so interested in it that I wasn’t able to rest until I learned how to solve it back again. The cube didn’t look really good when it was mixed up. So I searched up a tutorial and found the one by J perm. The video was titled Learn How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube in 10 minutes. I thought to myself, “Just 10 minutes to learn how to solve this thing. This is going to be really easy”. But of course, it wasn’t. It was extremely hard to even get the cross done at first. So I spent a whole day just practicing cross. And when I got better at it I moved to the next step which was completing the first layer by inserting the corners. I practiced that for a whole day.
By now I was pretty comfortable with solving the first layer.
My practice sessions
Solving the Second Layer
Now I had to move on to the second layer. But before moving on to the second layer I learned some basic finger tricks like U with the index finger, D with the ring finger, etc. When I moved on to learning the second layer it started getting difficult as I had to memorize some algorithms. I forgot the moves in the algorithm right after learning them. Then, I found a way around it. Instead of memorizing how the moves go one by one for example R then U then R’ then U’, I saw how the fingers and my wrist moved for example, for R my wrist moved upwards, for U I used my index finger, for R’ my wrist moved downwards and finally for U’ I do the same thing as U but with my other hand.
Solving the Last Layer
Then came the final and the last layer. I thought this would be really easy. But it was not because I had to learn MORE ALGORITHMS! I first had to make the top cross which required 2 algorithms then I had to solve the edges I had to learn 1 algorithm and to permute the corners 1 algorithm and to orient the corners were just R U R’ U’ and some extra D moves that I learned while solving 2nd layer. So I ended up practicing the last layer for 2 whole days since I had to get the algorithms into muscle memory. And I finally learned how to complete it.
My first ever timed solve was done on 15 September 2020, exactly one week after I started cubing. The time was 3:37.40, which I still have a picture of.
The timer I used was Cstimer since it was the first one that popped up when I searched ‘online cubing timer’ on google. I was really proud of myself and so were my parents. I thought I was ‘one of the geniuses on earth’ until I discovered this video of a guy who was solving a cube in under 5 SECONDS.
His name was Feliks Zemdegs. I was like, “how is that even possible? I think this guy is cheating. Let me try it”. I got a really easy scramble with a very easy 1st layer, half of the second layer solved, and no Last Layer and did that scramble 100 times and I couldn’t even get close to solving it in under a minute. I turned on the video again and this time when I looked closely I saw that he was using a different method. I searched up ‘Advanced cubing methods’ on youtube and the first one I saw was J perm’s CFOP tutorial.
From there I learned CFOP which I found was very similar to the Layer by Layer method I learned at first. And F2L, the most crucial part which everyone considered as difficult, was like a piece of cake because I understood what I had to do. I just had to pair up a corner and an edge by either hiding the edge or the corner moving over its pair which is the corner or edge that belongs with it to a specific spot so that when you unhide the hidden edge or corner they both end up getting paired and you have to either do R U’ R’ or R U R’ to insert them together at the same time. I practiced CFOP for 9 months and during that time I learned full OLL (Orientation of the last layer) and PLL (Permutation of the last layer). In the 10th month, I finally achieved my goal of becoming sub 10.
The one person who motivated me the most was Feliks Zemdegs. He inspired me to work harder and become faster. My second motivation was Aryan Chhabra.
Once I found out that he was from my own country I was excited. I wanted to beat him in cubing. So I set my goal to become faster than him, which is still my goal today.
My parents, my grandparents, relatives, brother, and the rest of my family also motivated me to become faster. Even my friends motivated me which made me really motivated to become faster. Sometimes I really wanted to give up because I would get stuck at a certain level for a relatively long time. But still, everyone I mentioned above motivated me to continue cubing because they said, “You have put in all the patience and hard work. You will certainly be a better cuber soon”. I thought they were joking around. But they weren’t. In just 9.5 months I became sub-10 with the CFOP method.
Balancing between studies and other activities and cubing
Balancing between cubing and studies was very hard at first. I wanted to cube a lot since I felt I was too slow, but at the same time I couldn’t let down my rank which I had held for the past 3 years. Whenever I cubed too much I would find myself studying only a day before the exam and I would be so stressed that I wasn’t able to concentrate.
But if I studied too much for about 5 hours straight I wasn’t able to concentrate as well since I was trying to store a lot of information in one single stretch.
That’s when I understood that I needed to manage my time. So I split my studying time into sessions of half an hour and solved the cube in between those sessions. This way I was able to manage my time between my studies and cubing.
Competing in ONLINE COMPETITIONS
Competing in physical competitions has been one of my dreams since I discovered WCA (World Cube Association) which conducts physical competitions in many parts of the world. But since I started cubing right at the beginning of COVID-19 I didn’t have an opportunity to compete in physical competitions due to frequent lockdowns.
Soon, I discovered that due to COVID-19 online competitions were being held at many places on the internet. I participated whenever I could to get into the habit of competing against other people.
During the search for online competitions, one of my friends from discord recommended trying out Cubelelo’s CSUL (Cubelelo Speedcubing UnLocked) which was conducted monthly. The exciting thing about CSUL was the live battle of the top 8 participants in 3x3. I always wanted to go against the cubers who averaged either equal to or faster than me, and this was a great opportunity since there were a lot of people whose averages were very close to mine.
In total, I have competed in CSUL 4 times, and 2 times I was able to make it to the live battle. I couldn’t do my best at both the live battles since I was not very experienced in controlling my nerves. But I hope I will do better in the upcoming CSUL competitions.
3rd rank in 3x3 OH of CSUL
CSUL is a great place to compete. The people I met there were very fast. I knew I had to get faster in order to beat them. So, I asked the people who competed with me in the live battle to give me tips to become better and faster. They suggested numerous tips and I practiced them. I eventually got faster practicing those tips and implementing them in my solves. If I hadn’t met these people in CSUL and asked them for tips I wouldn’t have even gotten faster.
Explore 4x4 Cubes
Competing in CSUL has changed my cubing life. It has shown me the competitive world of cubing and also people who are UNITED BY CUBING but DIVIDED BY SKILL. Cubing brings people from around the world together. I love the way how CSUL and many other online competitions are helping to keep our motivation for cubing and I hope we get to compete in offline competitions.
Keep your spirits up SPEEDCUBERS. Even if you have not competed in WCA competitions till now, don’t lose hope. Because you might be the NEXT RECORD HOLDER.
Thank you for reading my blog, hope you enjoyed it.
Happy Cubing!V Achyuthan