Cubing Journey - Vrishab Venkataraghavan

Introduction

My name is Vrishab, and I’m a speedcuber from Chennai. I currently average mid-7 on 3x3x3, which is my main event.

I started cubing on February 5th, 2020, after a friend in school introduced me to the cube. He taught me how to solve one side of the cube, and that left me fascinated. I wanted to improve, I wanted to solve the whole cube, and I knew what I had to do next - search for a tutorial. 

After trying a few different tutorials, I managed to find one that worked for me. Once I started, I knew I had to keep going. From the start, it was about getting faster and improving my solving. I did my first timed solve on Day 2, which was over 4 minutes.

cubing timer

My first ever timed solve (On 6th February 2020) - 4:03.33 minutes

The Early Days

What motivated me was breaking those initial barriers, and trying to improve what I was doing, to get faster. Some of the first cubing videos I ever watched were J Perm’s cubing story videos. In one of these, he mentioned F2L, OLL, and PLL. Naturally, I was curious and looked up tutorials for each of these. I started learning F2L early on, which I think has helped a lot in strengthening F2L basics.

Initial Journey

When I was starting out, I didn’t really know anyone else who cubed, so I was slow to find out about things like the World Cube Association, or that I could use csTimer to time my solves (at the time I was using a phone timer). A month or two after I started cubing, I found out that the Indian National Championships 2020 were to happen in my city (Chennai) in April. But the competition got cancelled because of the pandemic.

Online Competitions

Around this time, I started participating in online competitions. At the start of the pandemic, there were several being organized every week. I didn’t rank particularly well in any of these competitions, but it was a great learning experience for benchmarking myself and seeing what it would take to win. 

Inspiration To Improve Further

Over the next few months, I put a lot more effort into trying to improve. In April 2020, I found out about the CSUL 1.0 online competition. Unfortunately, only competitors with a WCA ID could participate. Thankfully, from the next CSUL onwards, it was open to all competitors. I was motivated to improve my rank when I saw that the best cubers in India were participating in these competitions. With this, I moved from the 105th Rank to the 35th Rank in a month.

cubing improvement

3rd position in 3x3 Live Battle of CSUL

When these competitions started, my average was in the low 20s, and as of this writing, I average mid-7 seconds. These competitions played a large part in motivating me to keep getting faster. 

Initially, only 4 competitors were selected for each CSUL Finals. One time, I got the 5th rank in the first round and missed getting into the finals by one spot.

Explore 5x5 Cubes

Intensive Practice

Around mid-may of 2021, I realized that if I wanted to have a shot at getting faster, I needed to step up my 3x3 practice. May 16th, 2021 was “Day 1” of my intensive 3x3 practice. As of this writing, I am nearing “Day 300” of intensive 3x3 practice.

Initially, I thought it would be enough if I do tons of solves, and I would get faster. But I soon realized this was a bad idea because I wasn’t consciously improving on my shortcomings. Instead, I was making a habit of solving cases in certain ways (which may not have been ideal) through repetition. So I started to do more deliberate practice - whether it was OLL and PLL execution, practicing cross+1 prediction, or reducing pauses in F2L.

My cubing practice sessions

My practice sessions

One practice technique that I think would be helpful for anyone who wants to improve Last Layer Execution and prediction is what I call “RF LSLL” or “Rapid Fire Last Slot + Last Layer”. The way this works is that on csTimer, the scramble type needs to be set to 3x3 > Last slot + last layer. This will provide a scramble where the 4th F2L pair and Last Layer need to be solved. After scrambling the cube, start the timer with no inspection, and solve the pair + LL. I find that this has helped in my LL execution, as well as certain OLL and PLL case predictions.

Check out 4x4 Cubes

Working On Flaws = Improvement

Over the last two years of cubing, one thing has been clear to me; there is no free or easy improvement. We can’t just do a bunch of solves and expect to get faster. We need to consistently work on our flaws, figure out what to improve, and develop overall as a cuber. It’s not just about “breaking the sub-X barrier”.
This brings us to the present day, where I’ve been trying to improve quite a few things in my solving style. On that note, I highly recommend Kunal Oak’s solve analysis. His plan includes detailed feedback, critique, as well as an improvement plan. It is very helpful for people at any speed, and it has helped me personally in fixing flaws in my solves

Results From My First WCA Competition

My ranking in SSN Cube Open 2022

I attended my first WCA competition (SSN Cube Open 2022) on March 12th, and I was fortunate enough to win it. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and I hope to attend more WCA competitions in the future!

PS: One VERY important piece of advice I have, especially for anyone who has recently started cubing, is to do your crosses in all colors, not just white or just green. This might not make sense at present, but will definitely come in handy later, and will end up saving a lot of practice time.

I would like to wrap up by thanking you for taking the time to read my blog! I hope you found it interesting!

Happy Cubing!

-Vrishab Anurag Venkataraghavan

2 comments

Jasman Jyot Singh

Jasman Jyot Singh

So I recently started cubing and also started watching J Perm’s videos. I also want to become a competitor and I have a goal to compete with you and the world champion.

Hasnain Reza Bilal

Hasnain Reza Bilal

Nice bro! Keep it up!

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