3x3 speedcubing remains the most popular and common among all the WCA events. However, there are a few events that involve the 3x3 Rubik’s Cube with slight variations. One of them is 3x3 OH or One-Handed, where participants have to solve the puzzle as fast as they can with only one hand. Hence, if you are looking to branch out from just regular speedcubing, this event is a very good next step to diversify your events.
The majority of speedcubers use their non-dominant hand for one handed solving. So cubers who are right handed will use their left hand and vice versa. This is because the grip for a regular speedsolve (for a right handed person) involves the left hand holding the cube together and the right hand performing the algorithms such as with R and U moves. So for one handed solving, the left hand is still used to keep the grip on the cube while the free fingers are used to perform the moves.
As most 3x3 solvers use CFOP, the same method is used for one handed. The cube is solved in the exact same way but some aspects are modified so as to be more convenient for solving with one hand.
Finger tricks are one of the most important aspects of this event, since how you fast manipulate the cube with less fingers involved than in regular solving is essential. Holding the cube in a neutral grip is keeping the thumb in front and the ring and middle fingers holding the back. This leaves your pinky and index fingers free to move the layers and hence, R and U moves are preferred for this event.
R moves are performed with the pinky, and R’ is performed by placing the pinky in front of the R layer and pushing it downwards. This is most likely going to take a while to master, since this finger trick is not used at all for regular 3x3 solves and is specific to one handed. R2 can be done using two R moves with the pinky or in quick succession using the pinky and ring fingers.
This is very similar to two handed solving, using the index finger. U can be done by either pushing the top layer at the back with the index finger or by placing the index finger in front of the top layer and pushing away. This index ‘flick’ is very useful and can also help in some last layer algorithms for regular speedsolving to prevent regrips.
D, F, B, L Moves
D’ is performed the exact same as in two handed solves, pushing away with the ring finger. B is done by rotating appropriately and performing a D move, L is done by rotating and performing a U move. Both the thumb and index finger can be used to move the front face after regripping. As is evident, these moves require extra effort compared to U and R, so case solutions are chosen that are easier to perform with R and U, and rotations are common. This is especially important while in the F2L stage.
The OLL and PLL algorithms remain the same for OH. However, some of them require moves that translate awkwardly to single handed solving, so alternative algorithms are used instead. One of the most prominent ones is the V Perm. The standard two handed algorithm is R' U R' d' R' F' R2 U' R' U R' F R F, which is hard to execute one handed. Hence, the alternative algorithm, which uses more of R and U moves, is R' U R U' x' U R U2 R' U' R U' R' U2 R U R' U'. Even though it is longer, it is faster because of more comfortable finger tricks. There are many resources detailing one handed specific last layer algorithms, so you have the option to explore multiple options before figuring out which algorithm works best for you.
Explore 4x4 Cubes
Hopefully, this blog has provided you with an overview of the basics of the 3x3 one handed event, and how it differs or is similar to regular speedcubing. There are many videos and websites with algorithms for last layer and F2L cases specifically for 3x3 OH, which can be helpful resources. The most important thing, however, is to get comfortable with finger tricks like the U flick and pinky R’, that will enable rapid improvement, coming directly from two handed solving.
Pranav Prabhu is the current 3x3 Fewest Moves (Single) National record holder from Chennai. He started cubing when he was 14 and has 5 years of cubing experience. Besides cubing, Pranav enjoys reading books, writing, and playing the piano. He has participated in 36 competitions and won 30 podiums including 8 gold medals and 1 National record.