3x3 with Feet is a former World Cube Association event where competitors are required to solve the 3x3 puzzle with only their feet. This blog will look at the history of this event as well as its removal from the WCA only a few years ago.
The objective is to solve the Rubik’s Cube as fast as possible using only your feet. The participant will receive 15 seconds of inspection as in regular speedsolving, and they can use their hands to inspect the cube. This was not allowed until a few years ago. But once the time has started, no hands or any other body part are allowed to be involved for a legal solution. The other rules of +2 and DNF penalties all remain the same.
3x3 with feet was first added to the WCA along with other familiar events such as the NxN puzzles. Unlike the typical average of 5 format where the best and worst solve are removed and the mean of the middle three solves are taken, 3x3 with feet used the direct mean of 3 format. Here, the competitor would get 3 solves and their mean would be taken. The format was changed from mean of 3 to the standard average of 5 in 2017.
Jakub Kipa solving 3x3 with feet
History and Records
Kare Krig was the first person to hold both the single and mean world records for the event, setting a single time of 5:44.32 in 2004. After that, like in any other event, the times began to go down significantly. Perhaps the most famous feet solver is Jakub Kipa. He was the runner up for the event at the World Championship 2015 and the 3x3 with feet World Champion two years later in 2017. He held the single world record of 20.57 seconds for a duration of three years from 2015 till it was finally broken by Daniel Rose-Levine in 2018.
Daniel Rose-Levine broke multiple average records in 2018 and 2019, bringing down the average to 20.58 seconds. Lim Hung is the current average world record holder with a 19.90 seconds ao5 and also was the 2019 3x3 with feet World Champion. The current single record holder is Mohammed Aiman Koli, who solved a 3x3 with his feet in 15.56 seconds in 2019. Both these competitors will be the only ones holding these records from now onwards, since 3x3 with feet was removed as an event after these records were broken.
Mohammed Aiman Koli
The event has been relatively controversial, with some competitors finding it unsanitary and unhygienic. Arguments for its removal say that it is uncomfortable for scramblers and it takes up resources and significant floor space when the event is held at a particular competition. It would also not be an ideal event to display to the public by media outlets compared to regular speedsolving or other events like one-handed and blindfolded. Since many top-level cubers also do not participate in the event, it was argued that its removal would give a better idea of their Sum of Ranks. However, doing so would invalidate all the records broken and the effort put in by serious competitors so far.
Intense discussion about these arguments had been ongoing for some time on online forums and in competitions. In November 2017, the WCA announced that they were changing the format from mean of 3 to average of 5. This was a test run to gauge the popularity of the event after making its format more legitimate and standard after one year.
The criteria was that more than 30% of competitions should have held Feet and more than 4.5% of the competitors should have participated in the event. In December 2018, the WCA found that this criteria was not met and in December 2019, it was formally declared that 3x3 with Feet would be removed from the WCA as an event from 2020. Hence, from 2020, the WCA offers 17 instead of 18 events and the world records broken right before its removal will stay forever.
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.