The Rubik's cube seems pretty complex to solve. But once you get the hang of it, it becomes super easy to solve. So, naturally, people looked for more complex versions of the original puzzle, leading to the birth of higher-order cubes: the 4x4, 5x5, 6x6, 7x7, and even beyond. In this blog, we’ll be discussing practice tips for bigger cubes. Specifically the 6x6 and 7x7. Here’s how to structure your training for the 6x6 and 7x7 Rubik’s cubes.
Familiarize Yourself with the Basics
Before diving into complex algorithms, understand the cube's architecture. Recognize center pieces, edge pieces, and corner pieces. While the 6x6 and 7x7 offer more layers than the 3x3, many principles from the 3x3 carry over.
Breaking Down the Practice
- Center Building - For both cubes, the first step usually involves forming centers. Start by practicing center formation exclusively. Set aside sessions where you only solve the centers and then scramble the cube again. This will just get you used to solving centers quicker, and familiarize you with the cases that normally come up and how to deal with them in the best way possible.
- Edge Pairing - Edge pairing is the next step. This can be one of the most time-consuming parts of the solve. Focus on learning the basics of edge pairing. For example, how to pair the edges, where to store them, how to solve the last 4 edges and many more basics. Then focus on look ahead, try to actively look for pieces while turning the cube instead of just performing the turns. Practice recognizing and pairing edges and play around with the cube to figure out new ways to pair edges that work best for you.
- 3x3 Stage - Once centers and edges are solved, the puzzle essentially becomes a 3x3. Refine your 3x3 skills to maximize efficiency during this stage.
Watch : How to Solve a 3x3 Rubik's Cube
Learn and Drill Parity Algorithms
Higher order cubes introduce parity errors, which are not found in the 3x3. These are situations where a single piece or pair of pieces seem out of place. Familiarize yourself with the common parity problems and their solutions. For both 6x6 and 7x7, you'll encounter cases where edges need to be flipped or swapped. Regularly drill these algorithms so you can execute them quickly using your muscle memory. You can also use a timer while drilling parity algorithms.
Time Your Solves and Set Goals
Track your times for center formation, edge pairing, and the final 3x3 stage separately. This breakdown will help identify which area needs the most improvement.
Set milestones for yourself. Maybe it's breaking a 10-minute solve or mastering a specific parity case. Just set small goals for yourself that you can celebrate after you accomplish them!
Analyze Your Techniques
Study solves from seasoned cubers on platforms like YouTube. Notice their techniques and strategies. Are there certain moves or sequences they use that you haven’t learned? Analyze your own solves as well. Look for repetitive or inefficient moves that could be streamlined.
Consistency is Key
Consistency in practice is the most important factor. Dedicate specific times each day or week to practice and get better. The muscle memory from regular practice will significantly enhance your speed and efficiency.
Join a Community
Engaging with other enthusiasts can offer different perspectives, solutions, and motivations. You might be using a solution that you think is efficient but your cubing buddy may have a better solution! Exchanging ideas and challenges with fellow cubers can enhance your practice journey.
Sarthak Masta is a speedcuber from Raipur. He started cubing in 2013 and now has 9 years of cubing experience. Apart from cubing, Sarthak enjoys making music and singing. He has attended a total of 7 competitions in Raipur and has gotten 10 podiums, with 2 gold medals, 4 silver medals and 4 bronze medals.