If it’s going to be your first time ever competing in an official competition, or you’ve competed once or twice but still don’t know all the rules, we’ve got you covered! Here are some of the most important rules and regulations for judges and competitors. Knowing every rule of competing is important because not knowing a rule will not be considered an exception to it! So make sure you are well informed about the rules so that you can comfortably compete without breaking any rules. Let’s start with the rules for the competitors first.
Rules For Competitors
We will be covering some general rules for competing in a WCA competition. However, it is recommended to check out https://www.worldcubeassociation.org/regulations/ for reading the entire regulation list and making sure that you fulfill all the rules, and finding out whether your puzzle is fit for competing or not. Here are some important general rules:-
- Every competitor must conduct themselves in a proper manner. There must be no running around or shouting! Venue rules must be strictly followed. A level of silence must be maintained at all times. Talking is allowed, but make sure that none of the other competitors are disturbed by your voice.
- Your cube must be fully solved at the time of stopping the timer. If the puzzle is off by one turn, i.e. it can be solved by one turn, then the +2 penalty is enforced. If the puzzle takes more than one turn to solve after stopping the timer, the solve is considered a DNF.
If the middle layer is off by one turn, then it is considered a DNF because it requires two outer layer moves to solve it. If your cube has an incomplete turn, then there will be a +2 penalty if the turn is over 45 degrees, and no penalty if the cube is off by less than 45 degrees from its solved state.
The competitors are allowed a maximum of 15 seconds of legal inspection time, failure to start the solve within 15 seconds will result in a +2 penalty. Failure to start the solve within 17 seconds will result in a DNF. The competitor is not allowed to talk to anyone except the delegate or judge during the inspection and you are not allowed to make any turns or start solving during the inspection.
Solving - The timer must be started with the fingers, with the palm facing down.
You must not touch the cube in any way before starting or stopping the timer. Also, competitors are not allowed to talk to anyone except the judge or WCA delegate.
Competitors are not allowed to discuss scrambles during the round, not even in the waiting area. If found, competitors involved may be disqualified, at the discretion of the WCA delegate.
Any electronic equipment should not be used during the solve. Special instruments like hearing aids are allowed, but approval from a WCA delegate is necessary so that there is no unfair advantage. Earphones, headphones, etc. are not allowed. You are allowed earmuffs and earplugs, but they have to be non- electronic. You are allowed to record your solves, but the camera screen must be facing away from you.
You must provide your own puzzles for competing! Your puzzle needs to be fully functional and must contain no electronic parts. So no smart cubes allowed!
Puzzle defects! If your pieces pop during the solve, you are allowed to repair the defective parts but only the defective ones. Repairing the puzzle must not give you any unfair advantage. You cannot do a double-corner twist to solve a piece! A single corner piece can be twisted without disassembling the puzzle. One important thing to note is that you cannot use tools or parts of other puzzles to repair the defect. Breaking any rule of puzzle defect will result in disqualification of the attempt.
These are the most basic and important rules for competitors to follow. Again, it is recommended to check out https://www.worldcubeassociation.org/regulations/ to get more information regarding the penalties for every broken rule and more specifics of all these rules above.
Rules for Judges
Now that we’ve discussed the basic rules for competitors, now let’s get to the basic rules for the judges. I’d recommend checking out https://www.worldcubeassociation.org/regulations/ for the full guidelines list. But here are some basic rules to get you started:-
- DO NOT disturb the competitor while they are solving it, and don’t use your phone. Just look at them solving. It is you who has to make sure that the solve is completed correctly and no unfair means are used. So pay attention!
Lift the cube cover only after the competitor says they are ready.
After you ask them if they are ready, the competitor only has one minute to say that they are ready. Lift the cube cover and start the inspection stopwatch at the same time. Warn the competitor when 8 seconds of inspection time are over, and again when 12 seconds of inspection time are over. Carefully note the time down after the solve is done.
Do not look at the display while writing down the solve times, look at the timer itself, and note down the correct time.
Every competition has its specific set of rules and regulations. Make sure that you attend the sessions for new competitors that are held in most competitions so that you can volunteer properly.
If you have any questions or doubts in any situation during the competition, you can always ask the delegate.
Things like timer resets, close cases of +2 penalty, and any other kind of timer malfunction must be informed to the WCA delegate.
These are the basic rules for judges. If you want more information and more specific rules, then check out https://www.worldcubeassociation.org/regulations/
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.