I feel like I’m starting to hit a new groove. After mastering the Beginner’s Method a couple months ago, I’ve slowly embraced more complicated techniques (read: time-savers). First, it was the advanced cross technique, which I learned quickly but at which I’m still slower than I ought to be. Then it was a month of intuitive F2L. I’ve got that mostly down, with a couple non-intuitive cases still a challenge. Lately, I’ve been jazzed to learn a few more OLL/PLL algorithms. Each expands the toolbox and introduces more efficiency. Last week, it was H and Z PLL perms. This week, it’s OLL 6 (aka, The Sidewinder).
(Sidewinder / Tetris )
(R’ F) (R B’) (R’ F’) (R B)
I definitely understand why folks would call this the Sidewinder, given its awkward (but relatively quick) twists. Personally, I prefer to think of it as the Tetris OLL, since the setup reminds me the S Tetris block — and, with it, my favorite childhood video game. Under the Beginner’s Method, this case requires serial application (three times!) of an algorithm. Although I can do that algorithm quickly, three times is still three times; it takes me 5-7 seconds (as shown at the end of this video). By contrast, this Sidewinder algorithm takes me just two seconds:
The algorithm looks more complicated than it is. Breaking it into four pairs of moves, each started with a R or R’, shows that it’s just a matter of rocking the right face back and forth and performing a second move each time. I say it this way in my head:
– right toward the front, front toward the right
– right toward the back, back toward the right
– right toward the front, front returns left
– right toward the back, back returns left
In component parts, you realize it’s not a very hard algorithm. That said, I found the mechanics to be a big challenge. Taking Bob Burton‘s advice, I put my left hand thumb on the bottom face. The final B move is hard to see in my videos; I use my left ring finger to flick the from the top down.
In terms of practice, I realized after a few minutes that each application of The Sidewinder cycled through three cases, returning back to the start:
So, I simply start with a solved cube, apply the algorithm over and over, and ensure that I’m cycling through these properly.