It seems that there’s a new sheriff in town. I awoke this morning to a youtube stream full of buzz about Mats Valks 5.55-second solve yesterday at the 2013 Zonhoven Open. For those keeping score, that’s a new world record — topping Feliks Zemdegs 5.66 solve from the 2011 Melbourne Winter Open.
Pretty remarkable solve. Very clean and precise and almost robotic. Virtually no pauses other than for a split-second as he absorbs the OLL skip. Unremarkable was the reaction in room. At least they eventually clapped....
Already the forums are awash with comments claiming that the OLL skip makes this a second-class record. Feliks had a full solve at just 0.11 seconds longer, after all. “Lucky solve,” some dismiss with the back of the hand. Perhaps it was luck. Or perhaps he forced an OLL skip. No matter. If you believe that “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” then there’s no reason at all to denigrate this record. He prepared like mad, moved in competition at a pace that only a few cubers in the world can, and, when presented with an opportunity to exploit (or create) an OLL skip, did so masterfully. To the haters, I say, “Hogwash!”
Mats had already reconstructed his solve in his video comments, so it was easy to pop it into the alg.garron.us applet to get this animated reconstruction. For us lowly non-color-neutral solvers, I thought it would helpful to adapt his blue cross on bottom solve into this white cross on bottom reconstruction by adding an x’ at the beginning of the scramble. Then, since the applet doesn’t play well with tablets, phones, and some browsers, I thought it would help to record the animation and combine it with a slo-mo, zoomed version of the solve. (To do that, I did grab the video off of Mats’ youtube channel without permission. All in the name of academia....) Here’s the quick video:
Here’s the annotated move breakdown, with blue-to-white cross adjustments [bracketed in green]:
x y’ // INSPECTION
F R D L F // CROSS (blue on bottom) [white on bottom]
U R U’ R’ U y’ R’ U R // F2L-1 (red/white) [red/green]
y U2 R’ U’ R // F2L-2 (orange/white) [orange/green]
y2 U R U’ R’ y U R U’ R’ // F2L-3 (red/yellow) [red/blue]
y’ U’ R U R’ U R U’ R’ // F2L-4 (orange/yellow) [orange/blue]
// OLL skip
R2 U’ R’ U’ R U R U R U’ R // Ua PLL
U2 // AUF
Of course, only after I had put this together did I realize that Mats’ solve already had been analyzed, measured, and commented in this speedsolving.com thread. At least it appears that the above remains the only yellow-on-top reconstruction so far....