Message #419

From: Roice Nelson <>
Subject: tag, you’re it!
Date: Sat, 08 Sep 2007 18:52:22 -0500

Hey guys,

Here is my next entry for the shortest competition, using the same starting
state as Remi. It totaled 298 moves, and I hope it will really give Remi
and others a run for their money!

In thinking about the theoretical bounds of this method, I thought averaging
2^(C-1) moves for each piece type might be doable (2 moves for 2C faces, 4
moves for 3C edges, and 8 moves for 4C corners). This would put one at

  1. But I thought it’d be sweeter to cross the 300 barrier, which would
    also reduce the record length by over 10%. I barely made it, and had to
    backup and retry the last 3 sequences to squeeze away an extra preliminary
    move (I was a little disappointed earlier today as I thought 300 was going
    to be it this time).

There was nothing fundamentally new in my approach. I thought about trying
to do some coding to help, but that quickly felt like it would be a bigger
project than I cared to tackle, plus I knew there would be a good argument
that any resulting solution shouldn’t count. So I started as before, though
I tried to take more of a zen approach this time vs. an OCD one. I just
really took my time and let each sequence seep into my brain as a mini
puzzle, playing with different preliminary move combinations and
brainstorming ideas to accomplished multiple goals at once. This often paid
off, as the extra time allowed me to find previously unseen shortcuts. I
tried to not spend a lot of time at once on the puzzle (less successful near
the end), and to not work on it if it was feeling laborious. I mostly only
worked out one or two sequences a night, hanging out with my wife as she
watched TV.

Given the ups and downs, I figure my luck was run of the mill, so this is
surely beatable, especially if someone happens to have more things "just
work out" for them. Some things did work out well for me, but some
roadblocks were frustrating.

The Good:

The Bad:

That’s about it I guess, without going overboard into detail…

Take Care,