Lars Vandenbergh's CubeZone

Speedcubing taken one step further

News archive

Study on solving the cross

Recently I've done some computer analyses of solving the cross. I had already done some simple calculations for always solving the cross on the same face, but here I want to see how much it helps to be (partially) color neutral and to be able to solve the cross on either of two opposite faces or even any face.

(5th March 2008)

Square-1 edge algorithms completed and last layer algorithms updated

The final 6 edge permutation algorithms for Square-1 were added to the square-1 solution method. I also updated my last layer orientation and permutation pages with some nicer algorithms (for me).

(28th October 2007)

Square-1 edge algorithms (part 3) and notation page

12 new edge permutation algorithms for Square-1 were added to my solution method. These are all algorithms that have 3 edge swaps in the top layer and 2 edge swaps in the bottom layer. The edge cases are almost complete now (6 to go). I also made a notation page for people who are not familiar with the Square-1 notation.

(28th May 2007)

More tournaments

There are many reasons why speedcubing is such a fascinating hobby. Most people will say it keeps their minds sharp or it helps them relieve stress. For me it's only about one thing: competition, competition and competition. It's as simple as that. And over the years, speedcubing has become a very competitive affair indeed.

I don't think I could ever practice hours and hours again just to break my personal record while I'm sitting at home, as I used to do when I first discovered Rubik's puzzles. I just relish the anxious moments you go through while you're waiting to be called on stage, the excitement of completing a solve when you know it really matters, the rush of adrenaline you get after you've finished the solve and get applauded for your time. And what about the great feeling you get when you win? There's nothing that can replace all that. Not even averaging 7 seconds on the 3x3x3 in practice will feel half as good as being crowned the winner amongst the world's best speedcubers. That's what makes me tick.

The Polish Open 2006 was in many ways a unique experience. It was the combined effort of dozens and dozens of volunteers who had only one goal: to make this tournament a big success. For them this wasn't just an informal meeting where people come to solve cubes, they were taking this very seriously. And it just showed.

The major of the town and the school principal officially opened the tournament with a welcome speech before everyone had to rise for the Polish national anthem. Of course the Polish competitors were being cheered on by the locals, but the foreign competitors also received a very warm welcome and got recognition from the crowd as well. We had a bunch of new world records set by some local guys, some of which are just very good speedcubers although they're not that well known. There was live web coverage of the event during the weekend and it had a winner's ceremony in true Olympic Games style to top it all off.

In one word: it was addictive! I'm already making plans for going to Polish Open 2007. I wouldn't be able to miss it.

The European Championship was contested one week later. A contrast in style to the previous tournament but certainly not of less quality. It was held in a very suitable location for a competition of this magnitude and stature (Cité des Sciences, Paris) and the organisation was nothing short of being flawless. We were sitting in a well lit auditorium with lots of room for the spectators. I like the atmosphere in these type of settings. Contestants were being well informed on what was going to happen at what time and were given ample time to prepare themselves and have something to eat in between events.

And we also had good winners: Joël, the prodigy from the Netherlands, won his first big competition. Jean, the 3x3x3 king, proved he's also no fruit cake on the 4x4x4. Ron, fully dedicated to the 5x5x5, finally sees his hard work being rewarded. No big wins for me, but I played my part here and there.

Oh, and just in case you're wondering how I placed, the updated records and results are in its usual place.

(1st October 2006)

2006 tournament results

I've updated my personal records and tournament record page to reflect the results of the German Open and Belgian Open.

(7th May 2006)

Square-1 edge algorithms (part 2)

10 new edge permutation algorithms for Square-1 were added to my solution method. I also made diagrams for all cases to make the page more readable. I'm working on the remaining cases and they will follow soon.

(21st November 2005)

World Championship 2005

I've updated my personal records and tournament record page to reflect the results of the World Championship. My aim going to Orlando was to get top 3 in all 4 events I competed in (3x3x3, 4x4x4, 5x5x5 and Square-1). I managed to get 2nd in the 4x4x4 and 5x5x5 events and I won the Square-1 competition for the second time in succession. My 3x3x3 performance was disappointing since I set my worst average in a competition for quite some time (17.79 seconds) in the semi-finals, which meant I didn't qualify for the final (13th place with 12 going through). That's tough, but in a time where more and more people are focussing on only one puzzle I should be quite statisfied with that.

Anyway, enough about me. I want to pay homage to all champions: Jean, Yuki, Frank, Masayuki, Leyan, Ryan, Oliver, Lars, Alexander, Stefan, Geir and Bob. There wouldn't be an event without people working very hard to make this happen, so big thumbs up to Ron, Tyson, Gilles, Patrick, Dave, Chris and all the judges and scramblers as well. To all others: a big thank you for making this event such a success and for making speedcubing such a fun sport.

(11th November 2005)

Square-1 edge algorithms (part 1)

I just arrived back home from the world championships. I had another great time (more on that later) and a lot of people asked me when I was going to complete my square-1 solution method. I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed quite a few people are planning to practice this puzzle and become good at it. This was the ideal opportunity for me to finally start working on the final touches of my solution method. I have now added 26 edge permutation cases, which should enable you to solve to edges in one step in about half of the cases and solve the edges in two steps in the remainder of the cases. For now the cases are described using cycle notation but I will add diagrams soon.

(9th November 2005)

Dutch Open 2005

Last week I went to the Dutch Open in Eindhoven (on my 24th birthday!). Unfortunately I didn't get to celebrate that much, since Ron pipped me in the 3x3x3 final with an average of 16.21 seconds versus my 16.29 seconds. We also saw a new world record set by Jean Pons: 11.75 seconds. I must say it was really daunting to see him beat the world record on his first attempt in the final before I even solved a cube. Nevertheless I can look back on another solid performance.

The 4x4x4 competition was also very high quality: I broke my personal record wih a mean of 3 times of 1 minute 18.42 seconds, but I only ended up being fifth with Frédérick Badie setting a new European record of 1 minute 9.83 seconds. The 5x5x5 competition was completely dominated by Frenchman Olivier Gaucher, who set a fantastic new world record with a mean of 3 of 2 minutes 6.15 seconds. I never got off the ground with a relatively poor average of 2 minutes 46.61 seconds, but I still ended up third in this event.

I was hoping Michael Fung would turn up, so that I could finally have some real competition in the Square-1 event, but unfortunately he couldn't make it. A pity, because I was prepared for it. I set a statisfying average of 35.32 seconds, just 2 seconds short of the world record, despite making mistakes in 2 of the solves. Updated records can be found in the About Me section.

Other highlights of this event feature new world records on Magic (Alexander Ooms: 1.48 seconds average) and Master Magic (Stefan Pochman: 3.36 seconds average) and a new European record on 3x3x3 blindfolded (Jean Pons: 3 minutes 28.06 seconds and this after only 2 months of practice!).

The most important highlight for me though is that I got to spend my birthday with some of my best friends and that we had another great time together. Thank you so much!

(23rd October 2005)


I finally made a 4x4x4 version of ImageCube, a PHP script for dynamically generating images of the 4x4x4 Rubik's Cube. The original version of ImageCube already proved its usefulness on various web pages and I'm sure ImageRevenge will find his way to a lot of web sites too, as it is a great tool to set up situations on a 4x4x4 cube without too much hassle.

(27th September 2005)


With the world championships coming in two months, I've spiced up my practice regime a bit. Apart from practicing the regular cubes, I've been doing a lot of work on Square-1. This is the first time since Toronto 2003 that I've felt so much interest for this puzzle. It really is a fascinating puzzle. It's also amazing how many algorithms still stayed in my head after such a long time. I didn't take long to get to my old shape of form and this week I broke my personal and unofficial world record, which now stands at 19.80 seconds. I thought this was a good time to publish most part of my method. It's in the Square-1 section.

(4th September 2005)

German Open 2005

It's been an eventful last couple of weeks. Most importantly I finally have a job! I'm now working as a software engineer at a company called Luciad. I also passed my theoretical driving test last week. I'm becoming really independent now ;)

We also saw a barrage of new speedcubing records with the German Open and the French Championships held in the same weekend. I came to Germany not expecing too much since I didn't manage to prepare myself as well as I wanted. Also the fact that a lot of top speedcubers turned up (the numbers 2 and 3 in Europe amongst others) made me realise that I could well not win anything this time. But out of the blue I produced my most consistent run in a tournament ever with 3 averages under 16 seconds on the 3x3x3 Rubik's Cube, which meant I beat the previous European record average of 16.19 seconds in all three rounds. The new European record average now stands at 15.29 seconds. I also beat the European record for a single solve with a time of 13.62 seconds in the final. I couldn't have wished for a better result!

On the 4x4x4 and 5x5x5 Rubik's Cubes I set solid times although I wasn't at my best. In the final of both events I got off to a bad start (most people will remember my angry reaction on my first 5x5x5 solve) but managed to recover well to win, which was also very statisfying. I was also privilleged to have witnessed Stefan Pochmann's World record on the Megaminx (1 minute 55.34 seconds!). All results and links to reports from other people can be found on I also updated my tournament record.

(1st May 2005)

New record for Rubik's 3x3x3 Cube (average of 10)

Yesterday I finally beat my record average on the 3x3x3: 15.15 seconds for 10 cubes. I'm happy to be back amongst the unofficial top 10 again. My next goal is to improve my averages on the larger sized cubes as well.

(3rd April 2005)

Printable page for ZB first two layers

To top it all off, I added a printable page with all ZB F2L cases listed on. This page should fit on two sheets of paper (or on one sheet printed from both sides). I give instructions on how to get the best results.

(9th March 2005)

Algorithms for ZB first two layers completed!

Yesterday I got my 2000th visitor, exactly 2 months after was officialy launched. I'm really glad people keep coming back here. As promised I completed my list of ZB F2L algorithms. These are all algorithms I'm completely happy with and I hope to have most of them learned by the end of April when I go to the German Cube Day. I have to thank Chris Hardwick for motivating me because he is also in the process of learning ZB F2L. Also check out Chris' notes to see how he's progressing and which algorithms he uses.

(8th March 2005)

Algorithms for ZB first two layers (part 2)

More and more people seem to get interested in learning ZB, so I decided to add 64 more cases in the ZB F2L section. These are all cases where both the corner and edge are in the top layer. The total case count stands at 178 out of 306 now. I think I can finish most of the remainder in the next week or so.

(3rd March 2005)

News articles

I made a selection of news articles about me that were published in Belgian newspapers over the years. These are scanned versions of the original articles, so they are all in Dutch. I may add an English transcript of them later.

(24th January 2005)

Speedcubing videos

Time for something slightly different now: I've added 5 video clips of me in action in the brand new video section. It features two 3x3x3 solves, one 4x4x4 solve and two Square-1 solves. Have fun with them!

(23rd January 2005)

A bit more about me...

I added some stuff to the About me section. You can check out my tournament record with all my major achievements in WCA tournaments. I also made a list of all my personal and official records. Enjoy!

(18th January 2005)

Caltech Winter tournament 2005

The Caltech Winter tournament last weekend saw some excellent performances with several world records broken. Most notably Frank Morris' times on the 4x4x4 and the 5x5x5 were of the highest standard and he broke my previous world record on the 4x4x4 in the final with a fine 68.12 seconds. We also saw the return of fewest moves master Mirek Goljan with a new world record of 28 moves in competition. Shotaro Makisumi proved he is still the best at solving the 3x3x3 blindfolded by beating his own world record with a time of 2 minutes 57.97 seconds. And of course Macky keeps impressing us all with his consistent 3x3x3 times, both one-handed and two-handed.

Great stuff guys!

(18th January 2005)

Algorithms for ZB first two layers (part 1)

I published 114 algorithms for flipping the edges while solving the final pair of the first two layers. These can all be found in the ZB F2L section from now on. These algorithms are filtered out from a list of optimal and near-optimal solutions and should be suitable for speedsolving. I nearly have all the other cases filtered out as well and I hope to add them very soon.

(17th January 2005)

ImageCube back online

Thanks to a lot to our friend Dan Harris, who was kind enough to host my ImageCube script on his website. ImageCube is a small PHP script that enables you to generate static images of a 3x3x3 Rubik's Cube. A full explanation of what it does and how to use it can be found on this page.

(17th January 2005)

COLL algorithms

I've added a set of algorithms for solving the corners of the last layer whilst leaving the orientation of the edges unchanged. To take full advantage of these algorithms, you need to know some additional stuff to orient the edges while solving the first two layers. This will be the subject of future updates.

(11th January 2005)

Orientation algorithms

A lot of people seemed to have found their way to my website now, so I'm hoping this next update will please you: my customized list of orientation algorithms. Have fun!

(9th January 2005)

Permutation algorithms

So you didn't have to wait long for my first contribution. Due to popular demand, I've made a list of all the permutation algorithms I use for solving the last layer. I'm in the process of making a list of the orientation algorithms as well.

(7th January 2005)

New website launched

Hi everyone!

From now on, will be the official home page of Lars Vandenbergh. If you don't know who that is, you can have a look at my profile. This website will mainly focus on speedcubing and related subjects. At this point in time, there's not a lot to see, but I hope to provide you with frequent updates in the future.

(7th January 2005)