starting/stopping the timer

StefanPochmann (2006-04-10 23:16:45 +0000)
Earlier today I started a thread in the yahoo group about the rule that the timer must be started/stopped with the fingers (not with palms or whatever) because I had noticed even some of the top cubers weren't aware of this rule. In just 6.5 hours we generated 40 messages of heavy discussion about this (and I'm not sure it's over yet, though I hope we'll continue it here instead). Here's the yahoo thread: ... sage/28138 The reason behind the rule is that we want manipulation of the puzzle only while the timer is running. That is, no manipulation before the timer is started or after it's stopped. I said I'd make a proposal for a better rule but after some thinking I can't come up with one. My idea was roughly to say "the puzzle must be clearly out of reach when we start and stop the timer". If you use your palms, this means not only you're not allowed to touch the puzzle, but also that a rotation of your hands with the palms resting on the timer sensors must not let you touch the puzzle. Now, since the puzzle is usually put on the mat straight in front of you and you usually have your hands/fingers pointing somewhat straight away from you, this means that the puzzle must lie a bit further away from you than your finger tips. But then what's the difference to using your fingers to start/stop the timer? It's the same, only that both hands and puzzle are shifted a bit relative to the sensors. From this, I see two ways to go. Either the palms-fans accept that using palms is not beneficial and we can just keep the current rule, or the fingers-fans accept that using palms doesn't hurt. In the latter case we could allow it, but then we should have that strictly-out-of-reach rule mentioned above. In any case, we need to make sure both competitors and judges know, understand and enforce the rule, whatever it may be. This is currently not the case (which is why I brought up the issue in the first place).
cmhardw (2006-04-10 23:46:11 +0000)
I feel very strongly on this topic, but I've seen that there is a huge variety of opinion on this topic so I will post my thoughts as briefly as I can on this topic. I feel that starting the timer with the fingers only is an indirect way to handle the problem of manipulating the cube before and after the solve. I am on the side of the sport stacking rules, which [i:2ag1gx3i]explicitly[/i:2ag1gx3i] prohibit the situations they want to avoid instead of creating an indirect rule to handle them. In the spirit of sport stacking (which in my opinion is very similar to cubing in terms of their competitive setup and spirit of their rules) we would have the judge watch for whether or not the competitor manipulates the cube before or after the solve. Our approach has been to create a new indirect rule, starting and stopping with fingers, which makes manipulating the puzzle before or after the solve impossible. However, now a cuber can have a solve disqualified by still following the rules we wanted them to follow in the first place! A cuber can now start the solve correctly, solve the puzzle, place the cube down and stop the timer without manipulating the cube before or afterward. However, if he/she stopped the timer with his/her palm instead of fingers that solve is disqualified as a bad solve. But they did what we wanted them to do which was to not manipulate the puzzle before or after the solve (!?). This can't be allowed in my opinion. They honestly avoided the situation we meant to avoid, they didn't manipulate the puzzle before or after the solve, and yet their solve is [i:2ag1gx3i][b:2ag1gx3i]still[/b:2ag1gx3i][/i:2ag1gx3i] disqualified. Don't do this indirectly, do it directly. Have the judge watch for the situations we want to avoid, and do not create an indirect rule to fix the problem and yet also create other problems. To anticipate the point that this situation comes up too quickly and a judge cannot spot it, I had the opportunity to be trained as a sport stacking judge and they very specifically train you to handle the transitition during the cycle sequence from the 3-6-3 into the 6-6 to watch for fumbles. Fumbles in this part of the cycle are the hardest to spot and the whole cycle happens in 7-8 seconds sometimes anyway. Yet I still felt confident enough to watch for a fumble after training even during that transitition. If we train our judges to do more than just start the solve, be able to read a +2 misalignment, and record the final time (that really is about all a judge does) then this situation of avoiding manipulation of the puzzle before or after the solve can be handled directly by the judge. I think we underestimate what a judge can do, a sport stacking judge has a [b:2ag1gx3i]much[/b:2ag1gx3i] harder job than a cubing judge. Even though their job is much harder, after being trained all the judges I talked to still felt confident enough to do their job, even in handling the harder spots to watch for fumbles. Chris
Pedro_S (2006-04-11 02:30:20 +0000)
I agree with Chris on this...if the puzzle is not being touched when the timer is started/stopped, then the way your hands are placed doesn't matter... and seeing if the competitor is or not touching the puzzle shouldn't be something that hard to do...could someone post a video showing how is posible to cheat on this? well, of course just my 2 cents...I've never been to a competition, nor I have a stackmat...but...oh, well
Masayuki (2006-04-14 13:54:47 +0000)
Hi, I agree that as long as the competitor doesn't touch cube, either fingers or palms are OK. I don't agree to train judges. After another 10 or 25 years, if old cubers, who don't compete could be judges, it may be possible. Sorry, I'm pessimistic in this regard. I agree with Brent. Drawing lines or squares is easy to apply. It seems not enough because some one may use his arms or elbows to stop timer. It may be stupid idea but if we use the mat the other way and set the returning position just in front of competitor, no one can stop timer without releasing cube from their hands. Of course, in this case, we need to strech arms over cube.
floater (2006-08-31 11:50:39 +0000)
Just to revive an old thread... So, am I right in thinking that the timer must be stopped and started with fingers only? Can someone tell me if the current world record for fastest time solving the magic (1.07) was set in this manner? I can beat this time in the comfort of my living room using a 2nd gen stackmat but only if i start and stop the timer with my palms, I dont touch the magic before clock start or clock stop. ps, when i competed in the 2003 euros in amsterdam, i was allowed to place the magic between the sensors as long as i didn't touch it, something i cant do on the new timers. crude pic follows... [code:36mm4yi7] _______ | | | |___|___| _ | | | _ / \ |___|___| / \ \_/ | | | \_/ |___|___| | | | |___|___| [/code:36mm4yi7]
CraigBouchard (2006-08-31 13:23:07 +0000)
I can tell you that the WR was set in this manner. You can see the video on Floater, how fast are you at magic? And what is your name? I'd be interested to see videos of you solving faster than 1.07, cuz there aren't many people that can. Also, there is a VERY large difference between solving in the comfort of your living room (where I've gotten a 1.00 in my Kitchen) and solving in competition. Bob Burton will vouch for me on this one. It's completely different when the 5 solves count. Bob and I will hit plenty of sub-1.1s in warm up, and then get up on stage and start getting 1.3s... Craig
floater (2006-08-31 13:37:30 +0000)
Hi Craig, I'm matt burns. I'll try to make a video later but it really depends if i get time cos i'm in the process of buying a flat which is taking a lot of my time at the mo. If i dont do one tonight, i'll try to do one on the weekend. my method is a little brutal and i just snap the strings of the magic if i play with one for more than 10 minutes and it bugs me having to fix them! is your site?
floater (2006-08-31 19:36:39 +0000)
now i'm not one for making excuses, but.... this is me trying to solve using my fingers to stop and start the timer which i never used to do and this was just after i decided to flip the magic in the air after a solve so that it lands face up (i normally land it face down) for no other reason than to look cool!! it's a not very impressive 1.23 seconds, so i'll upload a faster one soon. video [url=]here[/url:178alqiq]
CraigBouchard (2006-09-01 13:17:16 +0000)
You are allowed to end it face down. No, is not my site, I just have a lot of videos on there.
CraigBouchard (2006-09-01 13:18:49 +0000)
Apparently I can't add anything to my last post...Can you make a video in which I can see how you solve ;) It just sorta goes up and comes down solved... Craig
floater (2006-09-01 13:30:02 +0000)
hehe, yep, although i forgot when i wrote my last posts that i'm away this weekend so i'll do it next week sometime. trying to stick to the thread topic, i can solve it much quicker if i can start and stop the timer with palms (0.2 ish secs) which is annoying (cos then i could snatch the record off you :wink: ) I'm also going to release a timer program soon that will blow everything else out of the water and may need some beta testers if you're interested?
CraigBouchard (2006-09-02 12:43:51 +0000)
Dude, Theres only about 4 or 5 people in the world that have beat 1.07 at home. Let alone come close in competition. I am one of 2 people to ever get sub-1.2 in competition, and I have done so at my last 3 competitions. There are plenty of people out there than can get sub-1.2 at home, but its completely different in competition. If you've never been to competition, don't tell me that it would be easy to snatch the record. I can get a 1.2x average of 5 without trying, sitting here at home, but when I get on stage, its another story. Craig Ps- sure I'll test it...
floater (2006-09-03 18:46:04 +0000)
hehe, you're sounding very defensive buddy, thats the sort of talk that might make me put some practice in! (except i wont). I was actually saying that the only chance I'd have of beating that record was if i could use my palms, which i cant. I've been to one competition, the euros in 2003, but havent touch a puzzle since then until very recently when i bought a stackmat.
CraigBouchard (2006-09-05 21:43:08 +0000)
Not defensive, just stating a point...If you check up on the stuff, you'll see what I mean...
StefanPochmann (2006-09-08 12:22:41 +0000)
Matt, welcome back (?). You mean Euro 2004, btw. Have a look at the current rules, especially "starting the solve" and "ending the solve": Stackmat 1 is still allowed though has become rare in recent competitions.
StefanPochmann (2006-09-08 12:25:09 +0000)
Oh and Craig: Matt did participate in a competition and I believe knows it's different from practice. If I remember correctly he was very fast in practice but did extremely bad in competition (partly due to not being used to stackmats before, though).