This is NOT the current official version
The WCA Guidelines supplement the WCA Regulations. Please see the Regulations for more information about the WCA.
Guidelines are numbered in correspondence with related regulations. Note that multiple Guidelines may correspond to the same Regulation, and some Guidelines correspond to Regulations that do not exist anymore.
To be more informative, each Guideline is classified using one of the following labels. Note that this should be treated as metadata, not as a description of importance.
- ADDITION Additional information to supplement the Regulations.
- CLARIFICATION Information to address any possible questions about interpretation of the Regulations.
- EXPLANATION Information that clarifies the intent of Regulations.
- RECOMMENDATION Something that is not strictly mandatory, but that should be done if possible.
- REMINDER Information that may be addressed other Regulations/Guideline, but whose relevance is worth reiterating.
- EXAMPLE An example of how to apply a Regulation.
- Article 1: Officials
- Article 2: Competitors
- Article 3: Puzzles
- Article 4: Scrambling
- Article 5: Puzzle Defects
- Article 6: Awards/prizes/honors
- Article 7: Environment
- Article 8: Competitions
- Article 9: Events
- Article 10: Solved State
- Article 11: Incidents
- Article 12: Notation
- Article A: Speed Solving
- Article B: Blindfolded Solving
- Article C: One-Handed Solving
- Article D: Solving With Feet
- Article E: Fewest Moves Solving
- Article H: Multiple Blindfolded Solving
Article 1: Officials
- 1c3+) Results should be ready at the end of the last day of competition.
- 1c3++) Physical records (e.g. score sheets, written solutions from Fewest Moves Solving) must be retained for a minimum of one month. Digital records (e.g. scramble sequences, results) must be retained permanently.
- 1c3b+) If there are multiple groups, it is not necessary to identify which competitor was in which groups.
- 1c4+) Corrections to the results should be available within one week of the competition date.
- 1c10+) It is sufficient to ensure access to a digital copy of the Regulations.
- 1h+) Competitors in the same group should use the same scramble sequences. Different groups should use different scramble sequences.
- 1h++) All attempts in the final round of an event, as well as all Fewest Moves Solving attempts, should have the same scramble sequences for all competitors (i.e. only 1 group).
- 1h1+) Scramblers/judges should only scramble for/judge other competitors in the same group only if it is important for competition logistics.
- 1h1++) For Fewest Moves Solving, judges may judge competitors in their own group before they have finished their attempt (i.e. while they are competing).
Article 2: Competitors
- 2c+) First-time competitors should register using their legal name. They may register using a reasonable nickname, at the discretion of the WCA Delegate.
- 2c++) Competitors must not provide intentionally misleading information, and returning competitors should provide information consistent with past information (e.g. exact name and WCA ID).
- 2d+) Date of birth and contact information should be especially secured.
- 2d++) If a third party (e.g. journalist) asks the organization team to be put in contact with any competitor(s), the competitor(s) should first be asked for consent.
- 2e+) If a competitor holds multiple citizenship, they may choose which country to represent at their first competition.
- 2e3+) Stateless competitors have no national records and rankings, nor continental records and rankings.
- 2h+) Competitors may be barefoot for Solving With Feet.
- 2j2+) For example, if a competitor is disqualified from an event for failing to show up for the final round, their results from earlier rounds remain valid.
- 2s+) Special accommodations must be noted in the Delegate Report.
Article 3: Puzzles
- 3a+) Competitors may use puzzles of any reasonable size, at the discretion of the WCA Delegate.
- 3a++) By default, a competitor should use the same puzzle for consecutive attempts in a speed solving round. A competitor may switch puzzles between attempts, at the discretion of the judge or WCA Delegate.
- 3a+++) Competitors may borrow puzzles from other competitors privately, to use in competition.
- 3a1+) Competitors may be disqualified if they do not have a puzzle ready to submit soon after they are called (e.g. if they planned to use a puzzle that another competitor is currently using, and therefore cannot submit a puzzle at the moment).
- 3d1b+) Patterns do not need to be present on every face, but only on faces where a distinct color cannot be found. Pieces must not have any features (e.g. textures, pattern irregularities) that significantly distinguish them from similar pieces.
- 3h+) Puzzles may be refined internally by sanding or lubricating.
- 3h++) Examples of enhancements include: new moves are possible, normal moves are impossible, more pieces or faces are visible, colors on the backside of the puzzle are visible, moves are done automatically, or the puzzles has more/different solved states.
- 3h2+) In the past, "stickerless" puzzles were not permitted. Such puzzles are now permitted.
- 3h2++) "Stickerless" puzzles that significantly differ from most mass-produced "stickerless" puzzles are only permitted at the discretion of the WCA Delegate.
- 3j+) In the past, engraved/embossed parts have been permitted. This is no longer permitted.
- 3j++) On Clock, pins must not be distinguishable from any other pin of the same side.
- 3j2+) On Clock, all eighteen inner clock faces are considered similar pieces.
- 3l+) Logos may feature any reasonable design that does not give a conspicuous advantage (e.g. encoding information that could be used to cheat), and leave the colored part clearly recognizable. Unconventional logos are only permitted at the discretion of the WCA Delegate.
Article 4: Scrambling
- 4b1+) The WCA Delegate must never re-generate any scramble sequences to replace other ones for the purpose of filtering. For example, it is not permitted to glance at the scramble sequences for a competition and generate the entire set again in order to generate "fairer" scramble sequences.
- 4b2+) In general, all official scramble sequences should be kept secret during the competition and published together after the end of the competition (see Regulation 1c3a). In some cases (e.g. world records), the organization team may wish to release specific scramble sequences sooner after the end of a round.
- 4b4+) All attempts that have been started within the time frame follow the standard solving procedure (i.e. they are not stopped when the time frame of the relevant scramble sequence exceeds).
- 4d+) Some puzzles use standard color schemes, except that white is replaced with black. In this case, black is the darkest color and must not be treated as white.
- 4d++) It is permitted for the puzzle to change its orientation when it is moved from the scrambler to the solving station, as long as no one is attempting to influence the randomness of the orientation (see Regulation A2e1).
- 4f+) The WCA Delegate should generate sufficient scramble sequences for the entire competition ahead of time, including spare scramble sequences for extra attempts.
- 4f++) If the WCA Delegate generates any additional scramble sequences during the competition, the scramble sequences must be saved (see Regulation 1c3a).
Article 5: Puzzle Defects
- 5b5+) Examples of parts physically detached, resulting in a solved state: one 3x3x3 center cap, one big cube center piece, an inner piece of a big cube.
- 5b5++) Examples of parts physically detached, resulting in a "DNF": two 3x3x3 center caps, two big cube center pieces, a 3x3x3 edge piece, a 4x4x4 edge piece ("wing"), any combination of two pieces that both have colored parts.
- 5b5+++) Example of parts not fully attached, resulting in a solved state: a 5x5x5 center piece twisted in its spot.
- 5b5++++) Example of parts physically attached but not fully placed, resulting in a "DNF": a 3x3x3 edge piece slightly popped out.
- 5c+) REMINDER If a competitor has a puzzle defect, this does not grant them the right to an extra attempt.
Article 6: Awards/prizes/honors
- 6a+) ADDITION Awards, prizes or honors may be given to competitors according to the announcement of the competition.
- 6b+) RECOMMENDATION Competitors should attend the winner's ceremony to receive awards/prizes/honors.
- 6b1+) RECOMMENDATION The winner's ceremony should be held in the competition venue, within one hour after the end of the last event.
- 6c+) RECOMMENDATION Winners of awards, prizes or honors should be prepared to talk to journalists or any media covering the competition.
- 6d+) RECOMMENDATION Organization teams of competitions should have certificates for all category winners, signed by the leader of the organization team and by the WCA Delegate.
Article 7: Environment
- 7d+) ADDITION The temperature of the competition area should be 21 to 25 degrees Celsius.
- 7f1a+) A full-size mat should have minimum dimensions of 30cm (left to right) by 25cm (front to back).
- 7h2+) ADDITION The competitors in the competitors area should not be able to see the puzzles of the competitors on stage.
Article 8: Competitions
- 8a4++) The competition should be announced at least one month before the start of the competition.
- 8a5+) RECOMMENDATION The competition should have at least 12 competitors.
- 8a7+) Organizers should strongly consider modifications to make Stackmat timers more robust against common incidents, such as making the buttons more difficult to press by accident (e.g. by attaching O-rings around the buttons) and securing the battery more firmly (e.g. by padding the battery compartment).
Article 9: Events
- 9b+) The preferred format for the final of an event is "Average of 5" or "Mean of 3", if possible.
- 9b++) Events other than those specified in Regulation 9b may be held during a competition, but will be considered unofficial and therefore will not be included in the official results of the competition.
- 9b3b+) The "Mean of 3" statistic does not affect the competitor's ranking in a "Best of 3" round (which is based on the best result). The WCA recognizes it outside of the competition format.
- 9f1+) If the timer displays 12.678 for an attempt, the original recorded time is 12.67 (drop any digit after a hundredth of a second). A judge may write the full-precision time on the score sheet (and keep the precision in the calculation of penalties), as long as the score taker truncates it for the official results.
- 9f4+) The result of an attempt is DNF only if the competitor began the attempt by indicating that they are ready (see Regulation A3b2) but the attempt was disqualified.
- 9f5+) The result for an attempt is DNS if the competitor was eligible for the attempt and did not start it (see Regulation A3b2). If the competitor did not qualify for an attempt (e.g. in a combined round), they have no result for the attempt.
- 9q+) RECOMMENDATION Events and rounds should have at least 2 competitors.
Article 10: Solved State
- 10f+) The misalignment limits are selected so that they provide a natural cutoff between one state of a puzzle (without penalty) and a state one move away.
- 10h1+) The solved state of Clock is not affected by loose or popped pin caps.
Article 11: Incidents
- 11e+) Since an appeal is not guaranteed to be successful, the competitor may choose to keep the timer running while appealing it, and resume the attempt when appropriate.
- 11e1+) The extra attempt must be scrambled using an unmodified scramble sequence generated by an official scramble program (see Regulation 4f, Guideline 4f+).
- 11e2+) If an extra attempt itself leads to an additional extra attempt, the competitor should keep doing extra attempts until there is a valid extra attempt to replace the original regularly numbered attempt.
- 11e2++) Suppose a competitor has 5 regularly numbered attempts, and #2 leads to extra attempts. The competitor should do extra attempts until there is a valid extra attempt to replace #2. Suppose later another attempt leads to extra attempts, the competitor should proceed in a similar way as for #2.
Article 12: Notation
- 12c2+) When counting the moves in case of a misalignment at the end of a solve, x and y are considered separately. Example: (5, 1) is considered one misalignment, (5, 5) is considered two misalignments.
Article A: Speed Solving
- A1a2+) In case of a cumulative time limit, the judge records the original recorded time for a DNF on the score sheet in parentheses, e.g. "DNF (1:02.27)".
- A1a2++) Cumulative time limits may be enforced for a single event or a combination of events.
- A1a2+++) In case of a cumulative time limit, the result of each remaining attempt in the round is recorded as DNS (Did Not Start) after a competitor reaches the time limit.
- A1a3+) The organization team and the WCA Delegate must be mindful that time limits influence the strategies of the competitors (e.g. rushing the first two attempts in hopes of meeting a cutoff in a combined round), and that changing time limits after the start of the round can disadvantage some competitors unfairly.
- A1a4+) If a competitor has accidentally been permitted to exceed the time limit, the time limit must be enforced retroactively, and the judge, competitor, and WCA Delegate should be informed (see Regulation 1g2). Judges must always be aware of the time limit for a current attempt (which might depend on previous attempts, in the case of a cumulative time limit).
- A1c+) WCA Delegates should only use their discretion to prevent competitors from being a severe detriment to the competition (e.g. wasting time and/or competition resources). Competitors should not be disqualified for a "poor" result when they are competing to the best of their abilities.
- A2c1+) In the past, score sheets have been used to cover puzzles while leaving some sides exposed. This is no longer permitted.
- A3c3+) The competitor may reset the timer before/during the inspection phase if the judge accidentally neglected to do so. However, it is the responsibility of the judge to make sure the timer has been reset (see Regulation A3b). If the competitor accidentally tries to start the solve with a timer that the judge did not reset (i.e. the competitor performs inspection, places hands on the timer for a reasonable length of time, assumes that the timer will start normally, and starts to manipulate the puzzle), the attempt should be replaced by an extra attempt, at the discretion of the WCA Delegate.
- A3c4+) If the use of a thin object inside the puzzle has been enforced, the judge must not remove the object on behalf of the competitor.
- A3c4++) The competitor may remove the object during the solve, if they did not do it during the inspection (e.g. they forgot).
- A5b+) While inspecting or solving the puzzle, the competitor may touch the puzzle with any part of their body. Exception: One-Handed Solving and Solving With Feet (see Regulation C1b and Regulation D1b).
- A6b+) The arbitrary value of 0.06 seconds was chosen to accommodate concerns about Stackmat timer malfunctions.
- A6f+) If the competitor resets the timer before the result was completely recorded, the judge must not write down the result from memory or from video or photographic evidence, and must disqualify the attempt instead (DNF).
- A6g+) While the judge is determining whether to assign a penalty for misalignment, they should not touch the puzzle.
- A7c+) If a result signed by a competitor is found to be incomplete or unreadable, it should be interpreted the worst reasonable way (e.g. "1:05" will be considered 1:05.99, "25.X3" will be considered 25.73 if X could be either a 1 or a 7). Given that the Stackmat timer displays a time of X:0Y.ss as X:Y.ss, a missing tens digit should be considered more likely than a missing ones digit (e.g. "1:2.27" will be considered 1:02.27). The judge who signed an ambiguous result may be requested to clarify it, at the discretion of the score taker.
- A7g+) Examples of incidents that could grant a new competitor an extra attempt: not waiting for the green light, improperly starting or stopping the timer, going over inspection time due to misunderstanding how to start an attempt, or other procedural time penalties.
- A7g++) Individual penalties cannot be waived for new competitors. A full extra attempt must be granted.
- A7g+++) The WCA Delegate should use stronger discretion when granting more than one extra attempt to the same new competitor. If more than one extra attempt is granted, it should be for a different incident.
Article B: Blindfolded Solving
- B1+) The competitor must use a puzzle without textures, markings, or other features that distinguish similar pieces (see Regulation 3k). This should be given special attention for Blindfolded Solving.
- B1b+) Blindfolds should be checked by the WCA Delegate before use in the competition.
Article C: One-Handed Solving
- C1b+) The competitor may use both hands during inspection.
- C1b++) The competitor is not required to use the same solving hand for different attempts of the same round.
- C1b+++) Use of the surface is permitted while solving or repairing the puzzle.
Article D: Solving With Feet
- D1b+) The competitor may wear socks while solving.
- D1c+) REMINDER While repairing puzzle defects, other body parts must not touch the puzzle.
Article E: Fewest Moves Solving
- E2b+) A competitor may choose to stop an attempt early by handing in a solution before the time limit.
- E2c+) Although the judge may provide a standard sheet for competitors to submit solutions, a competitor may submit a solution on a different piece of paper, as long as a single move sequence is unambiguously indicated as the submitted solution. (Note that the piece of paper must come from the judge, according to Regulation E3a.)
- E2c++) The competitor's solution must only use moves that are exactly defined in Regulation 12a. Examples of notation and moves that are not permitted in competition: [F], [R, U], [R: U], R'2, L'w, f, M, U2'.
- E2e+) Competitors must not derive solutions from any part of the scramble sequence, and solutions should not share significant parts with the inverse scramble sequence.
- E2e++) Example of solutions that should result in a disqualification of the attempt (DNF): solutions beginning with the same 4 or more moves as the inverse scramble sequence.
- E3b+) "Rubik's Cube" refers only to the standard 3x3x3 puzzle.
- E3d+) Any stopwatch or watch used by a competitor must not appear to have any functions that would help the competitor find a solution.
- E3d++) Competitors should not consider a personal stopwatch or watch as the official time, and must submit their solution after the judge calls "STOP".
Article H: Multiple Blindfolded Solving
- H1b1+) The attempt is not disqualified for reaching the time limit, due to exceptions for Multiple Blindfolded Solving (see Regulation A1a4 and Regulation A1a5).
- H1b1++) The judge may permit the competitor to continue the attempt unofficially, but the attempt must be stopped and judged first, in full accordance with the Regulations.
- H1d+) Example: Suppose a competitor attempts 10 cubes, stops the solve with a time of 59:57, and has two time penalties. The final result is 59:57 + 2*2 = 60:01 (also see Regulation A1a5).
- H1d++) Example: Suppose a competitor attempts 10 cubes, the judge stops the competitor at 60 minutes, and the attempt has two time penalties. The final result is 60:00 + 2*2 = 60:04.