So you've been asked to help out judging a Rubik's Cube competition. Don't be afraid. It's a very simple process. The official regulations can be found at the WCA Regulations, but you don't need to memorize all of those. Here are a few hints:
1. Be familiar with the WCA regulations
The World Cube Association (WCA) is the governing body of competitive speedcubing, much like how the NBA is the governing body of basketball. The WCA Regulations are the rules that are followed by the competitors during a competition. It's not necessary to know all the rules by heart, but reading over them is helpful. We'll try to emphasize the most important rules on this page.
2. You can judge and compete
People worry about judging because they believe that it means they won't be able to compete. This is not true. If you're judging, you simply have to do all of your solves for the round before you can judge. If the round is divided into groups, then you might be judging right away, and competing later when the groups change.
3. Ask your head judge what you should be doing
Some competitions with many volunteers might have a "runner" type system, while other competitions might have the judge go to the scrambling table to pick up the cube.
4. Don't distract the competitor
Make sure you have your cell phone turn off. Don't try to make smalltalk with the competitor when they're trying to prepare to solve.
5. Announce the competitor's name
Announce the competitor's name and wait for them to come up. They should be rather close in the competitor's area.
6. Keep the cube covered
You'll have some cover for the cube. It may be a piece of paper, the scoresheet itself, or another type of cover. You'll want to keep the cube covered up while preparing for the competitor to solve.
7. Make sure you and the competitor are ready
There's a few things you'll want to make sure are ready:
- The mat has only the puzzle (and cover) on it. All other objects (pens, etc) are off to the side.
- The Stackmat timer shows "0.00". If it doesn't, hit the "reset" button.
- Your stopwatch is reset and ready to go.
- The competitor is ready (has a chair if requested, etc).
8. Ask the competitor "Ready?"
Grab the cover so that you're ready to remove it quickly, and then ask the competitor if they're ready. When they confirm they're ready, remove the cover and start your stopwatch.
9. Call out "8 seconds"
When the stopwatch reaches 8 seconds, say "8 seconds"
10. Call out "Go"
When the stopwatch reaches 12 seconds, say "Go"
11. Stop stopwatch when the user starts the timer
When the user takes their hands off the timer, stop the stopwatch. The actual time doesn't matter, just which one of three ranges it falls into.
- Time is less than 15 seconds. Good, there nothing to be done.
- Time is greater than 15 seconds, but less than 17 seconds. The competitor will receive a 2 second penalty.
- Time is greater than 17 seconds. The competitor will receive a "Did Not Finish" (DNF) penalty.
12. During the solve
During the solve, you'll want to watch for a few things. Make sure the timer doesn't stop. If the user started incorrectly or hits the timer with their arms, they may accidentally stop it early. Make sure you're aware of this so you don't give them a low time. Consult with your head judge on what to do in this situation. Also during the solve, make sure you don't bump into other competitors, since they may be at a neighboring station.
13. Ending the solve
The competitor will put down their cube and then stop the timer. Timer must be stopped with hands flat down, not with the wrists. No moves are allowed after they stop the timer. Look at the cube to make sure that it's completely solved. If there's a slight misalignment, consult Article 10 for examples of what's a penalty, and what isn't. If you're unsure, you can always consult the main judge. If you consult the main judge, have them come over to you. Do not pick up the cube and bring it to them
14. Recording the time
If the user has no penalties, write down the time on the scoresheet, and then initial the judge box, and have the competitor initial the competitor box. If the user does have a penalty, then write it down by adding it to the time on the timer in the form (17.65 + 2 = 19.65), assuming the timer said 17.65 and the competitor had a 2 second penalty. If the competitor has completed all the solves for the round, give them their cube and place the complete scoresheet in the place designated by your head judge. Otherwise, bring the cube and scoresheet back to the scrambling table.
15. When in doubt, ask the main judge or WCA delegate
If you have any questions on the regulations, always ask the main judge or WCA delegate for clarification. Most solves will go flawlessly, but there might be a few occasasions that fall outside this mini-training.