For a long time, the world record time for solving the 3×3 was in the mid 4 second range and when it was broken, the record only dropped by a tenth or few hundredths of a second. The previous world record time was a 4.22 by Feliks Zemdegs which was substantial drop from Seung Beom Cho’s 4.59 previous record.
Many people thought the record would remain Felik’s 4.22 seconds for a long time since it was a drop nearly 0.4 seconds. However, about 7 months later, Feliks’ record was smashed by Chinese speed solver Yusheng Du (杜宇生) with a mind blowing 3.47 seconds official solve at the Wuhu Open 2018 competition.
This record time was a big deal for a few reasons. As mentioned previously, most of the records beat the previous record by a small fraction of a second. This new time was 0.75 seconds faster than the previous record which is an unheard of jump in the 3×3 event. Since the record was such a leap in speed, it also became the first official sub-4 seconds solve. Unfortunately, no one was filming the solve but we are lucky enough to have the surveillance footage showing the solve that Yusheng Du posted on his YouTube channel.
This new record has brought a question to the mind of many speed solvers: Will anyone ever beat this new record time?
It’s a valid question. Solve times like Yusheng Du’s are getting close to the point where it’s physically impossible to beat. The time it takes for the brain to examine, recognize and communicate to the hands what moves need to be completed and the average turns per second of a speed solver are limiting factors to what the fastest time can be whittled down to. When the record was still in the mid/low 4 second range, cubers were confident someone could still shave at least a few hundredths off the time. Time will tell, but dropping the record by 0.75 seconds might have placed it in the unbeatable tier for many years to come.