I've been taking a lot of time off lately from ZB to work on the Roux
method and various improvements I have ideas for.  This is helping my
ZB in three ways:

First, when I solve for extended periods of time and then switch to
COLL/ZB, it forces me to go slower on my F2L, because I'm not as used
to it.  I'm more fluid, and I always get nice times, often sub-17. 
Usually I have to do at least 10 or more Roux solves before I can
guarantee times like that, though.  I can even do great times with
terrible crosses much more frequently this way.

Roux solving uses a lot of flexible ways to start the 1x2x3 blocks,
and is aiding in my practice for x-cross.  I'm not very good at it
yet, but I'm getting much better with all of this block practice.

Last, I'm starting to learn Doug's algs for orienting edges while
inserting the last cross piece.  It's really only 22 distinct cases (3
of those being ones where the piece is already inserted and you must
flip edges manually. These shouldn't come up except in unusual
circumstances.)   Because starting with only 3 cross pieces makes
x-cross far, far easier, and gives you only 19 real cases for flipping
edges, this may be something for ZB beginners to look into as an entry
point, or even a semi-permanent stepping stone to full ZBF2L.  It
could be an alternative to VHF2L, really.  The downside to always
starting with this is that it averages about 6.5 moves per alg, so
it's a few extra moves, but this is balanced by the fact that they're
almost all completable using only M and U turns.

I think I'm going to keep working on improvements for the Roux method
for a bit, though, because it's a great method that deserves as much
attention and effort as ZB is getting (and Fridrich has gotten).  If I
can average about 50 moves with it (STM), without learning any real
special cases, still using COLL instead of CLL, and using the slower
and more moves edge orienting step, I think the potential here is very
great.  Add in the improvements I mentioned in a post on the big
group, and I think this method could rival ZB for speed, at least in
single solves.  Especially at a small fraction of the number of algs,
the flexibility of the beginning of the solves, much easier
recognition, and the very quick M and U turn finish.

Still, I like to think of any sort of improvement to an existing
system along these lines as an extension of ZB. At least until I come
up with a snappy name. ;)


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