A quick overview of the WCA Regulations
A lot of people who learn how to solve the Rubik’s Cube don’t do much more than simply learning a beginner method. Their goal was to solve the puzzle that had been sitting in their house gathering dust for years, and now it can return to its location, this time solved. However, some people want to take the cube even further by introducing the element of time. Speedcubing or speedsolving is the name given to the hobby that incorporates speed and solving. People travel across their countries to compete in WCA (World Cube Association) competitions and better their times. Regular competition-goers will probably go to around 5-6 competitions per year (depending on the country and frequency of competitions). In these competitions, under strict conditions, solvers complete averages of 5 (or mean of 3 depending on the event) for each round for each event. There are several regulations that you must be aware of before you yourself compete for the first time in an official WCA competition, as failure to comply could result in your times being removed from official record.
A full list of WCA Regulations can be found here: https://www.worldcubeassociation.org/regulations/
For each event you compete in you must provide your own puzzle or you cannot compete. You may borrow a puzzle from a friend who either has a spare cube or is not competing in the same round as you (if two competitors are in the same round i.e they are both completing their official solves at the same time, they cannot share a single puzzle). However, this is not to say that you should sign up for events of which you do not own the puzzle – You shouldn’t rely on other people to let you use their puzzles. Besides, it’s highly recommended that you use your own cubes because you’re familiar with them, and you want the fastest times possible.
The puzzle you use must also meet a certain standard. They must be normal, functional puzzles that have no irregular markings, stickers or pieces. A simple way to make sure your puzzle meets these criteria is just to have someone else familiar with the regulations check your cube. If there’s nothing that distinguishes the puzzle from others (excluding custom logos or colour schemes), then it’ll probably be approved. Stickers must also meet a certain standard. They must not be damaged beyond a certain level (slight chipping of stickers is okay, but completely worn stickers are not). Most puzzles also have a logo sticker on the centre piece (or one of them when there are multiple). If you choose to apply your own logo, you must remove the current logo.
If upon completion of your solve your puzzle is misaligned, a penalty may be applied to your final time. If your cube is a single quarter OR a single half turn away from being solved when you stop the timer, a penalty of +2 seconds is added to your time. The permitted degree of misalignment is set at 45 degrees, assuming a quarter turn is 90 degrees. This means that if the misaligned layer is closer to being correctly aligned than it is to being incorrectly aligned, no penalty will be issued. If two or more layers are misaligned (e.g a 3x3 is an M move away from being solved), then the time is recorded as a DNF (did not finish).
Pops or Corner Twists
In official solves, pieces from your puzzle may pop and corners may twist if the puzzle is too loose. These defects are the responsibility of the solver. If a solver pops their puzzle during a solve, they can either retrieve the piece, reinsert it and finish the solve (all whilst the timer is still running), or stop the timer and have the solve recorded as a DNF. Please note that you cannot use tools or external equipment to aid in the repair of the puzzle during an official solve. If a corner twists in its place within a solve, the solve may be completed and the twisted corner corrected once the rest of the solve has been completed. These defects do not allow for the timer to be paused; once the timer has started, if the cube is not solved upon stopping the timer then the solve is recorded as a DNF, regardless of the defect in question.
Some events such as blindfolded and one-handed have their own regulations due to the majority of regulations not effectively applying to them due to their nature. These can be read in detail on the WCA regulations website.
Other important regulations
During an event you must not be inside the competitor waiting area unless you are competing in that group of that event. If the scrambling station is not completely obscured from competitor view, you must stay well away from it.
An extra attempt will only be granted in very specific circumstances. Most of the time these will be given as a result of stackmat timer malfunction or external interference (power failure and fire alarms). You will not be given an extra attempt if your puzzle popped during a solve.