The Rubik’s cube has been a global sensation since its invention in the 1970s by Erno Rubik. He aimed to create something that would help understand how you could move the pieces of a multiple-piece structure without destroying the mechanism.
A test design of the first cubes was released in Budapest toy shops in 1977. Ideal Toys, an American toy company, later purchased them and rebranded the cube as the Rubik’s cube in 1980 in honor of the inventor.
They became hugely popular but eventually fell out of popularity in western countries like the US. It wasn’t until the 21st Century that they once again became popular, in part influenced by the formation of the World Cube Association (WCA) in 2003.
Speedcubing has always been popular among cubers, but the organization’s formation has helped push speedcubers to become even faster. Yusheng Du currently holds the world record for solving the Rubik’s cube in 3.47 seconds only.
He beat the former record of 4.22 seconds set by Feliks Zemdegs by 0.75 seconds. To help you reach such times, here are some tips that will help you improve your solving time, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced solver
Before You Begin
You must get familiar with its different parts and vocabulary before attempting to solve the Rubik’s cube through the numerous strategies available. It will make it easier to follow the algorithms and permutations that you’ll use to solve it.
Edge pieces have two colored tiles, and it’s the part where two visible colors meet. A Rubik’s cube has 12 edge pieces in total.
Corner pieces are located at the corner of each side of the cube. Corner pieces have three colored tiles, and they have three visible colors. There are eight corner pieces in total on a Rubik’s cube.
Centerpieces have one colored tile and are located at the center of each side. The centerpiece is usually a single tile fixed to the cube’s internal core. Unlike other pieces, the centerpiece doesn’t move position.
There are six centerpieces in total, and once you solve the cube correctly, each face of the Rubik’s cube will be the color of its centerpiece.
Centerpiece colors are always opposite each other. White is opposite yellow, blue is opposite green, and orange is opposite red.
The layer refers to the part of the cube that you turn. It consists of nine blocks, and no matter how you hold the Rubik’s cube, there are always three layers. They include the top layer, the middle layer, and the bottom layer.
Like all cubes, each flat surface of the cube is a face. The Rubik’s cube has six faces or sides. It’s typically assumed that you’re looking at the cube with the white face up as you execute Rubik’s cube algorithms using the beginner method.
This means the Rubik’s cube logo will be at the top. Here’s how Rubik’s cube faces are notated:
Right Face: R
Left Face: L
Up Face: U
Front (facing you): F
Down Face (cube bottom): D
Middle Face (centre): M
Back Face (facing away from you): B
Entire Cube: Y
An algorithm refers to a memorized sequence of moves with the desired effect on the Rubik’s cube.
The term is derived from an algorithm in mathematics, a list of well-defined instructions for undertaking tasks from a given initial state to the desired end state through well-defined successive states.
Rubik’s cube algorithms involve operations or a series of rotations that you use to reorient the block into the desired outcome.
They’re usually written with a capital letter denoting the face that should be rotated, an apostrophe if the rotation should be counterclockwise or inverted, and a number 2 if two rotations are needed.
How to Solve the Rubik’s Cube
While many people give up on the Rubik’s cube the first time after trying it for a few minutes, solving it is easier than you think.
The secret is knowing the basic solution or beginner method because it would be impossible to solve the cube without it. The layer-by-layer method is the easiest for beginners.
Solving the First Layer
A couple of steps are involved in solving the first layer.
Step 1: The Daisy Flower
To start, find the yellow center dot, with the goal being to place four white edge stickers around the yellow center.
Hold the Rubik’s cube with the yellow centerpiece on the up (U) face. Move the four white edges to the yellow face. The color of the corner stickers doesn’t matter.
When finished, the top of your cube should look like a daisy flower with a yellow center at the middle.
Remember, once you place a white sticker next to the yellow center, you don’t have to move it. You can also turn the top layer without disturbing anything next to the yellow center.
Step 2: The White Cross
For each ‘daisy’ petal, match the non-white sticker to the centerpiece of the same color. Once they’re fit, turn the face with the matching center two times.
Perform three repetitions of this process, and once you’re finished, the cube’s bottom face should have a white cross.
The four white edges need to have moved to the face with the white centerpiece, and they should be lined up with the red, blue, orange, and green center dots.
Step 3: Corners With White Stickers
After the white cross is in place, it’s time to finish the first layer by solving the white corners. Look for white pieces that face the sides on the top layer.
Each white sticker should be on a corner piece with three stickers.
Rotate the cube’s top face to ensure the sticker beside the white sticker diagonally matches the center of the same color. Once they’re paired, face the color-matched stickers towards you.
The correct placement if a corner piece is between centerpieces with the same colors. Here you can use some basic algorithms to get accurate cube placements.
If the matched sticker on the top layer is right of the center, perform R U R’, known as the right trigger. If the matched sticker is left of the center, perform L’ U’ L, known as the left trigger.
If your white cube is on the bottom, perform R’ D2 R D R’ D’ R. If the white sticker is at the top, but the top layer doesn’t have all similar colors, perform L D L’ R’ D’ R.
Regardless of the position of the white cube, ensure all colors match up by performing the appropriate algorithm from above. The top layer should have three of the same color while the second layer should have at the center.
Solving the Second Layer
First Two Layers; Inserting the Edges
Your white face should be complete at this point, together with every other face except the right face opposite the white face.
To solve the second layer, you’ll put the four edges that don’t have a yellow sticker in-between the center dots in the second layer.
To begin, rotate the cube until the white face is at the bottom. The goal is to ensure all the colored edge pieces get into their correct place on each face. You can employ the three algorithms below to achieve this, so choose one that suits your circumstances, and you’ll solve this layer in no time. If you want to get the center top piece to the second layer left, perform this algorithm;
U’ L’ U L U F U’ F’
If you want to get the center top piece to the second layer right;
U R U’ R’ U’ F’ U F
If an edge piece is oriented wrong or it’s not in the top layer;
U R U’ R’ U’ F’ U F U2 U R U’ R’ U’ F’ U F
Solving the Third Last Layer
Step 1: The Yellow Cross
The goal is to create a cross on the cube’s upward (U) pointing or top face.
Case 1: You Got the Yellow Cross! A Skip!
If you’ve already got a yellow cross, you can skip this step. You’ll have to flip the yellow edges to get the yellow cross if you’re in any of the circumstances below. You can use one algorithm to fix all possible scenarios;
U F R F’ R’ U’
Case 2: The Yellow Dot
If you can’t see any of the four yellow edges on the yellow face, do the algorithm once to get a yellow ‘L.’ Do an R2 or right twice to put the ‘L’ in the lower back corner. Repeat the algorithm to get a yellow line.
Ensure the line is horizontal and repeat the algorithm once to get a yellow cross.
Case 3: The Yellow “L”
If you already have the yellow ‘L,’ simply put it in the lower back corner and repeat the algorithm to get a yellow line. If the line is horizontal, repeat the algorithm for a yellow cross.
Case 4: The Yellow “Line”
You can have two or four yellow edges visible on the yellow face, making it look like a line. First, ensure the ‘line’ is horizontal and perform the algorithm to get a yellow cross.
Step 2: Align the Yellow Cross
Once you have the cross, you’ll now align it with center dots in the second layer. One algorithm can be used to align the yellow cross:
U R U’ R U R2 U’
First, ensure you line up one of the yellow edges with a color similar to the center dot at the top of the cube. Perform the algorithm once, and all that’s left is fixing the corners.
Last Step: Twisting the Corners (If Necessary)
The algorithm U L U’ L’ U L U’ L’
This last step will help in twisting the corners to solve the cube. Start by positioning one of the twisted corners at the top front and perform the algorithm once.
If it’s not solved, repeat the algorithm one more time.
Different Rubik’s Cube Solving Methods
- The CFOP Method
CFOP stands for Cross-F2L-OLL-PLL, and it’s a great option if you’re looking for how to solve a Rubik’s cube fast. It’s also called the Fridrich method.
You start with the cross, complete the first two layers (F2L), orient the last layer (OLL), and permute the last layer (PLL).
- The Roux Method
The Roux method is another popular way to solve the 3×3 Rubik’s cube. It’s based on corners first and blocks building strategies.
It features no rotations, finger tricks and one-hand solving adaptability, low move counts, and the use of M-moves in the final step.
Remember Three Key Tips
Executing the above steps can be challenging. To become a true master, follow these essential tips:
Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice makes perfect, and it’s the only way to improve! The Rubik’s cube can be a challenge, so keep at it without giving up until you significantly reduce your solve time. The more you repeat, the closer you are to becoming a master.
Use a Cube Solver If Necessary
A cube solver can come in handy when you’re feeling stuck and need a hand to escape a pickle. Don’t shy off from asking for help or watching a tutorial to ensure you’re better prepared next time it happens.
Gaining a solid foundation will help you understand how the cube works and the efficient movement of fingers. That’s why it’s vital to master the beginner’s method first, then move on to the rest.