So, you own a Rubik's cube. You probably already tried twisting and turning, you had lots of fun, and then you thought: now I am really going to try and solve this thing. No problem, right? Yeah, right. See you in 50 years.
Solving a Rubik's cube can be a burden. When you are twisting, trying to solve one side, the other side gets messed up. So, here is the solution: I think this is the simplest method described up to now on the internet.
Primarily, the cube can be solved in a layer by layer approach using only 4 algorithms. An algorithm is a sequence of moves (a turn of one of the six sides).
When you have memorized the four algorithms and the situations in which to perform them, you will be able to solve a Rubik's cube within one minute. This is not a joke! (you do need to practice a little and of course you will need a reasonable cube for this).
Learning the algorithms is the hardest part, and I encourage you to start learning them one at a time, and to practice every algorithm separately, and thoroughly. Also, try to learn the mirrors: If you know the right hand side, try the same moves on the left hand side. If you can perform the moves starting at the front, try starting at the back. Visualize the moves in your head, you will soon learn what actually happens there.
Though there are a lot of equivalent algorithms I chose to use the simplest, most symmetrical ones, that are easiest to learn. The longest algorithm is 10 moves and that one is repetitive, so it is just a matter of doing the same thing a couple of times.
The YY Method consists of seven steps
- Make a cross on the top layer
- Insert the corners to make the top layer complete
- Insert the middle layer edges
- Make a cross on the bottom layer
- Rotate the corners to make the bottom color complete
- Swap corners to fix the bottom corners
- Swap (or carousel) edges to fix the bottom edges
In cubespeak this is called a layer by layer, 4 look last layer (LL). This means the last four steps all work on the last layer. Speedcubers have methods that solve the last layer in 3, 2 or even 1 step!
The notation used in these lessons is very widespread and accepted. Speedcubers will usually use an extended notation, which also includes movements of two layers at the same time or rotations of the whole cube.
The symbols in the standard notation are the first letters from the names of the sides. So we have
If it seems to you that the "Back" move is going in the wrong direction, remember that all moves are clockwise when looking at that particular face.
A very important aspect of the cube is that the center pieces are fixed. They cannot move. To see why it's best to take your cube apart and put it back together again. If you turn the top face slightly so an edge is above another edge then you can take out that edge piece. If you have a new cube you might need a screwdriver for this. Don't worry, you're not going to break it, and it's a good exercise to get to know the cube.
Colors, or the side of the cube you're looking at are actually not relevant for the effect of an algorithm. Now, 1 move, e.g. R is made as follows: first, look at the R(ight) side of the cube. Then, turn the face your looking at clockwise 1/4 (as in the animation above). As you can see, if you do that 4 times, the cube will be restored to its original state; yours is scrambled, right?
Additionally there are three other important symbols, that are used to describe rotations of the complete cube. They are named after the mathematical X, Y and Z axes, and may be hard to remember (if your bad at math, that is)... That's why I give you an alternative that is easier to read.
x - rotate cube looking at Right face (also [r])
y - rotate cube looking at Up face (also [u])
z - rotate cube looking at Front face (also [f])
Since the animations use the x,y,z notation only the printed version of this tutorial uses [r],[u],[f].
Higher Cube Math
Cube Math can be very intimidating (it is to me!). So, here are some simple facts that may help your understanding of the cube, without having to know PI by heart in 100 decimal places which is otherwise also useless.
- The cube consists of 3 pairs of opposing layers. Turning one of those layers will never disturb the other.
- By making only double moves (R2, L2, D2, U2, B2, F2) you will never change the orientation of the edges nor the orientation of the corners. Your cube will always be like a checkerboard or the like. Try it, its fun.
- If you repeat an algorithm enough times, the cube will come back to its original state. Usually you do not need more than 12 repetitions, but there are even sequences that take over 1200 times.
- If you try to keep all 'solved' pieces in place on the way to your solution, you will never get it. You get it? Its like finding your way out of a maze. Once your stuck, you will have to do some steps back in order to get closer to the exit.
Ok, all set. Continue to step 1.