How To Solve The Rubiks Cube
There are lots of methods for solving the cube and numerous different ways of moving a piece into the required position. The method of solving the cube described here relies on just three sequences of moves to keep things as simple as possible. While they may seem tricky to start with, they become easier with practice and ultimately they will become automatic. Persevere and you will succeed every time.
The strategy of this method is to solve each of the following in turn
- Top face and centres
- Bottom corners
- All the other pieces
Top Face and Centres
Pick a colour and find the side of the cube where this colour is in the centre. Next turn the cube so that the chosen colour is uppermost. This will be the colour of the whole of the top face. You may want to use the same colour for the top face every time you solve the cube as this makes it easier to visualise the moves.
To a novice, solving the top face simply means arriving at a state where the colour is the same on the top of the cube. However, there is slightly more to it than that as each individual piece has more than one side. If this fact is not taken into account then you will not be able to solve the whole cube.
Correctly solving the top face will look like this:
Incorrectly solving the top face will look like this:
Note that once you have completed the top face, you can simply rotate it so that all the centre pieces are in the right place too.
To start with, you may find it easier to position one of the corners then move the remaining three corners into place. Doing so will allow you to see at a glance which colours are needed for each edge piece.
When positioning the top corners, be sure to double check that they are all in the right place. If you do find that one is in the wrong place you are guaranteed to find a second.
Apart from in this section, all of the moves required to solve each step are provided. However, in order that you can gain some experience of thinking about manipulating the cube, this section merely provides pointers. Having read the Top Face section you should now attempt to solve the top of the cube on your own. After all, it is meant to be a puzzle!
In order to describe the sequences of moves we need to use a little bit of notation. With the completed top uppermost, and viewed from just one of the sides, the following notation is used to describe which part of the cube is to be moved.
L - left column
R - right column
B - bottom row
F - front face
MC - middle column
The movements use the following codes:
U - up
D - down
L - left
R - right
These are combined in the notation so that each step is described by a letter telling you what part of the cube to move followed by a letter telling you which direction it should be moved in.
For example, LU means move the left column up by 90 degrees by rotating it away from you. Similarly, BR means move the bottom row right by 90 degrees.
In some cases there is a need to move by 180 degrees, in which case the number 2 is used. For example, BL2 means move the bottom row left by 180 degrees.
The method used to solve the bottom corners is a two step process:
- Move the corner pieces to their correct positions.
- Rotate the corners so that they match the middle pieces.
Moving the Bottom Corners
Look at the bottom of the cube and find a pair of corners that have a side colour in common. Next, rotate the bottom row so that these two pieces form part of the face for that colour.
In the example above the two bottom corners shown need to be swapped. If you find that you do not need to do this then simply go to step 2.
To swap two corners, you should first make a mental note of the side colour that is in common. Next turn the cube the right way up with that face on the left. Holding the cube so that only one face is in front of you (i.e. the front face), make the following sequence of moves:
RD BR RU FL RU FR RD BL2
Look at the other two bottom corners and see if they need to be swapped. If they do, turn the cube the right way up then turn the whole cube so that they are both on the left.
To swap the two corners in the bottom left of the cube follow the sequence below. It is exactly the same as in step 1
RD BR RU FL RU FR RD BL2
Donít worry about the fact that the corners need to be rotated as we will do that in the next part. However, you should check that the corners are now in the right places. If they are not then you have made a mistake and should go back to step 1.
Rotating the Bottom Corners
Now that the bottom corners are in the right places you will usually need to rotate them.
To rotate two bottom corners without affecting any of the other pieces, turn the whole cube so that they are both on the right hand side of the cube.
Holding the cube the right way up follow the sequence below:
RD BL2 RU BR RD BR LU
LD BR2 LU BL LD BL LU
As you can see, the sequence described here is in two parts. The reason for this is to show you that part A and Part B are actually mirror images of each other. Knowing this will make it easier to remember the whole sequence which is made up of Part A followed immediately by Part B.
If you find that there is only one corner that is correctly rotated you need to turn the whole cube so that this piece is on the left.
Next repeat the sequence until two bottom corners are correctly rotated and are next to each other.
Finally, turn the whole puzzle so that the two correctly rotated corners are on the bottom left of the cube and repeat the sequence until the last two pieces are correctly rotated.