Rubik's cube solution for beginners, a basic tutorial

Rubik's cube solution for beginners, a basic tutorial .......................................................... 1 Introduction..................................................................................................................... 2 The Method..................................................................................................................... 2 Notation........................................................................................................................... 3 Higher Cube Math........................................................................................................... 4 Step 1: the cross .............................................................................................................. 4 Step 2: the top layer ........................................................................................................ 4 Step 3: the middle layer .................................................................................................. 5 Step 4: the Last Layer cross ............................................................................................ 6 Step 5: Rotate (orient) corners ........................................................................................ 6 Step 6: Swap (permute) corners...................................................................................... 7 Step 7: Carrousel (cycle) edges....................................................................................... 7 Step 8: rotate body .......................................................................................................... 8 Algorithms ...................................................................................................................... 8 Cube Lingo...................................................................................................................... 8 Contact ............................................................................................................................ 9 Some interesting links..................................................................................................... 9

Michiel van der Blonk

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6/14/2007

Introduction
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 rubiks 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 rubiks 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 Method
The YY Method consists of seven steps 1. Make a cross on the top layer 2. Insert the corners to make the top layer complete 3. Insert the middle layer edges 4. Make a cross on the bottom layer 5. Rotate the corners to make the bottom color complete 6. Swap corners to fix the bottom corners 7. Swap (or caroussel) edges to fix the bottom edges In cubespeak this is called a layer by layer, 4 look last layer (LL) method. This means the last four steps all work on the last layer. Speedcubists have methods that solve the last layer in 3, 2 or even 1 step! Michiel van der Blonk Page 2/9 6/14/2007

Notation
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 R - Right L - Left U - Up

D - Down

B - Back

F - Front

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 you cube apart and put it back together again. If you turn a face 1/4th move then you can take out the 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 your 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 you can see, if you do that 4 times, the cube will be restored to its original state (scrambled, right?). Additionaly 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 therefor really 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]) Michiel van der Blonk Page 3/9 6/14/2007

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. 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.

Step 1: the cross
The cross, actually a plus sign, can be made completely intuitively. Nevertheless, it is very important to do it fast in order to get a good solving time. After a week practice, you should be able to get to at most 10 seconds. A solution to the cross can always be found in 8 moves or less. I recommend starting with the same color every time. Most people prefer white, because it stands out. Now the real speedcubers make that cross on the bottom, which seems a little weird, but it helps in looking ahead to the second layer. You actually only need four simple algoritms: put the front-bottom sticker on top-front D'L' F L put the front-top sticker on top-front F U' R U put the front-right sticker on top-front U' R U put the front-left sticker on top-front U L' U'

watch a video of me solving the cross on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=Lk_46lFv6Cg

Step 2: the top layer
The top layer is half done already. All that needs to be done are the four corners. Basically, you only need three moves. Lets consider the corner on the right front. Which Michiel van der Blonk Page 4/9 6/14/2007

algorithm to use depends on the position of the sticker (sticker) that you want to go on top. First make sure the cubie is on the down-right-front, and it needs to go to up-rightfront. Now look at the sticker of the down cubie that has the color of your top layer. sticker is on the right R' D' R sticker is on the front F D F' sticker is on the bottom (right down corner) R' D' R D (3 times) The last algorithm means: repeat the algorithm in brackets three times. There are shorter algorithms for this one, but the one chosen here is very easy to remember.

Step 3: the middle layer
Congratulations. You just solved one layer. This is the point where most people get stuck, and where 'intuition' fails to help. However, a couple of simple logical steps can help you solve this layer. At this point, it is obvious that moving any of the six possible layers except for the bottom layer will disrupt your beautiful top layer. That is why you will have to break the first layer in order to make the second one. What we do here is basically the same thing over and over again for every cubie. Even the most advanced systems are always based on this step: You connect the corner with it's rightful neighbour edge, and then they travel into their 'slot'. You will need only one algorithm, and it's mirror to solve the second layer! Follow these steps to do this: Turn the bottom layer until one of the center pieces 'connects' to the center of one of the edges that should go to the middle layer. There are four of these edges, do not be confused when some other edge lines up with the center, these are the other four edges that should go on the bottom. So check the bottom to see if the edge is one that goes in the second layer. Once you have it lined up with the center piece, keep the center piece in front of you. If the piece has to go to the left side in the second layer, perform F D F D F D' F' D' F' D' If the piece has to go to the right side in the second layer, perform F' D' F' D' F' D F D F D

Michiel van der Blonk

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6/14/2007

Step 4: the Last Layer cross
This is an easy step, which needs only one algorithm For this cross, you really only need one short algorithm. First, lets look at the three possible situations for the last layer. The cross is already there. Two opposing edges are flipped Two adjacent edges are flipped For both cases, make sure one of the flipped edges is in the front, and the other one is either on the left, or on the back. Then perform this algorithm: F D L D' L' F' This one flips adjacent edges (front and left). You will have to perform it twice for the situation where opposing edges are flipped (front and back). Alternatively, you can use the reversed algorithm instead of performing the algorithm twice. To make a reversed algorithm you read from right to left and invert the moves: F L D L' D' F'

Step 5: Rotate (orient) corners
Again, this is an easy step, which needs only one algorithm. The problem with this one though, is that it covers a whole bunch of situations, which I will recite now. All cases are distinct in the way the bottom layer stickers are oriented. So look at those very carefully. All corners are ok. You could perform (RB)105 or HAHAHAHA, which is (HA)4 One corner is flipped. Somebody messed with your cube, and it wasn't you. Time for payback. Two corners are flipped. Keep the corners in the front. This falls in two categories: o The bottom stickers are pointing the same way. Keep the stickers facing the right, then perform R' D2 R D R' D R L D2 L' D' L D' L' o The bottom stickers are pointing sideways. Keep both corners on the left, Perform: R' D2 R D R' D R L D2 L' D' L D' L' Three corners are flipped. Turn the bottom layer until you see a solved corner and an unsolved corner in the front face. Make sure to have one sticker with the color of the bottom layer on the front as well. If the left corner is solved, use R' D' R D' R' D2 R If the right corner is solved, use the mirror L D L' D L D2 L' Four corners are flipped. This falls into two categories

Michiel van der Blonk

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o All stickers are opposing. Keep the stickers on the left and right faces, then perform R' D' R D' R' D2 R R' D' R D' R' D2 R o The back stickers are pointing the same way, and the front stickers are pointing sideways. This is called hands-and-legs (as you can hopefully imagine). Perform R' D' R D' R' D2 R [u] R' D' R D' R' D2 R

Step 6: Swap (permute) corners
Again, this is an easy step, which needs only one algorithm. This is getting boring... And guess what? You already know at least half of this algoritm, because it is the same as in step 5. Keep the correct corners on the left, and the corners to be swapped on the right face. Perform: L D' R' D L' D' R R' D' R D' R' D2 R You may have to perform this algorithm twice in case three or four corners were swapped.

Step 7: Carrousel (cycle) edges
Again, this is an easy step, which needs only one algorithm. Did I say that before? We have a couple of categories: No edges are swapped. This should be easily recognisable, because YOUR CUBE IS SOLVED. You lucky bastard. Two edges are swapped. Again, some a..hole messed with your cube. I think it's time for some martial art lessons here. Three edges are swapped. Ok, now we're getting somewhere. Keep the solved edge in the back, then look at the front center color. If the edge with that color is on the right, then use R' D' R D' R' D2 R [u] L D L' D L D2 L' If it is on the left, use L D L' D L D2 L' [u'] R' D' R D' R' D2 R Four edges are swapped in opposing pairs. Just perform the previous algorithm, and you will be left with the three cycle. Four edges are swapped in adjacent pairs. This is the famous Z-permutation, that I saw our former world champion Dan Knights perform in under two seconds when I attended the World Championships in 2003. Wow! Just perform the previous algorithm, and you will be left with the three cycle. You get the idea.

Michiel van der Blonk

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6/14/2007

Step 8: rotate body
Congratulations, you have solved the rubiks cube. Now rotate your body three times and shout: "Yes!".

Algorithms
The list is not complete yet. I am working on it. (F'D')*2F'D(FD)*2 (FD)*2FD'(F'D')*2 (R'D'RD)*3 D'L'FL FDF' FDLD'L'F' FU'RU LD'R'DL'D'RR'D'RD'R'D2R LDL'DLD2L' LDL'DLD2L'y'R'D'RD'R'D2R R'D'R R'D'RD'R'D2R R'D'RD'R'D2RR'D'RD'R'D2R R'D'RD'R'D2RyLDL'DLD2L' R'D'RD'R'D2RyR'D'RD'R'D2R R'D'RD'R'D2RLDL'DLD2L' R'D2'RDR'DRLD2L'D'LD'L' U'RU UL'U'

Cube Lingo
F2L F2L Method LL X Look Move Prime Algorithm Method Piece Michiel van der Blonk First Two Layers a method which does First and Second layer in 1 step Last Layer number of algorithms needed for the last layer, e.g. 4 Look A turn or double turn of one of the six colored sides A counter clock wise move, e.g. R Prime (or R-, R', R-1) predefined sequence of moves combination of algorithms that can be used to solve a cube one of the 20 detachable little cubies Page 8/9 6/14/2007

Edge piece Corner piece Center Orient OLL PLL Permute PB

one of the 12 edges one of the 8 corners one of the six centers flip pieces so they turn 'in-place' orient last layer permute last layer swap or caroussel 2 or more pieces Personal best (time to solve a cube)

Contact
I wish you all good luck. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me: Michiel van der Blonk, email blonkm@gmail.com

Some interesting links
Randelshofer.ch: rubiks animations Speedcubing.com: the official site An animated cube for learning Algorithm database Cube notation images are © Werner Randelshofer (c) Brought to you by Michiel van der Blonk - http://vanderblonk.com

Michiel van der Blonk

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6/14/2007