More Strategies for the Rubiks Cube

The Counter-Current Exchange

I don't know the names of any official moves. When I was solving the cube myself back in the day, I would give moves names in an attempt to keep them straight. These names usually stemmed from movies or science, but sometimes are completely random. The first of these two is the Counter-Current Exchange and is my favorite move on the Rubiks Cube.

Both of these moves align the edges on the second layer of the Rubiks Cube. Assuming the top layer is solved by the moves described in my first post, we will move on to the next layer. Now the address for the green-yellow edge is obviously between the green center and the yellow center. Locate the green-yellow cube wherever it is. If it's somewhere on the bottom then we're clear for this step. If it's not, doing this step with a different cube can kick the green-yellow out of where it is and into the bottom layer. Now the green-yellow edge cube should be on the bottom layer. 1) Twist it around until you have it underneath its address on the Rubiks cube (the bottom layer will be in a half-twist at this point). Now either the green side or the yellow side will be facing out. If it's the green side, use this move exactly as I say. If yellow is facing out, do the exact symmetrical move (substitute left for right, but not up for down).

So you have the green-yellow cube underneath its address. Suppose green is facing out and yellow is facing down. 2) Twist the bottom layer towards green and then twist it once more so that our yellow-green edge is underneath the white center. 3) Position the cube in your hand so that the green center is facing you, if it's not already. 4) Twist the right column down one. 5) Twist the bottom layer to the right one. 6) Twist the right column up one. 7) Twist the bottom layer to the right one. 8) Shift the entire Rubiks Cube in your hand so that the yellow center is facing you with red still on top. 9) Twist the left column down one. 10) twist the bottom layer left one. 11) Twist the left column up one. Ta-da! What a crazy mess, huh?

So use the Counter-Current Exchange to solve 3 out of the 4 edge pieces of the second layer. There is another factor we must keep in mind before solving the 4th.

The Cube will drive you crazy at least once. I guarantee it.
The Cube will drive you crazy at least once. I guarantee it.

Give Sight to the Blind Hippie.

I need to explain something before I give you the next set of instruction. There are four corner pieces on the bottom layer. They must eventually be in the right address with the right orientation for the cube to be solved. Not as easy as it sounds. After doing the Counter-Current Exchange to solve 2nd layer edge cubes, the bottom corners are going to look random as hell. One property of the Counter-Current exchange is that it switches the two bottom corner pieces that face you. So I usually stare at the bottom corners for a second (they may not be in the right orientation at this point - doesn't matter. Pay attention to their location.). I usually have to switch two around, sometimes three. Without thinking of the last 2nd-layer edge cube, use the Counter-Current Exchange to rearrange the bottom corner pieces.

Now if you got the bottom corners in the right place, use this move to solve that last edge piece on the second layer. This move is the Blind Hippie. Pretend that last edge cube is the green-white. That last edge cube has green facing out. 1) Position that cube under the green center and hold the cube with the white center facing you. 2) Twist the right column down one. 3) Twist the bottom layer to the right one. 4) Twist the right column up one. 5) Twist the bottom layer left one. 6) twist the right column down one. 7) Twist the bottom layer right two. 8) twist the right column up one. 9) Twist the bottom layer left one. 10) Twist the right column down one. 11) Twist the bottom layer right two. 12) Twist the right column up one. 13) Twist the bottom layer to the left one. 14) Twist the right column down one. 15) Twist the bottom layer right one. 16) Twist the right column up one. Ta-da! Now that is a long mess.

You have now solved the first and second layers and partially solved the bottom.

Spin the Ducklings.

The following move is called Spin the Ducklings. What it does is reorient three of the bottom corners (not relocate) once clockwise. When performing this move, the bottom-left cube should be the corner cube that does not reorient itself. 1) Let's orient the Rubiks Cube so that the non-rotating corner is in the bottom-left address. Color coordination doesn't matter at this point. 2) Twist the right column down one. 3) Twist the bottom layer left one. 4) Twist the right column up one. 5) Twist the bottom layer left one. 6) Twist the right column down one. 7) Twist the bottom layer right two. 8) Twist the right column up one. 9) Twist the bottom layer right two. Ta-da! Now as I said, this only reorients three of the four bottom corners and does so once clockwise. If the cubes are still out of whack, simply do this move again. You might have to do this move up to four times to solve all four bottom corners. There are way too many scenarios to go through them one at a time, but this move coupled with the Counter-Current Exchange solves the bottom corners.

Warwick Davis.
Warwick Davis.

The Short Move (Willow)

My roommate showed this move to me when I was a rookie. He called it the Short Move. I will call it Willow in honor of Warwick Davis.

Okay, look at the bottom layer to tell which of the four remaining pieces is in the right address, regardless of it's orientation. 1) Position the Rubiks Cube in your hands so that one cube is on the front bottom and red is still the top layer. 2) Twist the center column down one. 3) Twist the bottom layer right one. 4) Twist the center column up one. 5) Twist the bottom layer right two. 6) Twist the center column down one. 7) Twist the bottom layer right one. 8) Twist the center column up one. Ta-da!

Notice it did not relocate or reorient the first cube we were looking at. It relocated three of the other four remaining cubes and reoriented two of them. Get familiar with this move so that you can rearrange and reorient your bottom edge cubes.

Now Willow sometimes will leave two or four cubes in the right location and the wrong orientation. That is where the Long Move comes in.

Val Kilmer as Madmartigan.
Val Kilmer as Madmartigan.

Madmartigan (the Long Move)

This move also relocates and reorients the bottom edge pieces. 1) Orient the Rubiks Cube so that one of the unsolved cubes is the front-bottom cube with red still the top layer. 2) Spin the whole Rubiks cube once clockwise. 3) Twist the center column down one. 4) Twist the bottom layer right one. 5) Twist the center column up one. 6) Twist the bottom layer left one. 7) Twist the center column down one. 8) Twist the bottom layer left one. 9) Twist the center column up one. 10) Twist the bottom layer left one. 11) Twist the center column down one. 12) Twist the bottom layer left two. 13) Twist the center column up one. Ta-da!

Now Madmartigan never solves the overall Rubiks Cube, but it unlocks the pieces so that Willow can. And you're done! Wooo hooo!

What a mess.

Comments 5 comments

Science Guru profile image

Science Guru 8 years ago Author

I know. It's confusing as hell. But hey, this is the Rubiks Cube we're talking about here. It's not supposed to be crystal clear. I spent eighteen hours solving the first two layers when I was younger. Now it takes me less than three minutes to solve all of it.


MouseWalker profile image

MouseWalker 5 years ago from FEDERAL WAY, WA

i like your term address as a place for piece to be I hope that you do not mind that i us it, thanks.


Science Guru profile image

Science Guru 5 years ago Author

go for it, MouseWalker.


ummmmmmmm 4 years ago

uh how do you switch edges? when i mean that i mean what algorithm do u use to switch


Science Guru profile image

Science Guru 4 years ago Author

I'm not sure what you mean by switch edges. No move spins just one piece, if that's what you're asking.

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