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Strategies for the Rubiks Cube

Updated on September 5, 2008

Symmetry and the Constant Center

For starters, we will be discussing the 3X3X3 rubiks cube. Rule number one for non-cheaters: the centers don't actually move so quit trying. Yellow is always next to green and no matter how hard you try to change that... you won't, not even if you pop off all the cubes and reassemble it.

The second thing you want to keep in mind is that everything you do with the rubiks cube is symmetrical. If I say pull a left-handed move to relocate a cube, a right-handed move will relocate it the exact opposite direction.

There are various tactics involved in solving the rubiks cube. In my particular tactic, I keep one color on top and work my way down. I move the edges on top first, then the corners, then the sides, and the bottom is a chapter all to itself. If you use the same set of tactics as I, never start with the edges and then move the center in. IT WILL NOT WORK. If you can make it work, you don't need to read my post.

And also keep in mind that for the Cube, there are three axis of rotation - one for each dimension. You've got to think three-dimensionally here.

Terms of Use

Do follow these directions, you will need to understand the terms that I use when explaining a tactic.

Edge: it is a cube that has only two colors on it. There are twelve edge pieces.

cube: each individual subsection of the overall Rubiks Cube. The Rubiks Cube will be capitalized like it's holy.

Corner: a cube located at the intersection of three edges. Pretty self-explanatory. Can also be defined as the eight cubes that contain three colors each.

Column: a vertical allignment of cubes.

Row: a horizontal allignment of cubes.

Move: A series of twists and turns that relocate or rotate cubes on the Rubiks Cube.

Relocate: When you take a cube, twist and turn the columns and rows and end with that cube in a different address on the Rubiks Cube.

Address: There can be only one spot a cube can be in for it to be considered solved. Thus the location is considered assigned to that particular cube and all other cubes are henseforth squatters therein. The goal is to bring each cube to it's address (and in the proper orientation), much like Happy Gilmore and his golf ball going home.

Rotate/reorient: Sometimes you don't want to relocate a cube, just spin it or something. For solid-color Rubiks Cubes, spinning the center is pointless so let's just say it has one orientation. Edges have two orientations that you can have in the address. Corners have three.

Orientation: Sometimes you will have a cube in the right spot but it will be pointing in the wrong direction. For example, you will have the red center on the right and the yellow on the left, but the edge that goes in between has the red facing left and the yellow facing right. That edge is in the right spot but points in the wrong direction.

Useful Moves

Explaining in detail how to solve the cube is going to be a task greater than can be explained in a post. Let me tell you some basic moves. "ta-da" means the series of twists in a move is complete. And you've got to train your eyes to recognize when a cube is in the right place with the right or wrong orientation.

Say you have the red center on top and the yellow center on the right side. The one cube that can go between them is the red-yellow edge piece. 1) Find the red-yellow and twist the side containing the edge vertically until that edge is on top, if it's not already there. 2) Now twist the top until that edge is between the red and yellow centers. Half the time you do this, the edge will be in the wrong orientation. If it's the proper orientation, then your work is done. To solve that address if the wrong orientation exists: 3)Twist the yellow side (the side with the yellow center) left one. 4) Now twist the side with the green center once to the left as well. 5) Twist the top (should still be red) counter-clockwise once. Ta-da! I've known this move for over four years so it comes pretty basic to me. But believe me, this will be the first ass-kicker to a beginner.

I always solve the top first with the edges and then the corners. I've seen it done other ways and I know others ways, but my prefered is edges before corners. So in the scenario above, you are considering only one cube. If you've solved a few edges, suddenly things get harry because you've got to consider more than one cube. So, supposing you've already got a red-green edge in place on top and don't want to move it when reorienting a red-yellow edge. Simple: just add two steps to the process that relocates the desired address. Let's assume you've got the red-yellow edge in the right address already and just need to reorient it without relocating the other cubes in the top layer. 1) Twist the yellow side left one. 2) Then twist the top clockwise once. 3) Twist the green side left one. 4) Now twist the top counter-clockwise one. Ta-da! Easy as cake. Repeat the steps in this and the other paragraph until you've got all the top edges in their right places and orientations.

Now it's time for the corners. A big problem for beginners using my tactics is that they'll push a corner up to its address and push the edges out of theirs. So suppose you want to relocate the red-yellow-green corner to it's address and it's on the bottom layer. 1) Twist the bottom until that corner is located in the corner address diagonal-down from where you want it. 2) Now if the cube is on the green side, twist the yellow face left one. 3) Then twist the bottom to the right one and 4)twist the yellow face right one. Ta-da! You have put the corner in the right place without having relocated the edges or other top corners. If you start with the corner diagonal-down on the yellow side, simply pull the exact symmetrical move.

To reorient a corner if it's already in the right address: Position the Rubiks Cube in your hands so that red is on top and green is facing you. 1) Twist the right column down one. 2) Twist the bottom row to the right one. 3) Twist the right column up one. 4) Twist the bottom row left one. 5) Twist the right column down one. 6) Twist the bottom row right one. 7) Twist the right column up one. Ta-da! You have rotated the corner once. If it needs one more, simply repeat the move.

I Will Continue!

So I've realized that making really long hubs is a bad thing. I will call it a day here and tell you all how to solve edges and the bottom in another hub. If you want to know the rest of the moves, follow the link at the bottom.


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    • Science Guru profile image

      Science Guru 6 years ago

      When you know how to do it, it truly is a piece of cake. When I show people how to do it, they look at me like "that is so anti-climactic".

    • profile image

      rj 6 years ago

      it was a piece of cake

    • Science Guru profile image

      Science Guru 8 years ago

      Did I write that in here somewhere? If I did, I meant to Twist the Left column Up. Is that a term used by a different cube-solver?

    • profile image

      Joel 8 years ago

      do u know what is twistleftup

    • Science Guru profile image

      Science Guru 9 years ago

      Thank you. Are you a Cube fan? I knew a dude in high school that took less than a minute to solve it.

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 9 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      Truly... mind-boggling.