Solving the Rubik's Cube Systematically


You have probably seen many ways to solve the cube, some claiming to be the fastest, because they take the smallest number of elementary steps to complete. But how much time and effort are required to remember these "optimal" sequence of steps? How much time is required to practise with them so that you don't forget one of those long meaningless sequences of steps? If you stop playing with the cube for some time, would you still remember how to solve it using these optimal methods?

This is a real life story. I haven't touched the cube for more than ten years. I have forgotten each and every sequence of moves I used to restore the cube. One evening my baby cousin scrambled the cube and realised that she was incapable of restoring it. She got afraid and started to cry. If it were you, could you have unscrambled the cube quickly?

The method I described here is good not because it is fast. You won't win championships using it. However, it is not the sequences themselves that are important, but the reason why these sequences work. My method makes sense. Making sense prevents errors. You notice that you understand what you are doing. You find that the sequences are much easier to remember. Actually you don't even need to remember them. When you have forgotten every detail (and one day you will), you will still be able to reconstruct the algorithms without any difficulties. Don't try to remember what I am doing — concentrate to see why I am doing those things.

The Strategy of Eight Corners

These pages describe basic rules in designing algorithms to solve the Rubik's Cube. Based on these rules, a strategy (the Strategy of Eight Corners) is built. You will develop a new perspective of the cube, with which you can design algorithms and strategies on your own.

Prior experience of meddling with the cube and using algorithms is assumed.

The algorithms were originally demonstrated using Neil Rashbrook's Java applet showing the Rubik's Cube. Since 2015, browsers no longer support Java applets. It is not until 2020 when Phil Hughes pointed me to the Ruwix canvas widget, which is based on the RoofPig cube by Lars Petrus. It does not have all the features of Neil's applet, but it is good enough for the demonstrations here. Learn how to use it before you start!

If this is your first visit, start with the first link (Background and Naming of the Parts) below. Otherwise, jump directly to the page where you left off last time:

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