Method for Beginners
(*) Or maybe the worst...
It's perfectly possible to solve a Rubik's Cube using common intuition and simple rules.
Usually, people can solve one layer by themselves. If you can do it, you (almost) can solve the whole cube.
No mysterious magical sequences required. If you understand how it works, you'll remember it forever.
No need to learn any notation, the animated cubes will show you the basic moves you need.
No mathematical formulae (group theory principles explained here), I'll try to make it intuitive.
This page is not about efficient solving.
If you think this page is not very helpful, you should take a look at Jasmine's beginner page where a more conventional approach is proposed.
|Solving the first layer|
It seems that everybody can do it using common intuition. It can take some time if it's your first try.
You cube should now look like this:
|Manipulating the first layer|
You just built a layer starting from a random state. So, you should not have any problem making transformations of this layer.
Look at the following basic moves. You can do them differently, it doesn't matter.
Do you have problems understanding them? Don't go to the next section before you can master these easy moves (or the ones you found) allowing you to change pieces of the first layer easily.
|Rearranging the first layer without disturbing the others|
Once a first layer is solved, freedom of movement is reduced, and people can't see what they can do without destroying it. You have to find a way of moving only selected cubies, preserving the state of others (local transformation).
Take the first basic move that rotates a corner for example. What's the problem with it? It destroys the two lower layers of course. Do it backwards, the cube is restored.
But what happened at the end of the move? Think of it this way:
- Pieces of the first layer have been rearranged.
- Pieces of the two lower layers have been rearranged.
- Pieces of the first layer and pieces of the two lower layers are still separated.
- Undoing the move will independently restore the state of the first layer and the state of the two lower layers.
And now, the cornerstone of this method. Try this:
- Do a move that rearranges pieces of the first layer. Call it X.
- Move the first layer. Call it Y.
- Undo X. Call it X'.
- Undo Y (only a matter of readjusting the first layer). Call it Y'.
Since the two lower layers and their chaos have not been changed by Y, X' can still restore them to their original state!
But the first layer has moved, it won't be restored with X'. The backward transformation will be applied to a different part of it.
We have reached our goal: Making (local) transformations in a layer, without disturbing the others.
Thanks to the four basic moves, we can build four interesting local transformations of the first layer.
|Changing pieces belonging to different layers|
The pieces on which a local transformation must be applied do not always belong to the same layer. You'll have to bring them to a same layer first with a positioning move:
- Make interesting pieces belong to the first layer. Call it P.
- Undo the positioning move. Call it P'.
That's all you need to solve the 3x3x3 cube.
|Solving example on a random cube