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How to Solve a Rubik's Cube, Guide for Beginners

Rubik's Cube solution video

How to Solve a Rubik's Cube | Introduction

The Rubik's cube is a mechanical 3D puzzle, invented more than 30 years ago and considered the best selling toy at all times! Yet, solving the Rubik's Cube considered an almost impossible task, which requires an IQ of 160... Is that really so hard? Definitely not!! Just follow this simple step by step solving guide and you'll shortly find yourself with a solved Rubik's cube in your hands… Let's get to work!
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The mechanism of the Rubik's Cube

The Rubik's cube is actually a 26 pieces puzzle. Rubik's Cube pieces
There are three types of pieces: (see image)
Corner piece: each carries three different colors (there are 8 corner pieces in the cube)
Edge piece: each carries two different colors (there are 12 edge pieces in the cube)
Center piece: each carries one color (6 center pieces, all are located on the core)

Core is the inside part of a Rubix Cube, which holds all the pieces together and attached
to the center pieces with rotatable axes.

Important! The center pieces are part of the core and subsequently can't really move relative to each other. For that reason they already "solved", and the solving process is to bring the corner and the edge pieces to them (meaning there are only 20 pieces to solve out of the 26). For example, the blue center piece will be always opposite to the green center piece (on cube with standard color scheme). it doesn't matter how hard you will try to scramble the cube, it will just stay that way.

Rubiks Cube Move notation

When describing the solution we'll use the following move notation.
The rubix cube notation helps to convey a sequence of moves through writing. Here is how it works:
Every face given a letter:
The letter by itself means turning that face 90° clockwise (single turn).(e.g. R)
Letter followed by ' (apostrophe) means turning that face 90° counter-clockwise (single turn). (e.g. R')
Letter followed by 2 means turning that face 180° (double turn) . (e.g. R2)


For example: F R' U2 looks that way: 

Notation example initial state
Notation example F
Notation example R'
Notation example U2


A sequence of moves is called an algorithm.

(If you're having difficulty in finding the CW/C-CW direction of a face (like B or D), twist temporarily the cube so that face will become the F face which is the easiest face to determine the cw/ccw direction.)
Don't be worried about it, all the algorithms are followed by an animation like the one of the last example.

For further explanations and full move notation: Full move notation page

Now you know everything you need to start and learn how to solve a Rubik's Cube! So, Proceed and solve the Rubik's Cube, for good.. Good Luck!

This is the image-based solution (Ideal for old browsers).
For the animation-based version of the solution (java applets)-

End of Intro.

The Rubik's Cube Solution

Solving the Rubix cube is made piece by piece, just like any other puzzle.
Therefore the solution is divided into steps each of which solves number of
pieces without destroying the ones of previous levels. Let's start!

How to solve a Rubik's Cube Step 1

Step 1: Solving the edge pieces of the top layer

In this step we have four pieces to solve.
First choose a color to begin with (I chose the white from comfortable reasons.
For this time, choose the white as well, because of the images along with the solution).
How to solve a Rubik's cube | Corrert and incorrect edge pieces
Because the center pieces cannot be moved relative to each other it's
important to solve the edge pieces relatively correct to each other.
For example, when solving the white: the green center is to the left
of the red center, so the green-white edge piece has to be as well to the left
of the red-white piece (see images)
Remember! Bring the white edge pieces to the white center, and not the white center to the edge pieces.

Use the following examples to complete these step:

Step 1- Example No. 1
F2

Step 1- Example No. 2
U' R U

Step 1- Example No. 3
F' U' R U


How to solve a Rubix cube Step 2

Step 2: Solving the corner pieces of the top layer

In this step we'll solve the four corner pieces of the top layer.

How to solve Rubik's cube | Correct/incorrect corner pieces

Pay attention! The corner piece has to match not only to the white on Top, but also the colors to the left and right (see correct/wrong images).
If the wanted corner piece is located in the top layer but In the wrong place (see wrong image) or not oriented correctly, insert a non-white corner there, and by that the white corner piece will go back to the bottom layer.

Inserting a corner piece to its solved location will be done in this way:
First find an unsolved white corner (from the bottom layer)
then position it right under the place it should go to.
use one of the following moves:

Step 2- Example No. 1
F D F'

Step 2- Example No. 2
R' D' R

Step 2- Example No. 3
R' D2 R D R' D' R

Repeat that for the other three corners.

* Solving a corner that its white sticker is opposite to the upper face (third case), is done in two stages.
The first is orienting the corner piece so the white sticker will be on one of the side faces (done by- R' D2 R D).
The second is a second case solving (R' D' R).

How to solve Rubik's cube Step 3

Step 3: Solving the edge pieces of the middle layer

In this step we'll solve the four edge pieces of the middle layer,
And by that we actually complete the first two layers (a.k.a F2L).

How to solve a Rubik's cube | Initial step 3 position Turn the cube over so the solved layer will be in the bottom.
Then locate one of the edge pieces to form an upside down T shape (see image)
In order to insert the edge to its location we'll use one of the following algs:

Step 3- Case No. 1
U' L' U L U F U' F'

Step 3- Case No. 2
U R U' R' U' F' U F


Repeat that for the other three edge pieces.
How to solve a Rubik's cube | Wrong oriented edge piece
In a case that an edge piece is in its correct location but not oriented correctly (see image),
Insert a wrong edge piece to this location, and as a result the wanted edge piece
would go back to the top layer (just like in the previous step with the corners)


How to solve a Rubiks cube Step 4

Step 4: Orienting the last layer edges

In this step, for the first time we won't completely solve the pieces But only orient them correctly.
In other words our goal is to form a cross shape on the upper face of the cube.
There are only four possible orientation states for the last face:

How to solve a Rubix cube | Step 4 state#1
State 1
How to solve a Rubix cube | Step 4 state#2
State 2
How to solve a Rubix cube | Step 4 state#3
State 3
How to solve a Rubix cube | Step 4 state#4
State 4


In order to achieve our objective (state 4) we'll use the following algorithm:

R' U' F' U F R


This algorithm promotes the cube one state ahead each execution.
Meaning that triggering this alg once, on state 1 will promote the cube to state 2, and so on. Therefore, you have to apply this alg 1-3 times to complete this step. (Click the "play" button on the animation 3 times, but wait for the algorightm to finish before clicking for the 2nd and 3rd time).

Pay attention! Executing this alg from the right angle (right position of the cude in your hands) is crucial. (for example, in step 3 it's important to execute this alg when the two correctly oriented edge pieces are facing to the back and the left faces and not to the front\right faces.


How to solve Rubiks cube Step 5

Step 5: Permuting the last layer corners

In this step our goal is to permute the four last layer corner pieces.
Pay attention! our objective is only to locate the four corners in their place, we don't have to orient them correctly.
For example, take a look at the image to the right, the yellow-green-red corner piece is well permuted.  How to solve Rubiks cube |Well permuted corner

In this step there are only 2 different states:
If you can't find 2 well permuted corners, turn the upper face (U) until they'll show up. They must be there.

In order to complete this step we'll use the following algorithm: (Keep reading before executing)

How to solve Rubiks cube | Algorithm effect on the cube
L R' U' R U L' U' R' U R

This algorithm rotates 3 corner pieces counter-clockwise, and leaves the fourth corner in place.

If you have 2 adjacent well permuted corners- just turn the upper face once (U). that move will relocate the corners so there will be only one well permuted corner and another three needed to be rotated counter-clockwise. Now just execute the algorithm above (L R' U' R U L' U' R' U R), and by this single execution you actually completed this level. (remember to execute this algorithm from the right angle - the right position of the cube in your hand. see image above)

If you have 2 diagonal well permuted corners just execute this algorithm above once (the angle doesn't matter), and by that, your cube state will change to two adjacent well permuted corners. Then follow the two adjacent corners instructions above.

How to solve a Rubik's cube Step 6

Step 6: Orienting the last layer corners

In this step our goal is to orient the four corner pieces of the last layer, the ones that we have just located.
In order to do that we'll use the two following algorithms:

How to solve Rubik's cube |Alg#1 effect
L U L' U L U2 L' U2
How to solve Rubik's cube | Alg#2 effect
R' U' R U' R' U2 R U2


These algorithms actually do the same thing, just in an opposite direction. The first algorithm orients three corners clockwise, while the second orients three corners counter-clockwise. For that reason you can learn only one of them if you like (executing one alg twice equals to executing the second once).

If you have only one well oriented corner (like in the alg images), then you are lucky - just execute the suitable alg once and complete this step.

If you have two well oriented corners or no well oriented corners, execute one of these algs randomly from different angles until you'll get only one oriented corner, then just execute the suitable alg one more time to complete this step.



How to solve a Rubix cube Final step

Step 7 (and last!): Permuting the last layer edge pieces

In this step our goal is to permute the last layer edges to their correct locations and by that finally solve the rubix cube.
For that, we'll use the following two algorithms:

How to solve a Rubiks cube | Alg#1 effect on the cube
R U' R U R U R U' R' U' R2
How to solve a Rubiks cube | Alg#2 effect on the cube
R2 U R U R' U' R' U' R' U R'


Just like the previous step algs, these algorithms actually do the same thing, just in an opposite direction. The first algorithm rotates three edges counter-clockwise, while the second rotates three edges clockwise. For that reason you'll have to learn only one of them if you like.

In this step there are only two possible states:

1 correct edge piece, or no correct edge pieces.
(Of-course also- all edge pieces correctly placed can occur- and that means the cube is already fully solved..:) Congratulations! )

If you have one solved edge piece, then execute once the suitable alg above and by that actually complete the whole Rubiks Cube!

If you have no solved edge pieces, then execute once, any of the algs above (the angle doesn't matter), and by doing that, one of the edges will become solved. Then follow the instructions for one solved edge above.

Congratulations!! You did it! Keep practicing the solving until you'll be able to solve the Rubik's cube without looking at the algorithms, I promise you it will happen sooner than you think!

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