A speed cube, Rubik’s cube or Smart Cube—whatever you call it, is a fun way to pass the time or put your problem-solving skills to the test. Not many people know how to solve it, so learning how, is an impressive skill.
People all over the world love to twist and turn this small color-blocked cube to perfection. There were even Speed Cube world Championships that let speed cube lovers compete for the fastest solve time. The first world championship was held in 1982 and won by Minh Thai, who could solve the cube in less than 23 seconds.
While you may not be able to turn the cube to a world record, it is still fun to learn about speed cubes, their anatomy, and how to solve them.
How to Solve a Speed Cube for Beginners
Don’t get intimidated by the structure of the cube before you begin. It is easy to become overwhelmed before diving in. However, with a sequence of moves, you can better understand how to solve the Rubik’s Cube. Below are the preferred steps to complete the puzzle:
- First layer cross
- First layer corners
- Second layer
- Third layer cross
- Third layer corners
Step One—Set Up the First Layer Cross
- Find a white square and make sure it is in the center on top.
- Find a green square and make sure it is in the center of the side facing you.
- Find the green and white edge piece and turn it so that the green piece is touching the center green piece from step two (make sure the green and white pieces from steps one and two do not move).
- Perform the algorithm shown below and repeat the process to form the first layer cross.
Step Two—Set Up the First Layer Corner Pieces
- Make sure the white cross on the top stays in that correct position on the top layer.
- Identify the corner with green, white, and red pieces and perform the algorithm shown below—do not mess with the white cross.
Step Three—Complete the Second Layer
- With the white cross on top, identify the edge piece with green and red squares.
- If the edge piece mentioned above is on the bottom layer, turn it so that the edge colors match the color in the center square of the same side.
Step Four—Set Up the Third Layer Cross
- Now, turn the entire cube over so that the white cross is on the bottom and the yellow is on top.
- Repeating the same algorithm in the previous steps, obtain the yellow cross without interfering with any other crosses.
Step Five—Set Up the Third Layer Corners
- First, make sure that the yellow cross is on top.
- The blue square should be in the top left, green in the bottom left, and orange in the top and bottom right.
- You must perform the following algorithm and repeat it until all corners match: top row goes to the left, right side goes up, top row goes right, left side goes up. Then, top row goes left, right side goes down, top row goes right, and left side goes down.
How to Solve a Speed Cube for More Advanced Solvers (Using the CFOP Method)
You may already have the basics down to solve a Rubik’s Cube, but there is always more to learn. CFOP is a popular method of solving a Rubik’s Cube created and popularized by Jessica Fridrich. The name is an acronym for the steps—cross, F2L, OLL, PLL, but can also be referred to as the Fridrich method.
It is important to note that this method does not have to be followed in a particular order. As long as you consider all steps, then you can solve a speed cube like a pro.
This step starts similarly, almost identically, to the beginner method explained above. You must form a cross; only this time, the cross must start out on the bottom.
The F2L step focuses on the first two layers—hence, the name. This can be a tricky step since it often relies on intuition and judgment. As a result, you may not get this step the first time, but you can get it down easily with practice.
The goal is to use the algorithm to form a four by four squares of the same color on the corner, touching another four by four set of the same color.
Remember, this may take some time to get down, but once you do, this becomes a faster way to solve a cube.
OLL stands for the orientation of the last layer. This is the step that orients all the squares by putting them in the correct position. To do this, use the algorithm to form the yellow cross on top with a three by two formation of the same color on the side facing you as well as the side facing right.
Once achieving this, your focus should shift to the corners. Use the algorithm to fill in the corners of each side. The yellow side should be totally complete, but the other sides are going to be missing one color in the top center.
This is the final step that leads to the completion of the cube.
- Make sure the complete yellow side is facing up
- Twist the top to the right
- The right side gets pulled down
- The bottom row goes to the left
Continue to repeat the steps until the cube is finished. After that, you have found a new way to solve a Rubik’s Cube, Speed Cube, or Smart Cube.
While you may not be breaking world records with your newfound knowledge on solving a speed cube, you have mastered a skill that not many are able to accomplish. Understanding how to solve a complex puzzle like this one not only helps your problem-solving skills but also improves critical thinking and focus.
Now that you know how to solve a cube, you can have fun passing the time away with this newfound skill and showing off to all your friends.