The Cubing Corner

What is a Rubik's Cube Algorithm and How It Works

Learning Rubik's Cube Algorithm to solve the cube

What is a Rubik’s Cube Algorithm and How It Works

The Rubik’s Cube is one of the most popular puzzles in the world, and a lot of people attempt to solve it with great enthusiasm in the beginning. However, this innocuous looking puzzle is not as simple as it seems. As a result, most people give up trying to solve it and never attempt again.

While the Rubik’s Cube can be surprisingly difficult for those who are unprepared, algorithms can help people to solve the cube quickly. In this article, we take a look at what algorithms are, and why they are necessary to solve the Rubik’s cube quickly and successfully.

What are algorithms and what are their benefits?

Solving the Rubik’s Cube may seem simple in the beginning. After all, one just needs to twist and turn the cubes until all the six faces of the puzzle have the same color. However, there are nearly 43 quintillion combinations of the puzzle, and it is not as simple as it seems. While continuous practice, problem-solving skills, and pattern-recognition can all help in solving the Rubik’s Cube, they may still not lead to a successful solve. As a result, it is important for both beginners and expert solvers to apply tried and tested algorithms.

Algorithms are strategy-based instructions regarding moves which are represented by notations. They need to be followed in a step-by-step manner to solve the Rubik’s Cube. They provide clear stipulations about making twists and turns to complete the puzzle as quickly as possible. There are multiple strategies available, and it really is a matter of personal preference and skill level when it comes to choosing a preferred algorithm.

Benefits of Rubik’s Cube algorithms

  •   Algorithms help save time and solve the cube quickly
  •   They are good for both beginners and experts
  •   Algorithms make solving the cube an attainable goal
  •   There are different algorithms for different cubes

What does an algorithm look like?

Algorithms are sequences of movements that invariably result in a successful solve. These movements are coded in the form of notations, which the solver can replicate manually. The standard 3×3 cube can be solved using certain notations that depict the following movements:

  •   Right (R)
  •   Left (L)
  •   Back (B)
  •   Face (F)
  •   Down (D)
  •   Up (U)

An apostrophe next to a notation means that a solve must move the specific layer of the cube 90 degrees counter-clockwise. The number “2” next to a letter signifies a 180-degree movement.

Example: Decoding and replicating F’ U L’ U’

First turn the “front” face counter-clockwise by 90 degrees. Then, turn the “up” layer by 90 degrees in a clockwise direction. The third step is to turn the “left” layer towards the left by 90 degrees counter-clockwise. Lastly, twist the cube “up” layer by 90 degrees counter-clockwise.

Usually, algorithms consist of multiple notations that eventually lead to a successful solve.

Simple tips to quickly solve the Rubik’s Cube using algorithms

  1. Familiarise yourself with the cube. Begin to twist and turn it, without really meaning to solve it. In essence, the first step is to observe all of the colors of the cube, and the patterns that appear as you twist the puzzle.
  2. It is also important to perceive the texture of the cubes, as muscle memory helps in solving the cube at a later stage.
  3. Learning a few algorithms by heart is necessary to replicate them physically with great speed.
  4. Practice the algorithms repeatedly, until they get registered in your muscle memory.

Rubik’s Cube algorithms are perfect for both beginners and expert solvers

Although the Rubiks cube is a very complex puzzle for both beginners and experts, using tried and tested algorithms makes it easy for solvers to achieve their goal. Algorithms consist of a series of notations that can be replicated physically. They help the solver to twist and turn the cubes in a predetermined fashion so that regardless of how complex the scramble is, they can solve the cube quickly and correctly. 

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