Hey, this is your friend Samarth Nehe. For those who have not yet viewed my profile, I am a Rubik’s cube speed solver with around 5 years of experience. Presently I average 12 seconds on my main event i.e. the 3x3. ( check my personal best times at the bottom of this article).

With my experience, I think I can guide you to improve/learn the cube in an effective way!

Is learning the Rubik’s cube that tough?

•The biggest misconception about the Rubik’s Cube since 1974 is that it requires high IQ and great knowledge of mathematics.

  • But this is not entirely true, the actual skill you must have or acquire is average memory to memorize certain algorithms, good analytical skills ,and logic.
  • The first thing you must incorporate is a strong will to learn something and same is the case here, else you will drop your plan somewhere in the middle.
  • So what are you waiting for? Go grab your first Rubik’s cube!

How do people solve the cube under 20 seconds?

•As mentioned previously, just to solve the cube you need to memorize a few algorithms but to excel the cube you need to learn a bunch of algorithms.

  • The faster you want to get, the more algorithms you require( along with practice obviously)

So how do we start the journey of Rubik’s cube solving?

•So first thing is, have an intention to learn the cube, if you don’t have that, you would drop the hobby very soon for sure.

  • Second thing is to analyze the pieces of the cube (namely edges and centers) as to how they move.
  • Learn all the cube notations ( like R, F’, U, y z etc )
  • Next thing is to browse through YouTube for some beginner method Rubik’s cube tutorial like Layer-By-Layer (LBL)
  • Start practicing this method at least for few months till you feel like there would be any further improvement. ( using LBL I remember getting close to 40 seconds on 3x3).
  • Initially reducing your time would be easy but don’t worry if you are not able to do so, just practice more!

What after reaching the peak of LBL?

•Now starts the actual journey of speed-solving.

•Start to learn the fastest method that is prevailing in today’s world, chose any of CFOP and Roux.

•Both of these methods have a different way of approach and analytics/algorithms.

•On average CFOPer’s are faster than Rouxer’s.( But the choice is your’s)

  • Let’s discuss the CFOP method in depth.
  • NOTE: Remember after starting to practice the CFOP you might realize that you have turned slower than before! but believe me once you get familiar with this method you will see your time drop to half !

•No matter what method you use the first step remains the same in all methods that we use be it CFOP, Roux or the beginner.

•Making the cross basically involves orienting 4 edges of any color ( preferably white or yellow)

  • Though this step might seem the easiest, this is one of the most crucial steps as it helps a lot in the transition to next step. ( A bad cross can affect your entire solve, happened to me many times!)
F2L ( First 2 Layers )

•The most important step of CFOP which actually decides the time you take to solve the cube is F2L.

•The reason being this all comes with pure practice and look-ahead. ( and therefore more you practice the faster you get to do F2L )

•F2L means to solve the first 2 layers of the cube at once keeping the cross color at the bottom.( You can find F2L algorithms online but don’t try to remember those algorithms instead try to do it intuitively, because they are very short and easy to understand )

  • The efficiency of F2L matters a lot in a solve, because the rest of the solution is all recognition of required algorithms.
OLL ( Orientation of the Last Layer )

•OLL is the 3rd step of the CFOP.

•This involves orienting the last layer of the cube which means making the top layer of the cube completely of a single color ( opposite color to cross color).

  • Now here is where our actual memory is tested because in total there are 57 algorithms in OLL that involve all cases.
  • Don’t learn all the algorithms at once is my suggestion, learn a very few (like 5–6 )and try to get the final result. Later with practice you will start to learn more and more and in few months you will cover all 57 OLL algorithms.
  • Learn OLL algorithms here
PLL (Permutation of Last Layer )

•PLL is the last step of the CFOP method.

  • Here you have to just do one algorithm to complete the cube and get your hands back on the timer.
  • You have a total of 21 PLL algorithms.
  • I would suggest you the same to learn 5–6 algorithms and slowly learn 1–2 depending on necessity and cover all 21.
  • Learn the PLL algorithms here

Initially this might be difficult to implement, so there are also methods called n-look PLL or n-look OLL ( n is the number of algorithms you use to solve OLL or PLL) that reduces the number of algorithms to remember but increases the number of steps.

Can I break the World Record now?

Sorry to say but a big NO!

• Learning a little like 78 algorithms will help you reach to 15–20 seconds, but if you have to get under 8–10 seconds you have to do thousands of solve and learn bunch of new algorithms.

•There is a different world of algorithms other than OLL and PLL for example: COLL, VLS( Valk Last Slot), CLS, ZBLL( start this only if you are already sub-12), WV (Winter Variation), X-Cross.

  • Learning a few of the above can help you reduce your time by a good amount, as it helps you reduce steps and give you lucky SKIPS!
  • Also the thing that makes world-class people different is the ability to be COLOR NEUTRAL, this is something that many cubers ,including me ,do not have.This means to be able to solve the cube by making cross on any color( not only white)
  • This gives them the greater opportunity to figure out easiest solution.

Finally, I would say, watch a number of example solves by world record holders on YouTube to see how they recognize various cases and execute algorithms using look-ahead.

I hope this guide was helpful to you in any way and developed an interest for cubing in you! If yes, share this with your friends so that even they can learn the cube! What’s the point in learning if you have no competition!


My Personal Best times as of December 2019:( Single / Average )

Frontend Web Developer and Competitive Coder!

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