Rubik’s Cube algorithms for beginners: the white cross method

The Rubik’s cube has solidified itself as one of the quintessential logic puzzles. It can keep someone busy for hours, days, or even years, but with one of the Rubik’s cube algorithms, you can finish one in minutes. Some people can do it blindfolded.

Although they may seem impossible, if you know the basics well enough, you can complete them easily. Here is a beginner tutorial you need to know to show off your skills when solving the Rubik’s Cube.

Steps to solve the Rubik’s Cube

Before learning the steps, you must learn the notations. Each of these combinations of letters, numbers and apostrophes tells you what to do. All of these directions are made based on how the cube is facing you. This is called the front side.

A letter alone refers to a clockwise rotation (90 degrees).

  • F: the panel facing you turning to your right.
  • R: right column up
  • U: top row turns left
  • L: the left column that turns downwards
  • B: the back panel (one back to you) on the left
  • D: Bottom row turns right
Rubix cube

A letter followed by an apostrophe means you turn it 90 degrees counterclockwise.

  • F’: turn the panel facing you to the left
  • R’: turn the column to the right down once
  • U’: turn the top row to the right
  • The: turn the left column up
  • B’: the rear panel (one back to you) to the right
  • D’: turn the bottom row to the left
Rubix cube

A letter followed by a 2 means 2 rotations or 180 degrees.

  • F2: two turns of the panel facing you
  • R2: two turns of the right column
  • U2: two towers from the top line
  • L2: two turns of the left column
  • B2: two turns of the rear panel
  • D2: two rounds from the bottom row

Beginner’s algorithm for the 3×3 Rubik’s Cube: the white cross

Don’t feel bad about starting in beginner mode. The creator of the Rubik’s cube, Erno Rubik, needed an entire month to learn how to solve his own cube.

If you’re looking to start easy, use this technique called the white cross.

Rubix's Cube Algorithm

Step 1:

Form a white cross. Use this step to familiarize yourself with the mechanics of the cube. Get as close as possible, and if you’re having trouble getting the white cross, use this resource. It has tricks to flip an edge (FU’ RU), grab a piece from the bottom layer (F’ U’ RU) and middle layer (U’ RU or UL’ U’).

Rubix Cube Algorithms

2nd step:

Now is the time to fill in the blank corners. For each piece, place the white side under the corner it is supposed to occupy.

  • If white is on the right side, use R’ D’ R
  • If white is on the front, use FD F’
  • If white is down, use FL D2 L’ F’

You have now solved the first side! You should have completed the white face.

Rubix Cube Algorithms

Step 3:

Now that you’ve solved one side, flip it over to focus on the opposite side. This step consists of completing the first two layers (F2L). Here you use two symmetric Rubik’s Cube algorithms, known as the right algorithm and the left algorithm. You will use these to place the Up-Front edge piece from the top to the middle. If done correctly, it will not spoil the white face.

For Left, use: U’ L’ ULUF U’ F’

For right, use: UR U’ R’ U’ F’ UF

If the edge piece ends up in the wrong orientation, use the algorithm twice.

Rubix Cube Algorithms

Step 4:

It’s time to work on the yellow side of the cube. Make the yellow cross on top of the cube. Use the FRU R’ U’ F’ algorithm to achieve this. If you see a dot, run the algorithm three times. If you have a yellow “L” shape, do the algorithm only twice. And if you have a horizontal line, just do the Rubik’s cube algorithm once.

Rubix Cube Algorithms

Step 5:

Align the yellow edges. Now that you have the yellow cross, it’s time to put the edges in place. Swap the front and left edge pieces with RU R’ UR U2 R’ U. If you are not there yet, apply the algorithm several times.

Rubix Cube Algorithms

Step 6:

It’s time to put the yellow corners back in their place. Find a piece in the right place, then apply this Rubik’s cube algorithm to place them in the right corners: UR U’ L’ UR’ U’ L.

Rubix Cube Algorithms

Step 7:

So everything is in place, but now you have to put the yellow corners in the right position. Hold the cube so that you have an unresolved corner in the front-right position at the top. Do the R’ D’ RD algorithm as many times as necessary until this piece is in the correct position.

At this point, you might panic, because it looks like you screwed up the whole cube. Its good. You’re almost there. Rotate the cube again so that an unresolved yellow piece is back in that upper right corner position. Run the algorithm as many times as needed.

While doing so, do not move the bottom two layers and never rotate the entire cube.

If you don’t break any of these rules, you will have a solved cube after completing the corner pieces! The cube is solved.

Rubik’s Cube algorithms: a way to enjoy the game

How fascinating is it that the Rubik’s cube has about 43 quintillion possible combinations and only one solution? That’s way more possibilities than the 14,000,605 possibilities Dr. Strange saw in Infinity War.

It’s impressive as a 70s toy still has such stamina today. The first manufacturers to whom the creator presented his idea said that no one would ever play with it. Not only did the toy become a worldwide craze, but MOMA chose the Rubik’s Cube for its permanent collection. So while you can’t solve the cube in 3.47 seconds like Yusheng Duwe hope these Rubik’s Cube algorithms will give you the opportunity to solve the Rubik’s Cube by yourself!

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Sharon D. Cole