Blindfold Cubing Guide
Preliminary Information: When you hear someone say that they can solve the cube blindfolded, you think they are crazy, you think that it is nearly impossible. Originally, I was thinking the same thing. However, with a good technique, it is quite easy to do. Anyone can solve the cube blindfolded. Basically, with the method described on this page, you number each piece, and remember cycles to put pieces into their correct positions. Remember, each piece has only 1 correct position. When solving blindfolded, the timer starts with you first look at the scrambled cube. The timer stops when you take off your blindfold. Blindfold cubing consists of two parts, the memorization stage, and the execution stage (where you actually do the solving). This guide that I have typed on this page is a beginners guide. It is possible to achieve average below 5 minutes with this, however, this is not the quickest method available; more so, it is made for beginners.
Please visit my beginners guide (Under Puzzles>>Beginner’s Guide) on solving the cube (with your eyes open) first to see how the notation,etc. works.
On many of the algorithms, I have provided an animated cube to show you exactly what the algorithms are doing. To view the animated cube, you’ll need Java. Most computers already have Java, but if the animated cubes aren’t loading, refresh the page. If they still don’t load, please go to http://www.java.com to get the latest version of Java. To prevent many of the applets from loading simultaneously, click the Show/Hide links to view the animated cubes. When you click “Click here to show applet”, wait about 5 seconds for the applet to load. If nothing shows up, click hide, then click show again a few times until you can see it. If you still can’t refresh the page and try again. Once one applet loads the others should load faster.
As I mentioned above, each piece has only 1 correct position. Make sure you understand this concept. The center piece on each side will define the color for that face. So say you have a corner piece with white, blue, and red on it. That piece will belong in the corner where white is on one side, blue on the other, and red on the other. On the standard cube, white is opposite of yellow, blue opposite of green, and orange opposite of red. I know that if I hold white on the down (bottom) face, and blue on the front face, red will be on the right side of blue, and orange on the left. If I am holding white on bottom, green on front, I know that orange is on the right, red on the left. Make sure you know your color scheme well, and can tell where all faces are at all times. This may take a little practice.
Okay, so now on to the numbering. When I solve blindfolded, I always start off holding my cube the same way. This isn’t required, but it helps so you can tell where a piece can go quicker because you are familiar with that specic angle of colors. I will start off holding red on front, and white on top. Below is my numbering scheme. It is up to you to decide how you want to number your pieces, this is just the way I learned, so I have kept my scheme the same ever since:
1 : UFL (upper front left)
2 : UFR (upper front right)
3 : UBR (upper back right)
4 : UBL (upper back left)
5 : DFL (down front left)
6 : DFR (down front right)
7 : DBR (down back right)
8 : DBL (down back left)
1 : UL (upper left)
2 : UF (upper front)
3 : UR (upper right)
4 : UB (upper back)
5 : FL (front left)
6 : FR (front right)
7 : BR (back right)
8 : BL (back left)
9 : FD (front down)
10 : DR (down right)
11 : DB (down back)
12 : DL (down left)
So basically, for corners, I start with the piece in the front, right, upper slice position, and go counter-clockwise around the cube until I get all 8 corners numbered. For edges, I start with the edge in the upper left position in go counter-clockwise around the entire cube until all 12 edges are numbered.
Now that you have that down, we will go onto the “orientation” and “permutation” ideas. Orientation is basically flipping the pieces correctly. Since corners have 3 different colors, each corners can be flipped 3 different ways. Since edges have 2 colors, each can be flipped 2 different ways. The permutation step (known as “permuting”) is basically moving the pieces into the correct positions. When I solve blindfolded, I memorize the pieces in this order:
a. corner permutation (CP)
b. edge permutation (EP)
c. edge orientation (EO)
d. corner orientation (CO)
With the way I hold my cube, I know that to have a corner correctly flipped, yellow or white must be on the top or down (bottom) face. If it is on any other face, it will need to be rotated so it is flipped correctly. For an edge to be correctly flipped, I know that red or orange must be on the front or back face, or in the upper or down face on the left and right slices only (see diagram below). If the edges are flipped wrong, I will need to flip them correctly. When I memorize the cube, I only remember orientation on the pieces that are flipped incorrectly. If a piece is flipped correctly, there is no need to remember it, we can leave it alone as far as orientation goes.
|The white stickers represent the spots where the upper/down sticker of a correct edge can be located.
|If a piece has no upper/down color, it must have a front/back color. The white stickers represent the spots where front/back sticker of a correct edge can be located.
||Corner orientation is a bit trickier because there are three possible orientations for each corner: correct, clockwise (cw), and counter-clockwise (ccw). A corner is correctly oriented when its upper/down colored sticker is on U or D face.
|Counter Clockwise (ccw)
I will list the algorithms below, and label them with a number so I can disucss what each algorithms is used for.
1) M’ U M’ U M’ U2 M U M U M U2
2) M’ U M’ U M’ U M’ U M U M U M U M U
3) Commutator for corner orientation: A=(R’D’RD)x2
4) T-Permuatation: R U R’ U’ R’ F R2 U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’
Algorithm 1 is used for edge orientation. It will flip edge 2 and edge 4. Say you wanted to flip edge 5 and 6, you would use this algorithm to do so (I will describe more about setup moves below).
Algorithm 2 is also used for edge orientation. While Alg. 1 flips two edges, Alg. 2 is a 4 edge flip. It will flip edges 1,2,3, and 4. If you wanted to flip any 4 edges, it can be done using this algorithm.
Algorithm 3 is used for corner orientation. It flips Corners 1 and 2 each a different way. Perform the algorithm on your cube or watch the animation below to see exactly what it does. When performing this, if you do a z’ move beforehand, you can execute the algorithm a lot quicker. Be sure to do a z afterwards so you are back to where you started.
Algorithm 4 is the main algorithm that is used with this method. The T-Permutation does just what the name implies, it swaps pieces like a T. It will swap edges 1 and 3, and corners 2 and 3, as shown here:
This will be what is used to permute edges and corners with this method.
|M’ U M’ U M’ U2 M U M U M U2
||M’ U M’ U M’ U M’ U M U M U M U M U
||Commutator for corner orientation: A=(R’D’RD)x2
Flips 1 and 2 each a different way. (12)
||Alternatively, you can use a more finger-trick friend version of A by using the following:
A(new) = z’ (U’ R’ U R)x2 z
With this method, I believe that the solving phase is by far the easiest part to the solve. While I memorize the pieces in this order:
a. corner permutation (CP)
b. edge permutation (EP)
c. edge orientation (EO)
d. corner orientation (CO)
I do the actual solving in this order:
a. corner orientation
b. edge orientation
c. corner permutation
d. edge permutation
I have my own technique and reason behind this, but it is up to you to decide what works best for you. You will of course have to solve the orientations first because if you permute them first, the places you remembered for incorrect orientation will be changed. I solve corner orientation first because I memorize it last. This allows me to memorize very quickly, and jump right into the solve without having to think about it. The edge orientation is obviously going to be done secondly for me since I already took care of corner orientation. I then solve the CP as the third piece just because that was the way I started and have kept that trend since.
Okay, so to explain how this works, it is best to see what I am doing on a cube, so I will go through an example solve with you using this method so you can see what is happening, and how I am memorizing it. I will type up everything that I can to explain this to you more clearly.
Scramble (Holding white on top, red on front):
D F2 L2 F R2 U D R2 F2 L’ F U2 L2 R F’ U2 F2 R U’ F’ D’ R’ B2 D L’
Corner Permutation: The first thing I do is look at the corner in position 3. I see where that needs to go. Then I look at that position, see where that piece needs to go, and so on until you go through all corners that are out of place. So on this solve, I see that the corner in position 3 needs to go to position 8, so I remember 8. Piece in position 8 needs to go to position 5, so I have 8 5 so far remembered. The corner in position 5 needs to go to position 4, so I remember 8 5 4. Now I see that the piece in position 4 is the piece that needs to go to 3. Since position 3 is the place where I am going to be swapping pieces, I don’t need to remember it. Whenever the piece that belongs in position 3 comes into my cycle, I just forget it, and continue on to any other unsolved corner. This scramble happens to be an extremely easy one, so my cycle is over. If you look around the cube, all the other corners are already in the correct spot, so my final CP is (8 5 4).
Edge Permutation: To edge permutation, I first look at the edge in position 3. I see where that goes, and so on just like corner permutation. So I see that the piece in position 3 belongs in position 6. The piece in position 6 belongs in position 8. So I have 6 8 memorized thus far. The piece in position 8 belongs in position 4, so I have 6 8 4 so far. Position 4 needs to go to 5, so 6 8 4 5. The piece in position 5 needs to go to position 11, so I have 6 8 4 5 11. Position 11 goes to 10, 10 goes to 12, so now I have 6 8 4 5 11 10 12 . I look at the piece in position 12, it is the piece that goes to position 3, so similar to the CP, we will forget that piece, since position 3 is the place where we will cycling pieces. So far we have the cycle 6 8 4 5 11 10 12. Now we need to go to any unsolved edge, first one I look at is position 9, so I will remember 9. The piece in position 9 needs to be in position 2, so I remember 6 8 4 5 11 10 12 9 2. Position 2 needs to go to position 7, so I add on 7 to the cycle. Finally, I see position 7 needs to go to position 9, which we have already been to. This means that the cycle is over. So we have 6 8 4 5 11 10 12 9 2 7 9. I see that 1 is already solved, and we don’t need to worry about 3, so we are finished. The final EP is (6 8 4 5 11 10 12 9 2 7 9).
Edge Orientation: Memorizing the edge orientation is probably the easiest section to memorize. Memorizating of this section really depends on the situation. If I 8 edges to flip, I will probably remember the location all of the 8 edges. However, if I have 6 edges that need to be flipped, and 3 of them are in the U slice, and 3 are in the D slice, I will probably remember edges that are flipped right, do an 8-edge flip algorithm, and then correct the 2 edges that I flipped. This way I can fix 6 edges with 1 algorithm, and only have to memorize two. For this example solve, I can see that edges 3 and 10 are flipped wrong. This is quite an easy solve, as a typical solve with have anywhere from 4-9 edges flipped incorrectly. So for edge orientation, all I have to memorize is (3 10).
Corner Orientation: People have different techniques for memorizing each section. I memorize corner orientation last, and solve it first. I do this so that I can very quickly look at the orientation, and a few seconds later solve it. Therefore, I can spend a very short time memorizing this section. I remember corner orientation visually. I see that corners two and three have a yellow or white edge facing to the right. I also see that corners 5 and 8 have white or yellow facing to the left. I then see that corner 7 can be rotated to the number 2 position with an R2 move, and I see that corner 4 can be moved to position 1 with an L move. I remember it like these because I know that during the solving phase, I will be fixing two corners at a time using Algorithm 3 (see solving phase below).
The solving phase is quite easy using this method. It will take a little while to get used to, but once you get the hang of it, you can solve it pretty quickly. To solve the cube, I will first fix the orientation of each piece that needs to be fixed, and I will do this using Algorithms 1, 2, and 3. Algorithm 4 is simply used for cycling pieces. Algorithm 4 (the T-Permutation – “T-Perm”) does exactly as it says. It swaps the pieces in position 2 and 3, and at the same time, swaps edges 1 and 3. The way that the pieces swap looks like a T. So to cycle pieces, what I will do is use the numbers I remembered earlier. Say the first number is 5, I will bring the piece in position 5 to position 2 (using what is called a “setup move”), then do the T-Perm, then undo the setup move, and that will leave the piece #5 in position number 5. This may seem hard to understand at first, but I will continue with this example solve so you can see exactly what is happening. I will also list all the setup moves that I use. It is important to use setup moves that don’t disturb that orientation of any of the pieces.
Corner Orientation: I will first fix the corners 2 and 3. I will do a U move to bring them to position’s 1 and 2, and then do Algorithm 3 to fix them, then do a U’ to put them back into their position. I will then fix corners 5 and 8. So I do D F2 to bring the corners to position 1 and 2, and then do Algorithm 3, then do F2 D’ to put the pieces back into their original positions. Finally, I will fix corners 4 and 7 by doing L R2 which brings them to position 1 and 2, then do Algorithm 3 in reverse (or do Algorithm 3 twice) , then do R2 L’ to put them back into place. The reason I do this twice or in reverse (which do the same thing) is that the corners where flipped in a way that they needed to be twisted twist one way, or twisted in reverse once another way. Now all the corner orientation is complete (white or yellow is either facing up or down).
Edge Orientation: I need to fix edges 3 and 10. So I will do D2 L2 to bring edge 10 opposite of edge 3, then do U’ to put them in place so I can do Algorithm 1 (2-edge flip). So I do Algorithm 1, then undo the “setup moves” to put them into place: U L2 D2. All of the edges should now be oriented correctly.
Corner Permutation: I can recall from my memorization the CP as (8 5 4). This is an extremely easy solve, as 5 of the corners are already in place. Normally you will have to remember all 8 corners, and cycle all 8. So to put corner 8 into place, I do D F2 (the setup move) to bring the piece 8 into position 2, then do the T-Perm (Algorithm 4) to swap piece 8 into position 2, then undo the setup move to put that piece back into place, hence solving that corner: undo setup – F2 D’ . Now I want to solve piece 5, so I do setup move F2 to bring the piece in position 5 to position 2, then do the T-Perm (Algorithm 4) which swaps piece 5 into position 2, then undo the setup move F2 to solve piece 5. Finally, we need to solve piece 4. So I do the setup move L2 F2 L2 to bring the piece in position 4 to position 2, then do the T-Perm, and undo the setup move L2 F2 L2. All the corners are now solved. However, we have a parity. A parity is a error that occurs very often in blindfold solving that needs to be fixed. Since we did an odd number of T-Perm’s, that means the parity exists. What happened is this: we have the cube in a certain state. We do the T-Perm once, it swaps two edges and two corners. Therefore the edges that we aren’t dealing with right now are out of place. Now we do the T-Perm again. This fixes the edges that were just out of place. Now we do the T-Perm again, this swaps them. Therefore, if during the corner permuation you have an odd amount of numbers, you will have to fix the parity. To fix the parity, simply do another T-Perm once you are done with the corner permutation to fix the edges. Yes, this will swap two corners, but those will be fixed during the edge permutation stage since we will do an odd amount T-Perms which will then overall (corner permutation and edge permutation) create an even number of T-Perm’s and will solve the cube. This will take a little while to get used to, but once you understand it, it becomes very easy.
Edge Permutation: This is the final stage, after we complete this, we will be done. From our memorization we have (6 8 4 5 11 10 12 9 2 7 9) as the EP. We will once again use the T-Perm to cycle the pieces, however, rather than using the corners piece of the T-Perm, we will be using the edges. We will do setup moves to bring the positions we need to get to to edge position 1. Then we will do the T-Perm, then undo the setup moves, which will solve each piece. We will first deal with piece 6. Do d’ L’ as the setup, do the T-Perm, then undo setup by doing L d. Notice that piece 6 is now solved. This entire cycling concept is just like corners, only we are dealing with edges. So we will contine with out cycle. To bring position 8 to position 1, we will do d L’ . You may wonder why we don’t just do L. If we do L, the orientation of that edge is ruined. Therefore we have do move it “over and up” to preserve the orientation. Do after you have done d L’, do the T-Perm, then undo the setup: L d’. Now deal with piece 4. R2 U’ R2 as the setup, do the T-Perm, then do R2 U R2 to undo the setup and fix the edge. Move on to piece 5, d’ L as setup, T-Perm, then L’ d to undo the setup. For 11:, so D L2 as setup, do the T-Perm, then do L2 D’ to undo setup. For edge 10, do D2 L2 as setup, T-Perm, then undo setup: L2 D2. For 12, do L2 as setup, do the T-Perm to swap the edges, then undo setup: L2. For edge 9, do D’ L2 as setup, do the T-Perm, then L2 D. For edge 2, do R2 U R2 as setup, do T-Perm and then undo setup: R2 U’ R2. For edge 7, do d L as setup, do T-Perm, then undo setup: L’ d’ . Finall setup edge 9 by doing D’ L2, do the T-Perm, then undo setup: L2 D. Your cube should now be solved. Please see below for a list of all setup moves I use for corner and edge permutation.
1 : F2 D’ F2
2 : Not needed (this is the position we are moving pieces to)
3 : Not needed (this is the position we are swapping pieces out of)
4 : L2 F2 L2
5 : F2
6 : D’ F2
7 : D2 F2
8 : D F2
1 : Not needed (this is the position we are moving pieces to)
2 : R2 U R2
3 : Not needed (this is the position we are swapping pieces out of)
4 : R2 U’ R2
5 : d’ L
6 : d’ L’
7 : d L
8 : d L’
9 : D’ L2
10 : D2 L2
11 : D L2
12 : L2
Okay, now that I have explained this simple method, I hope that you can go through my instructions and understand how to do this. Don’t feel that it is overwhelming and you can’t do it. You may feel intimidated, and not want to continue. However, with little practice, blindfold solving the cube is rather easy. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for improving this guide, please contact me by clicking on the “Contact” on the left. Thank you for viewing and cubing! Have fun!
Bill Mcgaugh: The method I described is the one Bill created. I wrote his guide in my view, with my instructions, the way I’d like to have it learned.
Macky’s 3-Cycle OP Blindfold Method: This is a much quicker method, using 3-cycles for permutation, with orientation done prior to permutation.
Stiff hands site: A nice 3-cycle method – the original.
Rubik’s Blindfold Forum: Nice discussion of blindfold solving, with lots of good info on memory and execution.
Chris Hardwick’s Page: Very informational with lots of memo techniques, etc.
Blindfold Method Classification: Wiki on common blindfold methods and techniques.