Steps to solving the Rubik's cube (3x3x3)



• Step 2: Position the 4 corner pieces of Side 2

2a. If the two corners in the correct position are parallel (in line on the same edge):

Figure 2 Orient the cube as shown in Figure 2 where the two corner pieces in the correct position are at the front-top corners of the cube and the two corner pieces in the incorrect position are at the front-bottom corners of the cube. Perform Move 1, then proceed to step 3.
Move 1: U-1 F U L-1   U L U-1 F2
  • In words, rotate the upper side (red here) one quarter turn counter-clockwise, then the front side (white here) 1/4 turn clockwise, then the upper side 1/4 turn clockwise, then the left side (yellow here) 1/4 turn counter clockwise, etc.
  • If this notation is still confusing, click on Figure 2 to see example figures demonstrating the move.
2b. If the two corners in the correct position are diagonal to each other:
Figure 3  Orient the cube as shown in Figure 3, with side 1 in the back and either of the correctly positioned corners in the top-left-front and bottom-right-front positions. Perform Move 1, then go back to step 2, progressing to step 2a after correctly rotating Side 2 as instructed.


• Step 3: Orient the four corner pieces of Side 2

Examine side 2 of the cube. Zero, one, two, three, or even four of the corner pieces will be oriented correctly such that they perfectly line up with their adjacent middle-center pieces. If all four are correct, the cube should look as shown in Figure 8 (below). If not:

3a. For zero correctly oriented pieces:

Figure 4 Position the cube as shown in Figure 4 such that Side 2 is facing you. Perform Move 2, then return to the start of step 3.
Move 2: U-1 F2 U F   U-1 F U F2 
In words, rotate the upper side (red here) one quarter turn counter-clockwise, then the front side (white here) two quarter turns (half-way around), then the upper side 1/4 turn clockwise, etc.
3b. For one correctly oriented piece:
Figure 5  Position the cube as shown in Figure 5. Perform Move 2, then return to the start of step 3 only if the four corner pieces of side 2 are not oriented correctly. If they are correct, as shown in Figure 8, go to step 4.
3c. For two correctly oriented pieces:
Figure 6  Position the cube as shown in Figure 6. Perform Move 2, then return to the start of step 3.
3d. For three correctly oriented pieces:
Figure 7  It is not possible to have 7 corners oriented correctly while just one is incorrect. If your cube is in fact like this then it has been disassembled in the past and incorrectly reassembled. You will have to disassemble it again and reassemble correctly. 

 

NOTE: Step 3 may need to be repeated numerous times. Also, the move directly before all four corner pieces are oriented correctly will have just one piece oriented correctly, as shown in Figure 5 (step 3b). 
  • This does not mean, however, that you will always achieve Figure 8 when just one piece is oriented correctly. Again, just keep repeating step 3 until Figure 8 is achieved. It will happen, trust me. Move 2 is sort of a black magic move, but it works.
  • If you end up performing Move 2 over 10 times, either some of the corners on side 1 (the blue side) are incorrectly twisted or you're not setting up the cube as shown in the figures.
NOTE: To achieve the image shown in Figure 8, the slice containing middle-center pieces 3, 4, 5, and 6 may need to be rotated. Side 2 may also need to be rotated. 
Figure 8

Go on to Steps 4 and 5


Back to my home page.

Standard Disclaimer

Contact info: I appreciate receiving e-mails describing your success with these directions, but I cannot provide any additional help in solving the Rubik's cube beyond the instructions and steps shown here. Please also e-mail if you have problems accessing a page or seeing a graphic.

Last Modified May 9, 2009