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The Rubik's Cube - solutions  

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Rubik's cubeThe Rubik's cube is one of the most puzzling toys of all time. Sometimes referred to as a Rubix cube or Rubick's cube, this frustrating toy had its time on the world stage during the fad-ridden 80s. For a history of the Cube, see this article. Or if you want to buy one because you smashed yours to pieces, they are available for about $10 (try here). OK, the history was interesting, but how do you solve the Rubik's cube?

There are many sites around the Web that can give you detailed steps for solving Rubik's cube, and many are very good. However, if you want a quick run down of the approach so you can still solve it yourself, our tips are included below. For more detailed solutions, try one of these books. Some date back to the cube's craze of 1981 and are quite amazing to read.

The Approach
If your fingers are nimble and you spend hours practising like most children of the early 80s did, then you should be able to solve the cube in under 90 seconds. New cubes are a little stiff, so they need to be used for a fair time in order to loosen them up.

Most techniques for solving the Cube follow the same basic steps. You should make sure you can properly manipulate it before attempting any solution. Instead of trying to solve each face of the cube at the same time, start with one face then move down the layers that surround that face. In essence you will be solving the cube layer by layer. A face is defined by the colour that is at the centre of it. These never change position and they make good reference points.
  • Step 1: pick any of the sides and then get all the coloured squares on that face. Most beginners should have little problem with this step. Tip - in many combinations, one of the faces will have better positioned squares than the others. This is generally a good one to start with.
  • Step 2: After the first face is complete, manipulate the top squares so that the first layer of colours matches the centre colour of the four adjacent sides. After completing the top layer for all 4 adjacent sides, you will have a cube that is starting to take shape. Counting the center square, each adjacent side will have at least 4 correctly positioned squares.
  • Step 3: Solving the next layer is very quick and easy. Once you have learnt a few quick moves, you can flip all the edges into the right place.
  • Step 4: Now you are down to the last layer. You will need the formulas for moving around the squares without disturbing the rest of the solved cube. In most Rubik's Cube challenges, this layer takes longer than the rest of the cube. Many sites offer formulas for edge flips, corner twirls and other complex manoeuvres, so we are not going to repeat them here.
  • There are plenty of cheap books on the subject - here are a few to get you started. BUT there is always one other option...
See these instruction for how to take apart a Rubik's cube.

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Rubik's Cube(R) images in this article are used by permission, Seven Towns Ltd.

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