I enjoy solving puzzles of all types, but the Rubik's Cube will always be my favorite.
Introduction to Speed Cubing on a 2x2x2 Rubik's Cube
Once you are able to solve the 2x2x2 cube confidently, there is going to be one question that is going to bugging you about bettering yourself at it: "How can I solve it FASTER?"
Read on for a description of how to master the 2x2x2 Rubik's cube.
A Good Cube
The first thing you need to do if you want to solve a Rubik's cube faster is to get a good cube.
If you have a cube by Rubik's, I would recommend replacing it, as they were the original cubes, and they have still got the same, old mechanism as the originals. This makes turning the sides very rough and slow. Eastsheen cubes are of a higher quality. These tend to last a lot longer, as long as they are treated right.
Make a Good Cube Better
To make your 2x2x2 even smoother and quicker, you have to lubricate it.
To lubricate it, turn the right side approximately 30° and turn the up face approximately 30° as well. The cube should stay in this position.
Then, get a lubricant, I recommend WD-40, and spray some into the gap in the cube, for about three seconds. Turn the cube faces for about ten seconds, and repeat on the opposite faces. The algorithm I usually use for moving the cube is "R, U, Ri, Ui." Six of these will return the cube to its original form.
Find a Method That Works for You
Read through the whole of this section before doing anything that it says!
In this article, I have included a new method that will help you learn how to solve the 2x2x2 cube faster. You can use this method or use a range of methods combined. However, the best way to speed solve is to use your own method.
Using your own method is the best way to speed solve, as although it takes the longest amount of time to learn, it is the easiest to remember. This is how I learned to solve the Rubik's Cubes.
The first thing that you should know when trying to solve a Rubik's Cube is how the insides work. This step is not compulsory, but it does help. Turn the upper face 45°, and push the corner that is pointing towards you upwards. This will require a bit of force, but if it does not come out too easily, choose another piece. One of the cubies on a 2x2x2 is attached to the core, so that the cubie will not come out. Once you have taken that cubie out, remove the rest of them. Now you will be able to see the inside of a 2x2x2 Rubik's cube.
Now start the reassembly. There are plenty of videos on the internet about how to assemble a 2x2x2 cube. Despite what most of them say, you do not have to put it back together in it's solved position, in fact, I recommend putting it back in a random position. Put all of the pieces back in the cube, in incorrect positions, like it has been shuffled except the last one. Then, solve all of the cube, making sure you look carefully at how the pieces turn inside, through the missing cubie.
If you do this a lot, you will eventually understand thoroughly how the cube works.
If you do not want to break your cube apart, you could get your solved cube, and try out various algorithms to try to swap two pieces or rotate one piece without affecting certain pieces, etc.
20 Helpful Tips for Solving the Cube
Comment below to add any tips that you have discovered.
- Know what you need to learn: eliminate unnecessary moves. If you are solving the first side and you use the algorithm "L, Di, Li, D," do you actually need the last turn? Does it affect the part of the cube that you are currently solving?
- Learn how to solve the first side when it is at the bottom of the cube, so you do not waste time turning the cube upside down.
- Try to map out all of the moves you are going to do, or at least as many as you can. Remember that each turn affects four sides and rotates one side.
- Know what each algorithm does: when you do the corner orientations on the last layer, do you know what corners it affects? Do you know how it affects them (i.e., swapping corners, which way it rotates?)
- Learn how to reverse algorithms: if a corner needs to be rotated anticlockwise on the last layer, instead of "R, U, Ri, U, R, U2, Ri, U2" which will rotate it clockwise, why not do the algorithm "U2, R, U2, Ri, Ui, R, Ui, Ri," which is the reverse, so it will rotate the corner anti-clockwise?
- Think about what each algorithm will do, while you are doing it so that you can prepare yourself for the next stage.
- Set yourself targets for improvements, i.e., by the beginning of next month, I am going to have my solve time down to sub-20 seconds.
- Use finger tricks instead of wrist turns.
- Practice finger tricks by repeating patterns over and over again. When the cube is solved, if you repeat a pattern over and over again, it will solve itself.
- When you need to turn a face twice, it does not matter which way round you turn it, so use whichever finger is stronger (right-handers would use their right index finger, whereas left-handers would use their left index finger. People who are lucky enough to be ambidextrous should use whatever index finger is more convenient for them).
- PRACTICE MORE!!!!!! I am always on my cube, so much it annoys my family, friends, and teachers!
- Learn how to do different algorithms from different angles and positions.
- Understand how a 2x2x2 works: this can be achieved by breaking it apart and putting 7/8 pieces back in, in shuffled positions.
- Understand each algorithm.
- Like, Facebook like, Tweet, +1, share... etc. this page (this step is crucial!)
- Teach someone else how to solve a 2x2x2: if you are confident enough to teach someone else how to solve, and maybe speed solve, you will become much more confident yourself, and hey, it's another way to practice!
Speed Solving: Algorithms to Help You Solve the Cube Faster
Step 1. Solve First Side and Layer
This step combines the first two steps of my other method; solving the first side and solving the first layer.
The colour that you should start with should already have multiple pieces together. After a 2x2x2 is shuffled randomly, there is a 90% chance that there are 3/4 of a side solved. If it is a 'perfect shuffle' where there aren't any pieces of the same colour next to each other, I recommend starting with the white face, as it is the easiest to distinguish against the other sides.
To solve a layer, find a piece of your starting side, for example, the white, red, blue cubie, and find a similar cube, i.e., a cubie with two of the same colours, so white and red or white and blue. If I find the white and blue cubie first, naturally, I solve that one first. As it is a similar cubie (two colours the same) to my starting cube, it goes next to the first piece.
Now you know how to find a similar cube, solve the next corner of the first side.
After this, you will just have one corner left to solve. There are quite a few algorithms that you need to know for this point:
- Case 1: If the missing cubie is in the correct place, but rotated anticlockwise (on the left of its correct position), turn the cube so the unsolved corner is at the bottom left of the upper face (partially solved) and carry out the following algorithm: L, Di, Li, D, L, Di, Li
- Case 2: If the missing cubie is in the correct place, but rotated clockwise (on the right of its correct position), turn the cube so the unsolved corner is at the bottom right of the upper face (partially solved) and carry out the following algorithm: Ri, D, R, Di, Ri, D, R
- Case 3: If the missing cubie is underneath where it is supposed to go, on the left and on the bottom LAYER, do the following algorithm after putting the unsolved corner in the bottom left of the upper face: L, Di, Li
- Case 4: If the missing cubie is underneath where it is supposed to go, on the right and on the bottom LAYER, do the following algorithm after putting the unsolved corner in the bottom right of the upper face: Ri, D, R
- Case 5: If the missing cube is underneath where it is supposed to go, but on the bottom FACE, turn the cube so the unsolved piece is in the bottom right corner of the upper face, and the missing cubie is underneath it, and do the following algorithm: Ri, D2, R, Di, Ri, D, R
Step 2. Solve Second Side
In this step, we solve the second side; the face opposite to the first side. Using the cubie rotations "R, U, Ri, U, R, U2, Ri" (clockwise rotation) and the rotation "U2, R, U2, Ri, Ui, R, Ui, Ri" (Anticlockwise rotations). Remember with rotations at this stage, when there is one solved corner, it goes in the bottom left, and when there are two, they go on the side furthest away from you. When there aren't any solved corners, it doesn't make a difference where you do the rotations.
Step 3. Finish Cube
We've already come to the final step in this tutorial! Talk about speed solving!
At this stage, there is normally a pair of colours "attached" to the side that we solved second. Turn the upper face so these pieces make a full, third solved side, and turn the cube so this face is at the back. Then turn the cube down, so the face you solved first is facing you. Then do the following algorithm: Ri U Ri D2 R Ui R’ D2 R2 Fi
© 2012 IQplusone
BrandonSkyPimenta on October 07, 2013:
Do not use WD-40. It eats your cube's plastic, won't stop until it's gone. Use silicone spray, which you can buy on walmart.
TedWritesStuff on July 13, 2013:
Have always been puzzled by the 2x2..
aaron lancaster on December 29, 2012:
Thanks! This has been very helpful. I've been solving the 3x3, but the 2x2 is still surprisingly difficult. Thanks for the info!
IQplusone (author) on June 25, 2012:
@LisaDH: Why not try the method on this or my other lens.
IQplusone (author) on June 22, 2012:
@sukkran trichy: If you know how to solve a 3x3x3, you can normally use that method for the corners, to solve the 2x2x2
malena10 on June 21, 2012:
Love the game :)
LisaDH on June 19, 2012:
I've never been able to figure out any Rubik's cube!
sukkran trichy from Trichy/Tamil Nadu on June 17, 2012:
i know how to solve 3x3x3 but this one is new to me. i will try. thanks for the formula.