Introduction: How to Solve the 2x2 Rubik's Cube (in Six Steps)
I have always been a fan of twisty puzzles since January of this year, and when the time came to write a tutorial on how to solve the 2x2 cube for my book, Caleb X's Extensive Cubing Book, i was delighted. In this tutorial, i will be using a Rubik's Pocket Cube, since that's the only 2x2 i own (i have several) that has a logo on it. It's not my favorite, but it gets the job done.
Note, i'll be requiring you to know how to at least solve a 3x3 because i won't be explaining cube notation. If you don't know how to solve a 3x3, please learn how to solve that first because a 2x2 is a 3x3 without centers or edges. It's simpler, but that doesn't make it any easier.
Step 1: Solve Half of the White Face
Scramble your cube. When it's scrambled, i want you to find the red, white and blue piece. Find the piece opposite of that, red white and green, and move it under the piece adjacent to the red, white and blue piece. Do the following algorithm: Ri, Di, R, D. Do that algorithm 1, 2, or 3 times until the two white pieces match up.
Step 2: Solve the Other Half of the White Face.
Now i want you to solve the rest of the white face. Continue to use the Ri, Di, R, D algorithm; it's the easiest algorithm you can do to solve the corners. Find a third white piece that you want to use, again moving it underneath the piece adjacent to the one you want to put it next to. Do Ri, Di, R, D up to four times until the third piece lines up. Once three of the four pieces are in, i want you to do the same for the fourth. Once all four pieces are in, half of the cube should now be solved. Before you move onto step three, i want you to flip over your cube so the white face is on the bottom.
Step 3: STOP HERE. Memorize the Seven Cases the Yellow Face Can Be In.
There are seven cases that your cube will be in after you solve the white side. I want you to stop, put your cube down and look at the picture until you have all seven cases memorized.
Step 4: Apply the Sune Algorithm Until the Yellow Face Is Oriented (but Not Permuted)
The sune algorithm is R, U, Ri, U, R, U2, Ri. Do that 1, 3, 5, or even 6 times until all four yellow pieces are on top. After each time you do the algorithm, i want you to look over your cube and match it so it's the same as one of the cases.
Step 5: Permute the Yellow Layer...
Your cube may LOOK solved, but there are two pieces that need to swap places. Orient your cube so the two permuted pieces are in the back (so it matches with the bottom layer and solves the face). Perform the following algorithm: Ri, F, Ri B2, R, Fi, RI, B2, R2, Ui
Do that 1, 3 or even 5 times. If the two pieces that need to swap are diagonal (and not next to each other) do the algorithm once so the two unsolved pieces are next to each other. Then i want you to move the solved pieces to the back and do the algorithm again.
Step 6: ...until Your Cube Is Solved.
Look over your cube and review this tutorial to see if you missed any steps. If all eight pieces are oriented AND permuted properly, congratulations! You've solved the 2x2! Admire your handiwork and take a well deserved nap.