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Picture of Solving a 2x2 Rubik's Cube Blindfolded
Blindfold solving is an art form consisting of memory and finger dexterity.  This tutorial will server as an introduction into the realm of blindfold solving by starting with the 2x2x2 cube.  The ability to solve a 2x2 blindfolded is important if you want to learn larger layered cubes such as the 3x3, 4x4, 5x5 etc.  The total cost for performing this task is about $10.  The time it may take you to learn this skill varies.  If you already have experience with solving Rubik’s cubes, it may only take a few hours to learn the 2x2 blindfolded.   If you are completely new to solving cubes, it may take you a week of practice to master the 2x2 blindfolded.  No matter what your abilities are now, don’t fret.  Solving a cube blindfolded is a skill you can use to attract soul mates and impress future employers.
 
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Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies
For this tutorial, you will need a 2x2x2 Rubik’s Cube and a blindfold.  You can find a 2x2 cube for about $5 to $11 on any online cube shop.  Blindfolds can be found at your local general store and are usually cheap.

Note:  If you don’t own a 2x2 cube, but own a 3x3 cube, you can still use this tutorial.  The 2x2 cube is equivalent to the corners on a 3x3.  If you follow this tutorial using a 3x3 you will be able to solve the corners, but not the edges.

Step 2: Create a Letter System

Picture of Create a Letter System
The first phase of blindfold solving is memorization.  Before you start memorizing pieces it is critical that you are familiar with your color scheme.  You should set a particular orientation and stick to it.  My cube has the standard color scheme.  The orientation that I will use as a reference in this tutorial is white on top and red in front.  This means orange is in back, green is on the left, blue is on the right, and yellow is on bottom. 

In order to memorize what pieces need to be solved it helps to assign a letter to each individual sticker of the 2x2 cube.  Throughout this tutorial I will refer to my letter scheme for certain pieces, so I will provide it for future use.

In clockwise order from top left sticker:

Up layer: A, B, C, D
Front layer: E, F, G, H
Right layer: I, J, K, L
Back layer: M, N, O, P
Left layer: Q, R, S, T
Down layer: U, V, W, Z

After you have your letter system set up it may take a while to get used to it.  That’s okay!  You will become more familiar with it after you learn how to memorize.

Step 3: How to Solve: Cube Notation

Picture of How to Solve: Cube Notation
http://learntofish.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/notation_en.jpg



You should be familiar with turning notation.  If you are a little rusty here is a quick reminder:

U – turn the top face clockwise
F – turn the face in front of you clockwise
R – turn the face on the right clockwise
L – turn the face on the left clockwise
D – turn the bottom face clockwise

Note: Adding an apostrophe denotes a counter-clockwise turn (D’) and adding a two denotes a 180 degree turn (D2).  All moves are made imagining you are facing that layer. 


Step 4: How to Solve: Y-Permutation

Picture of How to Solve: Y-Permutation
The method I will teach in this tutorial is the Old Pochmann method.  It was created by Stefan Pochmann.

When solving a 2x2 blindfolded we will only use one sequence of moves, also known as an algorithm.  This algorithm will swap the piece at the [A] position (also known as the buffer) with the [L] position (also known as the helper).  The moves for the algorithm are denoted below.  It is also commonly known as the Y-permutation.

[Y-permutation]: R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R

The picture shown above is what your cube should look like after performing the Y-permutation.  The video shown below demonstrates how to execute the algorithm.  

Note: You should memorize the Y-permutation.  It is the basis for the entire execution of a 2x2 blindfolded.  The more familiar you are with it, the faster you will be.




Step 5: How to Solve: Set-up Moves

Picture of How to Solve: Set-up Moves
You need to be able to solve every sticker on the 2x2 cube by using the Y-permutation.  You can do this by using set-up moves to bring the sticker you want to solve into the helper position at [L].  The following steps outline the procedure for solving pieces:

1) Perform a set-up move to bring sticker into helper position at [L]
2) Execute Y-permutation to swap buffer with helper 
3) Undo the set-up move by performing it's inverse

For example, if you needed to solve the [I] sticker (as shown in the picture above) you would complete the following tasks:

1) Set-up the position at [I] by doing an R’ move
2) Swap the buffer with helper by doing the Y-permutation
3) Undo the setup-move by doing an R move

Set-up moves for each sticker can be rather intuitive.  The key thing to remember is that you will never use any U, L, or B turns.  These turns will affect your buffer position, which is not what we want.  The buffer position will always remain in the same spot.  As a reference, the following is a list for all of the set-up moves you will need.

A :  (N/A) buffer position
B:   R D' [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] D R'
C:  F [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] F'
D:  F R' [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] R F'
E:  F' D [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] D' F
F:  F2 D [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] D' F2
G:  F D [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] D' F'
H:  D [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] D'
I:  R' [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] R
J:  R2 [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] R2
K:  R [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] R'
L:  [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R]
M:  R' F [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] F' R
N:  (N/A) Buffer position
O:  D' R [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] R' D
P:  D' [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] D
Q:  (N/A) Buffer position
R:  F2 [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] F2
S:  F2 R' [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] R F2
T:  D2 [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] D2
U:  F' [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] F
V:  F' R' [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] R F
W:  R2 F [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] F' R2
Z:  D F' [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] F D'

Step 6: How to Solve: Cycles

Picture of How to Solve: Cycles
twist.jpeg
Now that you know how to solve individual pieces, we will string these together in a cycle to solve the entire cube.  After you swap a sticker from your buffer to the solved position, whatever sticker that was in the solved position is now in your buffer.  Next, solve that piece using a set-up move, Y-permutation, and undo set-up.

Keep swapping pieces from your buffer to its solved position until you solve all the pieces.  Once you solve every piece, the buffer will automatically be solved.

Special Cases:

There are two special cases that might occur when performing a cycle.

Case 1) Your buffer becomes solved before you finish solving all the pieces

This case is represented by the first picture in this step.  In this case, simply shoot the buffer piece to any un-solved sticker to begin a new cycle.  Keep solving pieces until you need to solve a piece that belongs where you placed your buffer.  After that, your new cycle has ended.  If you have solved every piece, the cube should be solved.  If it is not, start a new cycle.

Case 2) A piece is in its correct position, but it is twisted the wrong way

This case is represented by the second picture in this step.  To fix a corner twist, shoot your buffer to any of the three postitions on the twisted corner.  Take note of what sticker was in that position.  That sticker is now in your buffer, so shoot it to its solved position using set-up, Y-permutation, and undo set-up.  The twisted corner should be solved.

Step 7: How to Memorize

Memorizing the cube precedes the solving phase.  You will put your letter system to use when you learn how to memorize.  I will be referring to the stickers associated with my letter scheme as I have displayed previously. 

The method I use to memorize a 2x2 blindfolded utilizes an audio loop.  The audio loop takes advantage of the brain's ability to recall a string of sounds that it hears.  Since the 2x2 cube does not have very many pieces, we can make use of our short term memory to quickly remember and recall using the audio loop.  If you want to move on to 3x3, 4x4, and 5x5 cubes blindfolded, you will want to learn a system that utilizes long term memory.

Here are the basic steps to memorize the cube:

1) Look at what sticker is in your buffer position.  This will be your first letter.  

2) Find where it needs to go and look at the next sticker in your cycle.  

3) Pair up the first and second letters and create a one syllable sound corresponding to those two pieces.  For example, if the first
two pieces I need to solve are [L] and [P] the first sound I will remember is "LoP."

4) Continue through your cycle (breaking into a new one if need be) by creating a sound for each pair of letters until you are finished.  


Note: It is OKAY to speak your memo out loud.  In fact, it will help your brain to remember it.


Step 8: Example Solve: Case 1

I will go through some examples on what I would do when memorizing and solving a 2x2 blindfolded.  The first example demonstrates what to do when you have Case 1, where your buffer becomes solved in the middle of a cycle.  You can follow along by reading the following text and watching the video demonstration below.  

Hold your solved cube in your solving orientation and perform the following scramble:

R' U' R2 U' F2 R F2 R F U'


Note: Since the buffer is already in solved position, I start by shooting it to the [L] position.


Memorization:

Letters: L, J, D, F, W, U, V

Audio Loop: LooJ, DooF, WU, Vee

Execution:

L:  [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R]

J:  R2 [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] R2

D:  F R' [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] R F'

F:  F2 D [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] D' F2

W:  R2 F [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] F' R2

U:  F' [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] F

V:  F' R' [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] R F


Step 9: Example Solve: Case 2

The second example demonstrates what to do when you have Case 2, where you have a twisted corner. I have provided a video demonstration below.

Hold your solved cube in your solving orientation and perform the following scramble:

U2 F U F' R F2 U' R' U' 


Memorization:

Letters: C, S, L, W, R, J, M 

Audio Loop: CaSs, LoW, aR, JaM

Note: The piece positioned at the B, J, M position is twisted.  To solve it, we placed our buffer in the J position, then solved by shooting to the M position.  

Execution:

C:  F [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] F'

S:  F2 R' [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] R F2

L:  [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R]

W:  R2 F [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] F' R2

R:  F2 [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] F2

J:  R2 [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] R2

M:  R' F [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] F' R


Note: The reason why the (O,T,Z) piece was already solved in both examples is due to the nature of 2x2 scrambles.  A 2x2 scramble only uses R, U, and F moves.  This means that the (O,T,Z) piece stays in the same spot if you solve in the same orientation that you scramble in.  

Since the 2x2 does not have fixed centers, it does not matter what orientation you solve in.  You should try and choose the orientation that will have the most number of pieces already solved.  This will reduce your move count.




Step 10: Conclusion

You should now be able to solve a 2x2 cube blindfolded.  It may take you 1, 5, or even 20 attempts until you get a successful solve.  My best advice is to practice and be patient.  In the video below, I demonstrate a "speedsolve" in which I solve the 2x2 blindfolded in 33.97 seconds.  With enough practice, you may be able to become as fast or even faster than me!  

One of the greatest feelings I have when blindfold solving is taking off the blindfold and seeing a solved cube.  It is my hope that I can share this feeling with you.  


I have done 2 blindsolves now, but neither had either of the special cases. My first blindsolve was on my first try. Beginners' luck - I couldn't do it again for ages!

Noobtoobz11 year ago

I did my first blind solve yesterday and it really worked! This was by far the easiest tutorial out of all the ones i looked at.

can we use any other set-up move (excluding U, L, or B) like for C can we use R' [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] R instead of F [R U’ R’ U’ R U R’ F’ R U R’ U’ R' F R] F'

XAIDHAN2 years ago
DUDE! u are a true genius mi bro!. the thing is i am not a genius! :(
Krotas2 years ago
Thank you. I will invest some time to learn your technique :)
Alaskan Bev2 years ago
Holy cats! I don't even have the patience to try to solve it with both eyes wide open and awake!
kaozer2 years ago
please fix your website, its filled with scam and crashed my firefox. i also tested with a different computer for the same result. its quite problematic.
rubiksnerd (author)  kaozer2 years ago
Could you be more specific? It works fine for me.
PyromanX2 years ago
Wow. Impressive 'ible. It's times like this that I regret that I am merely mortal.
rubiksnerd (author)  PyromanX2 years ago
I am also a mere mortal!
ddw_az2 years ago
this is great for those that can memorize. for me the solution is to disassemble and then re-assemble. in step 3 turn "U" , top row, 45 Degrees, then pop one of the center blocks out. then remove the rest of the blocks. to re-assemble: install the center edge blocks first, then the corners. to install the last corner: turn 45 degrees, remove an adjacent center edge, install final corner, snap-in final center edge. here is a video i found.
how to Disassemble and Assemble cube.
rubiksnerd (author)  ddw_az2 years ago
There is not that much to memorize for a 2x2 cube! If you look at my examples I only had to remember 5 sounds! Yes you can cheat, but it is no where near as impressive as being able to solve it blindfolded. Also, I think you are referring to a standard 3x3 cube. The 2x2 cube does not have external "centerblocks," but internal ones.
theargha2 years ago
AWESOME this is what all I can say.
patzer35452 years ago
Awesome instructions! You have a very interesting hobby.
vernonjm2 years ago
is this witchcraft?
piusag2 years ago
how..how...how did you do that??!!!