Monday, March 26, 2007

How I Conquered the Cube

How many people have tried to solve the Rubik's Cube? How many have been successful? Well, I have never met anyone who could ever solve the cube. I was first introduced to a Rubik's Cube back the early 1980s when I was in 7th Grade. I remember someone bringing one to Home Ec class and how we all tried to solve it. No one even got remotely close. Heck, for a 7th grader, it was a big deal if you could only get one side. Of course, my brother and I begged our mom for one so we went out on a Saturday and each of us got one. Being the smart kid I was, I didn't open mine and instead always played with my brother's. This picture is of my original Rubik's Cube still in the box. I even bought a solution manual, which is pictured, and helped me absolutely not at all. I did take off the shrink wrap. Oh well. Many hours were spent trying to solve that cube. I was able to get one side, and even with a little work, I could get all the edges on that one side correct. I tell myself that the most sides I ever got was three sides, but, I'm not even sure about that now. Many other puzzles soon followed like Pyraminx, Rubik's Snake, Missing Link, Alexander's Star, and several others.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is about a month or so ago, I was watching Fox and Friends and Tyson Mao was on there. He was the guy on Beauty and the Geek that could solve the Rubik's Cube in less than 20 seconds. He was on there talking about a new movie starring Will Smith and how he taught WS to solve the cube over two days at four hours each. I thought, 'if Will Smith can do it, then surely I can'. Also, Tyson said there were sites on the Internet to show you how to solve the cube. Now, I do admit, I had no idea if Will Smith was smart or not and since then, I have read about him and obviously he is a very smart man. Well, I hadn't played with a Rubik's Cube in forever, but, I thought that surely I could follow the instructions on one of these sites. Well, that was a mistake. The solutions are not exactly straight forward. So, after several hours of searching and trying to follow the directions, I finally found one that was a little more straight forward, but difficult nonetheless. So, what I did was rewrite that solution and combine some of the other tricks I found on other sites. I got to where I could solve the cube by following my new chart. So, whenever I needed a break from work, was watching TV, or whatever, I would play with the cube. Now, in just a few weeks, I can solve the cube in about 2 minutes every single time. Now, this isn't a fast solution, but, is fine for me and I can't wait til I see my brothers so I can hustle them!

Here is a link to my Rubik's Cheat Sheet PDF for anyone that wants to download the solution and try it out. I think it is the easiest solution you will find out there because it was written by someone who didn't know how to solve the cube and wrote his own notes. Good luck and let me know if you can solve it!

2 comments:

Paul said...

Interesting post. I can solve the cube in a few minutes. I use the slow but, I think, easy method documented on alchemistmatt.com. I could never get the hang of the top-middle-last layer method, and your cheat sheet doesn't seem to help me. Step 2 doesn't work with the moves provided. Maybe I'm doing something wrong....

Scott said...

Paul,
I think you are doing something wrong. I'm sure it has to do with my wording though. Let me see if I can put it in clearer terms. Once you have the top layer of the cube solved and the edges matched up with the center side pieces, you are ready for Step 2. So, lets assume white is the top color. The front face is red, the left face is blue, and the right face is green. So, you want to get the red/green edge in the correct spot and it is on the bottom layer right now. Remember, the front face is red. So, the face-down color of the bottom edge piece needs to be red and its side-color needs to be green. So, rotate the bottom layer making this edge piece in the back of the cube position. Then, you apply the F D F' D' R' D' R. And, voila, you have the red/green edge piece in the correct position of the middle layer. After you do it a couple times, it is pretty easy. Let me know if this helps.