Do you have a really brilliant kid or student who thinks they’re smarter than you because they can solve the Rubik’s cube as fast as you can or even faster than you? You might be looking for a way to earn back the respect.
This is also for those who looking for a way to baffle their friends with a trick that seems impossible to the ordinary Joe and plain Jane.
How to Solve the Rubik’s Cube Blindfolded: The Ultimate Guide
There are many techniques of solving the Rubik’s cube blindfolded. However, in this guide, we shall focus on the most beginner-friendly ones: the M2 method for the edges; for the corners, we shall use the Old Pochmann method.
Though it’s not totally necessary for you to know how to solve the cube without the blindfolds first, it would make the process much simpler. If you’d like to learn how to solve it without the blindfolds first, check out our guide on “How to Solve a 3x3x3 Rubik’s Cube” and “How to Solve a 7x7x7 Rubik’s Cube Easily”.
If you can solve the cube without the blindfolds, you will find the process easy to comprehend. With persistent practicing, you will definitely make it.
Step I: Learn Your Colors
For a blindfolded solve, the first thing you want to do is make a decision. Decide on how to hold the cube. It really doesn’t matter which way you hold it, as long as you don’t change it (it needs to be consistent).
You can try holding your cube with the red center facing you and the yellow center facing upward. Once you do that, you know that orange is at the back, blue on your left, green on your right, and white is at the bottom.
Scramble the cube and practice visualizing where every piece belongs according to your orientation. For instance, when you see a red and blue edge piece, where does that go? That’s right, it goes to the front left edge.
Step II: Learn Your Letters
You might want to associate each color with a letter of the alphabet. Not everyone relies on letters but we believe that utilizing a definite lettering scheme will make memorizing a much easier process for you. In this guide, we will use the Speffz lettering.
When solving the cube blindfolded, it’d be good to solve the corners and edges separately.
For the corners, consider lettering the cubelets this way: start with the back-left corner of the top layer, going clockwise around it. Next, go to the left layer, going clockwise. Do the same with the right layer, the back, and the bottom.
Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the scheme. This is not absolutely important but as you get to know the scheme, things will be natural for you and you will find it easier to memorize the cube. You will also be able to solve the Rubik’s cube blindfolded quickly.
The edges are quite alike. Start by learning the first letter of every face of the cube till you get it – A, E, I, M, Q, U as showed above. That way, when looking for a certain sticker, say P, you could jump to M and go clockwise around it.
Step III: Memorize
Consider the sequence of these 5 letters:
D, C, A, E, B
It would be easy for you to place them in the correct order with your eyes open,
But what if there were 20 of them and your eyes were closed?
You’d definitely require a great system – the buffer system.
Let the first letter in the order be the buffer, and be sure to only switch pieces with it. That way, you will find it easier to manage the process.
Now that the first letter in the order is D, you will switch it with the letter in its correct position and memorize D. Your sequence should appear like this now:
E, C, A, D, B
The first letter in the order becomes E; switch it with the letter in its correct position and memorize E. That will leave you with:
B, C, A, D, E
Next, switch B with the letter in its rightful position and memorize B. You will have:
C, B, A, D, E
To finalize things, switch C with the letter in its position and memorize C. You will have the correct sequence as follows:
A, B, C, D, E
Looking back at the original order, you can memorize the series of steps you’ve taken, beginning with the first buffer letter D, visualizing the letter in its position, E, visualizing the letter in its position, B, visualizing the letter in its position, C. Looking at the letter in C’s position, A, that’s the right buffer piece. Memorizing the buffer letter is not absolutely necessary.
The Buffer Concept
It’s crucial that you memorize the letters in pairs. This will make sense when we go through the process of applying the buffer concept to the Rubik’s cube. By memorizing the letters, the list of items to memorize will become shorter.
Before we go through the application of the buffer concept to the Rubik’s cube, let us look at the following example:
D, C, B, E, A
The order is a bit different from the one on the example above. Looking at the series of moves needed to correct the order, you appreciate that D is the buffer letter, so you memorize it. Then, E is at D’s position, so you memorize E. Do the same with A and E, and so on; the cycle will be complete without memorizing the buffer pieces. The sequence after switching E and A will be:
A, C, B, D, E
At this point, you’ve managed to complete a cycle by taking the correct buffer piece, A, to its rightful position. Now, you need to break into a fresh cycle. So, switch A with any piece that’s not already solved. If you choose to swap it with C, the order will look like this:
C, A, B, D, E
The next switches with the buffer piece are C, followed by B. Therefore, the whole set of switches is (DE) (BCB)
The brackets are used to indicate different cycles.
Step IV: Learn to Solve the Corners
In this step, you will be applying the buffer concept you just learned. Here, we shall be solving the edges first before moving onto the corners. Nonetheless, it would be good to first learn about the corners because:
We shall use the Old Pochmann technique to solve the corners. The object is to switch the stickers at A and P as showed in the image below. As a side effect, the blue stickers at the edge will also swap positions. Follow the algorithm: R iU R iU R U iR iF R U iR iU iR F R.
We can solve the corners using the algorithm above to make switches the same way we did with the letter orders of the buffer concept.
This trick is meant for every swap. You’ve got to position the corner sticker you’re looking to switch with in the spot where P is located. You can then perform the swap through the algorithm, and then reverse the moves involved to restore the sticker to its original spot.
Does that sound complex? It’s actually easier than you imagine. It only needs a little practice. I will give you some set-up moves I stumbled upon and they can be really handy.
When I first encountered them, I was a bit dazed at the number of moves I needed to memorize. Nonetheless, I found out that with a little practice, they start getting instinctive. Here is a table of the set-up moves:
B: R iD
I: iF D
Q: iR F
G: D2 R
J: F2 D
S: iD R
V: iD iF
D: F iR
K: F D
W: D2 iF
X: D iF
Remember, ‘i’ refers to an anti-clockwise move.
To illustrate this, let us begin with the O, N, and M stickers. They all require a turn of the right layer to place them into their correct locations. Consider the L, K, J, and I stickers.
They are to be moved into the L position and then their bottom layer rotated to move to the proper position. I’d recommend that you take some time to learn this.
Do and undo the moves in the set-up table till they grow intuitive or at least a bit natural; I can confirm that it won’t take too long if you’re dedicated enough.
Do you have a 2X2x2 cube? Get one if you don’t already have it. We shall be doing a blind solve for the cube.
Illustration Solve for a 2×2 Cube
Start by performing these scramble moves:
iB L F2 iR iB U2 D2 R2 F2 iU L D2 iU iR L2 D2 iF D iU iL U2 iD iF iB U2
Look at the sticker in the buffer point A (the upper back-left). The sticker belongs to the C position, so you’ve got to memorize C. Then, looking at the C position, the sticker belongs to the B position, so you memorize B. Carry on with the process, writing down every letter. There’s no cycle break needed for this 2X2 solve. When you’re done, you’ve got to have your sequence as “CB UF PT S”.
Looking at the sticker at the S spot, you’ll see the buffer location’s sticker. Remember, memorizing the buffer letter isn’t essential here.
Illustration Solve on 2×2 with Cycle Breaks
Shall we try one illustration with cycle breaks? Great; let’s do it. Scramble your cube like this:
B iD F B L B iF D2 iF D iR B R2 U2 F iB U L2 U2 R B2 iD L R2 D
When you look at the buffer spot, you can see sticker P; memorize it. Looking at the sticker at sticker P’s spot you can see the buffer piece. Stickers A, E, and R are at the corners that belong in the buffer spot. With that said, you’re at the end of the cycle.
To break into the next cycle, select any sticker that’s not in the right spot to kick off with. You can pick C, as it has a simple set-up. While memorizing C, keep in mind that the corner isn’t solved. You can use your fingers to mark the pieces that are already sorted but in that case, you don’t check off the corner. Sticker F is situated at C’s location, so memorize F. The next letters are G, followed by J. Sticker J is situated at the same corner as sticker C, which was the beginning of the cycle, and thus the cycle is done.
The next step is to make out which corners are still unsolved. The ones on the rear-right still need to be worked on. So, you now focus on sticker B; memorize it, keeping in mind that the corner is unsolved. The sticker goes to the O spot, and so you memorize O. Sticker O, in turn, goes to sticker B’s position, thus completing the cycle. In this case, you also memorize B.
Here's the order you’ve acquired: (P) (C FG J) (B OB)
Step V: Solving the Edges
Good news – solving the edges is a little easier than solving the corners. We shall use the M2 technique; it’s a lot easier and requires relatively few moves.
This time, the buffer piece is situated at sticker U location. The moves used in the in the algorithms in the table below switch U with sticker A. As with the corners, where we shifted a piece to sticker P’s location prior to performing the swap moves, we want to move the edge piece to sticker A spot before we perform the swap.
Also, as with solving the corners, the set-up moves will be more instinctive as you familiarize yourself with them. In the algorithms table below, the targets are divided into 3 sections. You can insert the edge pieces through a move starting with U or iU. On the other hand, you can insert the inside pieces via moves starting with B or iB.
The algorithms highlighted in green are quite alike and simple; the ones highlighted in yellow are a bit diverse as the edges involved fall into the cube’s upper or back layer. The specials are the ones you should be memorizing.
Start with the outer edges that are highlighted in green. As you execute the moves, note the path that the sticker follows to its destination before the M2 move. Take some time learning the moves until they feel a bit straightforward to you. Next, begin looking at the moves for the stickers highlighted in yellow (B and D).
Use the same order to learn the inner edges. After learning the moves for a while, you’ll start feeling comfortable with both the inner and outer edges.
Important note: the targets C, W, I and S are in the cube’s middle layer. With every M2 move you perform, you shift the layer by 180°.
That means that the targets shall be 180° off phase, and thus they’ll need a different set of moves. In case it’s an even target in the order, C will swap with W. Similarly, S and I will swap. You will be memorizing the target sticker’s position at the beginning.
Step 6: completing the blindfolded solve
The steps we will need to complete the solve are:
Solving The Corners
You can memorize either the corners or the edges first. The easier way would be to memorize the corners first, memorize the edges, solve the edges, and then solve the corners. It’s not necessary to follow the strategy but it helps as you need to remember the corners for longer.
Parity occurs where there’s an odd number of letters in the sequence. Keep in mind that when switching 2 corners, the move switches two edges too. There’s no problem if the number of letters is even, as the edges will land back to their positions. The case applies when you solve the edges. An odd number will leave the M layer 180° off phase. By executing the sequence ‘iDL2DM2iDL2D’, you’re able to take care of the parity.
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