You are not alone. Since its release in 1980 more than 350 million cubes (that number is from 2009) have been sold, making it the most popular toy of all time.
It has been confounding people since its inception, yet almost every household has had a cube at some point. If you have ever wondered how you could solve one, I have good news for you: learning to solve a Rubik's cube is much easier than most people think. It takes an hour or so of concentration and then a couple weeks of practice to memorise it; the hardest part is knowing where to start. I am here to point you in the right direction. To save you time I have found one of the best tutorials out there, alongside some of my advice from personal experience. If you have a cube, you can start right now!
Why learn to solve a Rubik's cube?
Besides being an impressive feat to show off to friends and family, solving a Rubik’s Cube has a host of other benefits.
- It will improve your visual spatial reasoning.
- It teaches you about algorithms and how repetitive processes can solve a problem (hello computer science!)
- It is a great way to meditate on problems. I keep a cube on my desk and it is great to distract your brain while it is thinking through a complex work or hobby related problem. (Just don’t spend all day solving!)
Learn how to solve a Rubik’s cube - in 10 minutes.
The video I recommend is by a YouTuber called "J-Perm" - I love his videos because his explanation is clear, jargon-free and very practical.
Disclaimer: the title is a bit misleading - it will probably be more like 30 minutes to an hour. I would definitely take your time with each of the steps, practise each of them individually after he teaches them. That being said, the video is great and he gives you everything you need to solve the cube.
Rubik's cube cheat sheets
Once you have followed the video and solved a cube for the first time you will want to practise, if you forget any parts of the process you can re-watch the video, but at a certain point you will want to push yourself to do it without being walked through. The cubing community has your back on this one, with a huge amount of cheat sheets available for you to quickly look at for reference, here are two of my favourites.
- Badmephisto's HTML cheat sheet - this guy made the cheat sheet I used all those years ago when I was learning and he has been updating it regularly since. This outlines the basic steps for you in an easy-to-read format that you can use.
- Rubik's place guide - this one is a bit more in depth but will help you with the trickier positions the pieces might be in - again clearly explained and easy to follow.
What cube to buy
If you do not have a cube already and are thinking of getting one to learn, my advice is to avoid Rubik's brand at all costs - the cubes are horrible to turn and I am convinced they are the reason most people think that the Rubik's cube is so hard to solve. Even experienced cubers are much slower on the name brand cubes.
You can get special "speed cubes" that are made to turn much smoother and are more forgiving on how lined up the rows need to be. Head over to your regional speed cube shop and buy the cheapest cube you like the look of;
Avoid anything with Mini in the name - unless you want a tiny cube.
Honestly any of these cubes will be much better for you than a Rubik's brand, and they will cost you less than £10/$15.