Version 1.1
Written by Brian Yu
CHANGES: Fixed Y-Perm mistake, Updated corner memorization
This is a guide to teach you how to solve the Rubik's cube blindfolded. In reading this tutorial, I expect that you can already solve a Rubik's Cube, and know the basic notation (R, R', R2, and so forth). It will take you through the steps necessary to solve a cube blindfolded starting with the most basic method, then gradually getting more advanced with each stage.
PART 1 - OLD POCHMANN
SECTION 1.1 - OLD POCHMANN BASIC
This first method is one of the most basic methods for blindcubing that exists, and it can be fast too, with a lot of practice. This method is known as Old Pochmann, Classic Pochmann, sometimes by Pochmann Method.
Old Pochmann solves the cube piece by piece. We solve one piece at a time with edges, then solve one piece at a time with corners. In this we do not mess up any other part of the cube other than the pieces we want moved. This is done by some algorithms.
Now, as you may already know, it is impossible to swap only two pieces on the cube. You can swap two pairs of edges, or two pairs of corners, or two edges and two corners, but never just two edges or just two corners.
So instead, we will swap the same corners over and over while we swap the edges to where they need to be. If we do an even number of swaps, the corners will be back to their original state. If we have an odd number of swaps, then the corners will not be in their correct positions. Here we have something called parity, which will be explained later.
Now, an important step to be done right now is to choose an orientation. I usually use White as top, and Red as front, but you can choose any color you want. Just make sure you always choose the same colors.
SECTION 1.2 - ALGORITHMS
So now, I am going to teach you the algorithms that you should learn to solve the cube blindfolded.
For the edges, you will need:
T-Permutation (T) : R U R' U' R' F R2 U' R' U' R U R' F'
J-Permutation A (Ja) : R U R' F' R U R' U' R' F R2 U' R' U'
J-Permutation B (Jb) : F2 L' U' r U2 l' U R' U' l2
For the corners, you will need:
Y-Permutation (Y) : R U' R' U' R U R' F' R U R' U' R' F R
Note that this is not the Y-Permutation used in PLL, it is simply the same thing without the F and F' at the beginning and end.
For parity, you will need:
R-Permutation (R) : R U2 R' U2 R B' R' U' R U l U R2 F x
Note that when actually solving, you will add a y and a y' at the beginning and end.
SECTION 1.3 - MEMORIZING THE EDGES
Blindfold cubing consists of two parts, memorization and then execution. I'm going to teach you memorization of edges right now.
Look at the piece at UR. In particular, look at the sticker on the U face of the piece at UR. For example, if you have White top Red front, and the cube is solved, White-Blue is the piece at UR, and the White sticker is the one we are looking at.
Let me use a simple scramble to explain what we are going to memorize.
U' L' U M2 U' L U R' U R U' M2 U R' U' R
We look at the sticker at UR, which is Red-Green if you have White top, Red front. The question we ask is "Where does this sticker belong?" Well, we know the piece belongs at FL, and the red sticker belongs at the F part of FL. We memorize FL.
Now we look at the sticker at FL, and ask the same question. Where does this sticker belong? It belongs at DF, and in particular, the D part of DF. We remember DF.
Now we look at the sticker at DF, and ask where it goes. It goes to UR, and the U part of UR. Now, if you remember, UR is the sticker we started with, so we do NOT remember UR. Don't remember the sticker you start with, which should always be UR. So our memorization is:
FL DF
However, in a more complicated, well scrambled solve, we won't just have two pieces to memorize. You will have probably 11 or 12 to memorize. So although you might be able to remember "FL DF" in your head for a while, 11 or 12 of these will be much harder to memorize.
So we can turn these into words. For example, FL DF can become:
FLower DaFfodil
Then, to make it even easier to memorize, you can turn this into a story.
One day, I saw a flower. It was a daffodil.
In more complicated ones, I will give you an example:
BL RD RB DF UF BU LU DL
You could translate this to:
Version with matching letters capitalized:
I went on a BLack RoaD on RollerBlades. DownFalls of UFos BUbble LUxuriously in DaLly city.
Version without matching letters capitalized:
I want on a black road on rollerblades. Downfalls of UFOs bubble luxuriously in Dally City.
Yeah, the stories don't make any sense if you think about them. But in truth, the stranger the stories, the easier they are to remember. A very normal story won't stick in your head, such as one with you walking to the park. However, a crazy one, like one about UFO downfalls in a luxurious city might stick in your mind more.
SECTION 1.4 - EXECUTION OF EDGES
So, you've memorized all of the edges. After this you would normally memorize the corners, but we'll do corners later. Now we are going to solve the edges. You should know three algorithms for solving edges: T, Ja, and Jb.
Each one of these swaps the corners UFR and UBR. Remember, we will keep swapping these corners, that way we don't mess up the corners, unless we have parity (described later).
So, the three algorithms you know only work for three orientations. How would you expect to solve all of the edges and all their orientations? We use what are called setup moves. For example, imagine we want to swap UR with FL, as in the previous example in the last section. Many people call this "shooting to FL"
We need to bring FL up to either UF, UB, or UL. So it makes sense to do the move L', and then we can do a T permutation to shoot the piece. However, when we are done, we need to remember to undo the setup move, in this case, L.
Setup moves for edges should be intuitive, but in case you can't figure one out, here is a list of all of them:
PIECE SETUP ALG UNDO SETUP
------------------------------------------------------------
UR none T none
RU L d' L T L' d L'
UF none Ja none
FU l' Jb l
UB none Ub none
BU l Ja l'
DF l2 Jb l2
FD l' Ja l
DL L2 T L2
LD D l' Ja l D'
DB l2 Ja l2
BD l Jb l'
DR D2 L2 T L2 D2
RD D' l' Ja l D
FL L' T L
LF d' L T L' d
BL L T L'
LB d L' T L d'
BR d2 L' T L d2
RB d L T L' d'
FR d2 L T L' d2
RF d' L' T L d
The execution can be done with T perms only, but it is much easier to use the two Js, it saves setup moves.
With this, you should be able to solve all of the edges.
SECTION 1.5 - MEMORIZATION OF THE CORNERS
So, if you don't understand the edges yet, you probably shouldn't move on to corners right now. Although there are less of them, it becomes a little harder to memorize them.
Using the same concept of the edges memorization, we start at UBL. Where does it go? So, here's an example scramble:
L' U' L U R2 U' L' U L U' L2 U R2 U' L2 U
We look at the UBL piece, and ask "Where does this piece belong?" If you are using my color scheme and orientation (White top, Red front), which I will be using throughout the rest of this tutorial, you see that it is the Yellow-Red-Blue corner, which belongs at DFR.
DFR belongs to DFL, which belongs to UBL. But UBL is where we started, so we do not memorize that. So our memorization is:
DFR DFL
However, it's much harder to come up with words with three matching letters than two. So there is an easier way to memorize corners, that is different from edges. We assign each sticker of a corner a letter:
UBL - A
UBR - B
UFL - C
UFR - D
LBU - E
LFU - F
LDB - G
LDF - H
FDL - I
FUL - J
FUR - K
FDR - L
RDF - M
RUF - N
RUB - O
RDB - P
BDR - Q
BUR - R
BUL - S
BDL - T
DFL - W
DFR - X
DBL - Y
DBR - Z
Now, we memorize in pairs of two.
For example, if we had RDB and then BUL, that would be
PS
Which could be translated into the word "PleaSe"
Now, you can make stories or sentences out of your memorization, by memorizing pairs.
For example,
LDB (G) - RUF (N) - BUL (S) - DFL (W)
which is GN SW could be
Grinning Swimming
You could either remember those words, or use a form of images memorization where you picture a person grinning while swimming. The only thing you have to make sure of is the order, you don't want to imagine a person swimming while grinning, because then the execution will be messed up, even though the images may seem the same.
SECTION 1.6 - EXECUTION OF THE CORNERS
So now you've memorized the corners. The system for executing the corners is very similar to execution of edges. However, this time we will shoot from UBL to RFD using the Y perm. Using the example from the previous section, we would see that DFR and DFL are the ones we need to shoot to.
DFR can be put into RFD by F' R'. Now we do the Y Perm, and then do R F. Notice that this swaps the UB and UL edges. Next is DFL. This is easy, we use F' as the setup move. We do Y-Perm, and then F. Notice that UB and UL are now swapped again, and are back to their original positions.
Like the edges, the setup moves should be intuitive. But in case you can't figure them out, here is a list of the setup moves that I use. Remember that between the Setup and Undo Setup, you need to do a Y-Perm:
PIECE SETUP UNDO SETUP
------------------------------------------
UFL F R' R F'
FLU F' D D' F
LUF F2 F2
UBR R D' D R'
BRU R' F F' R
RUB R2 R2
UFR F F'
FRU F2 D D' F2
RUF R' R
DFL F' F
FLD D D'
LDF F2 R' R F2
DFR F' R' R F
FRD R F F' R'
RDF none none
DBR D2 F' F D2
BRD D' D
RDB R R'
DBL D F' F D'
BLD D' R R' D
LDB D2 D2
Notice that every setup is at maximum two moves. Using more setup moves works, but is unnecessary.
SECTION 1.7 - BREAKING INTO A NEW CYCLE
This applies to both edges and corners. Here is an example with the corners.
R2 L' U' L U R2 U' L' U L R2 U' L2 U R2 U' L2 U
So we start looking at UBL. It belongs at UBR. So we remember UBR. But UBR, goes back to UBL again! However, we are not done yet. There are still corners that will be unsolved, in particular, DFL and DFR. When this happens, we have to "break into a new cycle"
The way we do this, is we choose any random edge that is still unsolved. DFL is a good choice in this case. Where does this go? It goes to DFR, which goes back to DFL. This time, since we have broken into a new cycle, we MUST remember DFL. So our memorization this time is:
UBR DFL DFR DFL
Sometimes you won't have to break into a new cycle, and you will only have one. Sometimes you will have two. You can have many more than two cycles also.
How do you know if you have to break into a new cycle? If there's an unsolved piece that you haven't memorized, and you finish a cycle, then you need to break into a new cycle.
SECTION 1.8 - OTHER ODD THINGS TO BE AWARE OF
There are many other things that can occur that you must know about in order to solve a cube blindfolded.
SECTION 1.81 - PARITY
50% of the time, you will have an even number of edges to shoot to, and an even number of corners to shoot to. This is good, and you don't have parity.
The other 50% of the time, however, you will have an odd number of edges, and an odd number of corners. When this happens, you have parity, because when you are done with the edges, the corners will be swapped. In this case, we do this.
After the edges, we do a y rotation. Now do the R-Perm, which you should already know. Then do y'. Now solve the corners. That is how you fix parity.
SECTION 1.82 - FLIPPED PIECES
Very often, you will have an edge or corner somewhere that is in the correct position, but flipped incorrectly before you start solving. Say the edge at FL is flipped. In this case, you shoot to the piece, and then shoot to where that sticker needs to go.
So we shoot to FL, and then shoot to LF. That will flip the edge. With corners, it becomes a little bit more complicated. You have to shoot to a sticker, and shoot to where that sticker belongs, which could be one of two places. For example, take this scramble.
U' L' U R2 U' L U L' U' L U R2 U' L' U L
DFR is flipped. First we shoot to FRD. FRD belongs at DFR. So we shoot to FRD and then DFR.
SECTION 1.83 - OTHER MEMORIZATION SYSTEMS
There are so many memorization systems out there, that it really doesn't matter which one you use. I chose one that is fairly easy, but there are many other systems out there.
Visual - This is what I currently use, and there are many forms of Visual Memory. Basically what you do is tap a piece, and tap the next piece, and pretty much just visualize lines going from piece to piece. This can be very fast, but it is difficult to get used to. Not something to try for the first time doing BLD.
Images - This takes some practice. Assign each sticker a letter A-X for edges, A-X for corners. For each letter pair, make an image. For example, BL might be BELL. Then you imagine a bell while you solve.
Journey - Do the same thing as Images memorization, but imagine yourself seeing these things while on a journey. Imagine yourself seeing a bell on the ground while walking somewhere, for example.
SECTION 1.9 - TRY IT
I can almost guarantee you that the first time you try solving a cube blindfolded, you will not succeed. It took me about three days before I got my first success blindfolded, using this same method and memorization system.
Once you start getting successful solves, start timing yourself. You should be able to get a 5 minute memorization and 5 minute solve when you first start out, but it can be shortened quickly. Practice timing memorization-only, and execution-only, and improve it. Once you average maybe 8 minutes, then you can try learning some more advanced methods, like the one I will explain Section 2.
You could average under 2 minutes using this method alone, but there are faster methods available. When you feel comfortable with this method, you may want to try the new method.
PART 2 - M2 FOR EDGES
SECTION 2.1 - M2 BASICS
This method uses the same concept of breaking into new cycles and flipping pieces as Old Pochmann, but instead of using a T, Ja, or Jb permutation, the M2 move is used. We start with DF, our buffer, and ask the same question of where it belongs. We bring the edge that we need to shoot to up to UB, and then do M2, then undo the setup move.
M2 is a method for edges only, and what I am going to teach you is for using M2 for edges, and the old pochmann method from the previous section for corners.
SECTION 2.1 - ALGORITHMS
There are some new algorithms that you need to know, and most are very short.
UF Shooter - U2 M' U2 M'
DB Shooter - M U2 M U2
Edge Flipper - M U M U M U2 M' U M' U M' U2
Parity - U' F2 U M2 U' F2 U
SECTION 2.2 - MEMORIZING THE EDGES
For M2, you can use any memorization system, but make sure that you start with DF instead of UR, which you used for Old Pochmann. Remember to memorize breaking into new cycles. The difference here is that you better count, for example, for each piece, say 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. This comes in handy for recognizing parity and for recognizing when the M-Slice is flipped (explained later).
SECTION 2.3 - EXECUTION OF THE EDGES
Bring up the pieces to UB and swap them with DF. It's quite simple, and here are the setup moves in case you can't figure them out. Remember that M2 is the swapping move:
PIECE SETUP UNDO SETUP
------------------------------------------
UL L U' L' U U' L U L'
FL U' L' U U' L U
DL U' L2 U U' L2 U
BL U' L U U' L' U
UR R' U R U' U R' U' R
FR U R U' U R' U'
DR U R2 U' U R2 U'
BR U R' U' U R U'
LU B L' B' B L B'
LF B L2 B' B L2 B'
LD B L B' B L' B'
LB L B L' B' B L B' L'
RU B' R B B' R' B
RF B' R2 B B' R2 B
RD B' R' B B' R B
RB R' B' R B B' R' B R
UB none none
BU B' R2 B U R U' U R' U' B' R2 B
That is for all of the edges except for UF and DB. For those, do this, without M2.
UF and FU U2 M' U2 M'
DB and BD M U2 M U2
There are two problems with this, both easily fixed. First of all, these algorithms for UF and DB only work on ODD NUMBERED pieces. Remember you were supposed to count in the memorization. For even numbered pieces, do the opposite, like shoot to DB instead of UF, and vice versa.
The second problem is that These actually shoot to UF and DB, not FU and BD. If you have to shoot to one of these pieces, you need to flip it at the end, and memorize from UF. This is complicated. I will try to explain it.
If you shoot to UF instead of FU, the piece will be flipped. But you need to still look at where you are shooting. Since you are shooting to UF, you need to look at UF and remember the U sticker, not the F sticker even though you memorized UF. So if FU belongs at LU, you actually remember FU UL instead of FU LU because that's where the U sticker belongs. This is the hardest part of M2.
SECTION 2.3 - PARITY
Parity is a relatively easy thing to take care of in M2/Old Pochmann. Use the parity algorithm right after the edges and then solve the corners. It's quite simple.
SECTION 2.4 - TRY IT
M2 is a method very similar to Old Pochmann edges, and that's why this section of the tutorial is much shorter, I expect that you already know everything about breaking into a new cycle and flipping edges. If you do not, I highly recommend that you reread the Old Pochmann tutorial, and make sure that you understand it.
Once you understand it, give it a shot. It will take some time to get used to, but you can become really fast with this method, and it can be really useful to make use of.
EXTRA INFORMATION 1 - VISUAL MEMORIZATION
Once you feel comfortable memorizing the cube with either the method described in this tutorial, or another method you've learned elsewhere, you may want to consider trying visual memorization.
A warning though, visual memory is not for everyone. Some people just can't understand it, and therefore cannot figure out how to do it. I will do my best to explain one of the easiest forms of visual memorization, line drawing.
Line drawing works like this, you start with the first piece of a cycle, and draw a line in your mind from that piece to the next. You end up visualizing maybe 20 lines going in all different directions. Some people are really good at this, and can do it extremely fast. I am one of these people.
Visual can sometimes be improved if you tap pieces while you imagine the lines. Tapping reinforces what you memorize with the lines, in case you forget a line.
I don't suggest immediately trying visual. Wait until you are comfortable with other methods before trying this. Other methods can be just as fast, if not faster. However, I do suggest giving it a shot when you feel ready. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't. I personally gave visual memory a try a day after my first success while using old pochmann, and never stopped since then.
EXTRA INFORMATION 2 - HOW TO PRACTICE
There are many ways to practice, but this is what I do.
First, I start by doing some memorization-only (memorize the whole thing as fast as you can). Then I do some execution-only, (look at the cube, no blindfold, and solve it using your blindfold method).
I also do a best of 3, take three solves, and take the best of them. That's the way it is done in competitions, you are given three solves, and they take the best of them.
Also, I will sometimes do slow solves to improve my accuracy. It is better to be at a good pace and a good accuracy than at a fast pace and worse accuracy.