Memorizing Rubik's Cubes (and similar puzzles)
Memorizing Rubik's Cubes (and similar puzzles)
Okay, this is gonna be a post summarizing how I personally memorize a 3x3x3 (normal) rubik's cube. I can also memorize a 4x4x4 (4 layers on each side/16 stickers per face) and a 2x2x2 (2 layers on each side/4 stickers per face. Commonly known as the "4 cube" (or something like that) by non-speed cubers).
I can memorize a normal cube in about 1 minute, a 4x4x4 cube in about 25 minutes (I'm still a beginner), a 2x2x2 cube in about 15-18 seconds. Some people can memorize a normal cube between 7-10 seconds. Yes. 7 SECONDS. The WR for 4x4x4 blindfolded is around 2min, 30 sec, I believe. I think the memorization took about 1 min, 45 sec (pretty sure, but I can't remember now. lol)
Now, many of you may think that we look at the cube for a few seconds and know exactly what turns we have to do to solve it. This is entirely false. There is an event that some practice called Fewest Moves. Each competitor gets 1 hour to solve a rubiks cube in the least number of turns possible. Any cube can be solved in 20 or fewer moves, and most can be done in 17. The WR was recently set at 20 moves. I believe God's algorithm (fewest moves to solve it) for that scramble was under 20, perhaps 17 or 18. Blindsolvers start memorizing at the same time the timer starts, so if a cuber says they blindsolved a 3x3 in 30 seconds (WR is 27, people have done under 20 unofficially at home) that includes the time used to memorize the cube.
What we actually do is memorize where each piece has to go and then use commutators (A B A' B' or some variant) to solve only a few pieces at a time (usually just 2).
How do we memorize these pieces though? Some people do it visually in some way - perhaps viewing an airplane flying from one piece to the next - but that is not as strong of a memorization. If you lose your focus, chances are you will have lost the flight plans. That's why we assign letters to stickers. If you hold your Rubik's cube (solved) with White on the top and Red on the front, here is how I letter my stickers:
U = top (up), D = bottom (down), L = left, R = right, F = front, B = back
UB (Up[top]-Back) - A - White sticker on the edge with white and orange
BU (Back-up(top)) - B - orange sticker on the edge with orange and white
UR (up-right) - C - white sticker on the edge with white and blue
RU - D - blue sticker on the edge with blue and white
UF - E - white sticker on White/red edge
FU - F - red sticker on red/white edge
UL - G - white on white/green
LU - H - green on white/green
LB (Left-back edge) - I - green sticker on green/orange
BL - J - orange on green/orange
BR - K - orange on orange/blue
RB - L - blue on orange/blue
RF - M - blue on blue/red
FR - N - red on blue/red
FL - O - red on red/green
LF - P - green on red/green
BD - Q - orange on orange/yellow
DB - R - yellow on orange/yellow
RD - S - blue on blue/yellow
DR - T - yellow on blue/yellow
FD - U - red on red/yellow
DF - V - yellow on red/yellow
LD - W - green on green/yellow
DL - X - yellow on green/yellow
That's how I letter my [edge] stickers. I do a similar thing for the corners, but I don't need to go into that here. I use the same techniques as for edges.
So I'll mix up my cube and explain what I do and how I'd do it.
I have to pick a location (not piece) on the cube that I am going to use to solve the rest (called the buffer). I use the Down-Front location (the piece is the yellow/red piece, but that does not matter). I look at the edge between the red center and the yellow center (on the Front and Bottom respectively). In my scramble, this is the Orange on orange/blue. I know from practice that it's letter is K (Back/right position). I will then temporarily remember K while I look at the back/right sticker+edge and see what that letter is. In my case this is the Blue on blue-white edge. Again, from practice, I know this is D. So now I have KD. I use a journey/roman rooms method to memorize these. I usually start my blind cubing sessions with my living room as the first room. On the piano (first thing I see when I enter; you guys know how roman rooms works [I hope :P ]) I put my friend named Kadie. She's just sitting there, doing nothing for now. I interact two images/letter pairs per location. I'll look at the right/up sticker ("D" location). It is the yellow on yellow-green. That is X. I temporarily remember this and look at that spot on the cube. White on white/orange. That is A. I now have KDXA. For the X's I usually just electrocute (makes me think of X) whatever the first thing is that pops into my mind with the following letter. A is alligator, so I add that to my image of Kadie. She is tasering an alligator. It's writhing around, electricity shooting off of it, etc. You guys understand the concept. I look at the piece in U/B (white/orange location). It is yellow on yellow/blue. T. I look there. It's green on green/red. P. So I've got Kadie electrocuting an alligator, TP. TP is toilet paper. At my next location in the room (computer) I put a huge roll of toilet paper. Perhaps it is wrapping around the computer like a mummy. The sticker at L/F (green/red) is the orange on orange-yellow. That is Q. Q's are usually hard, so I swap out Q with the "sh" sound when there isn't a nice image. I'll look at that piece; it is red on red/white. That is an F. So now I've got QF. I'll either incorporate a quaffle into the image with toilet paper or a chef (sounds like shef). In this case I'll picture a chef being strangled by the toilet paper. He's struggling, trying to get free, and knocks over the chair, computer, and books nearby in the process. I look at that sticker, and it is the blue on blue-red. That is M. I see that the piece in this spot is my "buffer", so I know that I am done (usually, but I won't go into that unless you guys really want me too. I'd probably just send you to a video on youtube anyway, since it's kinda hard to explain over text.) So since that is the end of the edges (cause I got to the yellow-red edge), I just need to memorize M somehow. I'll usually double up the letter and say MM, so I'd toss a huge bag of M&Ms on the couch.
So now I've got KDXATPQFM: Kadie electrocuting an alligator, toilet paper strangling a chef, M&Ms.
Does this make sense? Should I clarify some things, or is it fairly clear? I tried to keep it as simple as possible. This is the same method I use for memorizing even larger cubes such as the 4x4x4. One person used this method to memorize and blindsolve an 8x8x8.
whew. That was a long post...