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Blindfold Cubing

Around the beginning of November, 2002, I finally did my first 3x3x3 blindfolded cube! You may think “that's impossible,” as I once did, but I was successful. I am not the first person to have done this (by far!) - there are those who can solve as many as 5 cubes without looking at any of them once they start solving. To see how I did it, just look below.

Here's how it works, in a nutshell. Obviously, you have to look at the cube at some point, otherwise you have no idea what the cube looks like (unless someone tells you), so the first thing you do is study the cube. Once you are sure that you have completely memorized the cube's state, you blindfold yourself, pick up the cube, solve it, and put it back down solved. Provided all went well, when you take off the blindfold to look at the cube again, it will be solved.

I may actually put instructions on blindfold cubing here at some point, but for now, I will refer you to Dr. Richard Carr's blindfold cubing document (you need adobe acrobat reader to view it). The method I use is essentially the same as his, except that I didn't spend the time to learn the algorithms he listed - I just used algorithms that I already knew for solving the cube.

Just so you are warned, none of the rest of this is probably going to make much sense unless you have read his document and understand the move notation and terminology used in cubing algorithms.

Well, here it is - a walkthrough of my first blindfolded cube. Unfortunately, I didn't write this page right after doing the blindfold cube, so I don't remember the exact move sequences used. However, I did write down which actions were taken, and this is pretty close to how I would have done it at the time - it should be move for move what I did, except for the corner and edge orientation steps, for a total of 186 moves. The cube's original, mixed state was:
2221 1001 (corner orientations)
0100 1100 0111 (edge orientations)
8123 4675 (corner permutation)
6 12 5 2 7 10 4 8 3 11 1 9 (edge permutation)
If you want to follow what I did, apply these moves to a solved cube, to get to the original, mixed state:
F2 R' F2 R D2 F2 L B2 L U2 F' U2 F L2 B2 L2 D2 U' B F'
Then, just follow the moves listed with each step of my solution.

Step One - Corner Orientation (63 moves):
  1. Rotate corner positions 1, 2, & 3 counter clockwise, making the corner orientation 0001 1001
    [(L' F L F') (L' F L F') U] [(L' F L F') (L' F L F') U] [(L' F L F') (L' F L F') U] U
  2. Rotate corner position 4 clockwise and corner position 8 counter clockwise, making the corner orientation 0000 1002
    [(U L' U' L) (U L' U' L) B'] [(L' U L U') (L' U L U') B]
  3. Finally, rotate corner position 5 clockwise and corner position 8 counter clockwise, completing corner orientation.
    [(F R' F' R) (F R' F' R) D2] [(R' F R F') (R' F R F') D2]
Step Two - Edge Orientation (45 moves):
  1. Flip edge positions 2 and 12, making the edge orientation 0000 1100 0110
    [(L U' L') E (L U L') E'] [(U2 B') (M' B2 M) (B' U2)]
  2. Flip edge positions 5 and 10, making the edge orientation 0000 0100 0010
    [(L D' L') E' (L D L') E] [(D2 F') (M' F2 M) (F' D2)]
  3. Flip edge positions 6 and 11, completing edge orientation
    [(R D' R') E' (R D R') E] [(D2 B') (M B2 M') (B' D2)]
Step Three - Corner Permutation (22 moves):
  1. Rotate corners from position 1 to 8, from 8 to 2, and from 2 to 1, leaving a corner permutation of 1523 4678
    B2 [(R B') (R F2) (R' B R) (F2 R2)] B2
  2. Rotate corners from position 2 to 5, from 5 to 4, and from 4 to 2, leaving a corner permutation of 1324 5678
    R2 [(L F' L) (B2 L') (F L) (B2 L2)] R2
NOTE: I left the corners in positions 2 and 3 to swap later with two edges.

Step Four - Edge Permutation (43 moves)
  1. Rotate edges from position 5 to 7, 7 to 6, and 6 to 5, leaving an edge permutation of 6 12 5 2 10 4 7 8 3 11 1 9
    (R2 D) (S D2 S') (D R2)
  2. Rotate edges from position 1 to 6, 6 to 5, and 5 to 1, leaving an edge permutation of 10 12 5 2 4 6 7 8 3 11 1 9
    (M D2) (M' D2)
  3. Rotate edges from position 3 to 5, 5 to 4, and 4 to 3, leaving an edge permutation of 10 12 2 4 5 6 7 8 3 11 1 9
    D [(S' U2) (S U2)] D'
  4. Swap edges between positions 9 and 12 and between 10 and 11, leaving an edge permutation of 10 12 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 11 3
    (F2 E2 F2 E2) (R2 E2 R2 E2)
  5. Rotate edges from position 10 to 12, 12 to 2, and 2 to 10, leaving an edge permutation of 10 3 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 11 1
    U' [(U2 L) (S' L2 S) (L U2)] U
  6. Rotate edges from position 10 to 12, 12 to 1, and 1 to 10, leaving an edge permutation of 1 3 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
    U [(U2 L) (S' L2 S) (L U2)] U'
Step Five - Correct Final Edge Pair and Corner Pair (13 moves):
  • Swap edge positions 2 and 3 and corner positions 2 and 3.
    y (L' U' L) F2 (R' D) (R U) (R2 D') (R2 U') F2
Finally, the cube is solved!

Last modified: Friday, 13-Feb-2004 08:23:56 PST