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Mnemonics and the Rubiks Cube

 Contents..

This article is 'a work in progress' about using mnemonics to make the memorising of techniques of solving the cube easier; and to lay out one method of using mnemonics to memorise pieces' positions to attempt the cube blindfolded.

In this approach, the blue face of the cube has its 4 edges solved last of all. I used acrostics to memorise the moves needed to make 3 edges change position with each other. First though, I assigned a letter of the alphabet to each twist you can do to the cube. So, for instance, twisting the top of the cube clockwise would have a letter: S. Then, if I have a sentence associated with relocating the three edges then, by looking at the first letter of each word of the sentence, I have really got an instruction to twist the top of the cube once clockwise, etc..

One 'sentence' is 'Your Fortune Made Quickly; You Found Money'. I use the Y F M Q Y F M[oney] letters of the sentence as instructions to me to cause 3 edges to change places with each other.

If you are doing the cube with your eyes open then you do not need to learn many ways of finishing the 4 edges of the blue face: you would just use your knowledge of a handful of techniques and use them to move edges to where they need to be; but my approach is to memorise some pieces of the cube at different stages of solving it; and then to apply memorised ways of getting pieces into place.

There are approaches to blindfold solving the cube blindfolded that do not need that list of many blue edge solutions learned either - but my approach needs it; and mnemonics are a way to get those finishes memorised.



First though, let's look at expressing edge pieces as letters of the alphabet. This is good 'chunking' of information because rather than learning 'blue : orange edge with the blue being the dominant colour', I can call it F.

Plus, I distinguish that orientation from when the same piece has its orange colour facing you and its blue colour on another face of the cube: letter E.

You can actually remember, short term, which 4 edge pieces are in a sequence at the middle tier of the cube by repeating to yourself 4 letters such as the F.

A RB
B BR
C WB
D BW
E OB
F BO
G YB
H BY
I RY
J YR
K RW
L WR
M OW
N WO
O OY
P YO
Q RG
R GR
S WG
T GW
U OG
V GO
W YG
X GY


For the final 4 blue edge positioning, I have used letters to describe 8 actions I can do to 3 edges of the 4 edge blue face - depending on which edges need manipulation. There are 16 actions called Tri-A, Tri-B, Tri-C, etc.; and I can make acrostics to recall which moves suit a situation: Tri-A would be recalled by having a word beginning with 'A' in the acrostic.

E.g. You can make the top, left and right edge switch places clockwise and each keep their dominant colour on the blue face [Tri-A move]. Depending on which 3 edges you want to move, if it is clockwise or anti-clockwise, etc., I made 16 actions named: Tri-... A,B,C,D; F,G,H,I; J,K,L,M; N,O,P,Q.

And I made a table where I state, looking at edges in the order 'top, right, bottom, left', which of those A to Q actions to do to make them arrive in the correct finished position.

Note: This would be with me holding the cube so that the blue face is facing me and the red face is at the top.

Note: 'WB' in row 1 means that the top edge has the white sticker facing me and the blue sticker of the edge is at the other face; YB has yellow dominant and blue at another face; OB is orange dominant; RB is red dominant.To learn the table, I could think of WB as C (see the table above); and think of YB as G (see the table above); and then, since I have an AA-ZZ memory system, I can imagine item CG of the system; and imagine the solution 'A' as the Apple alphabet image beside it; or just vocally rote learn that CG cog image needs 'Apple' as a reminder of the solution.

WB; YB; OB; RB A
OB; YB; RB; WB AB
WB; RB; YB; OB AD
BO; YB; RB; BW AG
BO; WB; BY; RB AH
WB; BR; BY; OB AI
RB; WB; OB; YB AJ
BR; WB; OB; BY AN
BR; YB; BW; OB AO
WB; BO; RB; BY AQ
WB; OB; RB; YB B
BO; RB; BW; YB BG
BO; BY; RB; WB BH
WB; BY; OB; BR BI
BR; OB; BY; WB BN
BR; BW; OB; YB BO
WB; RB; BY; BO BQ
RB; OB; YB; WB C
BW; OB; BR; YB CF
BW; RB; YB; BO CG
RB; BY; WB; BO CH
OB; BY; BR; WB CI
OB; BW; YB; BR CO
RB; BW; BO; YB CP
OB; WB; YB; RB D
OB; YB; BR; BW DF
RB; BO; YB; BW DG
OB; BR; WB; BY DN
BW; BR; YB; OB DO
BW; YB; BO; RB DP
RB; WB; BO; BY DQ
BW; YB; OB; BR F
BO; WB; YB; BR FC
BW; BR; BY; BO FI
BR; YB; WB; BO FK
BW; OB; RB; BY FM
BW; BO; RB; YB G
BO; BR; WB; YB GB
BW; BY; OB; RB GD
BR; BO; YB; WB GJ
RB; BO; BY; WB H
WB; BO; BR; YB HA
RB; BY; BW; OB HC
OB; BW; BY; RB HK
OB; WB; BY; BR I
RB; OB; BY; BW IB
OB; RB; BW; BY IJ
WB; YB; BO; BR IL
OB; RB; WB; YB K
RB; YB; WB; OB L
OB; BR; BW; YB O
RB; YB; BW; BO P


I hope to expand on this article during 2021. Here are the stages of the blindfold solution which I want to write more about:

Stage 1. Memorise the cube not as it is at the start but how it will be in a few moves time. This involves memorising which moves to apply to get the cube to arrive in the state that you are memorising. Soon, you will do those moves; and then they will be out of mind. They are moves which put 4 edges of interest into the middle tier of the cube (but not in any particular order). They are also notes for making all 8 corners get solved.

A mnemonic would assume that a top face edge is going to the red face where above that face is the blue face and below that face is the green face; so a piece from the top blue face would be arriving at the middle tier of the red face. The mnemonic would represent which side of the top blue face has the edge that is about to go to the middle tier; and which 'Tri-' move [Tri-A, Tri-F, Tri-J, Tri N] to use. And, sometimes, a mnemonic can indicate "now turn to the orange face in order to similarly drop top edge pieces to the middle tier orange face area.

Stage 2. Make the 4 edges of interest arrive at the middle tier.

Stage 3. Make all 8 corners go to their final positions (twisted to the correct orientations as well so that the correct colour shows at each face). I examine the bottom green face and the top blue face when analysing which corners need to travel. Eg. A green corner at the blue face needs to jump across to the green face; in doing so, a blue corner at the green face jumps to the blue face. There is a technique which swaps corners so that a green corner switches with a blue corner. I want all 4 green corners at the green face; and all four blue corners at the blue face.

Stage 4. Orient the corners so that, as well as being in the correct place, the green sticker shows at the green face, etc..

Stage 5. Actually, solving the corners, at step 3, causes some edges to jump about into new positions.

Rememorise the relevant edges or don't: save mnemonic peg usage by deriving mentally what the green face edges would now be based on what they started as and the effect of the corner switching.

None of the edges at the green face have green stickers on them when you reach stage 3 (above): the start of the solution involved ensuring that edges with a green sticker are placed in the middle tier: the edge positions sandwiched between the blue face and the green face.

Stage 6. The middle tier 4 edges actually belong in the bottom face (the green face); and so do moves which put them there in the correct position and correct green dominant colour showing.

Stage 7. There may be edges which belong in the middle tier which currently sit in the top face. They will be dealt with later; for now though, the edges which are in the middle tier and belong there too will need correct flipping to show their dominant colour; and need placing on the correct face. At the red face, there are 2 middle tier edges. What if 2 middle tier pieces arrive there but the left one is in the right side and the right one is on the left side? That will be handled later.

This stage is about making sure that the middle tier edges with orange in them are located at the orange face; and that the middle tier edges with red in them are at the red face [and flipping them to the correct dominant colour while they move].

Stage 8. If a left edge should be right side and a right edge should be left side then solve it [and flipping them to the correct dominant colour while they move]. You would solve the red face 2 edges and then solve the orange face 2 edges.

A slight variation to this happens if the two edges at the middle tier face of interest are not both belonging in that middle tier; if one of them has a blue sticker on it then I have a list of which move to apply instead of the typical one.

Unfortunately, the top blue face may have changes to its edges' positions or orientation during these middle tier stages; I can keep those changes small and consider using peg mnemonics to rememorise the blue face edges.

Stage 9. Put any top face edges (that belong in the middle tier) into the middle tier in such a way that the red face middle tier is finished and the orange middle tier is finished.

Stage 10. The blue face edges need putting into their final positions and to dominatly show blue.

In some stages, above, a lot of peg memorisation can be avoided by solving 4 pieces at a time and saying their names to yourself in a short term loop rather than storing them at visual peg locations.

My challenge, in 2021, is to expand on these steps and put it into practice [making any necessary modifications along the way].

Acrostics for the Tri- moves such as Tri-A

Corner notes

Middle tier notes

Suggested Pegs (BLOKES system)