Introduction

Solving a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded can seem like a very challenging and awesome event, even for speedcubers. However, if you break it down into a few standard steps and then practice enough to gain confidence in your ability, this event will not be as hard as it looks. This blog will give a basic overview of how to solve a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded so that you can get started along the blindfolded journey.

Method and Orientation

The method this blog will discuss is the standard Old Pochmann method, the first method that almost every blindfold solver starts out with. Advanced methods like M2 and 3-Style emerge from the principles of the classic Pochmann method. Since you won’t be able to see your cube while solving, orientation is very important. The standard WCA scrambling orientation is easiest to follow: green face in front and white face on top.

Letter Scheme

A fixed lettering scheme is important to remember and recognize each individual sticker. The most commonly used one is the Speffz lettering scheme. It starts from the white face and goes clockwise in order from A to X for both corners and edges. The scheme for corners is shown below in the diagram. Now that each sticker has been assigned one letter, we can dive into the actual method.

Buffer

It is practically impossible to memorize the scramble and keep track of every single piece as you try to solve it blindfolded using regular methods like CFOP. Hence, 3BLD uses very simple algorithms to move around and solve a few pieces without affecting the rest of the cube. Doing this for a set of memorized pieces will then result in the cube being solved. To do this, there needs to be a buffer piece, a piece that allows for the moving around of other pieces so that the rest of the cube does not change.

Corners

The buffer for corners is A, the top left corner. The piece to be switched is brought to the P position (bottom right red face) and the algorithm is performed. The algorithm is actually very simple to remember, it is a Y Perm without the first F move: R U' R' U' R U R' F' R U R' U' R' F R F'. The corner is brought to the switching position P using set-up moves, which are then reversed after performing the algorithm.

This might be hard to grasp at first, so let us look at an example scramble: L B L U2 R D2 L2 U2 B2 L F2 L2 D L2 U F2 L2 B D'. Here, the corner in the buffer position is orange-white-green, so it needs to go to the F position. To bring F to the P position, F2 can be done. Then the algorithm is performed. And F2 again to return it to the original position. Now, a different corner will be in the buffer position (the one that was previously in the F position) and the F corner will be solved. This should be done for all the corners, like a map that you will then remember and perform blindfolded.

So, in this example, the first letter is F. The corner in the F position should then go to M. And so on. The final sequence for corners will be F M B P L H V OW, with the last 2 letters fixing the orientation of the twisted corner. So, once blindfolded, you will solve these corners in the sequence that you just memorized. The set-up moves for each position can be found on any blindfolded resource, including many Youtube videos like the one made by J Perm.

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Edges and Parity

The exact principle is used for edges. The buffer position, in this case, is B and the position corners are brought to be switched is D. The algorithm used is directly a T Perm and there are set-up moves present for each position case that can be found on the Internet. In this example, the edge sequence will be U A Q R T E F P O J G W G.

This method depends on cycles being even-numbered. If either the number of letters in your corner or edge sequences is odd, then you have to perform the parity algorithm after solving edges. The parity algorithm is an Rb Perm: (U) R U2 R' U2 R' F R2 U' R' U' R U R' F' R U R' U R U2 R' (U’).

Memory Tricks

Even remembering these sequences of letters can be hard. The trick is to transform or associate these random letters with more memorable things. What most blindfolded solvers do is use letter pairs. They pair two adjacent letters and remember them as a word. These words then make a sentence, which is much easier to remember. The words for each letter pair are up to you, whatever makes you remember them the most. You can also look up already made words for hard letter pairs.

To continue with the example scramble for the corner sequence, F M B P L H V O W as letter pairs will become FM BP LH VO W, and the words can be FM Radio, Blood pressure, Lighthouse, VOW. These can be strung together in a sentence as: “The FM radio gave me Blood Pressure when I lived in the LightHouse called VOW.” You can experiment with these letter pairs a lot and figure out which words stick out the most for you.

Conclusion

3x3 Blindfolded is an event that works on principles that are easy to understand but harder to execute. All this comes down to familiarity and practice. Becoming familiar with the letter scheme so that you are easily able to trace pieces and the set-up moves for each position and then remembering them well enough to solve the puzzle blindfolded can only happen through a lot of practice. Once you overcome the barrier of completing your first full blindfolded solve (which can take a while), then it only gets easier.

This blog does not cover every single aspect of the event. There are cases like twisted corners and edges and cycle breaks that come up in scrambles, and these can be solved by minutely changing the letter sequence. For more detail and all the algorithms and set-up moves, there are a variety of resources: many websites like J Perm’s and Youtube videos that can help you get better and understand the concepts more. Hopefully, this blog has provided you with an overview of the steps involved and an understanding of how the event works and how to solve the Rubik’s Cube blindfolded.

Pranav Prabhu

Pranav Prabhu is the current 3x3 Fewest Moves (Single) National record holder from Chennai. He started cubing when he was 14 and has 5 years of cubing experience. Besides cubing, Pranav enjoys reading books, writing, and playing the piano. He has participated in 36 competitions and won 30 podiums including 8 gold medals and 1 National record.