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Rubik's Cube: fundamental techniques

Align then join

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One of the biggest frustrations for a beginner is figuring out which way two pieces are supposed to go together. After first identifying two pieces that are supposed to go together, a beginner will soon find that there are many incorrect ways!

For a corner and edge pair that are supposed to go together, there are in fact 5 incorrect ways they can be joined, and only 1 correct way:

. . . INCORRECT . . .

In the correct configuration, both the top (orange) and front (yellow) sides of the two pieces match in colour.

In figuring out how to get the two pieces to join together this way, it is useful to see how the two pieces would look, one move away from solved:

Notice that when the two pieces are one move away from being joined, they are perfectly aligned: the yellow sticker comes before the orange sticker. It is important that you see this. Click and drag each cube above to look at the hidden sides of the cube, and see that the yellow/orange stickers are aligned.

What does this mean? It means that all you need to do to join two pieces is to first get them into this position where you can see that they are aligned, and then you will be able to easily join them in one move.


We can see that these two pieces should be joined by yellow and orange, but they are currently not aligned. In the edge piece, yellow comes before orange, but in the corner piece, green comes before yellow. If we were to join them now, we would see yellow beside green, and orange beside yellow.

However, if we rotate the front face 90 degrees anti-clockwise, the two pieces will be aligned. Click play, or step, to watch through the solution.

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