CFOP is the most frequently used speedsolving method for the 3x3x3 cube. It is also known as the Fridrich Method after its popularizer, Jessica Fridrich. In part due to Fridrich's publication of the method on her website in , CFOP has been the most dominant 3x3 speedcubing method since around , with it and its variants used by the vast majority of the top speedcubers such as Feliks Zemdegs , Max Park , Sebastian Weyer , Mats Valk , etc. In reality, many developments were made in the early '80s by other cubers who have contributed to the method in its current form. The constituent techniques and their original proposers are as follows:.
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So you've gone through the beginner's method a few times, and maybe you can solve the cube unaided every time. Maybe you're even getting pretty good, and can consistently do it in under 2 minutes. But now you're hooked.
You aren't satisfied with people standing around for 2 minutes while you solve it because that guy at the office didn't believe you. You want to be one of those people, who can just look at a cube, and ten seconds later boom, it's done. You want a taste of the high-flying, rock and roll lifestyle of the speedcuber.
Well here is where your journey begins. This guide takes you through every step of the CFOP speedcubing method. Learning and practising this method can take you all the way to the top of the game - it is used by a lot of the top speedcubers to set world records, including the current staggeringly low time of 4. Full CFOP takes some dedication.
If you've just arrived at this website looking to learn how to solve a Rubik's Cube and thought to yourself "Beginner my left foot, I'm starting with the speed cubing guide, that sounds fast", then I warn you now: here be dragons. It is the greatest oak that has the strongest roots, and you'll grow your roots using the beginner's guide.
Go on, I'll wait right here. Are you back? Now that you know the beginner method, you can begin to introduce the concepts in this guide into your solves. You needn't go through the steps in order - you can learn and practise each bit independently, falling back on the beginner method as and when you need it. But not exactly the same, as you'll have noticed - the cube is upside down. Indeed, the whole cross is assembled on the bottom layer instead of the top. This will be awkward the first few times you attempt it, but it is certainly worth practising.
Not having to turn the cube over after completing the cross on the top layer saves a lot of time, and it also means that you can be looking for the pieces for the next step whilst completing the cross on the bottom.
At this stage, a lot of people still find it quite difficult to intuitively manipulate the cube. This means that doing the cross on the bottom is difficult, as they have come to rely on algorithms for situations that are suddenly upside-down. It is difficult to teach intuition, but through practice it should eventually just 'click' in your head. If doing the cross on the bottom takes much longer than when doing it on the top, don't be disheartened!
It does take time to get used to, and it doesn't really matter how long you take when you're practising. As mentioned above, the sections in this method don't have to be learned sequentially. Move on to the next sections, but keep starting with the cross on the bottom. I have found that the next step F2L is a huge help for people to understand how to move cubies to where they want them, a skill that they can later use when returning to the cross.
All of that being said, I can give you some situations to hopefully make the process easier. In this example:. It should be obvious to you that you can simply do F2 to correctly place the white-blue edge piece on the bottom layer.
But you could also place the white-red piece by doing this:. Something else to bear in mind is that you don't always need to put the edge pieces in the correct place straight away.
Consider this situation, and the two approaches to solving it:. The first approach involves taking each edge piece, putting it above where it needs to go, and turning the appropriate face twice to place the piece on the bottom layer.
This works, and is an intuitive way to solve the problem, but the second solution is much simpler. It simply solves each piece relative to each other , and then places them in one go. So instead of producing the cross by finding each white edge piece and solving them one by one, what you actually want to be doing is solving each piece at the same time in an efficient way.
You might think that this sounds quite challenging, and you'd be right. But what is life without a bit of a challenge every now and then. If you are thinking "how the dickens is anyone supposed to do this in 4. World Cube Association Regulation A3a1 states that a competitor has up to 15 seconds of inspection time before attempting a solve, and you would want to be spending this time mentally formulating a complete solution to the cross which you could then execute very quickly at the start of your solve.
Of course, when you're just sat at home on a lazy Sunday idling the afternoon away with a Rubik's Cube you likely won't be paying much attention to official WCA competition rules, but it does give you something to aim for. Why don't you give it a try - go to the timer page , set inspection time to 15 seconds and see if you can produce a solution to the cross entirely in your head.
It can be quite difficult certainly so if you've only just started doing it upside down but with practice it will become very easy to isolate only the four edge pieces you need and formulate a basic plan to get them into a cross. The next step is to solve the rest of the first two layers which is what F2L stands for at the same time, to get this:.
The idea of F2L is to pair each of the four bottom layer corners with the corresponding edge piece and then insert them into the correct place. Here's a simple example:.
The corner piece is paired with the edge piece, and the pair is inserted into the right place. Easy peasy. There are, however, a few situations you might find yourself in where this procedure is not quite so obvious.
Here's a similar example:. This can't be solved as simply, but the idea is exactly the same. The two sections of the algorithm show the two steps in the same procedure as before - the first bracketed section shows the pairing of the two cubies, and the second section shows the pair being inserted correctly.
You simply repeat these steps for each of the four corners, and solve each F2L pair in turn. The important part of F2L is being able to solve each of the pairs without affecting any of the other previously solved pairs. For example, here are two ways of pairing the corner and edge pieces:.
The first algorithm does successfully pair the red-blue corner and edge pieces, but it also lifts out the blue-orange pair from its proper place, thereby undoing any hard work it took to put it there. Instead, a simple U' before the algorithm means that when you then pair the red-blue corner and edge piece, you avoid affecting the blue-orange pair. Instead, the pieces that do get affected are ones you don't care about, as they were occupying the space that you want to put the red-blue pair into.
This idea of finding an empty space on the cube and using it to build a corner-edge pair is crucial to F2L, as of course you want to be able to construct each of the four F2L pairs without disturbing any previously solved ones. But sometimes it can be advantageous to disturb unsolved spaces by choosing a space to build your corner-edge pair that also assists the creation of the next pair.
For example:. In this situation, the first algorithm uses the empty space between the red and blue faces to move the red-blue edge piece so it can be easily paired and inserted. This doesn't disturb any of the other F2L spaces, but you can see that the red-green pieces are looking rather unsolved and unhappy.
If you used the second algorithm instead, then the same thing happens to red-blue corner and edge pieces, but now the red-green pieces are much happier and are in a position to be solved much more easily.
You now know the basic ideas of F2L. Have a go on your cube, and see if you can work out how to solve any of the pairs. Rather than relying on a big table of algorithms, F2L is best done intuitively. This is for the same reason as the cross in step 1 - you need to be able to look at the cube and produce an efficient way of solving each F2L pair. Just like with the happy red-green pieces before, sometimes you will come to an F2L situation that you've solved many times, but solve it in a different way because you want to set up the next F2L pair for easy solving.
However, there is such a list on the algorithms page , where you can see each F2L case and how to solve it. They are there so you can see an optimal way to solve each case, but try to not rely on them for every single F2L case you encounter. Instead, really try and solve each case intuitively. Don't worry if you struggle! It takes practise, and the next little section is all about how to be better at F2L.
F2L can be a little difficult to get your head around. Even if you understand the basic ideas above, it isn't always obvious how best to proceed. I shall now try to explain some further concepts that you can use to improve your F2L.
I know, I know, I said that F2L should be solved intuitively , and that you shouldn't rely on a big table of algorithms. If you can intuitively solve every F2L situation you come across then jolly well done, but there are a few cases where there is just a better, faster, much less obvious algorithm to solve it.
For example, consider the following two algorithms:. An intuitive way of thinking about this situation might produce something like the first algorithm, as it follows the usual principles of pairing the edge and corner piece and inserting them together. However, the second algorithm is much faster to perform, as it is essentially the same few moves performed three times.
You will also have noticed that the first two brackets are written in red. I'm not even kidding. A trigger is simply a sequence of moves that is easy to perform very quickly, and the Sexy Move trigger comes up a lot. Being able to identify it easily will make algorithms that use it easier to learn, so whenever it is used in this guide it will be highlighted in red.
It's easier to perform the quick trigger first and then add on the U', as opposed to modifying a well-practised sequence. There are five such cases that you should learn the algorithmic solution for, and they're all in this nice little table:. Turning the whole cube in your hands is a slow waste of time. Wasting time is bad. Therefore, rotate the cube as little as possible. This might seem like a trivial difference to you, but each little pause adds up, and when you're trying to really push down your solve time every second counts.
To this end, the vast majority of the algorithms on this page are comprised of many Rs and Us, as they are easy to perform sorry lefties. They also tend to use more double layer turns like d as opposed U y'.
Both have the same effect, but a double layer turn is quicker. Compare these two algorithms:. Both algorithms solve the F2L pair and use the same number of moves.
So you've gone through the beginner's method a few times, and maybe you can solve the cube unaided every time. Maybe you're even getting pretty good, and can consistently do it in under 2 minutes. But now you're hooked. You aren't satisfied with people standing around for 2 minutes while you solve it because that guy at the office didn't believe you. You want to be one of those people, who can just look at a cube, and ten seconds later boom, it's done. You want a taste of the high-flying, rock and roll lifestyle of the speedcuber.
Rubik's Cube solution with advanced Fridrich (CFOP) method
This method was first developed in the early s combining innovations by a number of speed cubers. Czech speedcuber and the namesake of the method Jessica Fridrich is generally credited for popularizing it by publishing it online in The method works on a layer-by-layer system, first solving a cross typically on the bottom, continuing to solve the first two layers F2L , orienting the last layer OLL , and finally permuting the last layer PLL. Basic layer-by-layer methods were among the first to arise during the early s cube craze. David Singmaster published a layer-based solution in which proposed the use of a cross. The major innovation of CFOP over beginner methods is its use of F2L, which solves the first two layers simultaneously.
Step 2: First two layers - F2L
The first two layers F2L of the Rubik's Cube are solved simultaneously rather than individually, reducing the solve time considerably. In the second step of the Fridrich method we solve the four white corner pieces and the middle layer edges attached to them. The 41 possible cases in this step can be solved intuitively but it's useful to have a table of algorithms printed on your desk for guidance. To be efficient try not to turn your cube around while solving and look ahead as much as possible. Familiarize with the algorithms so you can do them even with your eyes closed. In the beginner's method solving the white corners and the second layer edges were two separate steps, but in this stage you should already know this. In the advanced Fridrich method we're going to pair them in the top layer, then insert them where they belong.