The 2×2 is quite noticeably one of the simpler puzzles in the cubing world.  With only corner pieces to be aware of, there isn’t much that we have to learn to successfully solve this little challenge.

However, there are still algorithms that can be helpful for those who have never solved one before.  This is especially a great place to start if you have never solved a 3×3 before.  This will, in fact, help you better understand how the 3×3 works and give you a step ahead of the game when you decide to tackle the iconic cube.

One thing to note is that you don’t have a middle piece, and although it is obvious, it’s something to put into consideration.  You are only working with corner pieces and nothing else.  When you move any side, you will be messing up another.  It’s easy when you understand how to solve it, but it can scare you when you don’t know what you’re doing.

One other thing you will need to know is how the color scheme works.  Not many new cubers know this, but if you were to study the cube, you would see that white is opposite from yellow, blue from green, and red from orange.  When you notice this pattern, then the cube becomes significantly easier to solve.

I will make this as informative, intuitive, and as simple as possible.  The 2×2 can be a great stepping stone in understanding the mechanics of the cube when you decide to lead up to the 3×3 and more.  So with all of that said, here is the 2×2 tutorial.

Creating A White 2×1 Block

Our first step is to solve one side of the cube, and it can be any color that you want it to be.  Most people start with white, and there are a handful that start on blue.  You can choose to solve any color side that you would like.  Since white is a easy color to see, I’m going to choose white for the sake of this tutorial.

Each corner piece has three colors that are associated with that block.  Your goal is to find two corner pieces that have matching white and another color.  It doesn’t matter what type of color it is, just as long as they match.

Once you find the two corner pieces that you want to combine, you will need to figure out how to move the pieces around to arrange them side by side with the white and the other color matching each other on the same side.  This is more intuitive than anything, and you can freely move the sides however you want.  You don’t have anything else to worry about.

The biggest thing to focus on and be aware of is that you can change the direction of the piece depending on what side you move it on.  This is something that will be very important when you move on to the 3×3 or more complicated puzzles.

Solving The Rest Of The White Side

It becomes significantly easier when you begin to see how the pieces rotate and move as you try to solve the cube.  When you have the 2×1 white block done with the colors matching, your next step is to add the other two white corners to fully complete the white side.

With a little intuitive solving, you will be able to combine another corner piece to the 2×1 block you already created.  The trick is to not move the block that you created while adding the next corner.  Always remember that you can rotate, spin, and move any piece that you want that won’t affect the 2×1 block.

If you’re having trouble figuring out how to put another corner piece in, do something that you haven’t thought of before or even start over.  It could help you see something you didn’t notice before.

Once 3 out of the 4 corner pieces are solved, we will be solving the last white corner piece.  This is where we will bring in some algorithms to help us out.

There are only three different scenarios that you will encounter when you’re trying to finish the white side.  They can also be intuitively solved when you understand the cube a little more, but the algorithms help out when you’re just starting.  They definitely helped me!

To see these scenarios and for the algorithm, place the white block that you’ve solved on the bottom.  Then you’ll be able to see all of the other pieces with ease.  Some people teach from looking at the white on top, but if you want to eventually consider speed solving, then this is the best option and it will naturally make you faster.

Before we look at the 3 possible outcomes, we need to set up the corner piece by placing it over the one empty slot that it needs to go in.  All this requires is rotating the top side until it is right over the place it needs to go.

 

If it is facing the right, have the white side of the corner piece facing you and perform the algorithm:

U’, L’, U, L

If it is facing the left, have the white side of the corner piece facing you and perform the algorithm:

U, R, U’, R

And last but not least is if the white side is facing up.  This takes a little more time to complete, as we have to change the orientation of the piece before we put it in its proper place.  With the corner piece on the right side, perform this algorithm:

R, U2, R’, U’

… and then you’ll see that it is in the same state as the first scenario with the white facing the right…

U’, L’, U, L

Solving Yellow Side (OLL- Orientation of Last Layer)

You now have the whole white side completely solved!  Congratulations!  This part is also easy, and you’ll only have two algorithms left to learn.  Technically, you are halfway there!

Solving the yellow side is fun, but it can also seem strange and unnerving when you see the algorithms messing up your newly created white side. I want to let you know that this is completely normal, and the algorithm will fix the white side when you perform the algorithm correctly.

To solve the yellow side, we are aiming to create a yellow corner piece facing up with the other 3 yellow corner pieces on the right side facing you when you look at each side.  This is called the anti-sune.  This is actually used in all other cubic puzzles for whenever you decide to learn a new cube.

We will only be learning one algorithm for this whole next session.  This algorithm will be what we use to get the anti-sune and to then essentially solve the whole yellow side.

The algorithm is:

R, U, R’, U, R, U2, R’

If you don’t have the anti-sune, then we will be setting it up to look like it.

The best way to get this is to create the row of 3 yellow corners that are on the right side of the cube when it is facing you.  If you have 1 but not 2 or 3, then start where the 2nd one would be and perform the algorithm above.  If you have 1 and 2, but not 3, then start on the 2nd one.  To make it easy, always perform the algorithm where the 2 is or should be.

You keep performing the algorithm with the above criteria until you see all 3 corner pieces in a row; the anti-sune.  Once you get the anti-sune, start at the first yellow piece facing you and perform the algorithm.  You will see a completed yellow side when you are finished!

Moving Top Layer (PLL – Permutation of Last Layer)

If your cube is already complete, yay!  It’s only once in awhile that you will have everything solved, so you’re in luck!  If it is not complete, then you have one final step and algorithm to perform until you’re done!

We will be performing an algorithm that will switch the corner pieces around.  It is also used in speed solving the 3×3 and other larger puzzles, so it’s only fair to get you ahead of the game and learn it for the 2×2.

There are two possible scenarios that you have right now.  Either you have two corner pieces that are matching, or you have none matching at all.  If you have a match, then you’ll only have to do this algorithm once.  If you have no matching corners on the top row, then you’ll have to perform it twice.

If you have the one that is matching, put the matched corners on the backside of the cube facing away from you.  From there, do the following algorithm:

x, R’, U, R’, D2, R, U’, R’, D2, R2

If you don’t know what the x stands for, it means to flip the entire cube up one side.  For example, if you have the white side facing the bottom and yellow facing the top, “x” would mean to have the white facing you and the yellow away.  If red was originally in front, it is now the top.  There is more on this on the notation page.

Upon executing this algorithm, you should now have a fully solved 2×2!

If there are no matching corners on your top row, the process is essentially the same.  First, go ahead and perform the algorithm as if you had a matching pair.  It doesn’t matter where you start, just as long as you pick a side.

After the first run through of the algorithm, you will have a matched pair to work with.  Then you put the matched pair at the back and then perform the algorithm again.

Now you should have a fully solved 2×2!  You know all the algorithms that you will need to always be able to solve a 2×2.  Congratulations!

The plus side is that all of these algorithms are used in solving the 3×3 and any other more challenging cube that you decide to tackle.  If you ever want to learn how to solve the 3×3, then you will be on the right track.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and that it continues to be a resource that you use whenever you get stuck.  There are many faster ways to solve the 2×2, but this is a great start to taking those next steps on becoming a speedcuber!

If you have any questions or want to tell me what you thought of the tutorial and how it helped you, let me know in the comments!