Learning to speed solve cubes of any size or shape will ultimately come down to learning in one of two ways.  Either you learn how to solve it intuitively or you can memorize the algorithms that other people provide.  The problem is that there are so many variations that you can’t decide on what is the best way to go about it.  The question of the day is: should you solve intuitively or memorize algorithms?

I remember going through the same crossroad with every new puzzle that I decide to tackle.  Trying to figure out what would be the best option was always a hassle, and taking away time that I could spend actually learning something.

If you have experienced this or just want to have another opinion on what you should do as far as learning a new puzzle goes, I would like to show you the method that I use when deciding whether I want to memorize the algorithms or learn it on a more intuitive level.  Now, remember that this is just my method and you can do whatever works best for you.

Intuitive Solve

Intuitive solves are beneficial for the fact that you don’t have anything that you have to remember, but you are rather figuring out how to solve certain steps without the need of algorithms.  It sometimes isn’t easy, but you end up learning more about how the cube turns and works with the pieces.

My method of learning intuitive starts with looking at how simple the process looks and if I can quickly figure out how to solve that particular step.  If I can do both, then I will go ahead and practice without learning a certain set of moves.  Now if it doesn’t look easy or if I’m not understanding what is going on, then I will leave it alone and learn the algorithms that are necessary.  That is how I decide with every puzzle that I want to learn.

Are you unsure whether or not you could solve it intuitively? Look up some intuitive cube solving tutorials and see if they exist.  You’re in good shape if they do exist, but you may want to consider the alternate route if there is nothing out there that shows intuitive solves.  Chances are, it may not be easy to intuitively solve.

Another decision-making process I go through is when I’m trying to go as fast as I can.  If my intuitive solves are pretty quick, then I’m good to go; but I’m not against learning new algorithms that will accelerate my speed solves.  An example would be learning F2L.  I find that I’m quite fast with my F2L’s but I do know some algorithms for certain scenarios that I come across.  It’s not that I don’t know how, but I want to know a faster way that I may not have figured out.

You can always do a hybrid of sorts.  I recognize intuitive solves faster than algorithms, so I combine the two for maximum effect.  Tailor it to what you are looking for, and you’ll find a good balance that allows you to push yourself in either direction if you want.

Memorizing Algorithms

Memorizing algorithms is the best method for learning something fast while using the quickest possible moves to achieve the results that you are looking for.  I find that this is the best for me when I want to improve my time with solving the 3×3 or any other speed cube for that matter.

I personally loved learning algorithms for the PLL’s (permutation of the last layer) and continue learning the OLL’s (orientation of the last layer).  They are a fun challenge for me to learn them all and I know that I am getting faster with the more algorithms that I learn.

The reason memorizing algorithms are so good is that you are learning every possible method to solving the cube or whatever puzzle you are trying to solve.  Memorizing cuts down the time that it would take to solve it intuitively, so if you are wondering what it takes to become a speed cuber, this is one of those steps.

Memorizing the algorithms that you are wanting to have down pat is not an easy way out either.  It takes me days and sometimes longer to memorize everything that I wanted to, but the payout is always worth it in the end.

So What’s The Best?

I don’t want this to be a blanket statement, so I will go into more detail here but it does truly come down to what you are wanting out of solving whatever puzzle challenge you have in front of you.  Are you just having fun and enjoying the challenge? Then go intuitively.  If you are looking to compete and really go as fast as you can, then memorizing will be a better option for you.  Don’t overthink the process and do whatever you think you want to do.  The best thing is that it isn’t a permanent decision.  You can always do both whenever you want to.

So what about you?  What is your method or process to learning new puzzles that come your way?  Let us know in the comments!