#### dudefaceguy

##### Member

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- Feb 17, 2019

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I recently learned 3-style as my first blind method. I did it completely intuitively, without memorizing any algorithms. This is an explanation of what I did, and a collection of the resources that I used. I hope that it will be helpful to others who want to learn 3-style intuitively for fun.

Spoiler: Preliminary Notes

The basic concept of blindfolded solving is to choose one piece (your buffer), memorize its solved location, then memorize the solved location of the piece in that spot, and so on, which will eventually lead you to memorizing a cycle of piece swaps which will put every piece in the right place. You then execute the swaps using commutators, solving 2 pieces at a time. Commutators only move 3 pieces at a time, so this leaves all the other pieces in the same spot for when you get to them later on in the solve. Since there are 20 solvable pieces on a 3x3, you have to memorize about 20 pieces of information. Many good resources already exist for these concepts, so here is a collection of links.

Spoiler: Wiki articles explaining the basics

Here are some video tutorials for these basic concepts. Ignore the parts that explain execution, since we will execute the solve using 3-style instead:

Spoiler: Basic Blindsolving Tutorials

There are a lot of great 3-style tutorials on YouTube. I suggest these:

Spoiler: 3-Style Tutorials

Finally, here are some resources explaining commutators:

https://www.ryanheise.com/cube/commutators.html
Spoiler: Commutator Resources

Once you know the basics of blindsolving and 3-style, try some sighted solves just to practice commutator structure (more on that below) and to make sure that you can do everything correctly. Then start experimenting with memorization and blindfolded solving. I started by writing down the memo letter pairs on paper, then holding the cube under the table and executing the solve while reading the written memo. You may be surprised how soon you will be able to execute a full solve blindfolded.

You may have heard that 3-Style requires learning 800 algorithms, but this is only true if you want to be super-duper fast. All you really need to learn is 1 interchange and 4 insertions each for edges and corners, making 8 types of commutators in all. I suggest starting with the same interchange layer for edges and corners, since the commutators will then have a similar structure. I will use UF/UFR as buffers in my examples – C/C in the Speffz lettering scheme.

I started with these 8 commutator types, which all use U as the buffer/interchange layer for both corners and edges, and C/C as the edge and corner buffers. You should use the commutators you know best – these are just examples.

Edges:

Corners:

The only type of insertion that is not trivially obvious is the opposite-sticker corner insertion – learning it will save you many ugly conjugates, and therefore increase accuracy. These are 12-move commutators, which sounds long, but the insertion is very simple and fast to perform, with the added bonus that it’s the same forwards and backwards.

I used the following rules when learning these initial commutators:

Once you have mastered these initial 8 commutator types, the next step is to learn a second interchange layer. I started by using only D-layer interchange commutators for edges and corners, then learned M interchange and 4-move commutators for edges, and am now learning R interchanges for corners. If you learn both U and M layer edge commutators, almost all cases will be either a pure commutator or a 1-move conjugate. After you are familiar with 2 interchange layers like this, you will start to see interchanges on other layers.

There are also many commutator lists from top cubers that you can use to get ideas, especially if you're having trouble with a hard case. I like to use Jack Cai's list: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1b-4JhfmL89ZMT4wkoazoFNHJ0GidKrUm8NC0OzNcRdk/edit#gid=522554293

Here's another post with a whole lot of other lists: https://www.speedsolving.com/threads/a-collection-of-bld-algorithms-lists.65238/

You may wish to rotate the cube before performing the commutator – this is perfectly fine, and can increase execution accuracy. If you want to be a world-class speed solver, try to eliminate rotations, but otherwise just chill out and don’t worry about it. If you never conjugate your buffer, it will be very easy to find your way back from a rotation – just put the buffer back in the right place. This prevents mistakes and increases accuracy, so I prefer rotations to conjugates if possible (top speed solvers prefer conjugates to rotations because they are faster). I prefer to do my conjugates first, then rotate, then perform the commutator, then undo the rotation, then undo the conjugate. This way I remember each step separately and I always know the order in which I will perform them, which decreases execution errors for me.

Top blind solvers recommend using the UF edge and UFR corner (C and C in Speffz) as buffers, because they generate speed-optimal commutators. I agree with them. I started with DF/DFR and am currently experimenting with UF/UFR. The comms feel better, there are a whole lot of excellent resources for UF/UFR buffers, and it’s actually a lot of fun to switch buffers.

But since speed is not our main goal as intuitive solvers, don’t worry too much about your buffer. Use whatever buffer you are most comfortable with. However, the edge and corner buffers should be adjacent so that parity will be easier to solve (more on this below). You can always change your buffer later – transitioning is pretty easy, since we’re making up the commutators as we go along.

There are some advantages to using D-layer buffers, especially as a beginner. Having my buffers on the D face enabled me to do my insertions, and more importantly my conjugates, on the top of the cube. Having an easy conjugate is very important for intuitive solving, so that you don't mess up when undoing the conjugate. It’s up to you to choose what you think is best; my examples use C/C as buffers, and can be mirrored to your buffer of choice.

Pick whatever orientation you want – but once you learn an orientation, it will be difficult to change. I use blue top/red front, which is what Jack Cai and Noah Arthurs also use, by pure coincidence. Using a popular orientation will make it easier to watch example solve videos. Blue top/red front is not really popular outside of blindfolded solving; most people use white or yellow top. I chose my orientation way before I started blind solving, because I thought it made it easier to do edge orientation in ZZ and Roux methods, and to spot the pieces that go into first and second block in Roux.

Top blindfolded solvers use images to memorize corners and audio (i.e. nonsense syllables) to memorize edges. This is very fast, but not always accurate – if you look at competition results for top blindsolvers, you will see lots of DNFs. This is because WCA regulations take the best of 3 attempts – it doesn’t matter if you have 2 DNFs, so competitive solvers will prioritize speed over accuracy.

If you’re not trying to set records, it’s okay to find a different system that works for you. I solve for fun, so accuracy is more important than speed for me. I started out using images for both corners and edges, since it took a really long time for me to memorize and execute. Once I got down to about 7 minutes, I transitioned to memorizing edges first and executing corners first, using images for edges and audio for corners – this method stores most of the information as images and just a small amount as an audio loop. Using this technique, I was able to decrease my times significantly without affecting my accuracy. It also made blind solving more fun, as I didn’t spend as much time puzzling over difficult letter pairs.

If you really care about accuracy, you may want to try multi-blind: memorizing and solving several cubes at once while blindfolded. This event prioritizes accuracy over speed. You can use most of the same techniques for multi-blind that you use for 3-blind; just memorize your piece types in the same order that you will execute them, and use images in a memory palace for all of your memorization. Just like 3-blind, it’s not as impossible as it looks.

A blind solve may end up with odd parity: two corners and two edges that must be swapped to complete the solve. If you have an odd number of letters in your memo, then you have odd parity. These last two corners and two edges cannot be solved directly with a commutator, since a commutator cycles 3 pieces. Most blind solvers will simply use a set of algorithms to solve parity at the end of the solve, but as intuitive solvers, this is not to our taste. Here's my video explaining how to solve parity with a pair commutator plus a quarter turn:

Below are some techniques to deal with parity intuitively: the first 3 solve it with a single quarter-turn, the 4th uses a pair commutator (explained in the video above), and the 5th is a semi-intuitive technique that uses Niklas and Sune.

You can swap these pieces more efficiently by using a technique called “weak swap,” described by Graham Siggins here:

The basic idea behind weak swap is simple: when memorizing your first piece type (edges, in the video above), if you come to your buffer C before the B sticker, you solve the buffer to B instead of C, as if you have parity. If you do in fact have parity, you will save an algorithm. If you don’t have parity, you undo the swap by adding a letter B to the end of the edge memo (which does not actually add an extra letter compared to not doing weak swap). If you have parity, also swap C and B when memorizing the other piece type, which sets up to the cases described above without requiring a conjugate. You can use weak swap whether you memorize edges or corners first.

That’s it. I’ll continue to post more in this thread as I progress with intuitive 3-style, and I hope that other intuitive solvers will do the same. Happy cubing!

This is not speed-optimal. A competitive speedsolver will learn all of the 3-Style commutators as memorized algorithms; if your goal is speed, then you should do this. But if you just want to have fun and experiment with 3-Style, you can generate commutators on the fly during the solve. Many top blind solvers advise against this, but that is because their goal is speed. If you just want to be able to solve a cube blindfolded, there is nothing wrong with using intuitive commutators and making it up as you go along.

It’s completely viable to learn 3-style as you fist blind method – I know because I did it. I got my first success about 2 days after starting to learn, with of time of 13 minutes.

I currently average around 4 minutes for blind solving; my PB is 2:54. This is about average for a beginner blindsolver.

I learned 3-style intuitively because I’m an intuitive solver; I generally don’t use memorized algorithms in my solves, and I only know 2-4 memorized algorithms (most of which are just commutators in disguise). This guide is designed for intuitive solvers like myself who don't like to learn algorithms.

This by no means an authoritative or definitive guide – it’s just some resources that I’ve found or figured out. The main point is that you don’t have to be fast to have fun, and that it’s quite easy to learn 3-style as your first blind method.

It’s completely viable to learn 3-style as you fist blind method – I know because I did it. I got my first success about 2 days after starting to learn, with of time of 13 minutes.

I currently average around 4 minutes for blind solving; my PB is 2:54. This is about average for a beginner blindsolver.

I learned 3-style intuitively because I’m an intuitive solver; I generally don’t use memorized algorithms in my solves, and I only know 2-4 memorized algorithms (most of which are just commutators in disguise). This guide is designed for intuitive solvers like myself who don't like to learn algorithms.

This by no means an authoritative or definitive guide – it’s just some resources that I’ve found or figured out. The main point is that you don’t have to be fast to have fun, and that it’s quite easy to learn 3-style as your first blind method.

__Learning the Basics__The basic concept of blindfolded solving is to choose one piece (your buffer), memorize its solved location, then memorize the solved location of the piece in that spot, and so on, which will eventually lead you to memorizing a cycle of piece swaps which will put every piece in the right place. You then execute the swaps using commutators, solving 2 pieces at a time. Commutators only move 3 pieces at a time, so this leaves all the other pieces in the same spot for when you get to them later on in the solve. Since there are 20 solvable pieces on a 3x3, you have to memorize about 20 pieces of information. Many good resources already exist for these concepts, so here is a collection of links.

### BLD Memorization - Speedsolving.com Wiki

www.speedsolving.com

### Speffz - Speedsolving.com Wiki

www.speedsolving.com

Here are some video tutorials for these basic concepts. Ignore the parts that explain execution, since we will execute the solve using 3-style instead:

There are a lot of great 3-style tutorials on YouTube. I suggest these:

Finally, here are some resources explaining commutators:

https://www.ryanheise.com/cube/commutators.html

Once you know the basics of blindsolving and 3-style, try some sighted solves just to practice commutator structure (more on that below) and to make sure that you can do everything correctly. Then start experimenting with memorization and blindfolded solving. I started by writing down the memo letter pairs on paper, then holding the cube under the table and executing the solve while reading the written memo. You may be surprised how soon you will be able to execute a full solve blindfolded.

__First Commutators__You may have heard that 3-Style requires learning 800 algorithms, but this is only true if you want to be super-duper fast. All you really need to learn is 1 interchange and 4 insertions each for edges and corners, making 8 types of commutators in all. I suggest starting with the same interchange layer for edges and corners, since the commutators will then have a similar structure. I will use UF/UFR as buffers in my examples – C/C in the Speffz lettering scheme.

I started with these 8 commutator types, which all use U as the buffer/interchange layer for both corners and edges, and C/C as the edge and corner buffers. You should use the commutators you know best – these are just examples.

Edges:

Insertion Type | Stickers | Example |

D-Layer, Side Sticker | G K O S | [M D M’, U] |

D-Layer, Bottom Sticker | U V W X | [M D2 M’, U] |

E-layer, Outer Sticker | F H P N | [U’, R E R’] |

E-Layer, Inner Sticker | J L R T | [U’, R E2 R’] |

Insertion Type | Stickers | Example |

Same Column | K P | [R’ D R, U] |

Adjacent Column | G T | [R’ D’ R, U] |

Opposite Column | H S | [R’ D2 R, U] |

Opposite Face | U V W X | [R2 D’ R2 D R2, U] |

The only type of insertion that is not trivially obvious is the opposite-sticker corner insertion – learning it will save you many ugly conjugates, and therefore increase accuracy. These are 12-move commutators, which sounds long, but the insertion is very simple and fast to perform, with the added bonus that it’s the same forwards and backwards.

I used the following rules when learning these initial commutators:

- Always interchange using the layer of your buffer sticker.
- Always interchange with your buffer.
- Never conjugate your buffer.

Once you have mastered these initial 8 commutator types, the next step is to learn a second interchange layer. I started by using only D-layer interchange commutators for edges and corners, then learned M interchange and 4-move commutators for edges, and am now learning R interchanges for corners. If you learn both U and M layer edge commutators, almost all cases will be either a pure commutator or a 1-move conjugate. After you are familiar with 2 interchange layers like this, you will start to see interchanges on other layers.

There are also many commutator lists from top cubers that you can use to get ideas, especially if you're having trouble with a hard case. I like to use Jack Cai's list: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1b-4JhfmL89ZMT4wkoazoFNHJ0GidKrUm8NC0OzNcRdk/edit#gid=522554293

Here's another post with a whole lot of other lists: https://www.speedsolving.com/threads/a-collection-of-bld-algorithms-lists.65238/

__Rotations, Buffer Choice, Orientation, and Audio Memo__*Rotations*You may wish to rotate the cube before performing the commutator – this is perfectly fine, and can increase execution accuracy. If you want to be a world-class speed solver, try to eliminate rotations, but otherwise just chill out and don’t worry about it. If you never conjugate your buffer, it will be very easy to find your way back from a rotation – just put the buffer back in the right place. This prevents mistakes and increases accuracy, so I prefer rotations to conjugates if possible (top speed solvers prefer conjugates to rotations because they are faster). I prefer to do my conjugates first, then rotate, then perform the commutator, then undo the rotation, then undo the conjugate. This way I remember each step separately and I always know the order in which I will perform them, which decreases execution errors for me.

*Buffer choice*Top blind solvers recommend using the UF edge and UFR corner (C and C in Speffz) as buffers, because they generate speed-optimal commutators. I agree with them. I started with DF/DFR and am currently experimenting with UF/UFR. The comms feel better, there are a whole lot of excellent resources for UF/UFR buffers, and it’s actually a lot of fun to switch buffers.

But since speed is not our main goal as intuitive solvers, don’t worry too much about your buffer. Use whatever buffer you are most comfortable with. However, the edge and corner buffers should be adjacent so that parity will be easier to solve (more on this below). You can always change your buffer later – transitioning is pretty easy, since we’re making up the commutators as we go along.

There are some advantages to using D-layer buffers, especially as a beginner. Having my buffers on the D face enabled me to do my insertions, and more importantly my conjugates, on the top of the cube. Having an easy conjugate is very important for intuitive solving, so that you don't mess up when undoing the conjugate. It’s up to you to choose what you think is best; my examples use C/C as buffers, and can be mirrored to your buffer of choice.

*Orientation*Pick whatever orientation you want – but once you learn an orientation, it will be difficult to change. I use blue top/red front, which is what Jack Cai and Noah Arthurs also use, by pure coincidence. Using a popular orientation will make it easier to watch example solve videos. Blue top/red front is not really popular outside of blindfolded solving; most people use white or yellow top. I chose my orientation way before I started blind solving, because I thought it made it easier to do edge orientation in ZZ and Roux methods, and to spot the pieces that go into first and second block in Roux.

*Audio Memorization and Blindsolving Accuracy*Top blindfolded solvers use images to memorize corners and audio (i.e. nonsense syllables) to memorize edges. This is very fast, but not always accurate – if you look at competition results for top blindsolvers, you will see lots of DNFs. This is because WCA regulations take the best of 3 attempts – it doesn’t matter if you have 2 DNFs, so competitive solvers will prioritize speed over accuracy.

If you’re not trying to set records, it’s okay to find a different system that works for you. I solve for fun, so accuracy is more important than speed for me. I started out using images for both corners and edges, since it took a really long time for me to memorize and execute. Once I got down to about 7 minutes, I transitioned to memorizing edges first and executing corners first, using images for edges and audio for corners – this method stores most of the information as images and just a small amount as an audio loop. Using this technique, I was able to decrease my times significantly without affecting my accuracy. It also made blind solving more fun, as I didn’t spend as much time puzzling over difficult letter pairs.

If you really care about accuracy, you may want to try multi-blind: memorizing and solving several cubes at once while blindfolded. This event prioritizes accuracy over speed. You can use most of the same techniques for multi-blind that you use for 3-blind; just memorize your piece types in the same order that you will execute them, and use images in a memory palace for all of your memorization. Just like 3-blind, it’s not as impossible as it looks.

__Parity__A blind solve may end up with odd parity: two corners and two edges that must be swapped to complete the solve. If you have an odd number of letters in your memo, then you have odd parity. These last two corners and two edges cannot be solved directly with a commutator, since a commutator cycles 3 pieces. Most blind solvers will simply use a set of algorithms to solve parity at the end of the solve, but as intuitive solvers, this is not to our taste. Here's my video explaining how to solve parity with a pair commutator plus a quarter turn:

Below are some techniques to deal with parity intuitively: the first 3 solve it with a single quarter-turn, the 4th uses a pair commutator (explained in the video above), and the 5th is a semi-intuitive technique that uses Niklas and Sune.

- Turning any face of the cube one quarter turn will convert between odd and even parity, so you can just detect the parity state of the cube and then “cheat” by doing a quarter-turn before you start your memo (obviously this is not competition legal). I used this cheat when I first started blindsolving, just to practice basic techniques without having to worry about parity. You can quickly detect parity by tracing the unsolved corners; don’t memorize stickers, just trace the permutation. Subtracting the number of cycles from the number of misplaced corners will give you the parity state: an odd number means odd parity and an even number means even parity. For example, 8 misplaced corners in one cycle is odd parity (8-1=7) and 6 misplaced corners in 2 cycles is even parity (6-2=4). Don’t count unsolved corners that are permuted correctly but misoriented. Detecting parity like this takes me about 10 seconds.
- You can use a competition legal version of the above technique by memorizing the D layer (or the U layer if your buffers are in D) displaced by a quarter turn, then doing a D or D’ before starting your execution. Just rotate the cube by 90 degrees whenever you have a D layer target in your memo, to simulate the cube state after your D or D’ move.
- Alternatively, you can swap the entire D layer by a quarter turn in your memo, then do a D or D’ as your last move. For example, if your next target is W, go to V instead; if it’s the edge sticker S, go to O instead, etc. Then continue on normally to the next target, only swapping if the target is in the D layer. When your execution is complete, the D face will be off by a quarter-turn, and you can finish the solve with D or D’.
- The methods above are a fun challenge, but can get tedious and annoying after a while. Now, I use a pair commutator at the end of the solve to fix parity. If you swap 2 edges and 2 corners in your memo, making 2 adjacent unsolved pairs on the same face, doing a U or U' solves one of the pairs and leaves 3 pairs unsolved. You can then solve all 3 pairs with a pair commutator.

For example, here is a D-A-B corner commutator, but with wide D moves for the insertions and an extra U’ move at the end which fixes parity: [R:L Dw2 L’, U’] U’

And an alternative commutator, doing the parity conversion as the first move: U [R: U’, L Dw2 L’]

You can substitute U2 for the Dw2 moves, which makes slightly less intuitive algorithms like: R L U2 R' U' R U2 L' U R' U' - You can also use Niklas and Sune to solve odd parity cases. Doing a Niklas and then a Sune from the opposite side will swap two corners and two edges, solving the last 4 odd-parity targets. You can cancel 3 moves in between to make a more efficient 11-move algorithm: (L’ U R U’ L) U2 (R’ U R U2 R’)

You can swap these pieces more efficiently by using a technique called “weak swap,” described by Graham Siggins here:

The basic idea behind weak swap is simple: when memorizing your first piece type (edges, in the video above), if you come to your buffer C before the B sticker, you solve the buffer to B instead of C, as if you have parity. If you do in fact have parity, you will save an algorithm. If you don’t have parity, you undo the swap by adding a letter B to the end of the edge memo (which does not actually add an extra letter compared to not doing weak swap). If you have parity, also swap C and B when memorizing the other piece type, which sets up to the cases described above without requiring a conjugate. You can use weak swap whether you memorize edges or corners first.

That’s it. I’ll continue to post more in this thread as I progress with intuitive 3-style, and I hope that other intuitive solvers will do the same. Happy cubing!

Last edited: Jun 10, 2020