This page describes various memory methods (mnemonics) for blindfold cubing.
Visual memory is the most direct form of memorizing the data needed to do a blindfold solve. It entails merely memorizing in order the locations of stickers that must be "shot" to (for Pochmann-derived methods), or the location of where various commutators must be performed (for freestyle methods), without the use of any sort of systematized association method. It is quite difficult for some to memorize in this manner, while others are able to perform sub-1:30 solves after practice. Former world record holder Ville Seppänen uses a combination of visual memory and lettering of edges to perform sub-minute solves on average, and he and many others are also capable of memorizing larger cubes with visual memory alone.
One of the most basic methods used to aid visual memory is "tapping." This involves simply touching out the stickers in order (usually in groups of between 2 and 4 stickers, depending on how the sticker sequence progresses) until the tap sequence is memorized, then returning to this "tap" memory when solving. After practice, physical taps are often dispensed with altogether, and everything can be performed mentally.
Other methods of visual memory are more individual and can involve the visualization of shapes, lines, noticing of patterns, or such tricks as visualizing a roller coaster or airplane moving from point to point.
A very common way of memorising is to translate pieces into letters. These letters can be remembered by forming words, names, sentences, images or sounds.
List of techniques for attaining letters:
- Lettering scheme: A very popular and efficient technique for attaining letters. An imaginary lettering scheme is placed on the cube, so each sticker/position is assigned its own unique letter. The idea is to memorise the letters of the cycles that would be necessary to solve the cube. A standardised lettering scheme exists for the purposes of communicating piece cycles called Speffz.
- Colours: The first letter of each colour of a piece is used. For example, the Red/Green edge will provide the letters 'R' and 'G'.
- Piece notation: This system derives its letters from using the notation of face names. For example, the DL (Down-Left) edge gives the letters 'D' and 'L'.
A Letter pair is any single word/sound/name that has derived from associating 2 letters. There are many types of memory methods that use Letter pairs. A lettering scheme is an efficient way to derive letter pairs, since 1 letter pair will represent 2 pieces. Deriving letters this way will also assist in determining whether the scramble has parity, since if there is a letter by itself, there is parity.
Letter pair images
Letter pair images are objects/animals/people/adjectives that can be easily visualised and are created by combining 2 letters. These images can interact with each other and be placed along an imaginary journey/route.
2 letters are combined to create the 1 sound/word. When using audio pairs, it's not necessary to form coherent words, this is because audio memorisation is all about recalling the sound of the memo. Since this process requires very little thinking, audio pairs can be incredibly fast. However, due to the memo being incoherent, audio memo is very short term and isn't ideal for memorising the entire cube. This issue can be eliminated by using audio pairs to memorise only parts of the cube (eg. only the corners), it's also helpful if audio pairs are memorised last and executed first.
Monosyllable sounds/words are commonly used in audio-pairs, as they reduces the amount of syllables you have to remember.
Methods for forming monosyllable sounds:
- If the letter-pair consists of 2 consonants, place a vowel in-between as a filler. (Example: TN = tin)
- If the letter-pair consists of at least 1 vowel, say the letter pair how it would sound as if it was a word. (Example: BU = Boo, AE = "Eh")
- Have a pre-memorised list of audio pairs, similar to a letter-pair image list.
Example memo using audio pairs: FO+RD+GE+LR = "Foe RoD Gee LeR"
Letter pair words
Letter pair words are words that are not intended on being visualised. Rather, they are used to construct sentences. For example: TH = 'The'
The memorisation method described by Stefan on the original Old Pochmann webpage involves remembering a sequence of memorable objects each representing a pair of colours for each edge: for example, Red-Blue might be represented by Spiderman (red costume with blue), Yellow-Green is a slightly under-ripe banana, etc. It is necessary however to differentiate between the orientations so for example Blue-White is a Smurf whereas White-Blue is Donald Duck! A story is memorised from this sequence of objects and characters that can be recalled during the solve. For corner memorisation only two colours need to be remembered if the stickers are always "read" in a consistent unambiguous way, e.g always clockwise (this is detailed badmephisto's blindfold cubing video).
|Yellow-Blue||Homer Simpson||Yellow skin with blue pants - I picture him at a sporting event with his shirt off (hence no white!) and people are chanting "HOME-R, HOME-R"! He's also the buffer (or "HOME") position and so indicates the end of my first cycle!|
|Blue-Yellow||A Swedish Flag||Here I think of anything or anyone Swedish: for me that would be IKEA, Wallander, Mats Bergsten, Alfred Nobel, ABBA, etc. (most Swedes uses the Swedish post office logotype  for blue-yellow)|
|Red-Blue||Spiderman||His spidey suit is mostly red with blue. I borrowed this image from Stefan's page.|
|Blue-Red||British Rail ("BR")||The old BR uniform was navy blue with a red logo! I doubt this would be too useful to people outside the UK or those young enough not to know of British Rail's history!|
|White-Red||Bandage||With blood! Another borrowed from Stefan's page.|
|Red-White||Santa Claus||Santa's red suit with furry white trim!|
|Orange-Green||An Orange||Very fresh and zesty - still has a green leaf attached!|
|Green-Orange||"GO!" Traffic Lights||Green and Orange lights - just drive through!|
|Blue-White||A Smurf||A little Blue guy with a White hat!|
|White-Blue||Donald Duck||Bad-tempered white water bird with little Blue sailor suit!|
|Green-White||Xmas tree||Little Green pine tree with White snow on it!|
|White-Green||Polo mints||White mints with a hole - green packet.|
|Yada, yada, yada||You get the idea!|
(A full set of objects may be useful to include here but people may find that they have familiar memorable objects that make no sense to anybody else! --Msemtd 16:08, 2 October 2009 (UTC))
For corner/edge permutations, assigning numbers to each position. Hexadecimal, using bits for orientation.
A memorable journey can form a "background" upon which a varying sequence of items can be memorised: each location in a fixed sequence is mentally associated with one or more objects so that the correct order can be later recalled. A very nice tutorial can be found here, on MemorySports.com: "How to become a Memory Champion, Part 1: The Elephant Path".
PAO stands for Person Action Object. In this method, each sticker - or position of the sticker in the solved state - is represented by a person, an action, and an object. More specifically for example, each stickers can be labeled with a letter from A to X - and each letter can be assigned a person (whose name starts with this letter), an action (the person usually performs), and an object (whose name starts with this letter). For Classic Pochmann, an additional letter or peson, action, and object could represent the parity fix.
Using the PAO method, three pieces of information (e.g. three letters, positions, stickers) are combined to form one image in which a person performs an action on an object.
Say, in Classic Pochmann, the first cycle starts like this: In the buffer position, we have sticker V (which needs to be shot to position V), in position V we have sticker M, and in position M we have sticker Q - and therefore, the first three stickers/positions/letters to memorize are V M Q. In the PAO method, this translates to a first image of person V performing action M on object Q. This image can be stored at the first location of a pre-defined journey or the first location within a pre-defined Roman Room. The next three stickers/positions/letters make up the next image to be stored in the next location of the journey or the room.
Blindsolving a 3x3x3 using Classic Pochmann requires typically around 22-24 "shots" of corners and edges (obviously depending on the state of the cube and the number of cycles - I'm sure someone can calculate an expectation value here :-). Using the PAO method, this can be stored in a sequence of around 8 images.
This method can also be combined with the Letter Pairing method. For instance, if the first 6 letters are J K E T O R, you can picture a JoKer EaTing an OReo. This can be harder to think of words, but effectively reduces the memorization to 4 images.
If one has trouble with direct visualization. One can also use phonetic memory. You assign sounds to particular cubies and then you make words with them. It is a very fast memorization technique. A nice tutorial can be found here: "Phonetics" and "Chris's page".
- Memory Sports
- Speedsolving.com: Memory Methods
- Speedsolving.com: BLD Memo Method Poll
- Speedsolving.com: SpeedBLD Memorization Methods?
- Speedsolving.com: Roman rooms + multi