CFOP (Cross, F2L, OLL, PLL, pronounced C-F-O-P or C-fop) is a 3x3 speedsolving method proposed by several cubers around 1981. 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 1995, CFOP has been the most dominant 3x3 speedcubing method since around 2000, with it and its variants used by the vast majority of the top speedcubers such as Feliks Zemdegs, Lucas Etter, etc.
Origin and Naming Dispute
Jessica Fridrich is often erroneously credited as the sole inventor of CFOP. 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:
- Cross: David Singmaster
- F2L (4x corner + edge pairs): René Schoof and a few by many other random cubers
- OLL/PLL: Hans Dockhorn, Anneke Treep, with many algorithms developed by Jessica Fridrich
During the resurgence in speedcubing's popularity in the late '90s and early 2000s, there was a general lack of information on the sport. Fridrich's website offered a vast wealth of information for those entering the sport, including a full description of CFOP with complete lists of algorithms. As a result, many who learned from her website began to call this method the "Fridrich Method," which explains the common use of the term today.
Several high-profile cubers have long disputed this terminology; Ron van Bruchem, famously, has publicly written that he will never call CFOP the "Fridrich Method." This issue has become well-advertised within the cubing community around the year 2008, likely because of this. The term "CFOP" has since seen increasing usage compared to back then, also in part motivated by efforts to standardize terminology in method classification, and is now seen, commonly, as "Fridrich Method."
While some cubers still insist on the term "CFOP," Fridrich's contribution to the popularization of the method is undeniable, and many others accept the term "Fridrich Method" as established terminology and a perfectly valid synonym for "CFOP."
CFOP can be viewed as an advanced version of a Layer-By-Layer method. In particular, it combines some steps of the said method into one by using many more algorithms. Here, we outline pure CFOP without any additional trick. Also, the cube is commonly solved with the white side on top for the cross, yellow on bottom for the cross, and opposite for the other steps. However, it is NOT required.
| F2L (First Two Layers)
| OLL (Orientation of the Last Layer)
| PLL (Permutation of the Last Layer)
- Easy to learn - CFOP is widely considered to be the easiest method to learn, as it transitions easily from beginner's methods.
- Doesn't require a large understanding of how the cube works - Due to the lack of blockbuilding or edge orientation needed in CFOP, the method relies more on pattern recognition and algorithms. Although the cross and F2L are solved intuitively, they are more straightforward than the blockbuilding with Roux or the edge orientation and blockbuilding with ZZ.
- Is by far the most researched method - As CFOP is the most widely used method, and has been for many years, there has been far more research done on CFOP than any other method, which means more resources, a larger variety of algorithms to choose from, and more community members to assist and give advice. All world records for the 3x3 Rubik's Cube since 2003 have been set with CFOP.
- Algorithms - CFOP with 4 Look last layer makes a total of 16 algorithms (10 2-look OLL algs and 6 2-look PLL algs). Full CFOP has 57 OLLs and 21 PLLs for a total of 78 algorithms. If one also learnt all 41 F2L algorithms that would make up a total of 119 algorithms. However, F2L cases are almost always learn intuitively, so generally they aren't considered part of the total alg count. If a person learn one full CFOP alg a day (OLL and PLL), it would take a bit over 2 and a half months to learn all of them. Learning all algs at once like this is usually ill advised, as in many guides it is recommended one learns full PLL first, then practices and improves on that, then later on learns full OLL.
- Move count - CFOP has a slightly higher average movecount than that of ZZ and much higher movecount compared to Roux.
- Reliance on Inspection - CFOP relies on use of inspection time, in order for the cross (and first pair, depending on how advanced the user is) to be solved quickly. In instances where there is no inspection time, such as big cube solves where one must transition between the cube's reduction and 3x3x3 steps, this can be a drawback as the cross has to be done on the fly rather than being planned out. Although this may be the case, CFOP is still the most popular choice for the 3x3x3 stage on big cubes as the planning and execution of a Roux or ZZ solve is typically more difficult than doing CFOP.
- Difficulty of Cross - Planning the cross during inspection can take a long time to master. It can take weeks or even months of practice to achieve, similar to planning the first block with Roux or the EOLine with ZZ.
- Joël van Noort's tutorial
- Erik Akkersdijk's tutorial
- Shotaro Makisumi's tutorial
- Jessica's Homepage
- Badmephisto's Intuitive F2L Tutorial
- Speedsolving.com: Fridrich Method - info on its origin.