Columns First Methods

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Columns first Method
Columns first.gif
Information about the method
Alt Names: Columns
Variants: Corners first
No. Steps: 2 major, several sub steps
No. Algs: 4 min
Avg Moves: Advanced ~45-50 STM

Columns first is a group of methods for the 3x3x3 cube that in some way build four columns of three pieces each, two adjacent corners and the and the edge between them, as the first steps. Columns are most often aligned top to bottom but two more directions are possible. It is a great mystery why these methods are not popular at all. They are fast, effective and easy but there are few cubers who use columns as their main method.

Columns for total noobs

  • Solve 4 first layer corners.
  • Solve 4 middle layer edges using the LBL alg and it's mirror.
  • Use Sune and Antisune to orient the last layer corners.
  • Use A-PLL to permute the corners.
  • Solve centres using M and S.
  • Use M' U M and M' U2 M to solve the first layer edges.
  • Use M' U M U2 M' U M to orient the last layer edges.
  • Use U-PLL to permute the LL edges.

This will solve the cube but in at least 100 turns on average, probably more, there are more effective ways and using this will only complicate things, you are better of with a pure CF method. The whole idea is to benefit from solving the middle layer while solving the first layer corners, that's how columns differs from CF. Take a look at this intermediate method instead:

Intermediate columns

  • Solve 4 F2L pairs.
  • Orient last layer corners, (CO, 7 algs)
  • Permute LL corners, (CP, 2 algs)
  • Solve centres together with 2-3 first layer edges.
  • Orient the remaining edges (EO, 5 or 9 cases depending on method)
  • Permute last edges, one way is to solve the last one(s) to FL and use EPLL, another is to use Roux style and put RU-LU and then permute the M-slice.

Much better, it will solve in less than 60 STM, look ahead is fairly easy, and there are not more than around 20 algorithms, a method well suited for speedsolving.

Not really columns

One way to improve the intermediate method is to skip the CP step, always solve the last FL edge(s) after EO and end the solve using PLL. That will average around 55 STM but you will need nearly twice as many algs then.


See PCMS for an example.

Columns for big cubes

Masayuki Akimoto invented a columns first method for 4x4x4 and larger cubes some years ago that once was published at his site (that is down nowdays).

See this thread [1] at for more information on that.

See also