Finger tricks

From Wiki

Finger tricks are a tool that involves the cuber using his fingers to pull off the moves of an algorithm faster. The goal is to reduce the number of times the cube needs to be regripped (to take one's hand off of a side to change the position of the hand on the cube for future moves), and to overlap move times (meaning that two moves are being performed at that same time, overlapping and thus shortening their execution time). The less regrips, and the more overlapped moves, the faster the algorithm can be performed. This turning method is used as opposed to what are commonly called "wrist turns", which mean that the side is turned with the rotation of the wrist instead of the flick, push, or pull of a finger.

Finger tricks also influence which algorithms are chosen for certain solution cases because certain algorithms may be easier or faster to perform with finger tricks than others. Because of this, the ability (or inability) to do finger tricks greatly influences a cuber's style as well as speed (as testified to by Dan Knights). Finger tricks are also the reason that corner cutting is considered an important quality of a good speedcube. It is because of corner cutting that moves are able to be overlapped with finger tricks.

The most common algorithm connected with finger tricks is the sexy move, R U R' U'. This is also a trigger. Some algorithms are chosen based on the number of easy to perform triggers are found in them. Other algorithms may be selected based on which sides they involve so that the finger tricks performed can be efficient, the most common combination of selected sides being R, U, and F (these algorithms are sometimes called "RUF" algs).

Finger tricks can also be applied to other puzzles in the same manner.


Finger trick tutorials are usually found on youtube. A list of a few beginner tutorials can be found here.

Even though finger tricking is a commonly used method for performing algorithms, it is recommended that a cuber that is learning to perform finger tricks discover his/her own method of performing the tricks that is both comfortable and efficient.

Finger tricks can be developed by looking at combinations of moves and testing which turns can be more effectively turned with certain fingers, testing which grips allow for more efficient finger tricks, and trying to group moves together as much as possible in order to leave as little time as possible between moves or groups of moves. The groups of moves found are usually performed in spurts with short regrips in between if necessary. If it is thought to be more efficient, the algorithms may be modified using reorientations and multi-layer turns (example, the alg R U F' can be modified to R d R')

Once a set of finger tricks has been developed for an algorithm, then it is recommended that the cuber frequently practice or drill the movement, first starting slowly to get into the habit of accurately performing the movement, then gradually increasing in speed to solidify the habit and shorten performance time. Do not just start pushing to do the finger tricks as fast as possible, especially in the beginning, because it leads to sloppy finger tricks and bad habits that are hard to break. If this has happened, then it is recommended that you start slow again to make sure it is being performed accurately, then gradually build up speed again.


Due to the widespread use of finger tricks, many attempts have been made to create a method of notation in order to quickly communicate them (as opposed to verbose text descriptions or time heavy video uploads). Though, there has not been any general adoption made of any of the notations due to the impracticality of their methodologies and the unlikely-hood of most people taking the time to learn a notation. Of the attempts, there have been a few notable methods developed, one of which (shown below) was developed in collaboration in this thread on the speedcubing forums (Credit to DeeDubb, Kirjava, Dane Man, Lucas Garron, Hypocrism, and others).

DeeDubb (DD) Finger-trick Notation (for 3x3)

Notation is based on the description of three things.

  • The finger being used.
  • The piece of the puzzle being used.
  • The grip of the fingers on the cube.

Anywhere that these things are not described in the algorithm, it is left to the solver to figure out (or assume) what to do (or what can be done) on his/her own. This method is only meant to highlight the parts of algorithms where one uses a unique or not so obvious finger trick to perform the moves.

The finger notation

Upper case is used to describe the right hand, and lower case is used to describe the left hand.

  • I - Index
  • T - Thumb
  • M - Middle
  • R - Ring
  • P - Pinkie
  • W - Wrist move (generally not needed)

For example (M) means that the right middle finger is in use, while (i) means the left index finger is in use.

The piece notation

As described by DeeDubb, each corner of the side being turned is labelled with the numbers 1-4 in a clockwise fashion. The front face starting with the corner UFL, the U face beginning with UBL, the D face with DFL, R with UFR, L with UBL, and B with UBR.

Ergo: On U: 1 = UBL, 2 = UBR, 3 = UFR, 4 = UFL

On F: 1 = UFL, 2 = UFR, 3 = DFR, 4 = DFL

...and so on...

On slice moves, the numbers correspond with the edges "behind" the corners of the side with which it turns. For example M turns with the L side, and so it's edges will have the same numbers as the corresponding corners on the L face. S with the F face. E with the D face.

Together, the finger and piece notation form the basic finger trick notation. It is written 'move(fingerPiece)'.

  • Example: U(I2) means that the right index finger performed the move U by sliding the UBR cubie to UFR.

Two-turn moves such as F2 are described using two fingers and two pieces, and can use prime to indicate direction like so: F2'(T3,i1)

The grip notation

(copied and editted from post in thread) Fingers will be labelled the same (upper-case = right, lower = left). All grip notations are written in curly brackets {...} and only when necessary to define a non-standard or non-intuitive grip.

For basic grips:

  • TF - Right thumb on front, rest [of fingers] on back.
  • TU - Right thumb on up, rest [of fingers] on down.
  • TD - Right thumb on down, rest [of fingers] on up.
  • TB - Right thumb on back, rest [of fingers] on front (How the wrist is twisted depends on the direction of the following move)
  • TR, TL - You get the idea...

For basic groups with left hand: tF, tU, tD, tB, tR, tL (same as right hand)

Piece specific grips are separated by a dash (-). For consistency, corners use DeeDubb's number method for defining corners. The finger will grip on the side of the corner defined (e.g.: T-R1 means that the right thumb is either on the top or front face of the 1 corner of the R side, depending on the rest of the grip and on moves).

Edges are defined by the face letters (ex: M-BR, t-FL, t-FD, etc...).

Center pieces are defined simply by the face letter (T-F is different than TF. TF is a basic grip, meaning it doesn't matter which piece is held. But T-F means the right thumb must be on the center piece).

The grip defined on specific pieces is maintained until a regrip is defined, or a move/trick requires that it be broken. (ex: {M-UR} R U(M2). This means that the defined grip is broken to perform U.)

Where grip is not defined, a normal grip is assumed (As the cuber feels works for the algorithm).


  • {tF, TD} R U(I2) R' U'(i1) (a full description of the basic sexy move)
  • {t-F, m-B, T-R1, M-R2} (R2' D2 L2' U2)3 (This)
  • {M-R4, T-R3} R2 U S'(I2) U2' S(I1) U R2 (This)
  • {M-UL, T-UR} S2 D2 S2' {TD} R U R' U' D2(T2,r4) (Just to demonstrate certain part of the notation)

See Also