back to Phase 3 or
How to solve a Rubik's Cube

Moves for this phase:
F-1 H1 F1 or
F1 H2 F-1
(see How to solve a Rubik's Cube for a description of the move notation)

What this move does:
Hold the cube with the first solved face (white) facing up and the partially solved face (yellow) down. This move will put the block in the middle of the back-right edge in the middle of the bottom-front edge by moving through the middle block of the top-front edge. The orientation of the piece depends on which version of the move you use. (it sounds more confusing than it really is.. read on)

How to use it:
In Phase 3, we oriented the 4 corners of the yellow side properly - this gives us a total of at least 18 out of 26 pieces properly placed and oriented. You're almost there! In this phase we place the remaining 4 bottom (yellow) pieces in their proper locations. To do this, we have to create a hole in the top (white) side that we can move the yellow pieces through.

yet another spiffy ASCII art example:
goddamn, what awful perspective. oh well.

               blue side (back)
                      |
                      |
                     \|/ 
                      V 

                  B   B   B
                ____________
               /   /   /   /^|
            O / W / W / W /  |
             /   /   /   / R/|
o           /^^^/^^^/^^^/| /+|<--Y   r
r          /   /   /   / |/ +|       e
a       O / W / W / W /  |+G/|       d
n        /___/___/___/ R/|+/ |        
g       /   /   /   /| / |/  |       s
e    O / W /%W%/ W / |/  | R/        i
      /   /   /   /  | R/| /         d
s    |^^^|^^^|^^^| R/| / |/          e
i  O | G |%G%| G | / |/  |
d    |___|___|___|/  |  / 
e    |   |   |   |  /| / 
     |   | G |   | / |/  
     |___|___|___|/  |   
     |   |   |   | R/
   O | G |***| G | /
     |___|___|___|/
       Y       Y
      yellow side

Holding the cube with the white (solved) side up, it should look something like this. The blank cubes could be anything. For this example, we're trying to get the green-yellow edge (marked with ++), at the back-right edge, to the front-bottom edge (marked with **), where it belongs. To do this, it has to move through the block marked with %% on the top-front edge. That hole you create in the top-front edge is called the Keyhole. Don't worry about moving it; in Phase 5 we will fill the keyhole again.

So here we go. Since the yellow part (the part that should face down) is on the back of the cube, we use the first version of this move (F-1 H1 F1). Now there is a gap (the keyhole) in the top-front edge, but the bottom-front edge is filled correctly.

You can rotate the horizontal slice and the bottom as much as you want to set the cube up for this move, but when you do the move the Keyhole must be at the top-front edge, the piece you want to move must be at the back-right edge, and the place you want to move it to should be on the bottom-front edge. If the yellow part (the part that should be facing down) is on the back of the cube, use the first version of the move (F-1 H1 F1). If it's on the side, use the second version (F1 H2 F-1).

If you get a piece stuck in the keyhole or in the wrong edge on the bottom, just use one of these moves to put a different block in their place. It doesn't really matter which block or which version of the move you use; eventually you'll get the block free.

Experiment with it. This phase is pretty simple, so you can play with it for a little while until you get the hang of it. It's the first one I successfully memorized.

Once you've got the bottom completely filled in, with all the edges their proper colors, you're ready to move on.

Move on to Phase 5 or
go back to How to solve a Rubik's Cube

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