Prescriptive or descriptive: descriptive (this standard attempts to describe existing conventions)
This standard describes the basic moves for a 3x3x3 cube.
The move names in this standard originate from David Singmaster, around 1981 .
There are 18 basic moves:
Each move corresponds to one unique way that an outer layer can be moved, while restoring the puzzle shape to a cube. Note that these moves keep each center in its original location (but possibly reoriented).
Note: This standard does not include double-counter-clockwise moves, since those can be written as double-clockwise moves for basic applications. This also matches the World Cube Association, which does not recognize double-counter-clockwise moves (e.g. for the Fewest Moves event) . Extensions of this standard may include such moves.
There are 6 clockwise moves on a cube, corresponding to the 6 outer layers (standard 1.3.6):
Each face letter describes the following physical move:
Example: For a cube,
U describes turning the
U layer 90° clockwise. If we imagine the plane of the face as a clock face, this corresponds to moving the hour hand forward by 3 hours. Alternatively, this can be visualized as placing a screwdriver into the center of the layer, and turning it clockwise.
A counter-clockwise move is the inverse of a clockwise move. This is written as the corresponding layer letter with a
' symbol after it The
' symbol is pronounced “prime”.
There are 6 counter-clockwise moves:
U' is pronounced “U prime”.
A double clockwise move is the same as doing two clockwise moves consecutively. This is written as the corresponding layer letter with the number
2 written after it.
There are 6 double-clockwise moves:
Note: In the 1980’s, it was common to write
2 as a superscript
². A lot of modern cubing software only understands the regular number suffix
2, so it is recommended to avoid the superscript version.