Solving the Centers
Step 1: Centers | Step 2: Edges | Step 3: Fix parity
Know your color scheme | Example centers solve | Last two centers cases

Ok so now you know your color scheme thoroughly. Now we are going to solve the centers. I'm going to do this via an example solve, only I will block out all non center pieces.

If you would like to follow along on your own cube the scramble I will use is b F l L u2 B U' F2 R B F' l2 D2 l2 B L B' d2 b r l2 f u' f' R D' B u2 B' R' u F2 b2 U2 F2 f' R' D r d. This scramble is not a multi-slice scramble - lowercase letters denote inner layer turns only. If you have my same color scheme then scramble with yellow on top and green on front.

So take this cube,

Top View
Bottom View

Being color neutral

Step 1) Look for 2x1 rows of like-colored center pieces

Notice that the only 2x1 row we have is an orange 2x1 piece on the front face made up of two centers. Because there are no other 2x1 rows this makes me think I will likely solve orange-red first.

Step 2) Having decided a likely center group, see if there is anything nice for the other centers

There doesn't appear to be anything nice for yellow-white or green-blue, so we will solve red-orange.


Solving two opposite centers simultaneously

I've heard a lot of really fast big cube solvers say that they solve one center, then after it's solved they solve it's opposite. For some reason I've never been able to do that quickly, so here is my method for solving two opposite centers simultaneously.

The first thing you need to do in order to solve two centers simultaneously is to form a 2x1 row of centers of each opposite color. So our first goal will be to form a 2x1 red group and a 2x1 orange group. The second step is to get those groups onto opposite faces, and we may be able to do both steps at the same time.

Ok so what I am going to do for this solve is to form a red 2x1 and an orange 2x1 while preserving the current orange 2x1 we already have.

Front View
Back View

If you're following along on your own cube do the rotation z y' after the scramble. If you're not following along on a cube just watch the images, I'll try to show each step.

Look at the front view picture above, notice that either R2 d or F2 u' will form a red 2x1. Also notice that B2 d or L2 u' will form an orange 2x1 as well. Notice that we can do both if we just do the setup moves so that both 2x1 pieces require either a d or u move to solve. Generally I prefer to do d moves so we'll do that.

Ok so on your cube do R2 B2 (Dd). Always do d and u turns when solving the centers as either (Dd) or (Uu), it helps you to do the moves quicker. Notice that we now have three 2x1's: two orange 2x1's and one red.

Front View
Back View

Now that we have a 2x1 row of red and orange on opposite faces, we want to get them into the same layer, and since we have a third row (the 2nd orange row) we want to go ahead and solve orange. So from here, if you're following on your cube, do R L (Dd).

Front View
Back View

Now the reason we wanted to go ahead and solve orange before red is because the other two red pieces are in the U and D layers, which is a position you generally want to try to avoid but we did get three rows in 3 moves so this solve will just sort of balance out.

What we are going to do is use the now solved orange face to bring those reds together then put them on the right face.

To bring the reds together do U2 (Ll)2, and then to place them on the right face do R (Bb)' R2 (Bb). Lastly, and this is important rotate your priority face to the U layer. My priority face among red-orange is red, so I would rotate z' now to get the red center into the U layer.

Now the first two opposite centers are done.

Top View
Bottom View

Now that the first two centers are done let's put the other center colors back in for this next step.

Front View
Back View

Now looking at the middle layer we have here, it seems pretty bad. First off we don't have a single 2x1 row to start with. Also remember that we have to solve two adjacent colors, and we have a really nice setup for solving green-blue or white-yellow, but both of those are opposite pairs and you never want to solve opposite pairs in this step.

As bad as this looks it actually isn't that bad. We are actually sort of nicely setup to solve green and white.

Ok now let's test how well you have your color scheme memorized (if your color scheme is different, but you have been following along then try to see which two colors green and white for me would correspond to on your cube. If you have the same color scheme as me, remember that the color order (counter-clockwise around U) if red-orange is solved and red, my priority color, is on top is white-green-yellow-blue. Now green and white are the best setup adjacent colors, so they are in the order white-green.

Ok let's get started. Now when solving the second set of centers you have to also pay attention to the other ones too. If you pair up some stuff for one of the other two centers, make sure to try to save it.

The strategy for this step is very specific. Those two centers all together make four 2x1 rows. You are going to use the d layer to put these rows together and put solved rows into the u layer. You will separate the rows like this on all four faces, and after that you will solve both centers simultanesouly again.

I'm going to leave all the remaining centers in view now, though focus on green and white, since you will always pay attention to all four center colors during this step.

OK so the centers are all scrambled up, and the first thing we need to do is to make some green and white rows. So do (Dd)' F' now we want to finish with (Dd) to form a white and a green row on F facve, but notice that we have a white and a green paired piece on the R face. So do R' to preserve that, then do (Dd). So the whole move is (Dd)' F' R' (Dd).

Here's what we have now,

Front View
Back View

Ok so from here a (Dd) turn will form a green pair on the L face. However, we need to preserve our two pairs on the F face too. Notice that the (Dd) turn will kick a white center piece from the L face onto the F face, so we need to keep the white center pieces on F.

So from here do F' (Dd). Now we have three 2x1 rows, two green and one white. We can form the last white and preserve everything by doing L (Dd)'. So the whole move is F' (Dd) L (Dd)'.

And now we have all four rows built.

Front View
Back View

This solve is actually somewhat of a special case. Normally you try to build one row at a time and put it tucked away in the u layer somewhere. Here we actually had some nice setups to form rows quickly and still preserve the already solved stuff. This happens fairly often, so be aware when it does.

All that remains is to solve the rows such that we put white on the left of green. To do this do L (Dd) R2 (Dd) L2 now we want to finish by doing a (Dd) move, but notice that we can form rows out of the blue and yellow pieces if we first do a B turn at this point. This concept is so important that I'll make a diagram for this point in the step.

Front View
Back View

Notice that (Dd) will solve white and green, but it will leave a "dot" pattern of blue and yellow on the L and B faces. The first thing you do in this pattern is to do some moves to form 2x1 blocks. Well notice that if we do B right here, then do (Dd) we will form those 2x1 blocks already. So from here do B (Dd). And now the first adjacent centers are solved, and at the same time we've already formed four 2x1 rows for the last two centers.

Front View
Back View

Now that we planned ahead a little bit for the last two centers, this finish will be easy. To solve the last centers just follow your opposite colors, or continue the cycle of colors in your head. You can either say that white is on front so yellow has to be on back, or you could think that your cycle is white-green-yellow-blue, so yellow has to be adjacent to green. Whichever works best. To finish I would do L (Dd) L2 (Dd)'.

And now the centers are solved.
Front View
Back View

Our whole solve took 31 moves, which actually is on the higher end for my approach. Generally you can get under 30 moves, and a good solve will be in the low twenties. So to give you an idea for using this particular centers approach (solving centers simultaneously) 31 moves is actually a little bit on the higher end. Again if you want a really fast centers method e-mail the people at the top of the 4x4 averages list. This is my method and the one I'm sticking to, but know that there are faster centers solvers than me out there. Ok now that you have an idea of how a centers solve goes, there's one more thing you have to do in order to speed solve the centers quickly. You have to memorize all the possible cases for the last two adjacent centers.

All the cases for the last two adjacent centers

Appendix

I mentioned above that our solve was somewhat of a special case in the way we paired the 3rd and 4th centers. Typically my centers solves put the 3rd and 4th centers together as below,

Front View
Back View

Remember if red-orange is solved and the priority color red is on U, then the order of the middle layer is white-green-yellow-blue. So the green has to go to the left of the yellow.

Now what I was doing on this solve was to form a row on each face, then turn that face such that the row is tucked away in the u layer. I then used the d layer to line up 2x1 rows on other faces. On the F face you can see a row that I've just completed. Ok now here's the trick, are the rows in F and R correctly placed or the ones in B and L? Remember the green is to the left of yellow so the ones in F and R are the "correct" rows. Ok so to finish here do F' L2 (Dd)2 B2 (Dd)'.

If you've done some thought then you've realized that there are only two cases the four rows placed like this can be in. Below I list both cases.

Front View
Back View

From here do (Dd)2 L2 (Dd)'

Front View
Back View

From here do L2 (Dd)2


Step 1: Centers | Step 2: Edges | Step 3: Fix parity
Know your color scheme | Example centers solve | Last two centers cases
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