Learn to Solve the Rubik's Cube the Easiest Way (CFOP Tutorial) | Mike Boyd | Skillshare

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Learn to Solve the Rubik's Cube the Easiest Way (CFOP Tutorial)

teacher avatar Mike Boyd, Learner of things... teacher of things

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Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (33m)
    • 1. Learn to Solve the Rubik's Cube the Easiest Way (CFOP Tutorial)

    • 2. Lesson 1: Notation

    • 3. Lesson 2: The White Cross

    • 4. Lesson 3: First 2 Layers

    • 5. Lesson 4: Orientation of the Last Layer

    • 6. Lesson 5: Permutation of the Last Layer

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About This Class


In this class, Mike Boyd walks you through every stage of solving the Rubik's cube. Starting with the basics and leading all the way up to a completed solve, you'll be speed solving cubes in no time. Included are all the algorithms and methods required to learn how to solve a Rubik's cube.

Although it may seem complicated, Rubik's cube solving can actually be quite simple once you get the hang of it. There is no one-size-fits-all Rubik's cube solution, and there's plenty more you can dive into after this class, but these will get you all the way to end.

In this class, you'll learn:

- Rubik's cube notation: the CFOP method relies on Rubik's cube algorithms to get to a finished solve, so I go over how to read the letters and numbers that make up cube algorithms.

- The white cross: the first step to getting a cube solved, forming a white cross will provide the foundation to solving a Rubik's cube.

- First 2 layers: once you have your cross built, it's time to start getting the layers solved. Like a true Rubik's cube solver, we'll do this by intuition and leave the algorithms for later.

- Orientation of the last layer: now the algorithms come into play. Here's where I show you how to correctly apply a SUNE or anti-SUNE algorithm to orientate the last layer.

- Permutation of the last layer: walking through the final stage of the solve, we'll go over how to use our algorithms to correctly align the last pieces and finish the cube!

Here's a YouTube video I made of my progress in learning how to solve the 3x3x3 cube in under 2 minutes (plus some extra fun trivia about Rubik's cubes):

A brief history on the Rubik’s cube: the original inventor was Ernő Rubik, a professor at the Department of Interior Design at the Academy of Applied Arts and Crafts in Budapest during the 1970’s. Rubik created the cube as a teaching tool so that his students could understand how to move parts of a 3D object independently without fundamentally altering or destroying it. Not until he first scrambled the pieces and attempt to put them back in order did he realize his cube made for a challenging puzzle.  It the original patent, it was first named the “Magic Cube”; not until 1980 was it finally christened Rubik’s cube after its creator.

There have been several variations on the standard 3x3x3 cube since the original, the most popular of which is the 5x5x5 (also known as the Professor’s Cube), which increases the amount of possible combinations from 43 quintillion to 283 duodecillion or 2.83 * 10^74. I took on this cube as well, check it out below.

I hope you enjoy the class and it helps get you to your first Rubik’s cube solve.

Meet Your Teacher

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Mike Boyd

Learner of things... teacher of things


My name is Mike Boyd and I run a YouTube channel all about learning skills as quickly as possible. I have shared some tutorials here on a couple of things I’ve learned. Hopefully you find them useful :)

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1. Learn to Solve the Rubik's Cube the Easiest Way (CFOP Tutorial): Hello there, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Mike Boyd. Some of you might know me from my YouTube channel that I run where I learn skills as quickly as possible. Last year, I learned how to solve the three by three by three Rubik's cube, the original Rubik's cube. The difficulties I encountered and all the little mistakes I made are still fresh in my mind. In this classes, I'm going to teach you how to avoid all those hiccups and get solving this cube as quickly as possible. The method that we're going to be using is called CFOP. It's not called the beginner method. I find CFOP a lot easier. CFOP allows you to get your times really down low if you want to get really good at this. Using this simplified version of CFOP that I'm going to teach you in these classes, I was able to get down to about 45 seconds within a couple of months. If you go all out and learn everything there is to know about CFOP, you can easily get this done to below 20 seconds. For these classes, I have reduced the number of algorithms down to the bare minimum. That means the least amount of memory work. That means you can concentrate mainly on just getting faster at the intuitive stage of solving the Rubik's cube. What we'll learn first are the basics of how the cube moves and how to move pieces around. Then we'll go on to making a white cross before solving first two layers and finally the last layer. I've included PDFs for downloading which have all the simplified algorithms on them. Download those for reference. Also feel free to jump forward and back in-between lessons wherever you get stuck. You might find stages easier or harder than others, so feel free to skip back and forth. When you're ready, grab your Rubik's cube and let's jump into the first lesson. 2. Lesson 1: Notation: Okay. These are Rubik's cube. Now, you'll know as perhaps that these are different. They look different from each other. This is actually an original Rubik's cube and this is what's classified as a speed cube. Basically, there's not really much difference. This one just happens to move a little bit easier but really when you are going to start out, it doesn't really matter. Whichever Rubik's cube you have they'll work just fine. I'm going to work with the nicer one just for this tutorial here. One of the things that's important to know with cubing is notation. The cube has six sides and each of those sides has a letter associated with it. If you're holding the cube like this, this is classified as the up layer. This is classified as the right layer, the left layer, the front layer, the back layer, and the down layer. Let's just go over that once again. That's the up, right layer, left layer, front layer, back layer, down layer. That makes sense. Equally so occasionally you'll be holding the cube this way up. In this situation, this is the up layer, the down layer, the left layer, the right layer, the front layer, and the back layer. It depends which way you are holding it. This is the notation for the algorithms. If you see an algorithm that says up, you turn the up face clockwise relative to the face, 90 degrees. I'll say that again. If you see a part in the algorithm that says up, you turn the up face clockwise relative to the face. What I like to do is imagine a clock on the center of the face, which tells me which way to turn it, so up is this. Prime means you turn a anticlockwise. Up prime would be this. Right would be this. Imagine there's a little face on the right-hand face, right would be this and right prime would be this. Now, what I'm going to do is, this is up, this is front. I'm going to make a front move. I'm going to turn the front clockwise 90 degrees. Try and guess what I'm going to do with this face here. I'll give you a second to guess. It's this way, and front prime would be that. Let's do left. One left turn would be this, left prime would be this. Notice that a left and a right turn, actually turn opposite to each other. That's because the notation is relative to the clockwise direction on that face. Imagine a clock on each face and then decide which way you're going to turn it. Left prime would be this, left would be this. I'll link a great website for visualizing Rubik's Cube Notation. You can actually click the letters and see a virtual cube move in the correct way. If you are having trouble with it, check out that website, see the link. Next I'm going to do a back maneuver. Try and imagine what that would look like. I'll give you a second to have a think about it. Again, imagine a clock face on the back, I'm going to move the back 90 degrees clockwise. So that would be this maneuver here. What I'm going to do now is to a back prime maneuver. That would be the back anticlockwise. That's this. Now just to make sure we're following, let's do the last face which is down, which is this one here. Let's do a down maneuver. Again, imagine a clock on there so you understand which way it's going. The clock is going to take this way. To do a down prime maneuver, it's going to go this way. When you're doing maneuvers for left and right, and up and down, things like that, try and keep the cube in your hands the same way. If you go into do a down, don't flip the cube round and do it and then move it round, you'll lose your orientation. Keep the cube like this, move right with your right hand, left with your left hand, front whichever hand you find comfortable, and back do like this, and like this. Try and get used to doing the bottom layer, the down layer, I do it with my ring finger. Try and keep the cube oriented in the same way that will prevent you from getting confused. Again, just to reiterate, up, right, left, front, back, down. Now have a guess and imagine what a two after letter means. For example, R2, that means right two, which is one, two. 180 degrees, right two again would be one, two and that brings us back to where we were. Front two would be this. Get that? Front two again would be this. Left two would be, and left two again would be this. Down two would be this, down two again, would be this. Back two, would be this, back two again, would be this. Have a player around like that. If you get the cube scrambled don't worry about it. That's what we're here to solve. One of the things that might be difficult to understand when you're getting started with cubing is that the centers don't move. For example, white is opposite yellow and white will always be opposite yellow. All the other parts can move around but white and yellow will always be opposite each other. Likewise, red and orange will always be opposite each other. These centers are fixed relative to each other. When you have a look at the cube, it will always be solved like this. You will never have a case where orange and red are adjacent. They will always be opposite each other because the centers are fixed. The next episode we're going to learn how to get started with the cubes. We're going to mix all up. Don't worry, feels wrong to mix all up but you'll be solving in no time. I'll see it on the next class. 3. Lesson 2: The White Cross: In this class, we are going to learn in the first stage of solving the Rubik's Cube, which is to make a white cross like this. This part of the solution is done purely on intuition, no algorithms, no fancy stuff like that, is just moving the cubes around to manipulate in them just with your head. A few points to discuss first, this isn't just a random white cross. If you'll know as the white and green cube is matched with the green center cube here is in the right position. The orange and white cube is matched up with the orange center, and it's like the way around. There is a situation where you can create a white cross, but if you look, this cube is not on the right position. This should be on the green face, which is over here. Likewise, this red one here isn't it in the correct position, but these two are. The pieces have a specific location where they need to go. If you get it wrong, then it won't work. That being said, this part of the tutorial is very simple. There are no algorithms. I've seen other people who have done tutorials and they give little algorithms to help you maneuver a lot of pieces around. I would suggest that you don't do that, and the reason is because we are going to be learning a number of algorithms. Whenever I make a mistake with the Rubik's cube is always when I apply an algorithm incorrectly, so I try to limit the number of algorithms I memorized for us. I tried to leave as much to intuition as I possibly can. That's what I want you guys to do here. I don't want you to focus on codes, to maneuver pieces to where you want them to be. I want you to focus purely on intuition. Trust me, it's easier than you think. Let's get started. The first thing first is, you need to decide a cube that you want to move into position. Right off at the back, I can see this cube here. Now I know that this is a cube that has to go to the top because one, it's white, and two its edge piece, which means is it not corner piece like this, it's an edge piece has two sides to it. Now, it is red and white, so it must go between red and white, which is here, it has to go here. The best way to do this is to think intuitively how to maneuver that piece to there. Now, what I'm about to explain here is fundamental to all cubing. Whenever you want to maneuver a piece, always maneuver it to the bottom layer. If we assume this is the top layer, if you want to maneuver this piece around, and manipulate how it's going to be. You want to not do your work in the top player which is where we're going to have our cross. We want to maneuver that to the bottom layer, and the easiest way to maneuver this to the bottom where it's just simply just turn this face here. Now this cube is on the bottom layer. Now, I need to put it here, and I can see that by just turning around this, and then doing a 180 here, which is a L2, it will be in the correct position. Once again, you see a cube and it is not exactly the way you want it, maneuver it to the bottom layer and then manipulate it from there. Let's do another. Here I can see the blue and white cube, and that needs to go between the blue and the white centers which is here, so I know it needs to go here. Now, what you'll find a lot of times is if you just maneuver up like that, it will be in the right position, but the wrong way round. Can you see here that it is actually between the blue and white, but it's the wrong way round. What do we do? Again, maneuver the piece to the bottom layer. Lets maneuver that to the bottom layer just by turning on us all the way around here. Now the piece that we want to manipulate, is in the bottom layer, and we can flip it around there. This is the part that you'll have to figure out yourself, because I think telling you the algorithm of how to flip this around will be counterproductive, because you'll constantly be trying to remember the algorithm. I don't actually know the algorithm. I just know how to physically do it, so I know that it's off like that, and I flip the piece around. Trust me, try doing intuitively, try figuring out. Let me just get it back to where it was. It was here. Here, was here. Try using your brain to figure out how to swap this piece brands, turn around like this, because if we do it, if we move up to the top layer now, it's not in the right position, so maneuver that to the bottom layer. Then think how did I maneuver this around, and the answer is to perform two 90 degree turns in opposite planes. That sounds complex, but when you do it, when you figure out, it's actually pretty simple. Trust me, try doing that with intuition alone, it's not that difficult. Let's move on to another section here. Here we can see the white and orange edge piece, and that needs to go between the white and the orange centerpieces, which is right here. Once again, if I maneuver it around to the correct position, it's in the correct position, but it's the wrong way wrapped. What do we do? We maneuver it to the bottom layer. One, two, now it's on the bottom layer. Now we're free to swap it around, manipulate the cube, the right way around. Again, use intuition on the stage to flip it right. It's really simple. There we're in the right position. Lets put the last piece in the cross, which will be the white, and the green. Let's have a look for that piece there, and I've already spotted it there, white, green, it needs to go here, so this piece needs to go here. Once again, and I can already tell, if we put it in the correct position, it will be the wrong way round. Once again, maneuver that to the bottom position. Now, here because we've already solved, one, two, three pieces of the cross, we are going to displace one of these pieces when we try to move this in. I can show you this, there. I put it in the correct position by displaced my red piece here. When I displace a piece, you have to remember in the back of your mind to put it back. Let's do that again. There's my red piece, my blue piece, and my orange piece, in position. I want to swap. This one runs, turn it 180 degrees because, what I have in position is wrong. Again, keep it on the bottom layer, and do my little movement that switches it round, but I've displaced my red and orange but it's okay, it's just around there, I can just put it back. Moving pieces out of the way and moving them back in, once you've maneuvered another piece is a fundamental part of solving the Rubik's Cube. You'll have to be really good at moving things in and out. For example, if I want to move this here, I can move this back. Whenever I do something, I always want to move pieces back. Let's just try that again. Here's my green piece in the original position. Remember to move the red back into position here. Now I've made a white cross. Just ignore anything else that's right on top, it doesn't really matter. At this stage, what's important is that you have a white cross. Once again, use intuition at that stage. Trust me, it makes things much easier and much faster, farther down the line. If you can make the cross there not as you completed the C in CFOP. Now we just have the first two layers, orientation, and permutation of the last letters to go, and we're done. In the next lesson, we're going to focus on solving the first two layers. 4. Lesson 3: First 2 Layers: In this lesson, we are going to learn to solve the first two layers. You should already be confident and make a cross purely on intuition. Don't worry if it takes you a little while to make a white cross and if you make number of mistakes, it comes to you real quick and after a while, you can make a cross in next to no time. So the first thing I want you to do is turn the cube 180 degrees. So the top is now the yellow center face. The cross you just made is now on the bottom. What we're going to do in this step is use this layer that we don't really kid about right now as sort of a sandbox to place cubes up here so that we can manipulate them in position and from there, slot them into place. What we want to do is, see how we have the cross here with these center pieces and edge pieces correctly aligned, we want to fill these corner pieces and this edge piece all the way round. It sounds complicated and this is actually the most difficult part of solving the Rubik's Cube and of CFOP. This part will require a lot of thinking, a lot of intuition, and it probably took me about an hour and a half to two hours just to get the first two layers done. The first time I was using CFOP. So bear with it. It takes a long time, but once you've got your methods, it really speeds things up. Once you've turned your cube the right way up, we want to locate a corner piece which is here. So we can just pick any white corner piece, and what we want to do is, marry this corner piece up with its partner edge piece. Here we have the orange, white, and green corner piece. We'll want to marry that up with an edge piece there is green and orange. So let's try and find the edge piece. Okay, here is here, green and orange edge piece, green and orange and white corner piece. These two pieces want to marry up. Now as I said, we're going to use this layer here, which we don't really care about at the moment as our sandbox for marrying pieces up together. This will prevent us messing up these two layers which we will be solving. This is in the top layer, this is in the middle layer, I need to get this into the top layer. So let's do that. Move this piece up. Notice we're displacing one of our cross pieces, turn this round and turn this down, and it's in the top layer and our cross is maintained. So here we go. Let's marry these pieces up. Again, this is difficult this part. It's going to take a lot of thinking of how to marry these pieces up. It is complicated, so stick with it. Okay. I need to move this piece, the corner piece back into the bottom layer so I can maneuver this into the right direction. Let's see how that works. I'm going to put it here. So move this up and remember to put it back to maintain your cross. Now this is in the bottom layer. Now I'm free to move this around. Here's my green and orange edge piece and here's my green and orange corner piece. If I move this up, I can see they are married together. Now we can move this out that way and then fix my cross again, which I shifted out of the way. Now I can just slot these into place. I'll just have to look for the green and orange position that they'll go in and I can see green, orange that they will go in here. So it's pretty easy to slot them in down, push them down. Now that might look very very complicated at first. But once you start playing with the cube and figuring out how things move using the top layer to marry pieces up, it all becomes very, very simple. Let's try another corner. Here we have the red and green corner piece. I need to find the red and green edge piece. So let's find that. Here it is here, red, green edge piece. Let's marry these up. We can see that they are in fact married up. I'm just going to get this way and fix our cross. We can see that they are in fact married up, but they're the wrong way round. So again, there is an algorithm to fix that but I would suggest not using that algorithm. I don't want you to flood your head with algorithms and get confused and make mistakes because that is where you make mistakes when you apply algorithms incorrectly. So this can be solved with intuition. I know from experience that I can solve it by removing this back into the bottom layer and this is going to look complicated, okay, but trust me, it's not that complicated. Also there's probably a faster way to solve that. If I move it up now, get these out of the way, they are now married together, the correct way round. Trust me, try doing it with intuition before resorting to algorithms. I really want you to limit the number of algorithms that you have to memorize because that is where you make mistakes. Once these are married up, I can see that they're going to go in between the red and the green pieces. So they need to go in here. Again using intuition, I can slot them in like this, leaves them out of the way, fix my cross and there we go. That's back in position. Now let's do the same for the blue and red corner piece and the blue and red edge piece. This is stuck in the middle layer, to do anything I need to get up to the top layer, get that out of the way, I'm going to put this one on the bottom layer and now I can marry these up. Again, I know from doing this over and over again that to marry these two up, I can put this here and they'll be married up. Then just find the correct place for them to go, which is in between the blue and the red. Cool. Okay. Now we only have the blue and orange corner pieces to find. There they are. They're actually married up already and they are actually the right way round. It's just that this corner piece is facing the wrong way. To fix that, we need to move it into the bottom layer. We only have one position it can go because there's only one free space. So let's get that out of the way. I know from working with this that to solve this problem, I just rotate this round and move this back up and that's them married again. With these away, you can slot them in this position here. That is the first two layers solved. Before you go freaking out at how complicated that looks, I learned to do that, purely on intuition. It takes a long time but the brain space that you save by not learning algorithms will mean that you're able to solve this much, much faster and you won't get tripped up by incorrectly applying an algorithm. I want you to limit the number of algorithms that you have to memorize and do most of it on intuition and the first two layers can be solved with intuition. It is very very tricky at first, but it's really good for your brain to figure out how the cube works. Moving things to the top layer, marrying them up. Trust me, give it a go. In the next video, we're going to learn how to orientate this layer. So that's the first two layers. Stick with this, but I know it's difficult, but once you have done this part, that's the hard bit done. That sounds completely to the C and the F of CFOP. Now we just have O and the P, the Orientation and the Permutation of the last layer. That is as over the hump, that's the hardest part done. Trust me, it gets easier from here. 5. Lesson 4: Orientation of the Last Layer: this lesson, we're going to learn how to orientate the last layer. This lesson is only applicable after you've completed the first two layers. That's the C, and the F, and C fault. So you must have two layers completed and be left with something that looks like this. After you've completed the first two layers, you will be left with one of three different possibilities. Here I have a line. For this part here you need to look at the algorithm sheets I've provided in PDF format, I'll be referring to those. So after you've completed the first two layers, you will be left with one of three possible states. That is a line like this. An L-shaped scenario like this, or a single yellow center piece like this. This part is super simple. It's just a case of applying the correct algorithm. So now because I have a line of yellows across here, I can apply the algorithm on the sheet, which is front, right, up, right prime, up prime, front. It's as simple as reading that off the sheet. Now you may have noticed that number algorithm two and three on the orientation of the last layer have a lower-case "f". Now the reason for that is lower-case "f" means you rotate two slices like this. See how that's different there. Upper-case "F" is one slice. So like this, lower-case "f" is two slices like this. So upper-case "F", lower-case "f", upper-case "F" is one slice, lower-case "f" is two slices. That notation format can be applied to all letters. In this case, after solving the first two layers, we have what looks like an L-shape. So we can apply algorithm two from that PDF, which is the lower-case front, which is two layers at the same time. Remember, right, up, right prime, up prime, lower-case front prime. At this stage, you will have one of seven possible scenarios. I've simplified the number of algorithms. Some of these shapes can be actually solved by applying the same algorithm either twice or one on the other. So you don't have to memorize a whole list of them. As you progress. You might want to learn all the algorithms, but here I've just included two. They are called "SUNE" and "ANT-SUNE." So you might have to apply them two or three times to get what you want, but it means less memorizing and more solving at the stage. Feel free to learn all the algorithms later on. So here, in this situation, according to the sheet, we're going to apply "SUNE," which is right, up, right prime, up, right, up, up, right prime. This will give us this shape here. Now if we look at the shape, we can turn the cube round, orientate it like that, and apply another "Soon," which is right, up, right prime, up, right, up, up, right prime. Does that cool, two algorithms, one switch of the cube this way. We have oriented the last layer. So far this stage there's only three algorithms in total. They're both very, very easy to memorize it. The best way to memorize these algorithms is to sit in front of the TV and just do them over and over again. You won't mess up the cube, for example, let's just continually do this "SUNE" algorithm which is right, up, right prime, up, right, up, up, right prime. Let's just do it over and over again..You can do that all day and you will just end up in one of those seven scenarios over and over again. When you're ready, you can just solve. So let's go. That's how to practice. The algorithm's just do them over and over and over. You won't mess up the cube. So, now we have orientated the last layer. The only thing left to do is to permit the last layer, which is just a maneuver these red cubes rammed and get them in the right order, and that is the Rubik's Cube done. The next and final lesson, we will do the permutation of the last layer. 6. Lesson 5: Permutation of the Last Layer: In this lesson, we will be performing the permutation of the last layer and solving the Rubik's cube. You should have already been able to do the white cross, the first two layers, and the orientation of the last layer. Once again, I have simplified the number of algorithms down to just three possible algorithms. What that means is you might have to do more than once to get there, but they also means less memory work and more solvent. As you progress, you might want to learn all the possible algorithms for all the possible states, but it's just a little bit more work. Let's get started. The first thing we need to do, is to get the corners in the right order. Then we'd get the edges in the right corner in the right order. The first thing to check is that they're not already in the right order, so we can see that the blues are actually correctly positioned, but the other two corners are incorrectly position. We need to solve that. I've only included one algorithm to do this, and what it does is it just makes the cubes travel round and round. This algorithm includes one extra letter that you haven't seen before, and it is x. Don't be alarmed. It's nothing confusing. All that means is you perform the algorithm by doing this first with the Q, point in the white towards you, and the yellow away from you. Whereas the yellow is normally top, the white comes towards you. Now this can be done any orientation. It just means that the white is pointing towards you, the yellow is pointing away from you, and whatever face comes up top is now the up face. Once again, the x letter here, all that means is point the yellow face away from you and the white face towards you, then perform the algorithm. That is X Yellow away from me, white towards me. Right prime, up, right prime D2, 1, 2, right, up prime, right prime, D2, 1, 2, right, right. Now let's have a look at where we are. Even after applying the algorithm, only two of the corners are lined up correctly, the other two are still messed up. We do that again. That again is, that movement again is x, yellow away from me, white towards me, and apply the algorithm again. Right prime up, right prime, D2, right, up prime, right, D2, right, right. Here we can see that all the corners are in the correct positions. The only thing I have to do now is fixed these edge pieces. We can see that this green one wants to go here, this orange one wants to go here, and this blue one wants to go here. If we draw arrows in our head and then look at the algorithm chart, we can see that the correct algorithm to apply is Algorithm 2, called anticlockwise, and that is right, up prime, right, up, right, up, right, up prime, right prime, up prime, right, right. There we are. Your first solve. Easy as that. Once again, I haven't included all the algorithms. I've reduced the number of algorithms down to the bare minimum, which means you have to repeat some twice to get there. I think that's the easiest way to get started with the cube, and if you really get into it, you can actually memorize all the algorithms so you don't have to do anything twice, but that's only if you want to go that far I say. With this method here, just using the algorithms I've discussed, you can get down to 40 seconds. The key to speed with the Rubik's cube is to do the F part of CFOP as quickly as you can, you ensure two stage, you'll get that done very, very quickly, and then don't mess up the algorithms. Analyze the pattern on here and quickly and efficiently apply the correct algorithm. Anyone can solve the Rubik's cube. You certainly don't have to be a genius. It's really fun to do, so give it a goal. Best of luck.