Who Invented CFOP?

The CFOP method (also known as the Fridrich method) is the most widely used technique for solving Rubik’s Cube efficiently and quickly. CFOP stands for Cross, F2L, OLL, and PLL, which are the four main steps involved in this method.

The first step, the Cross, focuses on solving one face of the Rubik’s Cube with a cross-shaped pattern. The second step, F2L (First Two Layers), involves solving the four corner-edge pairs of the first two layers simultaneously. The third step, OLL (Orientation of the Last Layer), is about orienting all the pieces in the last layer to prepare for the final step. The last step, PLL (Permutation of the Last Layer), is where the pieces in the last layer are permuted to complete the solving process.

In the world of speedcubing, where solving the Rubik’s Cube as fast as possible is the ultimate goal, CFOP has become highly significant. It offers several advantages over other methods, making it the preferred choice for many speedcubers. CFOP provides a systematic approach that allows for efficient recognition and execution of moves, resulting in faster solve times.

By exploring the origins of CFOP, we can gain a deeper appreciation for its evolution, its impact on speedcubing as a whole, and the ongoing legacy it continues to leave within the Rubik’s Cube-solving community.

The Early Days of Speedcubing

The Rubik’s Cube, invented by Hungarian professor Ernő Rubik in 1974, quickly gained global popularity after its release in the early 1980s. Initially marketed as a challenging puzzle, it captivated the minds of millions worldwide and sparked a competitive subculture known as speedcubing.

Speedcubing emerged in the early 1980s when enthusiasts began exploring ways to solve the Rubik’s Cube as quickly as possible. What started as a casual pastime gradually transformed into a competitive endeavor, with speedcubers striving to break records and achieve faster solving times.

During the early days of speedcubing, before the advent of CFOP, various methods were developed to solve the Rubik’s Cube. These methods were often intuitive, relying on trial and error, pattern recognition, and general algorithms One notable early method was the “Layer by Layer” or “Beginner’s Method,” where cubers solved the cube one layer at a time, starting from the bottom. While effective for beginners, this method was not optimized for speed and had limitations in terms of solving times.

As speedcubing gained momentum, it became apparent that the existing methods had limitations in terms of speed and efficiency. The intuitive nature of the early methods often resulted in longer solve times and a lack of systematic algorithms for specific situations. Speedcubers recognized the need for a more efficient approach that could reduce move counts, improve recognition speed, and enhance overall solving performance. There was a demand for a method that provided a structured framework and specific algorithms to optimize solving times.

The limitations of the existing methods paved the way for the development of CFOP, which introduced a systematic approach and addressed the shortcomings of previous techniques. The emergence of CFOP marked a significant milestone in speedcubing, offering a more efficient and effective method for solving the Rubik’s Cube quickly.

The Invention of CFOP

The CFOP method revolutionized speedcubing with its introduction of a systematic and efficient approach to solving the Rubik’s Cube. CFOP was invented as a comprehensive solving method by Jessica Fridrich, a professor of electrical engineering from Czech Republic, in the early 1990s.

CFOP breaks down the solving process into four main stages: Cross, F2L, OLL, and PLL. Each stage focuses on specific aspects of the cube, allowing cubers to tackle the puzzle in a structured and optimized manner.

  • Cross: The first stage involves solving a cross-shaped pattern on one face of the cube. This step provides a foundation for the subsequent stages and serves as a starting point for building the rest of the layers.
  • F2L (First Two Layers): The F2L stage involves solving the four corner-edge pairs of the first two layers simultaneously. Unlike earlier methods, which solved one layer at a time, F2L streamlines the process by integrating the corner and edge pieces together.
  • OLL (Orientation of the Last Layer): This stage focuses on orienting all the pieces in the last layer to prepare for the final step. OLL algorithms are utilized to position the cube so that all the pieces face the correct direction.
  • PLL (Permutation of the Last Layer): The last stage of CFOP involves permuting the pieces in the last layer to complete the solving process. PLL algorithms are used to manipulate the cube’s pieces, ensuring that they are correctly placed in their final positions.

Jessica Fridrich played a pivotal role in popularizing the CFOP method within the speedcubing community. Through her extensive research, algorithm development, and online tutorials, Fridrich made CFOP accessible to speedcubers worldwide.

Her influential work in documenting CFOP algorithms, creating intuitive solving techniques, and sharing her expertise through online platforms helped propel CFOP to the forefront of speedcubing methods. Fridrich’s contributions and dedication significantly contributed to CFOP’s widespread adoption and success.

CFOP’s systematic approach offers several advantages over earlier solving methods:

  • Efficiency: CFOP reduces move counts by incorporating multiple actions within each stage. The integration of corner-edge pairs in F2L, along with optimized algorithms for OLL and PLL, allows for faster solving times.
  • Pattern Recognition: CFOP emphasizes recognizing specific patterns and cases, enabling cubers to quickly identify and apply appropriate algorithms. This improves solving speed and eliminates the need for trial and error approaches.
  • Algorithmic Optimization: CFOP provides a comprehensive set of algorithms that are carefully crafted and optimized for speed. This ensures smooth execution and minimizes pauses during solving.
  • Flexibility and Innovation: CFOP’s modular structure allows for individual customization and the incorporation of advanced techniques or personal algorithm preferences. This flexibility has facilitated continuous innovation and the development of sub-methods within CFOP.

Overall, CFOP’s detailed breakdown of the solving process, efficient algorithms, and emphasis on pattern recognition have made it the go-to method for speedcubers worldwide. Its advantages over previous methods have significantly influenced the evolution and success of speedcubing as a competitive sport.

The Contributions of Other Speedcubers

While Jessica Fridrich’s work played a central role in popularizing CFOP, it is important to recognize that CFOP’s development and refinement involved the contributions of numerous speedcubers. Many individuals have made significant contributions to CFOP through algorithm discoveries, solving techniques, and theoretical insights.

Prominent speedcubers such as Lars Petrus, Ron van Bruchem, and Dan Knights have made notable contributions to CFOP. Lars Petrus, for instance, developed the Petrus method, an alternative solving method that influenced CFOP and introduced new concepts and algorithms.

Although CFOP is commonly associated with Jessica Fridrich, it has evolved and incorporated variations and improvements by other speedcubers. One such variation is Friedrich’s method, named after Jessica Fridrich herself. Friedrich’s method is essentially a subset of CFOP, focusing on advanced OLL and PLL algorithms for maximum efficiency. Speedcubers have continued to innovate within the CFOP framework, introducing new algorithms, refining existing ones, and developing improved solving techniques. These variations and improvements have further enhanced the effectiveness and speed of CFOP, making it even more optimized for solving the Rubik’s Cube.

Impact of CFOP

Since its introduction by Jessica Fridrich, the CFOP method has experienced rapid and widespread adoption within the speedcubing community. Its structured approach, efficient algorithms, and emphasis on speed and optimization have made it highly appealing to speedcubers of all skill levels.

CFOP’s popularity has grown exponentially, with an increasing number of speedcubers choosing to learn and master this method. The availability of comprehensive tutorials, algorithm databases, and online resources has facilitated its accessibility and contributed to its rapid adoption.

CFOP’s impact on solving times and world records in speedcubing has been profound. As speedcubers have embraced CFOP and refined their skills using this method, solving times have significantly decreased over the years.

The efficiency and optimization of CFOP have allowed speedcubers to achieve remarkable solving speeds, pushing the boundaries of what was once considered impossible. World records in various categories, such as single solve, an average of 5, and an average of 12, have consistently been broken by speedcubers utilizing CFOP as their primary solving method.

World Records using CFOP

  • Feliks Zemdegs, a world-renowned speedcuber, holds numerous world records in various categories, largely attributed to his mastery of CFOP. His achievements, including multiple world championship titles, serve as a testament to CFOP’s effectiveness and its role in pushing the limits of speed-cubing performance.
  • Max Park, known for his incredible speedcubing prowess, has also utilized CFOP to achieve outstanding results. His exceptional solving times and record-breaking performances have cemented CFOP’s position as a leading method in speedcubing.
  • Yusheng Du, a Chinese speedcuber, has also demonstrated exceptional skill and success using CFOP. His accomplishments, including world records in multiple categories, highlight CFOP’s effectiveness and its influence on top-level speedcubing competitions.

These success stories showcase CFOP’s impact on the speedcubing community and its ability to facilitate remarkable achievements in solving the Rubik’s Cube.

The Legacy of CFOP

CFOP has established itself as the dominant solving method in speedcubing competitions. Its continued relevance and widespread adoption by speedcubers of all levels testify to its effectiveness and efficiency in solving the Rubik’s Cube.

CFOP remains the go-to method for solving the cube quickly in speed-cubing competitions. Its structured approach, optimized algorithms, and emphasis on pattern recognition have consistently produced exceptional solving times and propelled speedcubers to achieve new records.

Evolution of CFOP with advanced techniques and algorithms

Over time, CFOP has evolved with the introduction of advanced techniques and algorithms. Speedcubers have continuously sought to optimize CFOP by discovering new algorithms, refining existing ones, and exploring innovative solving strategies.

Advanced techniques within CFOP, such as lookahead, finger tricks, and advanced recognition methods, have emerged to further enhance solving speed and efficiency. These developments have pushed the boundaries of CFOP and contributed to the continuous improvement of solving times.

Influence of CFOP on the development of other speedcubing methods

CFOP’s impact extends beyond its own method, influencing the development of other speedcubing methods. Its structured framework and emphasis on efficiency and pattern recognition have inspired the creation of derivative methods and sub-methods within CFOP itself.

For example, the ZZ method and the Roux method draw inspiration from CFOP, incorporating its principles while introducing unique elements and variations. These methods have gained popularity among speedcubers seeking alternative approaches while still building upon CFOP’s foundation.

Furthermore, CFOP has served as a benchmark and reference point for the development of entirely new solving methods. Cubers experimenting with new methods often compare their results and techniques to CFOP, recognizing its effectiveness and aiming to surpass its performance. The influence of CFOP on the development of other speedcubing methods highlights its enduring legacy and its role as a catalyst for innovation within the speedcubing community.

In conclusion, CFOP’s legacy in speedcubing is marked by its continued relevance and dominance in competitions, its evolution with advanced techniques and algorithms, and its influence on the development of other solving methods. As speedcubers continue to push the boundaries of speed and efficiency, CFOP remains a fundamental and influential method that has shaped the world of speedcubing.


The CFOP method, invented by Jessica Fridrich, revolutionized speedcubing with its systematic approach and efficient algorithms. CFOP’s structured framework, comprising the Cross, F2L, OLL, and PLL stages, allowed speedcubers to solve the Rubik’s Cube quickly and effectively. CFOP’s impact on speedcubing has been profound, leading to rapid adoption, improved solving times, and record-breaking performances.

We must recognize Jessica Fridrich’s pivotal role in inventing and popularizing CFOP. Her dedication, research, and algorithm development have been instrumental in shaping CFOP into the influential method it is today. Additionally, numerous speedcubers, including Lars Petrus, Ron van Bruchem, and Dan Knights, have made significant contributions to CFOP, further refining its techniques and algorithms.

CFOP’s significance in Rubik’s Cube-solving community cannot be overstated. Its introduction marked a turning point in speedcubing, providing a structured and efficient approach to solving the cube. CFOP’s influence extends beyond its own method, inspiring innovation and the development of other speedcubing techniques. Its continued relevance, dominance in competitions, and record-breaking achievements underscore its enduring legacy. CFOP will remain a cornerstone, driving progress and inspiring future generations of speedcubers.

In conclusion, CFOP’s invention by Jessica Fridrich and the contributions of numerous speedcubers have left an indelible mark on the Rubik’s Cube-solving community. Its structured approach, efficient algorithms, and continuous evolution have shaped the landscape of speedcubing, making CFOP a defining method in the world of Rubik’s Cube solving.

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