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Basic cube facts for true beginners

You need to understand what the parts of the cube are. It is not 54 stickers. And it is not 27 little cubes. It is 12 edge and 8 corner pieces moving inside a frame of the 6 unmovable center pieces. Each edge has two stickers, and each corner has three stickers. Here's how the pieces look separated.

Parts of a cube. Left: 12 edges. Middle: 1 frame with 6 centers. Right: 8 corners
Dismantling a cube

You can take apart your cube yourself and look at how it is designed. Turn one side half a quarter turn and take out one of its edge pieces, as in the picture to the right. The rest will fall apart easily. The first time you will probably have to use more force than you think it can take, and you may have to use a knife for leverage, but I've never seen a cube break doing this. That does not mean I will buy you a new cube if yours does break...

Don't do this!!
A common error by people who do not realize how the cube is constructed is to try to move individual stickers, without understanding which other sticker(s) move with it. They may think that they have accomplished something when they have "completed one side" as in the example to the left. This is a quite useless position, since almost none of the pieces are in the right position. That they happen to have a white sticker facing the white center is just a pretty accident, and does not mean you are close to a solution.

If it is not clear to you why this is, think about it more. It's important to understand!
You also have to realise that the center pieces on each side do not move. No matter how much you turn, they always remain in place. Again, if this is not obvious, take the cube apart, or just look at the photo above.

Note that when you put the cube together again, you want to do it in the solved state. If not, you have a 93% (11/12) chance of getting it in an unsolvable position. And it's no fun trying to learn on an unsolvable cube...

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