Arimaa/Elephant and Minor Piece Attacks/Burrowing with a Rabbit

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If the Silver player has positioned Rabbits on a8 and b7 then the Gold player may decide to advance a Rabbit to the a7 square. Even though Silver can halt the goal threat very easily by sliding a Rabbit to b8, this strategy of burrowing a Rabbit in enemy territory can have potent long-term advantages. If the trap is ever abandoned by Gold, it would require more than one full move for Silver to capture the Rabbit. While this may not seem difficult, Arimaa middlegames are often sharp and both players continuously find ways to distract the enemy pieces with goal threats, hostage threats, etc. so that it is not possible to carry out the simplest of objectives. Therefore, a Rabbit burrowed in enemy territory may survive for dozens of moves even if the defender has prioritized the Rabbit capture near the top of his/her list. One Rabbit burrowed in enemy territory may tie three or more Rabbits to defensive duty, thus preventing counter-threats from an entire wing! Furthermore, the defender will also need to keep at least one strong defender near the b6 and c7 squares in order to discourage an assault on the position. If a player can burrow Rabbits on both wings, it can be a major source of strain on the defender, both on the board and psychologically. On the flip side, the player with the burrowed Rabbit(s) is under pressure to either continually produce threats to distract the enemy or risk losing some very valuable advanced Rabbits. Stationing an Elephant beside a trap square on a long-term basis to protect a Rabbit is not usually an option unless it is the last or next-to-last Rabbit in the army.