Arimaa/Attacking/Camel Attacks

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The attacking silver camel is supported by two advanced rabbits.

The camel can be a powerful attacker, but must take care not to become hostaged or even cornered if that will allow the opponent to dominate elsewhere. Well-placed supporting pieces can make a camel advance safer and thus more effective; pieces advanced on a flank can increase a camel's mobility thereon, and a piece advanced into the targeted trap could allow for a quick elephant rotation if the camel is taken hostage. In this opening, two advanced silver rabbits supported their camel. Silver's camel attack is strong for several reasons:

  • The silver camel pushed a gold horse onto b2, where it is passive. Prior to this push, Gold could have occupied b2 and thus ensured that the b3 horse could only be pushed sideways; on a3 or c3, the gold horse would be more active, and would make a silver rabbit advance less effective.
  • Besides allowing the silver camel to retreat if necessary, the a4 rabbit stops Gold from gaining space on the a-file.
  • The c3 rabbit blockades the trap. This could allow Silver to get a strong elephant rotation if Gold took the camel hostage.
  • The d5 horse can replace the elephant on d3, whether or not the hostage is taken.

Gold to move could flip the silver rabbit out of c3, but the gold elephant would have to remain on c4 to stop Silver from occupying c3 or making captures therein.

Silver's camel attack began after Gold pulled a silver rabbit. Rather than pulling pieces on the opponent's camel wing, one should perhaps try to block weaker pieces from advancing ahead of their camel.


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Gold's elephant-camel attack threatens goal.


It is not common to have an attacking elephant and camel on c5 and c7, as the enemy elephant might fork the camel. If that can't quickly happen, however, such an alignment might make the attacker strong on the whole wing. On 34g of this game, Gold created a one-turn goal threat as well as capture threats. Silver was up in material, but faced potential threats in the southwest as well as immediate threats in the northwest. Silver would currently need four steps to freeze the gold camel, after which Gold could unfreeze it and move it west. With the gold elephant on c5, the b6 rabbit would not be frozen on b5 if it were pulled south.