Arimaa/Attacking/Camel Attacks

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The attacking silver camel is supported by two advanced rabbits. game

It would often be easy for an attacking camel to itself get onto a decentralized key square, but that would be no good if the opponent then took a strong camel hostage. A camel should advance only when the overall position minimizes this risk.

In the game diagrammed, Gold pulled a rabbit on Silver's camel wing. The rabbit pull helped Silver, who then advanced another rabbit and his camel, which pushed onto b3. This camel attack is ideal for Silver for several reasons:

  • The silver camel fights directly against a gold horse, which has been pushed into passivity. When Silver pushes a gold horse off b3, b2 is the best square to push it onto; on a3 or c3, that horse would be more active. With the silver camel nearby, Gold should have placed a piece on b2, so that the gold horse couldn't be pushed onto that square.
  • The a4 rabbit keeps the silver camel mobile, and also stops Gold from gaining space on the a-file.
  • If Gold takes the silver camel hostage, the c3 rabbit will help Silver blockade the trap and thereby get a strong elephant rotation. Although Gold appears strong in the east, a camel hostage would likely backfire on him.
  • 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.

Rather than pull pieces homeward, one facing a possible camel attack should perhaps try to block weaker pieces from advancing ahead of their camel.

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The gold elephant and camel have opened a goal path.

If the enemy elephant is committed to another part of the board, the camel can attack without fear. At left, Gold has taken full advantage of the silver elephant's isolation in the southeast. Gold's elephant–camel attack has forced silver pieces east, clearing a path for a western rabbit advance. Although Silver to move can temporarily block a goal, Gold can force captures in c6, clearing even more space.

It is usually problematic to have an attacking elephant and camel on c5 and c7, but here that alignment works very well for Gold. The silver elephant is in no position to fork the gold camel, and having the gold elephant and camel on the c-file makes it harder for silver pieces to move west.

If not for the gold rabbit on a6, Silver could defend the c6 trap with a move such as rd6w dd3n md5n rd8w. The threat of goal, however, will force Silver to play a move such as rd8w ce7nw rc8w, allowing Gold to control the c6 trap with Ec5we rb6s Ra6e.