Arimaa/Attacking/Example: Elephant–Dog Attack

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When strong pieces advance, their home traps might be left vulnerable. If there is nothing to stop an attacking dog, an elephant-dog attack could be effective even in the opening, as it was in this 2006 World Championship game.

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8 Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg 8
7 Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa cs.svg Arimaa ds.svg Arimaa cs.svg 7
6 Arimaa ds.svg Arimaa hs.svg Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg 6
5 Arimaa eg.svg 5
4 Arimaa ms.svg 4
3 Arimaa hg.svg Arimaa es.svg Arimaa mg.svg Arimaa hg.svg Arimaa rg.svg 3
2 Arimaa hs.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa dg.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa dg.svg 2
1 Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa cg.svg Arimaa cg.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa rg.svg 1
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After 10s.

After 10s Silver appeared strong, with a horse and camel advanced on opposite wings. Gold had a poor alignment; unable to take a strong hostage, Gold blockaded the advanced silver horse with 11g Dc2n Rc1n Hb3w Dc3w. Rather than pursue an aggressive eastern attack, Silver played 11s ee3ws mg4n Hg3n, aiming to unblock his horse and attack the c3 trap. Gold responded with 12g Rh3n Hg4s Eb5ee, protecting his eastern horse and camel while also centralizing his elephant, which was now a potential threat to the silver camel on g5 and the dog on d6.

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8 Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg 8
7 Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa cs.svg Arimaa ds.svg Arimaa cs.svg 7
6 Arimaa ds.svg Arimaa hs.svg Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg 6
5 Arimaa eg.svg Arimaa ms.svg 5
4 Arimaa rg.svg 4
3 Arimaa hg.svg Arimaa dg.svg Arimaa mg.svg Arimaa hg.svg 3
2 Arimaa hs.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa es.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa dg.svg 2
1 Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa cg.svg Arimaa cg.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa rg.svg 1
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After 12g.

On 12s, Silver ignored his increasingly weak northwestern defense, and seemingly moved toward control of the southwest with 12s ed2n Rc2e Rb2e ha2e. However, Gold had a clever two-turn plan in mind. 13g Cd1w Db3n Ha3e Ra1n delayed the silver attack on c3, and also positioned the western gold dog to attack c6. On 12s or 13s, Silver could have unfrozen the d6 dog and moved it to b6, thus blocking the gold dog from that square; had the western gold horse then advanced, Silver could have owned c3. Instead, play continued 13s Rc2n hb2e ed3e mg5e 14g Db4nn dd6n Ed5n.

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8 Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg 8
7 Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa cs.svg Arimaa ds.svg Arimaa ds.svg Arimaa cs.svg 7
6 Arimaa dg.svg Arimaa eg.svg Arimaa hs.svg Arimaa rs.svg Arimaa rs.svg 6
5 Arimaa ms.svg 5
4 Arimaa rg.svg 4
3 Arimaa hg.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa es.svg Arimaa mg.svg Arimaa hg.svg 3
2 Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa hs.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa dg.svg 2
1 Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa cg.svg Arimaa cg.svg Arimaa rg.svg Arimaa rg.svg 1
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After 14g.

The gold elephant and dog have attacked c6. An opening attack would normally require more strength, but since Silver had nothing to stop the western gold dog, Gold advanced it and kept his home defense strong. Silver could now defend c6 only by moving his elephant to c5, but that would be costly, as the c2 horse could then be threatened by the gold camel. From the current position, Silver cannot avoid a loss in the west; Silver must cede c6 and counterattack elsewhere. The h4 rabbit could be dragged toward f6 and captured in two turns, but in that time Gold could capture a silver cat and dog in c6. Instead, Silver attacked f3 with 14s mh5ws Hg3e mg4s, but Gold defended with a single step and also captured the c7 cat: 15g Mf3n Db6n cc7sx Db7e. With the gold dog on c7 and no strong silver piece nearby, Gold was poised to make quick progress, but still had to watch the rest of the board.