Arimaa/Attacking/Example: Elephant–Dog Attack

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As local fights ensue, a trap can quickly become vulnerable. If one side's forces become too unbalanced, the opponent might get a strong attack using only an elephant and a weak piece. Such occurred in the opening of 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, and couldn't soon take the silver camel hostage. On 11g, Gold decided to blockade the advanced silver horse with Dc2n Rc1n Hb3w Dc3w. Silver could have proceeded with a southeastern attack, or threatened the gold camel with ee3s Mf3wn ee2n, but instead chose 11s ee3ws mg4n Hg3n. Gold responded with 12g Rh3n Hg4s Eb5ee, protecting both the gold horse and camel while also centralizing the gold elephant, with some long-term threats against 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 for a strong attack on c6. On 12s or 13s, Silver could have averted disaster by unfreezing the d6 dog and moving it to b6, while also moving his camel one square east to avoid a potential hostage situation. However, Silver only noticed the latter threat, and 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 hs.svg Arimaa rg.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 14g.

The gold elephant and dog have successfully attacked c6. An opening attack would normally require more strength, but since no silver horse or camel could disrupt the attack, it was most effective for Gold to advance his dog and keep his strong pieces home on defense. Silver cannot avoid a material loss, but must minimize the damage. Defending c6 would be costly; moving the silver elephant to the northwest would allow Gold to play Rc3n Mf3www, freezing and threatening the c2 horse. Silver's other option is to create a threat elsewhere, but here any Silver threat would be too slow. The h4 rabbit could be dragged toward f6 and captured in two turns; if Silver did that, however, Gold could use his turns to capture the silver cat and dog in c6. Instead, Silver countered with 14s mh5ws Hg3e mg4s, but it wasn't enough. Gold captured the cat with three steps while defending f3 with a single step: 15g Mf3n Db6n cc7sx Db7e. This placed the gold dog on c7, far away from both silver horses and the silver camel.