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Arimaa Forum Opening play in half_integer - bot_Clueless2005CC


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   Opening play in half_integer - bot_Clueless2005CC
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   Author  Topic: Opening play in half_integer - bot_Clueless2005CC  (Read 730 times)
half_integer
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Opening play in half_integer - bot_Clueless2005CC
« on: Feb 10th, 2016, 5:55am »
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Would anyone like to help me understand why my f6 attack did not succeed in this game?
 
http://arimaa.com/arimaa/gameroom/comments.cgi?gid=455609
 
Ignore everything that happened at 14g and after, especially the failed trade at 16g.  I am trying to improve in the opening and want to understand why I wasn't able to control f6, or retreat better to attack the silver camel.
 
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clyring
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Re: Opening play in half_integer - bot_Clueless200
« Reply #1 on: Feb 12th, 2016, 7:45am »
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On 8g a decision has to be made: The threat of 8s looks to draw you forward strategically. Your main options, generically speaking:
  • Prevent your horse from being dragged offside: Here that would mean diverting your elephant from f6 to threaten to take a camel hostage if silver doesn't retreat empty-handed. For example, 8g dg7e Hg6n De1nn intending to meet 8s Ha3nn mb3wn with 9g Eswww, where silver is almost forced to trade m for HD, and you are in good position for attacking c6 thereafter.
  • Get a counterthreat of sufficient size: Here this isn't really possible yet.
  • Switch gears and contest c6: This is made much harder by the time lost retreating on 7g, but certainly something like 8g Me3wwn Rf1n intending to meet 8s Ha3nn mb3wn with 9g Mc4wnn Dd1n can be tried. If you can maintain claims on both away traps, the game is almost won, but things are rarely so easy.

After 8g, on 12g, Dc3n is almost strictly better than Dc3w, and similarly Rf1n is probably better than De2e on 9g. 13g has that 'not quite right' feeling to it, but I can't find much that seems clearly better. The silver camel seems to be just safe enough in every line, so I'm guessing at this point silver is already objectively ahead.
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mattj256
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Re: Opening play in half_integer - bot_Clueless200
« Reply #2 on: Feb 12th, 2016, 8:30pm »
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Gold's play in the beginning of the game reminds me of "I want to go into the swimming pool but the water is too cold."  There's a tentativeness and hesitancy in the attack on f6, as though you want to attack but you also want to be able to retreat everything safely if the elephant has to move away.
 
If your question is: why didn't my attack succeed against f6?  I would answer: what was the first move of the game where you were committed to attacking f6?  On 8g if you were committed to attacking f6 you would push your horse into f7.  On 9g if you were committed to attacking f6 you wouldn't have retreated the horse.  
 
On 2g you moved your elephant forward two steps instead of three, which is already somewhat of a defensive posture.  (I would say unnecessarily defensive.)  
 
On 4g and 5g there's a cat-and-mouse game between the gold elephant and the silver camel.  Maybe 4g Ed5e Me4es, with the last step De2n or Hg3n?  This consolidates the position, and if you play Hg3n it prepares for an EH attack against f6.
 
On 5g I would play Ed5en De3e Mf4w.  5s ef5s Me4w ef4w dg7s can be met by 6g Ee6w dg6e Hg5n Df3e and now gold is clearly ahead.
 
On 5g I don't like Rg2nn.  An elephant taking a horse hostage is only a real threat if the opponent can rotate out his elephant and replace it with his camel, which isn't the case here.  The g4 rabbit doesn't participate in the attack at all, and after 10s it becomes a liability.  My personal philosophy in the opening is to never voluntarily advance any rabbits past the third rank, except for the a and h files.  I think it's only good to advance a rabbit past the fourth rank in the opening on files b,c, f, or g if it's part of a plan to swarm or to control the enemy trap on that wing.
 
6g I think De3en is better than Cf2nn.  On the actual game 8g you retreated the cat.  If you had a dog there instead, silver flipping the dog into f6 is met by gold pushing the dog into f7.
 
One exercise that I've been doing recently that maybe will help you:
1. Decide before you start that you're going to give up a camel hostage.
2. Play against a weak opponent or play unrated.
3. Give up a camel hostage.
4. Play to rotate out your elephant, not to free the hostage.
5. Don't worry if you lose.  It's only a game.
 
You could also experiment with an EHH setup if your goal is to practice trap attacks in the opening.  (If it feels foreign and unnatural, practice first against weak opponents.)
 
I hope this helps!
Matthew
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