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How to Trap Your Opponent’s Pieces

Stratego Trapping Techniques

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Situations allowing the use of trapping techniques generally result from a mistake or a risk taken by one’s opponent. For instance, when one side takes the risk of running a major piece down to the other side’s camp in order to pursue a piece, the latter is often able to employ a trapping technique:


Stratego Diagram 7


In this scenario, both sides know the identities of Blue’s Major on a7 and Red’s Lieutenant on a5, as denoted by the asterisks (*) in the diagram. They do not know the identities of any of their opponents’ other pieces. Blue wrongly decides to use his Major to pursue Red’s Lieutenant. Blue begins by advancing toward Red’s Lieutenant with:
                                    1. . . .                                       Major* a7-a6
Red, guessing Blue’s intention, counters by bringing his General into play from out behind the Left Lake with:
                                    2. General d4-c4
Blue advances towards Red’s Lieutenant with:
                                    2. . . .                                       Major* a6-a5
And Red uses his General to defend his Lieutenant with:
                                    3. General c4-b4
Blue cannot now take Red’s Lieutenant, since this would simply lose his Major. Although Blue does not know for sure the identity of Red’s General, he can infer from Red’s past few moves that Red has brought a piece over to defend the Red Lieutenant on a4. So, instead, Blue chooses to play a different move on a different flank, say:

                                   3. . . .   Lieutenant i7-i6



Red then continues with:


                                                            4. General b4-b5
This move now threatens to take Blue’s Major. Blue should now simply retreat, content to have provoked Red into possibly betraying the identity of a piece higher than a Major (unless he believes Red to have been bluffing). In such a case, Red would still probably have gained some advantage, as Blue’s Major would be sidelined away from the action on the abysmal a6 square. Blue’s progress on the left flank would be stymied. Instead, however, Blue is foolhardy and captures Red’s Lieutenant with the rash:
                                                4. . . .                                       Major a5xa4?
Blue now loses his Major to a classic trapping technique. His Major has no place to go without being captured or running into a bomb, so Red simply plays:
                                                5. Colonel b3-b4
Red will then win Blue’s Major, establishing a material advantage.
There are numerous such trapping techniques in Stratego, and the above is only the most basic. Two traps that every Stratego player should know, however, are the two “Side Squeezes.”



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