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Subject: Attangle session report rss

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Frederic Heath-Renn
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I've played Attangle a number of times now, and I find its dynamic fascinating. I decided to take notes during a recent game as it happened so I could analyse the thought processes behind my moves at the time rather than trying to look back and work out what my intentions were in hindsight.

I am not claiming to be a good player, but I think this was an interesting game.

The game was against Panglott on SuperDuperGames.


The board after my opening move. Letters designate rows, numbers positions in the row.

1. a1 g1
2. d1 a4
We both decide that taking corners is a good way to start. Corners are pretty defensible and provide a good base to build on.
3. c2
I decide to play a piece a 'knight's move' away from my previous pieces. It's not directly defending them or being defended by them, but at this early stage it feels positionally attractive to me - albeit I am unsure it the right part of a positional structure to slot in now.
... f1
4. d3
My reasoning here is that this play: a) blocks an orange d-rank piece from threatening d1; b) supports d1 and c2; c) threatens f1, though on further analysis the piece on g1 makes this feel like a very weak threat. The new piece is supported by d1 and c1, neutralising the threat to it from f1.
... a3
The threat from this to d3 isn't credible, but a4 and f1 protect it from being taken, for now at least. I'm not sure that playing at b3/c3 to threaten it while protecting using d3 are really credible - I haven't developed enough to be able to use the 2-stack that would result from making the capture, and a vulnerable unusable 2-stack seems like a bad thing to leave lying around. So let's develop some presence on the right-hand side of the board; maybe we'll be able to grow this presence into something that can threaten a3/4 safely in time.


Four moves in. I am trying to build a self-supporting structure in the middle of the board; Orange is attacking from both sides with defensively-strong edge pieces. My play will be aiming to cut these sides off so they aren't supporting each other.

5. d7 e1
The temptation is to go d1,c2-e1 but they can respond with f1,a3-d3 and then I'm on the back foot threatened by d3,a4-d7. e1 is not a direct threat to me so I don't have a forced response and can make a more positional play - in future turns I hope to be able to do d1,d2-e1 (and threaten e1,d3-f1) with my threatening piece at d3 protected by c2 & d7.
6. d2 e2
Orange makes a defensive play that effectively protects their pieces from my threats but makes no direct threat itself. I decide to pressure in the south, threatening a1,b3-a3 into a3,d7-a4; I don't think this can be responded to safely by Orange by attempting to block with a play to c3 or a2. My move also relieves the threat on d3.
7. b3 b4
Orange's move directly threatens capture of b3 and then d3, and also protects a3 - I probably should have noticed this counterplay was possible. To protect b3, b2 would be a rather dull but, I think, defensively effective response; I decide to try something more aggressive, still protecting b3 but spreading my influence rightwards.
8. c4 c3
There are ways we could exchange and end up on one 3-stack each here, but as far as I can tell no way for me to obtain the advantage; so instead I make a defensive move (to protect a1 and b3) in the hope that by circling a little longer I can find a slight positional advantage and grab a 3-stack uncountered.


Eight moves in. Orange has formed some strong defensive triangles - in contrast, several of my pieces are notably unsupported (a1, b3, d7). But I am successfully interposing myself between Orange's two main regions.

9. b2 b5
This means d7 no longer threatens a4, meaning I am at risk from g1,b4-c4. I will reply with another influence-spreading move that threatens the new piece while protecting c4.
10. d5 f5
I guess the threat is to d7, but it doesn't seem very credible - it's true that Orange's good coverage of the rows in the north makes it difficult to defend against, but it still seems as if it'll be too slow to develop. I decide to act now to try and gain a tempo advantage.
11. d3,c2-c3 e4
This placement technically threatens c3 and also means that f5,b5-d7 can be immediately followed up with d7,e4-d5. I could capture the newly-placed piece instead of e2 but I don't think doing so really helps; better to continue with the original plan, since I am a turn ahead in stack formation.
12. c3,d2-e2 e6
I hope I can be excused for saying this seems idiosyncratic - makes no threats on my pieces and, as best I can see, doesn't defend anything that was really in danger. This gives me an opportunity to defend d7 and disrupt the otherwise guaranteed capture by playing in c6, which also forms a parallelogram of mutual defence. I can't see any downside to taking that opportunity.


Twelve moves in. The location of the newly-formed stack weakens Orange's line in the upper left by preventing a triangle being formed at e1,e2,f1, a weakness I will exploit later on. My pieces are in a rough defensive circle except for d7, which I had considered abandoned, but Orange's declination to capture it on this turn means I have a chance to try and save it.

13. c6 d2
Probably a wise play from Orange - I was planning to play on d2 at some point because of the nice threat to e1 that sets up, thanks to the stack on e2. d2 protects and threatens; the risk of them getting c1 as well and totally cutting off d1 is too great - probably worth a stack to them, I reckon - so best nip that in the bud while trying to restore my spent influence on the left of the board.
14. c1 d6
Orange's move very much puts the onus on me, since letting them get a complete connection across the right seems like it would be a disaster from a positional point of view. It also limits my options in terms of strengthening d2 - I could on this turn do c1,b2-d2 and then d1,c2-e1 would be unstoppable for a second stack, but I think that weakens me too much elsewhere, and c5 is too important to not do right now.
15. c5 f3
Orange forms its own parallelogram of strength in an area that, to be honest, is well outside my zone of influence; as best I can tell it doesn't make any threats so I'm just going to ignore it and pile on the pressure.


Fifteen moves in. I've got the score advantage so I can afford to allow Orange a stack in exchange for me forming stacks. I decide this is the point to start collapsing the game.

16. b2,c1-d2
If they take advantage by doing a3,b4-b3 it's tempting to do c4,a1-a4 to threaten b5. But a single drop at a2 then sets up a fork which is very bad for me.
... d6,e6-d7
Suicide for Orange.
17. c6,d5-d7 b4,b5-c5
18. d1,d2-e1


Final board state.

I've no doubt there were glaring weaknesses in the way I played, and I would be interested to hear comments on how those could have been exploited and how the game could have progressed differently, as well as any other thoughts.
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