The diagonal rule is a visual guage on whether a piece is within reach by another. Simply project an imaginary diagonal line from any of your pieces (as if it were a bishop's move in chess) and extend this imaginary line to an opponent's piece. If the opponent's piece is within the diagonal, you can still reach it provided no other pieces are blocking your way. But if your opponent's piece has passed the diagonal line, you are already a move or more too late to block it. Oftentimes, your opponent will lure you to chase or take a piece just to throw you off the diagonal reach of another.You may have to retreat back within the diagonal reach before you can challenge another piece, even if you are sure you can eliminate it. If you have encountered seasoned players, notice how they would retreat a piece as if it were weak but would suddenly spring back to eliminate yours. They were feinting weakness so as to take your piece while maintaining their diagonal reach of your other pieces and to make sure your piece is on its own without guard.
The same rule is used to see if a piece is trapped. If a piece is surrounded by your opponent's which is beyond the diagonal protection of your other pieces, your surrounded piece is considered as trapped.
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