Divide your board into 3 flanks. Left, Center, Right. Each flank consist of nine squares. Divide the twenty one pieces by the three flanks so you will have exactly seven pieces per flank. Conventionally, each flank must have at least two strong pieces, two middle ranks and two privates.
You can also experiment with the 5, 4 and 3 star with privates in one flank, another flank comprises the 2 star, 1 star and a Spy combined with middle officers and privates while the third flank comprises of middle officers, privates and the other Spy. This orthodox balancing of pieces enables you to attack and defend from the left, center or right flank on an instant shift of decision. Your pieces are spread on an even ratio of one is one to that of your opponent even before the game begins.
Because the essence of maneuvering is basically about spacing. The more compressed your pieces are to the back row and corners, the less spacing you will have for maneuvering.
Fill up the first and second row of each flank. This will prevent untested pieces from entering and compressing your maneuvering spaces. This also saves you from wasting a turn just to move the piece forward.
An opponent's untested piece doesn't even have to take any of your pieces. All it has to do is compress your spacing and you will be in trouble.
Take note: When your pieces are compressed from either or both sides towards the center, you won't be able to block untested pieces crossing because your own pieces are in the way. Instead of challenging your pieces, the opponent can simply "squeeze" and use your pieces and compressed spacing to his favor.
Having "compressed positions" will also entail the risk that if you lose a piece you challenged, the opponent can utilize his next move to take out the adjacent piece and threaten a subsequent one.
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