Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Day of the Jackal at USATE 2009
We finished out the US Amateur Team East with two drawn matches and 4.5 points out of 6 (half a point behind the best New Jersey Team).
The most interesting game that I got to see was in Round 5, when French aficionado FM Steve Stoyko faced "The Jackal Attack" (1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.d4 c5 6.Bg5). I have posted Meredith-Stoyko, USATE 2009 along with some additional analysis I have done on the Jackal.
As a player of the Two Knights French myself, I have looked at the Jackal Attack and read Skelton's first edition (he has since issued an update). Anyone interested in learning more about this line can find a lot of analysis on the web, starting with Skelton's own website on "The Jackal Attack" (where you can purchase a copy of his self-published book) and several reviews: "Play of the Jackal," "The Jackal Attack and Other Stories," and "French Defense: Jackal Attack" (with java replay here). Perhaps the most incisive commentary, however, is to be found in Glenn Flear's review from New in Chess Yearbook #72 (btw: Skelton's original analysis appeared in NIC Yearbook #61) titled "The Way of the Jackal" (in PDF).
In the game, Steve walked into an Exchange sacrifice that started to look like a mammoth trap.
However, as with all mammoth traps (see here and here for examples), it's hard to contain the beast. And Steve saw that he could escape the trap fairly easily by battering open the a-file with 12...a5! Instead, he played too quickly 12...O-O?! when White is able to force a draw after 13.O-O followed by Nc3 and (after the forced Qxb2) Rb1-b3-b1-b3 with perpetual threat on the Queen.