Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day of the Jackal at USATE 2009

The Jackal Attack

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.

Mammoth Trap?
Black to play after 12.Bb5

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.


Anonymous said...

Do you know where the USATE 2009 results are or will be posted?

Anonymous said...

Jackal Attack

The Meridith - Stoyko game reaches an interesting gambit position, also tested in Holland in late 2008 and in a previous game. Analysis of the variations lead to an assessment that the position is [practically] level.

You might be interested to know that, in a couple of other variations you have quoted, the analysis has advanced in recent years. I give two examples:

After 6...Qb6 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.O-O-O Bxf2 10.Na4 Qb4 11.Qxf2 Qxa4 12.Rd3! is the move I have been recommending for some time now. It has since been tested to good effect by a group of Dutch players at the EUWE club. [12.Kb1? is weak against best play. I abandoned it quite a while back. The move 12.a3 is interesting but not White's best]. The move 12.Rd3 might look odd but White's attacking chances are sustainable.

In the line 6...Qb6 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.O-O-O Ndxe5 [Based on my preliminary analysis some eight years ago, Flear presumed - as indeed I did at the time - that Black was better here. However, things have changed.] After 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Bb5! [Nowadays the main line in the e-book] ...Bd7 12.Rhe1! is a potential minefield: By continuing with a temporary restraint in this way, White retains many dangerous threats. These include some of the tactical features you have alluded to - and some others besides.

Adrian Skelton