Day of the Jackal

By Michael Goeller

During the recently completed US Amateur Team East 2009, our team captain FM Steve Stoyko stumbled into a cute line of the French that Adrian Skelton has dubbed "The Jackal Attack" (after his favorite film, "Day of the Jackal"). Steve sidestepped the most convoluted trap in the line, but still allowed his opponent a tricky draw. I thought it might be worthwhile to take a look at this line in more depth to see if Black has a way through the morrass of complications it creates.

Matthew Derek Meredith (2084) - Steve Stoyko (2250) [C00]

US Amateur Team East/Parsippany, NJ USA (5) 2009


1. e4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. d4 c5 6. Bg5 Qb6 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. Qd2 Bb4!?

Steve was looking to vary early with a reasonable move so that his opponent could not rely on home analysis. He knew not to play 8... Bxf2+?! 9. Qxf2 Qxb2 10. Kd2 Qxa1 11. Bb5 Qxh1 12. Qc5 Qxg2+ 13. Kc1 which takes Black down a very deep rabbit hole, as you will see in the next game.

 

9. a3 Qa5










10. axb4?!

Is this a mistake or a "mammoth trap"?

 

10... Qxa1+ 11. Nd1 Nc6 12. Bb5










12... O-O?!

After this logical move, getting the Black King to safety, White can force a draw. Necessary, as Steve realized shortly after his move, was 12... a5! 13. c4 axb4! creating an escape hatch for the Queen and thus securing a material edge.

 

13. O-O! Ndxe5

13... a5 14. Nc3 Qxb2 15. Rb1 Qa3 16. Rb3 Qa1+ 17. Rb1=

 

14. Nxe5 Nxe5 15. Nc3 Qxb2 16. Rb1 Qa3 17. Rb3

White's only winning chance would be 17. Qe1!? d4 18. Rb3 Qxb3 19. cxb3 dxc3 20. Be7 (20. Qxe5 f6 21. Bxf6 Rxf6 22. Qxc3 a6) 20... c2 21. Qc3 Bd7 22. Bxd7 Nxd7 23. Bxf8 Rxf8 24. g3 Nb6 25. Qxc2 Nd5 26. Qc5 b6 but Black sets up a fortress with his Knight at d5 holding the pawn at b6 to secure at least a draw.

 

17... Qa1+ 18. Rb1=
And since the Queen cannot escape perpetual attack, the players agreed a draw.










1/2-1/2

[Michael Goeller]


Adrian Skelton - David O'Donnell [C00]

Internet rapid 2001


1. e4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. d4 c5 6. Bg5!?

 

 

Dubbed "The Jackal Attack" by Adrian Skelton in his excellent book by that name. I have quoted some of his analysis here, but I recommend that anyone interested in learning more about this line contact Adrian to order a copy of the book where a lot more analysis is presented: adrianskeltonntlworld.com.

 

6... Qb6

Probably Black's best. In fact, it looks at first as though White is in trouble after this move. And even in the complete analysis things are not so clear. So it is the critical reply. Other moves present less of a challenge, and Skelton deals with them all in great detail. Here is a sampling, with my own commentary and suggestions added:

a) 6... Be7?! 7. Bxe7 Qxe7 (7... Kxe7 8. Qd2) 8. Nb5 Kd8 9. c3!

b) 6... f6?! 7. exf6 Nxf6 (7... gxf6?! 8. Bf4 (8. Bh4) 8... Qb6 (8... cxd4 9. Nxd4) 9. Nb5 Na6 10. Nh4!) 8. Bb5+ Nc6 9. Ne5 (9. Qe2!?) (9. O-O!? a6 10. Bxc6+ bxc6 11. Ne5) 9... Bd7 10. Qe2! Skelton.(10. O-O cxd4 11. Bxc6 bxc6 12. Qxd4) (10. Nxd7 Qxd7 11. O-O O-O-O 12. Bh4 Bd6 13. dxc5 Bxc5 14. Bg3 Bd6 15. Qd3 Bxg3 16. Qxg3 1/2-1/2 Skelton,A-Gillen,S/Dublin 1994 (16)) (10. Bxc6! Bxc6 11. O-O) 10... cxd4! (10... Be7 11. Bxc6 bxc6 12. dxc5 Bxc5 13. Ne4!! dxe4 14. O-O-O) 11. Nxd5 Nxe5 12. Qxe5 Kf7 13. Bxf6 (13. Nxf6 gxf6 14. Bxf6) 13... gxf6 14. Qh5+ Kg7

c) 6... Qa5!? 7. dxc5!? (7. Bb5!? Skelton) 7... Bxc5 8. a3 Qb6 (8... Qc7!? 9. Nb5 Qb6 10. Qd2 a6 11. b4!) 9. Bh4= and White is doing well. 9... Nc6 (9... Qxb2? 10. Na4 Bb4+ 11. Ke2!) 10. b4!? Be7 11. Bxe7 Nxe7 12. Nb5 O-O 13. c4

 

7. dxc5 Bxc5

a) 7... Qxb2? 8. Nb5 Qb4+ 9. c3 Qxc5 10. Be3 d4 11. cxd4 Qb6 12. Rc1 Na6 13. Nd2 Qa5 14. Nxa7!

b) 7... Nxc5 8. Nd4! Skelton 8... Ncd7 (8... Qxb2? 9. Ndb5 Ne4 10. Nc7+ Kd7 11. N7xd5) 9. f4 h6 10. Bh4 g5!?

c) 7... Qxc5 8. Nb5! Sadler 8... a6! Skelton(8... Qb6 9. Be3 Qd8 10. c4!? Sadler) 9. Be3 Qb4+ 10. c3 Qa5 11. Nbd4 (11. Nd6+?! Bxd6 12. exd6 O-O Skelton) 11... Nc6 12. Nxc6! bxc6 13. Bd3

 

8. Qd2










8... Bxf2+?!

Skelton calls this "the fantasy variation." I call it falling down a bunny hole. It is not Black's best, though it may well verge on equality with best play. As Skelton himself admits, Black seems to do better after 8... Nc6! 9. O-O-O! Skelton

 

(a) 9. Bb5?! d4! Skelton(9... Qc7?! 10. Bf4 a6?! 11. Nxd5! exd5 12. e6 Qa5 13. exd7+ Bxd7 14. Qxa5 Nxa5 15. Bxd7+ Kxd7 16. O-O-O f6 17. Rxd5+ Kc6 18. Rhd1 1-0 Skelton,A-Edgar,R/Belfast 1994/(18)) (9... Bb4!?) (9... h6!?) 10. Bxc6 dxc3 (10... Qxc6!?) 11. Bxd7+ Bxd7 12. bxc3 h6 (12... Bc6) (12... Bb5 13. Nd4 Bc4) 13. Bh4 Bc6 (13... g5 14. Bg3 O-O-O! 15. Nd4 Bb5) 14. O-O Qc7?! 15. Qe2 Van der Velde--Kuijpers, Dieren Open 2002, 1/2-1/2 in 41 moves.)

(b) 9. Na4?! Bxf2+ 10. Qxf2 (10. Kd1 Qb4 11. Qxb4 Nxb4 or 10. Ke2 Qb5+ 11. Kxf2 Qxa4 12. b3 Qa3) 10... Qb4+ 11. Bd2 (11. c3 Qxa4 12. Be2) 11... Qxa4)

 

9... Ndxe5!?

This move seems just a bit risky. Safer seems 9... Bxf2! 10. Na4 (10. Nb5 O-O) 10... Qb4 11. Qxf2 Qxa4 12. Kb1 Skelton 12... O-O! and I do not think White has enough for the pawn, e.g.: 13. Bd3 Ndxe5 14. Qg3 Nxd3 15. Bf6 g6 16. cxd3 e5! 17. Nxe5 (17. d4?? Bf5+) (17. Qg5?! Qf4! is the point) 17... Nxe5 18. Bxe5 Bf5)

 

10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Re1

(a) 11. Bb5+!? comes very close to using development alone to force a win or draw: 11... Bd7 (11... Kf8 12. Rhe1) (11... Nd7? 12. Nxd5!! exd5 13. Rhe1+ Kf8 14. Qxd5) 12. Nxd5 exd5 13. Bxd7+ Nxd7 14. Qxd5 (14. Rhe1+ Kf8 15. Qxd5 Nf6 (15... h6!) 16. Bxf6 gxf6 17. Qh5 h6 18. Rd7 Rh7 19. c3) 14... Nf6 (14... Nf8? 15. Rhe1+ Ne6 16. Rxe6+ fxe6 17. Qd7+ Kf8 18. Rd3 Qc6 19. Rf3+ Qxf3 20. gxf3) (14... O-O 15. Qxd7=) 15. Rhe1+ (15. Bxf6 gxf6) 15... Kf8 16. Bxf6 gxf6 17. Qh5 h6 18. c3 Rc8 19. Rd7 Rh7 20. Qd5)

(b) 11. Na4 Qb4 12. Nxc5 Qxc5 13. Be3 Qc6! 14. Bd4 f6 15. f4 Nc4 16. Qc3 O-O)

 

11... f6!

(Worse was 11... Bd6?! 12. f4 Nc4 13. Bxc4 dxc4 14. Ne4 Bc7 15. Qc3)

Ahn--Boeykens, 18th EU Cup Chalkidiki 2002 ended here 1/2-1/2, but it appears that White is worse:

12. Na4 (12. Bb5+?! Kf7! but maybe 12. f4!? Nc4! (12... d4?! 13. Na4 Bb4 14. Nxb6 Bxd2+ 15. Kxd2 axb6 16. Bxf6 gxf6 17. fxe5 Rxa2 18. Bc4 Rxb2 19. Bb3 fxe5 20. Kc1 Rxb3 21. cxb3) 13. Bxc4 dxc4 14. Bh4)

12... Qb4 13. Nxc5 Qxc5 14. Be3 Qc6 15. Bd4 Nc4 just looks good for Black.

 

9. Qxf2 Qxb2 10. Kd2 Qxa1 11. Bb5 Qxh1 12. Qc5 Nc6

a) 12... Qxg2+ 13. Kc1 Qxg5+ 14. Nxg5 Nc6 (14... Na6? 15. Qd6 b6 16. Bc6) 15. Bxc6 bxc6 16. Qxc6 Rb8 17. Nxd5 exd5 18. e6

b) 12... f6 13. exf6! Qxg2+ 14. Ke1!

 

13. Bxc6 Qxg2+ 14. Kc1

14. Ke1 Qxg5 15. Bxd7+ Bxd7 16. Nxg5

 

14... Qxg5+ 15. Nxg5 bxc6 16. Qxc6 Rb8










Now, just when you thought Black was pulling it together, comes the second shot.

 

17. Nxd5!! exd5

17... O-O? 18. Ne7+ Kh8 19. Nxc8 Nxe5 20. Qe4 Ng6 21. Ne7 Rbe8 22. Nxg6+ fxg6 23. Qc6 Rd8 24. Nxe6 Rf1+ 25. Kb2 Rb8+ 26. Kc3 Rf7 27. h4 Re7 28. Kd4 h6 29. Nf4 Rb4+ 30. c4 1-0 Rohl,J-Uribe,M/Medellin COL 2003 (30).

 

18. e6 f6!

The best way to try to prove White's line incorrect.

a) 18... O-O?! 19. exd7 Bb7 20. Qc7! Rfd8 (20... Ba6? 21. Nxf7! 1-0 Rutter-Fowler, Shropshire League 2002) 21. Qf4 Rf8 (21... f6 22. Ne6) 22. Qf5! (22. Nxf7!? Bc6 23. Qd6 Kxf7 24. Qxc6 Ke7 25. Qxd5 Rf1+ 26. Kd2 Rd8 27. Qg5+ Kxd7 28. Qxg7+ Ke6+ 29. Ke2 Rf7 30. Qg4+) 22... g6 23. Qf6 Black has no useful ideas and White can play Nxf7 (or d8Q followed by Nxf7) almost whenever he's ready, perhaps after h4-h5 or Kd2-e3. Fritz even suggests the maneuver Nf3-e5xf7 in order to force Black to find moves in the meantime, but that seems rather protracted. Most likely play will go 23... Ra8 (23... h6 24. Nxf7 Rxf7 25. Qxg6+ Rg7 26. Qe8+) 24. h4 h6 25. Nxf7 Rxf7 26. Qxg6+ Rg7 27. Qe8+ Kh7 28. Qxa8 Bxa8 29. d8=Q when the Queen should triumph over Rook and Bishop, especially given the Bishop's bad placement.

b) 18... Rf8!? 19. exd7+ (19. Nxh7 Rh8 20. Ng5 Rf8= Skelton) 19... Bxd7 20. Qc7 Ke7! (20... Rb6 21. Nxh7 Rg8 22. Qxa7 Rc6 23. Qa8+ Rc8 24. Qxd5) (20... Rc8 21. Qe5+ Kd8 22. Qxg7) 21. Qc5+!? (21. Qe5+ Be6 22. Qc7+ Bd7=) 21... Ke8 22. Qe3+ Kd8 23. Qxa7!? and White has the draw in hand but can try for more.

 

19. Qd6 Rb6 20. exd7+

20. Qc7! Ke7 21. exd7 Bxd7 22. Qc5+ Ke8 23. Qxd5!? Rf8 24. Qa8+ Ke7 25. Qxa7 Rfb8 26. Ne4 R8b7= 1/2-1/2 Skelton-Anderson, email correspondence 2003 .

 

20... Bxd7 21. Qxd5 Ke7?!

21... Rf8

 

22. Qc5+ Rd6?

22... Ke8 23. Qe3+ Kf8 24. Qa3+ Ke8 25. Qxa7

 

23. Nf7?

23. Ne4!

 

23... Kxf7 24. Qxd6 Be6

and Black lost on time in an inferior position.

 

1-0

[Michael Goeller]

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