My good friend and former coach, Intentional Master Igor Foygel is 60 today. He remains an active player and also has a chess coaching practice in Boston area. Among other things, Foygel helped me in proofing my Chess Exam books. Best wishes! You can check his website here.



Today's training positions all came from Foygel's games. Enjoy!


You could study the following material either by reviewing a diagram an my comments before moving on to the next diagram (especially recommended for novices), or start by attempting to figure out on your own what is going on in each of the positions I will be talking about and then proceed to the lecture. If you chose the latter, spend 5-15 minutes on each diagram and record your evaluation and move / plan for the side whose turn it is and sample variations. Then compare your ideas with mine.


Test yourself:

All Positions:

1. Check whose move it is.

2. Evaluate position (i.e. White is Better, or Black is Winning, or Equal...) 

3. Find the Best move and, if necessary, support it with variations.

4. Answer the question (if there is a specific one)


1. White to Move 2. Black to Move 3. Black to Move. Should Black trade the Queens?
4. White to Move. How the game should end after 1.Rxc8+? 5. Black to Move 6. Black to Move
7. Black to Move. White just played a3-a4, find the way to use your advantage. 8. White to Move. Can he force the win? 9. Black to Move. White King is in trouble. Find the way to get him.







1. Foygel,I  - Chamberlain,J, USA, 1998

Black just played 12...0-0, but it didn't solve his main problem - unprotected Ra8. White executed a double attack 13.Qe4 attacking the Rook and threatening checkmate on h7. Black resigned.  1-0

2. Bakker,A - Foygel,I, USA 2000

After White played 27.Kh1, getting his King out of the Pin, Black found a nice 27...Bg4, trapping the Queen (28.Pxg4 Pxg4). White resigned. 0-1

3. Grechikhin,V - Foygel,I, USA 2001

White just played 29.Qc2-g2 to stop the check. Black has a small deficit in material (Bishop + Pawn against White's Rook). The Black King is safe while his counterpart is not. The only reason for Black to trade the Queens is if it leads to winning the Rook (Bxb2). However after 29...Qxg2? 30.Rxg2! the Rook is safe and Black has a difficult endgame to defend.

Instead, Black found 31...Qc1!, threatening the Rook b2 and checkmate after Qh6#. The only move to save the rook - 32.Rd2, blocking Q's path to h6, failed after 32...Bc3. The Rook can't move and White resigned. 0-1

4. Foygel,I - Paschall,W, USA 1994


After 36.Rxc8+ Rxc8 37.Bxc8 Kxc8 38.Kf2 (Diagram), the resulting pawn endgame is won for White. While the material is equal, the imbalanced pawn structure gives both sides a passed pawn. In the endgames, whoever has the outside passed pawn ha the advantage. With pawns on both sides, White and Black has outside passed pawns, but - 1. White's passed pawn is more advanced and his K-side pawns more advanced as well. 


White's plan is to go after the pawn e5. Black has two plans -


1. Go after the pawn c5. Then White would win pawn e5 and gets to pawns f7 and g6 as well. 38...Kc7 39.Ke3 Kc6 40.Ke4 Kxc5 41.Kxe5 Kb4 42. Kf6 Ka3 43.Kxf7 Kxa2 44.Kxg6 Kb1 45.Ph5 and White easily wins.


2. Try to protect the pawn e5 with the King. In that case, White could either 

a. attack the pawn e5 and put Black in zugzwang winning the pawn e5 for free.

b. attack the pawn e5 and use the pawn c5 as a decoy, then win the pawn e5 and either attack the pawn f7 or sneak to the Q-side.

38...Kd8 or Kd7 39.Ke3 Ke7 40.Ke4 Ke6 41.a4 a5 Diagram. If this was Black to move, he would be in zugzwang and his defense would collapse at once (see the variation 41...f5+ below). Even though Black successfully defended the 'opposition', he still loses to a standard deflection via a sacrifice of the passed pawn 42.c6 Kd6 43.c7 Kxc7 44.Kxe5 Kd7 45.Kd5!  Ke7 46.Kc5 f5 47.gxf6+ Kxf6 48.Kb5 Kf5 49.Kxa5 Kg4 50.Kb5 Kxh4 51.a5+-

In the game, Black went for the plan 1 and lost very quickly. 38...Pa5 39.Ke3 Kd7 40.Ke4 Kc6 [40...Ke6 Now this position is lost instantly as, after 41.a4, Black has no moves 41.a4 f5+ 42.gxf6 Kxf6 43.c6 Ke6 44.c7 Kd7 45.Kxe5 Kxc7 46.Kf6 Kd6 47.Kxg6 Ke6] 41.Kxe5 1-0

5. Sharp,D - Foygel,I (2566), USA 2002

White's position is a mess. All Black's pieces are placed actively, even the Na5. The White's Bishop is vulnerable, so is his Queen. Black finished the game with a 'quiet' 24...Qc7 0-1. The Queen is attacked and also the N on g5 as the pawn f4 is now pinned. 24...Qe7 also wins, due to subsequent Bxe3, Nxg5 and Qxe3 

6. Gufeld,E - Foygel,I, URS 1980

With his last move, White went after the dancegoers Ba8 - 17.Nd5-c7. This temporarily cleared the diagonal a8-h1 of White pieces leaving the Ne4 only piece blocking the Bishop's attack on g2. Without the N, Black would play 17...Qxg2#. Hence he played 17...Nc3!, attacking the Queen and clearing the diagonal. Because of the mate, White had to give up the Queen and lost quickly.  18.Nxa8 Nxb5 19.Bxb5 Nf6 20.Nc7 Rc8 21.Ra1 g6 22.Ra7 Qf4 0-1

Note that 17...Nxf2+ would fail as after 18.Rxf2, the Pawn g2 is defended.

7. Foygel,I - Burtov,Y, USA 1994

White's last move - 31.a3-a4? Allowed Black to execute a perfect strike against the pinned and not very mobile Nc3. Did you notice that if forced to leave, the N has no place to go. Hence, Black could play 31...a5 (or 31...c5). (diagram)

One way or another, the Nb4 will be attacked by the pawn and it has nowhere to go!32.axb5 (32.bxa5 b4) 32...axb4 33.bxc6 Rc7 34.Na4 Qd1+ winning the Knight 35.Kh2 Qxa4-+] 

Instead, Black played 31...Qc4 and soon self-imploded.

32.axb5 cxb5 33.Qa3 Bd3 34.Qa6 Re7 35.Rf3+ Bf5 36.Nxb5 Kg7 37.Qd6 Rf7 38.Qe5+ Kg8 39.Nd6 Qc1+ 40.Kh2 Rg7 41.Rc3 Qg5 42.Rc8+ Kh7 43.Nf7 1-0


8. Foygel,I - Moroz,A, USSR (Ukraine-ch), 1989

Despite being down by exchange, Black had a decent drawing chances. However, after 83.Ra7+ Kc8?? [83...Ke8 and the battle would continue], Black is lost.

White played 84.Kc6! [not 84.Ra8+? Kb7 85.Rxg8?? b2, and Black is winning] 84...Kb8 85.Re7 (Diagram) Bishop has no place to run 85...Bc4 [85...b2 86.Rb7+ Kc8 87.Rxb2 With easy win as White just goes to the K-side and wins the pawns, if necessary giving up the Rook for the Bishop] 86.Kb6 and Black is either mated or losing the Bishop, so he resigned 1-0

9. Sevillano,E - Foygel,I, USA 2001
White played 28.Bd3-e2 trying to stop Bf3 and trade one of the attackers. However, after A crushing blow 28...Rxf2!, the White King's coverage collapsed like a house of cards 29.Rxf2 Qxg3+ 30.Kh1 [30.Rg2 Qxe1+ 31.Bf1 Qxe7] 30...Qxf2 0-1





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