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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Eddie Foy, West Virginia Powerhouse


    Back on May 2, 1995, 86 year old Eddie Foy, former champion of West Virginia, passed away after a long illness.  Pick up any chess magazine from West Virginia, Ohio or Pennsylvania from the 40s and 50s and Foy's name was likely mentioned in connection with a tournament success. In addition to his tournament play Foy was chess editor of both the Charleston Gazette and the Charleston Daily Mail for almost sixty years. 
     Foy served in the US Navy during WW2, survived a typhoon and was shipwrecked on the island of Iwo Jima. I don't have any details on this, but I suspect it was during the famous typhoons that severely damaged Adm. William Halsey's fleet late during the war. If you are not familiar with these events in which ships were battered by 50-60 foot waves and winds estimated at 150 miles per hour with gusts even higher, it's a fascinating story. USA Today article. US Navy History.    Typhoon of 1944 article.
     I was with the Marine detachment aboard the USS Boxer, a WW2 aircraft carrier, sometime during the mid-1960s when, on returning from the Caribbean to Norfolk, Virginia, we rode out the tail end of a hurricane that was moving up the East Coast, and I can tell you, it was a wild ride. I can only imagine what these typhoons must have been like...terror comes to mind. 
USS Boxer in 1966

     While stationed in the Pacific in 1944 Foy was careful to keep up his West Virginia Chess Federation dues.  He had met his wife, a Navy officer, during the war and he remembered to send her two one dollar bills with a note explaining the money was for his and another person's (a friend?) yearly dues. 
     Foy was an accountant and worked for the Charleston Transit Company and later a local hospital before retiring I n 1974. Foy won the state championship twice, in 1949 (tied with Dr. Siegfried Werthammer) and in 1951; that one was a four-way tie. He also won the Charleston City Championship many times. 
     Here is a win from the city championship where he went 9-0. Hurt, the defending champion, finished second with 7.5. In this game I can imagine the players putting a lot of thought into all jockeying of white's Ns and black's Q and the threat to black's Q-side Ps. It also shows that even Experts have a problem with spotting tactics. 
 

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