Forks

wizard.jpg (14421 bytes)

A fork occurs when a piece attacks two or more pieces at the same time. Let's look at the following diagram:

fork1.gif (3068 bytes)

Here the Knight is attacking the Black King and Queen. The King must move out of check and the Knight captures the Queen!

The following diagrams show examples of different forks.

----------
|        |
|        |
|   q k  |
|    P   |
|        |
|     N  |
|        |
|        |
----------

In the diagram above the pawn forks the King and Queen. The King must move and the pawn captures the queen!

In the diagram below, the Queen checks the Black King and at the same time it is attacking the Black Rook. The King must move and the Rook is lost.

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| r      |
|    k   |
|        |
|    Q   |
|        |
|        |
|        |
|        |
----------

Below, the Bishop attacks the Queen and Rook at the same time. Black saves the Queen and loses the Rook.

----------
|        |
|        |
|     q  |
|        |
|   B    |
|    P   |
| r      |
|        |
----------

The Rook attacks the Bishop and Knight. Black has to lose one of them!

----------
|        |
|        |
| b  R n |
|        |
|        |
|        |
|        |
|        |
----------

In each of the positions above Black will lose material due to the fork. Although any piece can create a fork, the Knight fork is perhaps the most common reason for losing material. The unusual way the Knight moves means that the danger is often overlooked. If the Knights are active watch out for the Knight fork!

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