A fork is a strategy commonly used in chess, whereby a single piece is used to attack two or more opposing pieces simultaneously. The primary objective of the attacker is to capture at least one of the targeted pieces, and it is often challenging for the defender to counteract every threat. Forks are particularly powerful when executed as a forcing move, such as when placing the opponent’s king in check. Essentially, a fork is a form of double attack in the game of chess.
So, what piece is capable of using this well-known pattern? All of them, including the king. Let’s see some examples.
The knight’s distinctive characteristic is its ability to leap over other pieces, rendering it an incomparable chess piece. To halt a knight’s check, one must either capture the knight or relocate the king. This exceptional trait makes the knight an ideal piece for forking moves. Consider the following diagram, in which the white knight forks the black king and rook. Such forking tactics are particularly compelling when executed with a knight, as the resulting check obliges the king to move, resulting in the loss of the rook.
Despite being the most expendable piece on the chessboard, the pawn has the capacity to execute a fork effectively. As illustrated below, the pawn is capable of forking Black’s bishop and knight, leading to a draw in the game.
The rook is a versatile piece that can be utilized not only to exert control over the ranks and files, but also to execute forking maneuvers against the opponent’s pieces. As demonstrated in the following scenario, the black rook forks White’s king and knight, leading to the capture of the minor piece and ultimately securing a victory in the game.
The bishop is a valuable piece due to its long-range capabilities, allowing it to execute forking moves against pieces situated on the same diagonal. In the diagram below, the bishop executes a fork against White’s king and rook.
The queen is the most potent piece on the chessboard, as it amalgamates the abilities of both the rook and the bishop, making it an exceptional attacking piece. In the following scenario, the white queen executes a three-way fork against Black’s pieces, ultimately resulting in a victory in the game.
Right, even a king is a dangerous piece to deliver a sudden blow. Check the diagram below, where the black king managed to attack two white pieces simultaneously, ergo ensuring a draw.
We will end today’s lesson with a brilliant game from the past. The outstanding combination, led by a former World Champion Tigran Petrosian, culminated with a queen sacrifice that would have been followed by a knight fork, hadn’t the opponent resign the game: