Another great article for aspiring chess players from my friend Bent Hansen! Enjoy it and learn something about… forks!

I welcome you to this article, which is most for new (low ranked) player  and player who likes to learn or just to get better at chess tactic. Learning this skill in chess takes time and demands that you spend time on it to become good at it. Over time, you may collect games, from either a tournaments or club games and via this to start working on positions, where you learn things that can be good for your game.

Firstly I am going to give you lesson at what it call a fork.

In chess making a single threat often doesn’t have any real impact. For example, if you attack a piece, then your opponent may defend it or move it out of range of the attack. Creating two threats simultaneous is a different matter and getting in to this position is not easy. But you have to know this positions and how to deal with them.

A fork is where you or your opponent move a piece, like a knight, bishop, rook or queen, and creating a threat to two opponent’s pieces at the same time.

In the position below it is Black to move.

Fork - diagram 1

Diagram 1

Before you read the anser, you may try to see, if you are able to find a good move, and if not type down your move to see what you miss.

This way you are able to work in position like this, and get better to solve position that have a fork… Black now play 1…. Qa5 – see the next diagram.

Fork - diagram 2

Diagram 2

There is no way to defend both rooks and white resigned…


So let’s keep going with the fork further. A fork gains in strengh if a check is involved.

In the position below, Whites last move was 1.Kb1?? And without waiting for next move of Black next move, white resinged.

Fork - diagram 3

Diagram 3

Black’s next move wins immediately, so there is no reason to wait for it…  1…. Be4+ wins the queen and Black would win without any problems.

In the next position (see the diagram #4), Black king is exposed to check along the back rank. White´s queen is in a position to check on either b8 or d8, and that means that an undefended pieces which can be attacked from b8 or d8 are liable to be lost to the queen fork. Blacks previous move was the unwise advance of his h-pawn from h6 to h5, but this left his rook on g5 undefended and White was not slow to take advantage of this by 1.Qd8+. Black looses the rook and he resigned.

Fork - Diagram 4

Diagram 4

In this next position (see the diagram #5), Black has just moved his rook from c8 to c5. And now he must defend a fork from knight on a4 1.Na4, attacking the rook at c5 and queen at b7 simultaneously. Black have no choice then dealing with this threat andhe has to move with the most valuable piece – the queen, leaving the knight to take the rook. White wins the exchange. A knight (or bishop) for a rook with compensation almost always confers advantage, but here Black had additional misfortune that White was able to break through quickly in the center. The finish line was: 1.Na4 Qa5 2.Nxc5 Qxc5 3.f5 Bxa2 4.f6 Bf8 5.Qa4+ – (a further fork of king and bishop) b5  6.Qxa2 Qc3+ 7.Kb1 1-0. Black resigns.

Fork - Diagram 5

Diagram 5

In the next and last position (see the diagram #6) that I am going to give you in this lesson it is Black to move. White has just moved his knight from f3 to e5, taking a Black bishop on this square. As White is now piece up, he with no doubt, expected that Black would recapture the knight on e5. However, Black saw that the opening the diagonal line from e4-h1 gave him the opportunity to set up a fork… 1. … Qh1+. After 2. Ke2 Nc3+ Black wins the queen on d1.

Fork - Diagram 6

Diagram 6

So after you went throught this lesson I would like to invite you to check your understanding of forks… Try to solve the following 5 positions!

Fork - Diagram 7

Diagram 7 – White to move


Fork - Diagram á

Diagram 8 – White to move


Fork - Diagram 9

Diagram 9 – Black to move


Fork - Diagram 10

Diagram 10 – Black to move


Fork - Diagram 11

Diagram 11 – White to move


In my next post I will look at discovered attack. So stay tuned on to see more coming!

Bent Hansen

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