Fork (chess)

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Fork (chess)

Chess diagram|=
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=8 |rd| | | | | | | |=7 | | | |kd| | | | |=6 | |nl| | | | | | |=5 | |kl| | | | | | |=4 | | | | | | |pd| |=3 | | | | | |rl| |rl|=2 | | | | | | | | |=1 | | | | | | | | |= a b c d e f g h
The white knight is forking the black king and rook. It is particularly effective to fork a king: the rules require immediate attention to a threat to the king. In this situation, Black cannot choose to defend another piece, nor can Black make an intermediate move ("zwischenzug") to complicate the situation; the king must be moved, after which White can capture the rook.
Chess diagram|=
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=8 |rd| | | | |nd| |nd|=7 | |ql|bd| | | |pl| |=6 | | | | | | | | |=5 | | | |kd| | | | |=4 | | |pd| | | | | |=3 | |bl| |nl| | | |rl|=2 | | | | | | | | |=1 | | |bl| | |qd| | |= a b c d e f g h
The white queen is forking the black king, rook and bishop. The white pawn is forking the black knights. The black queen is forking the white rook, bishop and knight. The black pawn is forking White's minor pieces. "Note that the white knight on d3 is attacked twice."

In chess, a fork is a tactic that uses one piece to attack two or more of the opponent's pieces at the same time, hoping to achieve material gain (by capturing one of the opponent's pieces) because the opponent can only counter one of the two (or more) threats. The piece moving to make the multiple attack on the opponent's pieces is the "forking" piece. The opponent's pieces which are attacked by the forking piece are ones which are "forked".

The type of fork is commonly named after the type of forking piece. For example, in a knight fork, a knight moves to attack two or more opponent's pieces in the same move. Any type of piece may perform a fork, including a king, and any type of piece can be forked.

Knights are often used for forks; they jump to a position where they simultaneously attack two pieces and cannot be counterattacked.

A queen move also often attacks two pieces at the same time, but this typically gains material only if both pieces are undefended, or if one is undefended and the other is the opposing king. Since the queen is usually more valuable than the pieces it is attacking, it usually only gains material capturing undefended pieces. However, the possibility of a queen fork is a very real threat when the queen is out in the open, as is often the case in an endgame. A fork by a protected queen of the opposing queen and king (or an undefended piece) can be useful if the forking player wants to force an exchange of queens.

Pawns can also fork enemy pieces: by moving a pawn forward, it may attack two pieces: one diagonally to the left and the other diagonally to the right. In the diagram, the black pawn is forking the two white rooks.

The term "royal fork" is sometimes used to describe the situation where the king and queen are forked, and thus being the highest material gaining fork possible.

Chess diagram|=
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Tissir-Dreev 2004
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rd| | | | | |kd| |=
|pd| |qd| |pd|bd|pd|=
| | | | | |pd| |=
| |pl|pd| | | | |=
pd| | | |nd|ql| | |=
pl| | | | |pl| | |=
bl| | |bl| | |pl|pl|=
| |rl| | | | |kl|=
Position after White's 33rd move.
The following example of a fork is from the first round of the FIDE World Chess Championship 2004 between Mohamed Tissir and Alexey Dreev.

After 33...Nf2+ 34.Kg1 34...Nd3, White resigned. In the final position the black knight is forking the white queen and rook, so that after the queen moves away, white will lose the exchange.

Forks are often used as part of a combination which may involve other types of chess tactics as well.

* [http://www.chesstr.com/problems?ta=8 Chess Tactics Repository - Forks] - Collection of chess problems involving forks

References

* Citation
title=The Oxford Companion to Chess
year=1992
edition=second
publisher=Oxford University Press
ID=ISBN 0-19-866164-9

* Citation
title=Golombek's Encyclopedia of Chess
year=1977
publisher=Crown Publishing
ID=ISBN 0-517-53146-1

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