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a b c d e f g h
8 a8 rd b8 c8 bd d8 qd e8 kd f8 bd g8 nd h8 rd 8
7 a7 pd b7 pd c7 d7 e7 pd f7 N~ g7 pd h7 7
6 a6 nd b6 c6 pd d6 pd e6 f6 g6 h6 pd 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 ~ h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 bl d4 e4 pl f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 pl b2 pl c2 pl d2 pl e2 f2 pl g2 pl h2 pl 2
1 a1 rl b1 nl c1 bl d1 ql e1 kl f1 g1 h1 rl 1
a b c d e f g h
Fork between the black queen and h-file rook, a common weakness in the opening. The white knight attacks both pieces at once, and black cannot take with the king because it is guarded by the bishop.

A fork is a powerful move that threatens multiple pieces. The attacking piece (often a knight, sometimes a bishop) moves into a position where it can capture multiple pieces of the opposing color. If one of those pieces is a king, it is a "royal fork" and gives check. The opposing player is forced to respond by protecting one of the pieces, leaving the other open for capture on the next move.

It is sometimes referred to as a "split move."

Defensive Strategy[]

a b c d e f g h
8 a8 r b8 n c8 b d8 q e8 k f8 b g8 h8 r 8
7 a7 p b7 c7 p d7 p e7 ~~ f7 g7 p h7 p 7
6 a6 b6 p c6 d6 e6 f6 p g6 h6 n 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 p~ f5 g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 d4 N e4 f4 B g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 P e3 f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 P b2 P c2 P d2 e2 P f2 P g2 P h2 P 2
1 a1 R b1 N c1 d1 Q e1 K f1 B g1 h1 R 1
a b c d e f g h
White should play Bxh6 to take a knight.

When you are subject to a fork, do not despair! Not all forks are good forks, in fact, some can be easily sidestepped. Search for ways your forked pieces can counterattack:

  1. First, examine the board and see if one of your forked pieces can check. Make sure, while checking, the piece will not be put under pressure yet again! This would merely result in another fork, but this time from two different pieces. Once you check their king, move your other piece to a good location. It is worth noting this refutation is most common in Endgames.
  2. If that doesn't work, look for threats you can put on another piece by one of your forked pieces. Your opponent can exchange pieces, or move their threatened piece.
  3. If you have no luck finding counterattacks, you can restrategize and focus on defense. You can protect your pieces if the forking piece is more valuable than the forked pieces. In most defensive cases, you can move one of your forked pieces to protect the other.
  4. Lastly, try to capture your opponent's pieces (defended or not) with your forked pieces. If you're going to get forked, you should at least take some compensation!

"Sometimes in chess, as in life, you have to give a little to not lose everything."

Alas, sometimes a fork was well made. Do everything you can to cause as much damage, however. Wait, are you sure the king isn't exposed?



Chess Special Moves Fork