In this lesson you're going to learn how to use FORKS.

If you play a move which creates a THREAT your opponent will probably be able to do something about it.

But if you create TWO THREATS at the same time your opponent may only be able to parry one of them, leaving you to carry out the other one.

Step inside and see for yourself how you can use this sort of move to win your opponent's pieces.

A FORK, in chess, is a move by one of your pieces so that it threatens TWO OR MORE enemy pieces at the same time.

You can use any of your pieces to carry out a fork.

Here's an example of a KNIGHT FORK!

Look at the White Knight. It's CHECKING the King and THREATENING the Queen!

Black MUST move his King to get out of check, so next move White will be able to capture the Queen.

Imagine the Knight holding a FORK with TWO prongs. The King is on one prong and the Queen on the other.

The best pieces for FORKS are Queens and Knights.

Because they move in EIGHT directions.

Here's an example of a QUEEN FORK. Black has to move out of check. Do you see what White will do next move? That's right - take the Rook. There's nothing Black can do about it.

This position shows TWO FORKS!

The White Rook FORKS the Black Knight and the Black Bishop.

And the Black Pawn on e4 FORKS both White Knights.

To complete our set of FORKS, the White Bishop FORKS the two Black Rooks.

And the Black King forks the White Knight and the Bishop on c6.

So, you see, you can use ANY piece to do a FORK.

Let's see if you can find some FORKS yourself.

To which square should White move the Queen to FORK the Black King and Bishop?

e8 f8 f6 c3

And where should you move the White Queen to fork the Black King and Knight here?

a1 a2 b2 b8

What about Knight forks? Where should the Knight go to fork the Black King and Rook?

d3 d5 e6 a6

If you remember our lessons on SCHOLAR'S MATE you'll know how White can use his Queen to FORK the Black King and Rook in this position. Enter the move using the keypad.

Queens are really good at forks in the opening. Here's another example. You're White: how can you use your Queen to FORK the Black King and Knight?

You can often use a Knight to FORK the enemy King and Rook, or Queen and Rook early on in the game. How can White play a KNIGHT FORK in this position?

Another example of a KNIGHT FORK, which you've probably seen before.

It's Black's move. How can he do a KNIGHT FORK in this position?

Have a look at this position a minute.

This fork has THREE prongs.

The White King, Queen and Rook are all THREATENED.

This sort of FORK is called a FAMILY FORK!

Now, an example of a PAWN FORK.

See if you can find a pawn move for White which FORKS a Bishop and a Knight.

Can you find a ROOK FORK for White in this position?
You have the White pieces again. How can you use a BISHOP FORK to win a Knight?
You've been taught not to bring your Queen out in the opening without a good reason.

But a QUEEN FORK is a good reason. Can you find one for White here?

This one's a bit harder. How can White use his Queen to threaten the Knight on e4 and the Pawn on f7 at the same time?

Let's look at this position.

The White Queen THREATENS CHECKMATE on f7 (Scholar's Mate) as well as the Knight on e4.

Black can try to defend by moving the Knight to d6 or g5, to defend f7.

But, in either case, White will just CAPTURE the Knight and THREATEN MATE again.

Now we look at some ways we can DEFEND against a FORK.

You should have seen this before. White's Queen is FORKING the Pawns on e5 and f7.

But Black, to move, can defend by moving the Queen either to e7 or f6 to DEFEND both THREATENED Pawns at the same time.

This FORK might look scary but it's really not dangerous as long as you're careful.

Here, Black's KING and ROOK have been FORKED? Should he resign or can he get out of it?

If he moves his King he loses his Rook. But instead he can BLOCK the CHECK by playing Rg6-d6, which will in fact win the White Queen next move, forcing a draw.


How can Black defend against the QUEEN FORK this time?

His only good move is Rb6-b7, moving the THREATENED Rook to DEFEND the THREATENED Bishop.

Try to look for ALL your opponent's THREATS. Don't just react to the first one you see.

Can you find a way for Black to get out of the FORK this time?

The only way is to play Rb6-b1+.

By playing a CHECK Black gains time. White MUST get out of check, and next move Black will have time to deal with the THREAT to his Bishop.

In the right hands, FORKS are very dangerous weapons which will win you lots of pieces and lots of games.

Don't forget you can do FORKS with ANY piece, but the best pieces to use are QUEENS and KNIGHTS.

Remember to look for FORKS next time you play a game of chess.

You have now completed the LEARNING ABOUT FORKS assignment.