Chess is all about ATTACK and DEFENCE. If you create a THREAT your opponent will probably do something about it.

But sometimes you can create TWO THREATS at the same time.

In that case your opponent might only be able to defend against one of the threats.

You've seen some of these ideas before, but there's more to learn. You'll also see how they can happen even at the start of the game.

This position is reached by both players moving their e-pawns two squares, then White moving the Queen to h5.

You know from the last lesson that Black should DEFEND against the THREAT to his e-pawn.

Look what happens if he moves from g7 to g6 instead.

The black King is IN CHECK from the white Queen.

But look! The Queen also THREATENS the black Rook on h8.

Black has to get out of check by blocking with a piece on e7.

Next move White will be able to capture the Rook on h8 safely.

This is a QUEEN FORK.

A FORK is a move which creates TWO THREATS with the SAME PIECE in DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS at the SAME TIME.

Queens are very good at doing FORKS because they move in eight directions.

Here's another example. The black Queen FORKS the white King and the Bishop on g5.

White cannot meet both THREATS because his Pawn on e3 is in the way. Next move Black will be able to capture the Bishop on g5 for free.

Knights are also very good at doing FORKS, again because they move in EIGHT directions.


The white Knight FORKS the black Queen and the Rook on h8. Whichever piece Black moves, White will capture the other one.

You know what's even better than FORKING TWO ENEMY PIECES?


Just look at the black Knight in this position.

He's FORKING the white King, the white Queen and the Rook on a1 all at the same time.

White has to get out of check by moving his King. Next move Black will have the choice of capturing the Queen or the Rook.

Now take a look at the white Bishop on b5 in this position.

He's THREATENING the black Queen, and he's DEFENDED by the Knight on c3.

The black Queen would like to run away. But wait! She can't run away because that would leave the King IN CHECK.

This is a PIN. White is ATTACKING two enemy pieces in the SAME DIRECTION. The Queen can't move off the diagonal because she is PINNED by the Bishop.

Here's another PIN.

This time it's the white Rook which is PINNING the black Queen to the King.

Again, the Queen cannot move off the e-file because it would leave the King in CHECK.

Whatever Black does, White will be able to win the Queen next move.

There are other sorts of PIN as well.

Look at this. White and Black have both played the OPENING well by DEVELOPING their KNIGHTS and BISHOPS.

Look at where the Bishops are.

The Knights on c3 and c6 CANNOT move. They are both PINNED against the King by enemy Bishops.

The Knights on f3 and f6 are PINNED against the Queen.

They CAN move, but if they do they will leave their Queen open to capture by the enemy Bishop.

Be VERY CAREFUL. This is a VERY EASY mistake to make. You must look carefully at EVERY PIECE ON THE BOARD at all times!

There's just one more sort of DOUBLE THREAT to look at in this lesson.

FORKS and PINS are used to THREATEN two pieces with the same piece.

Sometimes you can THEATEN two pieces with TWO DIFFERENT pieces at the same time.

Look at the e-file in this position. The white Queen is in line with the black King but the Knight on e5 is in the way. If the Knight moves, the black King will be IN CHECK from the white Queen. So we can use the Knight to THREATEN a different piece.

White has just moved his Knight from e5 to c6.

It looks as if Black can capture the Knight.

But the white Queen is now CHECKING the Black King. Black cannot capture the Knight because he has to GET OUT OF CHECK by putting a piece on e7.

Whatever Black does, the white Knight will capture the Queen next move.

A move like this where you move a piece out of the way so that another piece gives CHECK is called a DISCOVERED CHECK.

That's the end of the lesson.

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