28 Jul 2016

Chess Tactics – Knight Fork

The knight fork is nothing more than a simultaneous attack on two or more pieces. The fork also occurs as frequently as the pin. One should force the enemy pieces to move in such a way that a fork is possible. A good chess player would be able to recognize immediately whether or not a fork could happen.

Below, the knight forks the king and the queen:

Diagram – 1
Knight fork
 
Diagram – 2
Knight fork
White to play
 
This is a position where a knight fork occurs with the help of a pin. 1.Nxf6+ and White wins the rook. The knight attacks the king and the rook simultaneously.

Suggested: you may like to study all RCA lessons related to “tactics” here.

Now let’s see a few illustrative examples.

Example – 1
Knight fork
White to play

As said, a good player can recognize the knight fork easily, and White does it by bringing the knight fork pattern by playing1.Rxh4 and Black has to take the rook or end up with losing the knight 1…Qxh4 and now 2.Ng6 fork is a mistake because after 2…Qd8 3.Qxf8+ Qxf8 4.Nxf8 Kxf8,

everything becomes equal. White makes a better move here with 2.Qxf8+ and after 2…Kxf8 3.Ng6+..it is a FORK now, and White is winning a piece after 3…Kf7 4.Nxh4

Example – 2
Knight fork
White to play

White’s knight is under attack and he moves it by making an attack, and a fork threat with 1. Nd6. Therefore, the bishop has to guard the f5 square with 1…Bd7 and now 2. Re7+ wins the bishop.

Example – 3
Knight fork
White to play

Can you find the winning move? Yes, White makes the fork with 1. Nxf6+ and after 1…gxf6 White wins the queen with 2. Rxd4+

Example – 4
Knight fork
White to play

White starts his mating attack with 1.Nf6+ and now forces Black to open his g-file with 1…gxf6 2. Qg3+ Bg7 and now comes another threat with 3.Bxf6 – an unavoidable mate.

Example – 5
Knight fork
White to play

White recognizes the fork with 1.Rxd4 and after forcing 1…exd4 2.Bxd4 attacking the queen. And again Black is forced to play2…Qxd4 and then comes the FORK with 3.Nxf5+

Now that you would have understood the different patterns of the knight fork, let me test your skills with a few exercises. :)

Exercise – 1
Knight fork
White to play

Exercise – 2
Knight fork
White to play

Exercise – 3
Knight fork
Black to play
 
After calculating all possible variations, you may check the solution here.

P.S. Have you ever “crushed” your opponent(s) with a stunning knight fork? I’d be glad to see the tactics you used in your games. Feel free to write below. :)

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