Learn chess with Pete

Beginners Level

Lesson 4 – Tactics - Forks

We’ve seen a bit about Checkmate, but how do we achieve it in a real game? The answer is by tactics. There is also a way of playing which is known as positional chess, where a player tries to outmanoeuvre his opponent by more subtle means. Most games involve a combination of the two. Tactical play is much easier to understand for the beginner, and also much more fun! So that is where we will start.

One of the commonest tactics is the fork. A fork is where a piece simultaneously attacks two (usually) enemy pieces, usually resulting in winning one of them. At all levels above the lowest, a piece advantage is usually enough to win the game. Notice that I’m saying ‘usually’ a lot! This is because there are exceptions to every rule, especially when they’re only rules of thumb like these!

Anyway, on to forks. A fork can be given by any piece, even a king. Here are a few examples.

A Pawn fork (hint to my opponents – for some reason I’m very susceptible to these),

Pawn Fork

A Knight fork – these are probably the most common

Knight Fork

A Bishop fork. This also introduces the idea of sacrifices, though there was also an example in an earlier lesson.

Bishop Fork

A Rook fork.

Rook Fork

A Queen fork. These are very common too.

Queen Fork

Lastly, a King fork. These are practically unknown except in the endgame, when the King can become a powerful force.

King Fork

The opportunity to play a fork, or fall victim to one, will crop up in nearly every game you play, so make sure you look out for them! The next lesson will be about pins and skewers.