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What is a Fork in Chess?
Q: What is a fork in chess, and how can I take advantage of it?
A: A fork occurs when a piece simultaneously attacks two separate pieces. For the new player there are two very dangerous forks. The first involves the knight. As can be seen in the diagram at left, the knight's position is directly in front of the bishop in the ever-vulnerable f7 square. It is impossible for the king to capture the knight because the knight is protected by the white bishop in the c4 square. The knight is simultaneously attacking both the queen and the rook. Black may only save the queen.
The knight because of its unusual movement is especially good at setting up forks. This means that a player should always look at least two moves ahead for possibilities for his own knight every turn. For safety's sake, he should also look at the possibilities for his opponent's knights so they can be forestalled.
The second very dangerous fork involves a simple pawn. Whenever two higher ranked pieces sit on the same rank with one square between them, they are vulnerable to a pawn fork. A protected pawn, pushed forward at the right moment, can catch two such pieces unawares. Watch out for it!
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