The Fork Strategy: Two-Pronged Attack in Chess

Hitting two birds with a stone---a fork strategy in chess is like that. Imagine being able to devise a lot of fork strategies in a game and take a lot of pieces in the process. Thus, it is exciting to know how this weapon works.

A fork strategy is double checking two enemy pieces using only one ally piece. The piece may be supported or not. With fork strategies we leave the enemy escaping, sacrificing a piece, and wasting a turn just trying to escape. At times the enemy may escape a major piece from the onslaught of a fork check and back up the forked piece sacrificed by counter capturing the forking piece.

For instance a forking knight forks our king and queen. Instead of running away from the scene, we may opt to move the king close to the forked queen. Hence, when the forking knight captures our king we may capture the forking knight in turn. This is better than just wasting a move by merely escaping without a counter offense. A queen is a big loss, but gaining a knight is better than nothing.

We can do a fork strategy with any piece, even with a king or a pawn. But kings cannot fork check pieces which checks them in return. Obviously, our king cannot fork check the enemy queen, king, bishop, and a pawn diagonally, but it can rooks and knights. It can fork check a bishop and a knight or a bishop and a rook because it may capture bishops vertically or horizontally and rooks diagonally.

A fork strategy in chess is easy with a queen. Queens may fork check long or short distance. So may bishops and rooks. Knights and pawns fork check up close. Knights often fork check safely even without back up because they often manage to stay out of the way of most pieces they fork. Their "L" shape paths easily escape or evade entrapments.

Here's how to counter a fork attack: make sure the enemy loses in strategy value. For instance, we fork check the enemy king and bishop with a rook. If the king is within reach of the bishop (mere single squares separating them), the king may simply move one square to directly support the bishop. We end up escaping with no captured piece because we dread losing our rook over a bishop.

Thus, a good fork strategy in chess always considers piece values and escape routes.


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