Knight fork

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A knight fork is a move with a knight that attacks two or more pieces at the same time.

About forks

Forks are the most common tactics that win material. With a fork you make a move with one of your pieces. After the move, this piece is attacking two (or more) of your opponent''s pieces at the same time. Very often, your opponent won''t be able to defend against both threats with the next move, and you can capture one of the attacked pieces.

When you start learning forks, you have to look at all possible moves to determine which pieces are going to be attacked by that move. With more and more practice, you will be able to quickly see which attacking moves are possible, and you will spot many forks immediately and without effort. Some forks can be more difficult to see, if they involve the whole board, diagonal backward moves or attacks, or in complicated positions where a lot of moves and attacks are possible. If there are any unprotected pieces, forks (as well as some other tactics and combinations) are much more likely. Therefore, it is always a good idea to look for unprotected pieces and any way to attack those.

About knight forks

Knights are very good at giving forks. It is like their superpower.

Because knight moves cannot be blocked, there are limited options to defend against knight attacks. Also knights can attack up to seven pieces at the same time! Therefore, the most common type of forks, are knight forks. In fact knight forks are the most common tactics in general.

If a knight gives check, the opponent can only defend by escaping with the king, or capturing the knight, because the option to block the check is not available against knight checks. If a knight gives check and attacks another piece at the same time, it is very often not possible to defend against both threats.

A knight fork that gives check and attacks the queen is sometimes called a “royal fork”.


White can win material with the knight fork Ne5+, giving check and attacking the rook on g4. Black has no other option than to escape with the king. White can then capture the rook and has a winning material advantage.

Black can win material with the knight fork Nc4, attacking the queen on d2 and the unprotected bishop on a3 at the same time. Note that there is no way for White’s queen to run away to a square where it protects the bishop. b2 is also attacked by the knight, the pawn on c3 is in the way of protecting the bishop if the queen escapes to d3 or e3, and c1 is blocked by the rook.


With some practice, knight forks are easy to visualize, and you will be able to spot them very quickly.

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