Queen fork

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A queen fork is a move with a queen 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 queen forks

Queens are the second best piece in giving forks (after knights), because they can quickly move about the board in eight different directions. Like the knight, they can attack up to seven pieces at the same time. If the position is open, and/or we have limited material in an endgame, queens become even more powerful and queen forks can happen on every move, especially if there are any unprotected pieces.

The only reason for queen forks not being the most common is that queens are the most powerful piece on the board, so to win material any attacked piece must be unprotected in most cases.


White can win material with the queen fork Qf3+, delivering check and attacking the unprotected rook on e4 at the same time.

Note that Qd5+ also gives check and attacks the rook e4 at the same time. However, Black would be able to defend against both threats by blocking the check with Re6. Therefore Qf3+ is the only winning move.

A good example for the power of the queen in open positions with reduced material. The rook on d1 is unprotected, and sure enough there is a winning queen fork with Qc2+.


Some of these queen forks can be a bit more difficult to see immediately than forks with other pieces, because the queen often has many possible moves available, and can attack all over the board. If you see any unprotected pieces, you might want to double check all possible queen moves that attack it.

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