Do You Know This Rare Chess Fork?
This fork is so rare, GM Serper has never seen it in a game.

Do You Know This Rare Chess Fork?

| 72 | Tactics

A fork is one of the most important tactical elements in chess.

There are dozens of different forks in chess, and I am sure you've seen many of them. Some of the forks are very common. For example, when I attend kids' competitions, I know that I will see two very common kinds of forks:

1. A knight fork on f7 or c7 (or f2 and c2 for Black). It looks like this...

...or this.

2. A pawn fork after a temporary piece sacrifice.

Here's another example.

These are the most common kinds of forks. But there is one fork that I've never actually seen played. It is a queen fork where she attacks two opponent rooks.

Here is one important detail: A simple fork where a queen attacks two rooks is not that unusual.

Look at the following game:

I am talking about situations where one or both attacked rooks are on their initial ranks. Let's look at the following opening trap:

I've seen many games where Black actually fell for the 10.e6! trick, but in all of them the players saw what happens if they capture the e6 pawn, so they avoided an immediate catastrophe.

Here is a relatively recent example:

Or take for example a very famous game, Fischer-Tal from the 1959 Candidates' Tournament. Could you imagine Tal falling for such a trick? Of course not, so again the fork never happened.

Try to find what would have happened if Tal had accepted Fischer's sacrifice.

And here is how the actual game proceeded:

Well, I have to confess: I saw one game in an old book of tactics where this fork actually happened. My only concern is that White's play was so weird for a titled player, that I suspect it could be some sort of a hoax.

Anyway, here it is:

Now you can imagine my excitement when we all got a chance to see this unusual fork on a very high level.

Unfortunately, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave missed his chance. I cannot really blame him since it was a blitz game, and unlike all the previous examples, this fork wouldn't win the game at once.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Photo: Maria Emelianova / Vachier-Lagrave. Photo: Maria Emelianova /

Still it would have been great to see this rarity in a top game. Can you spot the combo?

As I said, MVL missed this cute trick and even lost the game:

Now you see how difficult it is to spot this fork in tournament games. But maybe it is just me—maybe you've seen a bunch of games with this fork. If so, please share the games in comments!

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