The "Family Fork" and Such

Jun 26, 2015, 10:51 AM |

I first heard the term "family fork" in the commentary for Norway Chess, and I thought it was funny, so...I decided to write a bit about forks "and such", a "fork" in this case being administered by a knight.

Regular fork:

This isn't a particularly creative diagram, but you get the idea.

Change the forked pieces and it's still save-able.

But make it a "family fork" and you have a totally different (and much more miserable) story:

I personally prefer making the fictitious victims in my diagrams suffer a bit more, but in your typical family fork, one piece would be defending the other, and so on.

How to Avoid the Family Fork:

(Note: This is partially failed sarcasm, but it does not hurt to take anything from it seriously.)

1. Capture both (or at least one, but both is better) of your opponent's knights in the opening, preferably by move 5 and advisingly by the time you move your queen.

2. Go after you opponent's knights before attacking their bishops because bishops are far more clumsy, especially during the opening.

3. Get rid of the queens ASAP. I personally prefer exchanging them before move 10 (or move 20 if not possible earlier) because they can be deadly when given an open board.

4. Keep your rooks either next to each other or on opposite sides of the board. Special emphasis goes to the rooks becuase they're so clumsy on a cuttered board.

5. Castle you king (unless your pieces are too scattered). If you don't, you'll have a pretty early rook-and-king fork.

6. Actually "connect" your rooks (a good idea is to double your rooks on the d or e file).

At this point, I run out of humourous/semi-helpful items for my list.

If you are like me and lose pieces to a rook-queen-king fork in one out of every 7-10 games, you might want to look to the "fact" that "players often blunder out of joy" (there's another valuable lesson) for some consolation.