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Champion Tactics with GM Wolff - Forks

GM Patrick Wolff Kiwango cha Wastani: 1316 Mbinu

This course is designed to explore the fork motif in the game of chess. The fork occurs when one of your pieces can attack two or more of the opponent's pieces. It can be executed with any piece other than the King and it is a very powerful strategy which can quickly turn the tables and lead to a decisive position.

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  • Lesson 1

    Black has a healthy extra pawn, so at first glance it looks like White is fighting to draw. But there is a hidden resource for white. Do you see it?
  • Lesson 2

    It looks like an even battle lies ahead. But in fact, black has a sneaky tactic that wins a pawn by using the fork motif. Do you see it?
  • Lesson 3

    In this sharp and messy position, Black has an unexpected way to set White up for a deadly fork.
  • Lesson 4

    Here we see a position with equal material and what seems like an even position. However, if you take a closer look white has a way to come out clearly ahead.
  • Lesson 5

    This position seems to be close to equal but black has a deadly fork in mind. Can you find the combination to win the game?
  • Lesson 6

    This exercise not only illustrates an important common forking theme, it also illustrates that tiny details can be necessary to make a forking theme successful. Now, where is the fork in this position?
  • Lesson 7

    This position looks fairly even, but in fact white can win a piece by force. Do you see how?
  • Lesson 8

    This looks to be a very quiet position with equal chances for both sides but this is not the case. In this position white actually has a hidden resource.
  • Lesson 9

    Black's Knight is attacked, so it may look at first as though black should move it or protect it. But black has a much stronger way to play.
  • Lesson 10

    It doesn't look at first as though there is anything for white to do here. But look carefully at black's position, and you'll find one piece that is a little bit exposed. How can White use his active pieces to attack it?
  • Lesson 11

    White has a clever way to win a piece in this position. The key is to find a potential fork, then find the way to set it up.
  • Lesson 12

    Don't settle for a "natural" move if you've got something better. The position seems to be rather equal but white has a nasty surprise in store.
  • Lesson 13

    The obvious move here is to capture the rook, but then when black recaptures the position is completely even. White has a much stronger move, based on the fork motif. Do you see it?
  • Lesson 14

    Black must have been pleased with his last move, ...fxe4, reckoning he'd either won a key center pawn or else if Qxe4 Bf5 would skewer the exchange. But what happened?
  • Lesson 15

    Black incautiously moved his knight from d5 to b6. He thought he was uncovering a decisive double attack against c4 and d4. What did he overlook?
  • Lesson 16

    This is a well-known opening trap. Black sees that the obvious fork, 1.Ne4, is well met by 1...Qe7 and the Bishop is defended. But there is another fork hidden in this position...
  • Lesson 17

    This seems to be a better endgame position for white but do you see how black can turn the tide?
  • Lesson 18

    In this very complicated situation white can use the fork tactic to cut through the "noise" and reach a clearly winning position.
  • Lesson 19

    Here it seems like we have a quiet, equal endgame position but this is far from the truth. White has a very fierce tactical idea to come out ahead in the endgame.
  • Lesson 20

    Black has just captured White's pawn on e4, thinking it was for free. But actually, he has fallen into a trap and now loses a piece. How does white set up the winning fork?
  • Lesson 21

    Black has just played his pawn to h6, hoping to drive away the strong White knight. But he misses a strong idea by white.
  • Lesson 22

    Here's a tricky one. How can white maneuver black's pieces to squares where a deadly fork is possible?
  • Lesson 23

    White's Queen and Knight are both en prise. Normally that would be bad news, but here other tactical factors enter the play and white not only escapes but even wins a piece!
  • Lesson 24

    White has a more aggressive position, but it looks as thought white will have to retreat the queen. Instead, white can start a combination that uses a fork at the end to win material. Do you see how?
  • Lesson 25

    The position seems rather equal with both sides with a Queen, Rook, and a minor piece but white actually has a winning combination here. You will need some imagination to see how to set up a winning fork, and you need to exploit black's King position, too.
  • Lesson 26

    Black's greatest weakness is his Bishop, exposed on the sensitive f-file and protected only by the Queen. How can White exploit this situation?
  • Lesson 27

    The most important precondition for a successful forking combination is normally two or more undefended units in the defender's camp. How can black set up such a situation here?
  • Lesson 28

    Here the material is equal but white has slightly more active pieces. Do you see a way to translate this into an advantage?
  • Lesson 29

    Black expects white to recapture on e3, when black can hope for equal chances. But white has a much more forceful way to play, based on a powerful fork. Do you see it?
  • Lesson 30

    To consummate a forking attack, sometimes you must first draw the opponent's pieces to the squares at which they can be forked!
  • Lesson 31

    White has just captured a pawn on e5 that it looked like black blundered. But actually, the move was a clever trap and white has fallen into it! Can you execute the trap for black?
  • Lesson 32

    In this seemingly safe position, White can initiate a combination that wins a pawn. The combination depends on a fork at the end of the sequence of moves. Can you find it?
  • Lesson 33

    Here the material is equal but the white King position makes all the difference.
  • Lesson 34

    I used this tactic in one of my own games many years ago. It looks like white has a safe extra pawn, but black can win two pawns using forks! This one is really tricky...
  • Lesson 35

    Are you winning or losing here? As black, your Queen is threatened and your Knight is vulnerable on c5.
  • Lesson 36

    Taking the Rook would allow ...Qd1 with perpetual check. (The queen checks from d1, f3 or h5 depending on how White covers up.) However, White can liquidate all of Black's pieces and force a win. Do you see how?
  • Lesson 37

    White has a pawn on the 7th rank but black is threatening to take it. Find how white can use both a pin and a fork to win.

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