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is chess in the Olympics

  There is currently no chess in the Olympiad. The Chess Olympiad is a chess competition officially organized by FIDE since 1927 and takes place in even-numbered years. Before World War II the event was occasionally held every year. There was also an unofficial Chess Olympiad series that ended in 1976. Although chess is covered in the sports sections of many newspapers around the world, it is not one of the recognized sports in the Olympic Games. However, FIDE is now a member of the International Olympic Committee and follows its rules. This means that chess could one day become an Olympic event, although most knowledgeable observers say this is unlikely. The World Chess Championship is a competition held annually by the international chess organization FIDE to determine the World Champion of chess. Both men and women are eligible to participate in this championship. The World Champion does not have to be the player with the highest Elo rating: the 2006-2007 World Champion, Vladimir Kr

Chess Tactics: Forks

Chess tactics are an important element that one needs to know in order to improve in chess, from being a beginner to having an intermediate knowledge and skill in the game. There are many types of chess tactics out there but we must start with the most basic ones. Here, I would give a quick rundown of one of the most useful and most commonly seen chess tactics that would often be seen at any level, however, the frequency of which would be expected to decrease in higher levels.

The first chess tactic is the fork. A fork is simply a move that attacks two or more pieces at the same time. But there are certain forks that don't necessarily attack pieces rather they try to attack a piece and threaten to take control of a square. The latter is more advanced and it would be difficult to illustrate but suffice to say, such a tactic exists.

Any piece has the capacity to fork enemy pieces. This is most useful when one wants to gain a material advantage or for more advanced levels, it may only be one step to a bigger strategic goal, perhaps to eliminate a strong piece of your opponent, or as a way to counterattack. Whatever the case may be, it is worth to keep oneself vigilant, carefully looking for chances to launch a fork against the opponent or to be wary not to be caught in a fork.

Let us look at some positions and find the forks:

In the position above, you can see that the fork is quite obvious. With White to move, he sticks his knight into the d6 square, attacking the bishop and rook. Of course, the natural response for Black would be to protect his rook and after moving the rook, the knight can take the bishop or he could also decide to let the knight stay in that position, controlling a multitude of squares. In these situations, forking the pieces and forcing the opponent to move accomplishes one important thing which is gaining a tempo. Though forks try to gain a material advantage most of the time, it can also accomplish more subtle objectives such as gaining a tempo.

The above position is a common line in the Three Knights opening where White temporarily sacrifices one of his pieces in order to gain a pawn. With Nxe5 and Nxe5, White gets to fork Black's knight and bishop with d4. The best option for Black afterwards would probably be to take the pawn with the bishop and concede the bishop pair. In this case, the fork was used to make an imbalance early on in the game, with Black having to decide whether to keep his bishop or not in exchange for being a pawn down.

Here is a common theme in the Scholar's Mate where White attacks Black's f7 pawn with the queen and bishop. In this case, the best defense would have been Qe7 defending the f7 pawn and the e5 pawn simultaneously, however, as is often the case in beginner levels which I admit I have also fallen for is to defend with g6, a blunder because it opens Black to a fork with Qxe5+ forking the king, rook, and bishop. When the bishop retreats to cover the king, the queen swoops in to take the rook.

In this last position, I would like to show the Siberian trap. This is a line following the Smith-Morra gambit where Black will offer his knight but deflecting the defender of White's king. He plays the move Nd4 which forks the queen and knight. If the knight takes it, then it will be checkmate with Qh2 and if the White queen simply moves away say to e3 then Nxf3+ and it is mate next move.

Here, we saw how powerful this chess tactic is. The fork is multidimensional and multipurpose, at the very least, it allows you to have a material advantage or perhaps even a strategic advantage depending on the pieces and squares you are targeting. It is one of the chess tactics that we need to always be keen on noticing because it has such a big impact on your game that it might be the stepping stone to decide your fate.


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