The Schiff Pitchfork – Construction and Variants

In a previous post we saw the use of the Andrews Pitchfork, a trading technique very used and known by many traders. But there is a less known variant of this method developed by a student of Andrews surnamed Shiff, who worked as a trader on the NYSE. The technique developed by this trader is intended to solve the problem that occurs when the Andrews Pitchfork presents a very marked inclination.

In this case, the Schiff Pitchfork shares with the Andrews Pitchfork the use of the line that is between points A and B, which is referred to as midline. The main difference however is that the construction of both Pitchforks is somewhat different. To construct the Schiff Pitchfork the following procedure is used:

Schiff’s Pitchfork Construction

  • The first thing is to identify a significant pivot point may be a maximum or minimum point which is denoted as A.
  • The next step is to draw a line (red in the graph below) from point A to the next major turning point which we designate as Point B.
  • Then determine the midpoint of the line passing through points A and B.
  • Then draw a line that is perpendicular to the line AB. This line must pase through the midpoint of the line AB. This new line is called the Pitchfork Median..
  • Finally draw two lines parallel to the midline, which must pass through the points A and B. With this the Schiff Pitchfork is ready.

For an example of a Schiff Pitchfork built on a price chart we can see the following image:

Schiff Pitchfork example
DAX Future price chart with the Schiff Pitchfork

In this case we can clearly see the difference between the Schiff Pitchfork and the Andrews Pitchfork as shown in the following chart of the EUR/USD.  In this image the Andrews Pitchfork is shown in blue while the Schiff Pitchfork is shown in green. In the first case the the slope is much steeper:

Schiff Pitchfork  compared with Andrews Pitchfork
EUR/USD price chart where the Schiff Pitchfork is compared with the Andrews Pitchfork

Thus we can see how the Schiff Pitchfork show less inclination compared with the other. This facilitates the analysis by the trader which can be an advantage.

It should be mentioned that some time later, a modification of the Schiff Pitchfork appeared in which the median is drawn as a line perpendicular to the line passing through points A and B. For this, the trader must determine a C point which could be a significant maximum or a minimum that occurred prior to the points A and B. Once C point is determined, the final step is to draw a vertical line between points A and C and then draw a line through the midpoint of the vertical line and through the midpoint of the line AB.

This variant of Schiff  Pitchfork has proved quite useful in congestion zones (when the market has no clear trend) and in Forex trading as shown in the following graph:

Pitchforks in trading
EUR/USD price chart with a modification of the Schiff Pitchfork

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