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Bad Move: Chess-Playing Robot Seizes and Breaks 7-Year-Old Opponent’s Finger

A chess-playing robot last week broke the finger of a 7-year-old opponent during a chess match that was part of the Moscow Open, according to news reports. “The robot broke the child’s finger,” Sergey Lazarev, president of the Moscow Chess Federation, told the Russian news agency TASS, according to the U.K. Guardian. “This is, of course, bad,” he said, adding that the robots had played many other competitors without such an incident. Video of the incident Tuesday shows that the robot had the boy’s finger in its grip for several seconds before nearby adults knew there was a problem. Once they realized what was taking place, they hurried the boy from the robot. Sergey Smagin, vice president of the Russian Chess Federation, told the Baza Telegram channel that the robot appeared to have been triggered after it took one of the boy’s pieces, according to the Guardian. The boy appeared to be making his next move too quickly, he said. “There are certain safety rules and the child, apparently, violated them. When he made his move, he did not realize he first had to wait,” Smagin said, according to The Guardian. “This is an extremely rare case, the first I can recall.” Baza identified the boy only as “Christopher,” and said he was one of Moscow’s best chess players in his age group of under 9 years old. Lazarev said the boy “made a move, and after that we need to give time for the robot to answer, but the boy hurried and the robot grabbed him,” according to The Guardian. His bottom line: The robot’s handlers were “going to have to think again.” Lazarev said the boy seemed undaunted. “The child played the very next day, finished the tournament, and volunteers helped to record the moves,” he told TASS, according to The Guardian. The boy’s parents have reportedly contacted the public prosecutor’s office, according to The Guardian. “We will communicate, figure it out and try to help in any way we can,” Lazarev said. According to The Guardian, Smagin told the state-run news agency RIA Novosti that the incident was “a coincidence” and the robot was “absolutely safe.” “It has performed at many opens. Apparently, children need to be warned. It happens,” he said. Russian grandmaster Sergey Karjakin said the incident was due to “some kind of software error or something.” “This has never happened before,” he said, according to The Guardian. “There are such accidents. I wish the boy good health.” This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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