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Chess robot breaks boy’s finger during tournament in Russia

While it is possible the incident was an unfortunate accident, chess officials have other theories.
Stock image

Stock image


A chess-playing robot has been accused of attacking a seven-year old boy and breaking his finger during a match in Moscow.

The incident was captured on video during a match at the Moscow Open on Tuesday.

The footage, published by the Baza Telegram channel, shows the boy in pain as the robot clamps down on his finger for several seconds in the middle of the game.

Several spectators can be seen rushing in to stop the incident, freeing the boy from the robot’s clutches and removing him from the scene.

“The robot broke the child’s finger,” Sergey Lazarev, president of the Moscow Chess Federation, told Russian state news agency TASS.

“This is of course bad.”

Chess playing robot grabs and breaks finger of seven-year-old at Moscow Chess Open

There have been conflicting accounts of how the robot came to hurt the boy, who has been named as Christopher in Russian media reports.

While it is possible the incident was an unfortunate accident, chess officials have other theories.

Sergey Smagin, vice president of the Russian Chess Federation, claimed the robot attacked after its human opponent failed to wait for it to complete its move.

“There are certain safety rules and the child, apparently, violated them. When he made his move, he did not realise he first had to wait,” Smagin said.

“This is an extremely rare case, the first I can recall.”

Meanwhile Mr Lazarev claimed the robot grabbed the boy after he made a move and then “hurried” the robot, not allowing it “time to answer”.

The machine had been deployed in previous chess tournaments and had no prior issues, according to a report in Russian state news agency TASS.

The “unique” machine is able to play multiple matches at a time and had already completed three games of chess by the time it reached Christopher.

The boy’s broken finger was placed in a plaster cast. He did not appear too shaken up by the incident, and competed again the next day.

“The child played the very next day, finished the tournament, and volunteers helped to record the moves,” Mr Lazarev said.

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