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Chess-playing robot turns violent mid-match, breaks kid’s finger

Robotic arm turns on its young opponent, pinning down and fracturing the digit of one of Russia’s best young players

Robot traps a boy's finger during chess game, fracturing it, July 2022 (Screen grab)
Robot traps a boy's finger during chess game, fracturing it, July 2022 (Screen grab)

A Moscow chess tournament turned violent after a robotic chess-playing arm broke a child competitor’s finger during a competition last week, The Guardian reported.

Video circulating on social media showed the robotic arm, capable of playing multiple games of chess simultaneously, grabbing the nine year old boy’s finger as he went to play a move.

In the video, three adults can be seen running to assist the boy, eventually freeing his finger after a painful 15 seconds.

Although major injury was avoided, the young chess competitor was left with a fractured finger.

Speaking to Russian news outlet TASS, president of the Moscow Chess Federation Sergey Lazarev explained how the malfunction had occurred.

Lazarev explained that the child had made his move, but “after that we need to give time for the robot to answer, but the boy hurried and the robot grabbed him.”

According to TASS, although the boy was unable to move the chess pieces himself with a fractured finger, he was able to continue competing the next day with the assistance of tournament volunteers.

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

Russian grandmaster Sergey Karjakin put the incident down to “some kind of software error or something… this has never happened before. There are such accidents. I wish the boy good health.”

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