Chess robot breaks seven-year-old boy’s finger at tournament in Russia

A chess-playing robot broke a child’s finger during a tournament in Russia last week, with the incident caught on CCTV.

The robot grabbed the seven-year-old boy’s finger because he was confused by his too fast movements, Russian media reported, citing the president of the Moscow Chess Federation – who apparently blamed the child.

“The robot broke the child’s finger – this, of course, is bad,” Sergey Lazarev told Russian news agency TASS, while distancing his organization from the robot.

The incident happened at the Moscow Open on July 19. Lazarev said the federation rented the robot for the event, which ran from July 13-21.

Lazarev said the machine had been rented for many previous events without incident, saying the boy went to move a piece too quickly after making a move.

A chess-playing robot (pictured) broke a child’s finger at an international tournament in Moscow last week, the incident captured in CCTV footage

Captured by a camera over the boy's shoulder, the video begins by showing the robot as it picks up a piece from the board and places it in a box to the side - used to hold discarded pieces from the game

Captured by a camera over the boy’s shoulder, the video begins by showing the robot as it picks up a piece from the board and places it in a box to the side – used to hold discarded pieces from the game

As he does so, the young boy reaches out to make his next move.  However, the robot appears to mistake the boy's finger for a chess piece and grabs it instead, breaking his finger.

As he does so, the young boy reaches out to make his next move. However, the robot appears to mistake the boy’s finger for a chess piece and grabs it instead, breaking his finger.

‘The robot was rented by us, it was exhibited in many places, for a long time, with specialists. Apparently the operators ignored it,” Lazarev said.

“The kid made a move, and after that we had to give the robot time to respond, but the boy hurried, the robot caught him. We have nothing to do with the robot.

Video of the incident was released by the Baza Telegram channel, which said the boy’s name was Christopher. Baza said he was among the top 30 Moscow chess players in the under-nine category.

According The GuardianSergey Smagin, vice-president of the Russian Chess Federation, went even further in blaming the boy.

“There are certain safety rules and the child apparently violated them. When he made his move, he didn’t realize he had to wait first,’ Smagin told the Guardian. “This is an extremely rare case, the first I can remember.”

The images show the robot – which consists of a single mechanical arm with multiple joints and a “hand” – was in the middle of a table and surrounded by three different chessboards. It is the AI ​​that could play three games at the same time.

Captured by a camera over the boy’s shoulder, the video begins by showing the robot as it picks up a piece from the board and places it in a box to the side – used to hold discarded pieces from the game.

As he does so, the young boy reaches out to make his next move. However, the robot appears to mistake the boy’s finger for a chess piece and grabs it instead.

Grabbing the boy's finger, the mechanical arm freezes in place, trapping the boy who begins to panic.  Several people standing around the table rush to help him and, after a few seconds, manage to free him from the robot's grip.

Grabbing the boy’s finger, the mechanical arm freezes in place, trapping the boy who begins to panic. Several people standing around the table rush to help him and, after a few seconds, manage to free him from the robot’s grip.

Pictured: The boy is led away by adults standing around the table.  Russian chess officials said the machine had been rented for many previous events without incident, claiming the boy went to move a piece too quickly after making a move.

Pictured: The boy is led away by adults standing around the table. Russian chess officials said the machine had been rented for many previous events without incident, claiming the boy went to move a piece too quickly after making a move.

Grabbing the boy’s finger, the mechanical arm freezes in place, trapping the boy who begins to panic. Several people standing around the table rush to help him and, after a few seconds, manage to free him from the robot’s grip.

Lazarev said in his statement that the boy was able to return to the tournament the next day in a deal and finished the tournament.

However, he told TASS that the boy’s parents had contacted the prosecutor’s office over the incident and that his organization had been contacted by Moskomsport – the Russian capital’s sports ministry.

He offered to help the family “in any way possible” and warned that the robot operators will have to “think about strengthening the protection so that this situation does not happen again”.

Smagin told RIA Novosti the incident was a “coincidence” and said the robot was “absolutely safe”, The Guardian reported.

“He played many openings. Apparently, children should be warned. It happens,” Smagin said – calling the robot “unique”.