Chess robot goes rogue, breaks 7-year-old boy's finger during tournament | Video

Updated on Jul 25, 2022 01:59 AM IST

A video of the incident went viral on social media platforms, raising debates of technology taking over human intelligence. The chess federation's president, however, has said that it was the boy's mistake, not that of the robot.

Screengrab of video from the Moscow Open chess tournament. (Twitter)
Screengrab of video from the Moscow Open chess tournament. (Twitter)
Written by Sharmita Kar | Edited by Swati Bhasin

A strategic game usually played by humans, chess tournaments seldom turn violent. However, in a freak event, a robot mediating the Moscow Open chess tournament went rogue and grabbed and broke the finger of a 7-year-old player instead of picking the chess piece. “The robot broke the child's finger - this, of course, is bad,” Sergey Lazarev, president of the Moscow Chess Federation, was quoted as saying by Russia's TASS news agency.

A video doing rounds on social media platforms showed the robot taking one of the boy's chess pieces and then coming back for another – but instead it grabbed his finger.


While it raised fear among some people, Twitter users had a rather unexpected take on the incident. "Never try to win against a computer," commented a user in response to the video.

“This is every movie about robots coming to pass. We need to learn from this..,” said another user.

Meanwhile, Lazarev told the TASS agency that the accident appeared to have been caused because of the child's hurried move.

“The robot was rented by us, it has been exhibited in many places, for a long time, with specialists. Apparently, the operators overlooked it. The child 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,” he said.

The child was able to play the next day and finish the final days of the tournament “in a cast”, TASS reported.

The incident happened on July 19 and the video clip was first shared by the Baza Telegram channel.

Sergey Smagin, vice-president of the Russian Chess Federation, told Baza that the robot appeared to pounce only after it took one of the boy’s pieces. “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,” he said.

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