Chess robot breaks finger of seven-year-old boy during tournament in Russia

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

The robot grabbed the seven-year-old boy’s finger because it was confused by his overly-quick movements, Russian media outlets reported, quoting the President of the Moscow Chess Federation – who seemingly blamed the child.

‘The robot broke the child’s finger – this, of course, is bad,’ Sergey Lazarev told Russia’s TASS news agency, while distancing his organisation from the robot.

The incident occurred at the Moscow Open on July 19. Lazarev said that the federation had rented the robot for the event, which ran from July 13 to 21.

Lazarev said that the machine had been hired 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 during an international tournament in Moscow last week, with the incident being captured in CCTV footage

Captured by a camera over the boy's shoulder, the video starts by showing the robot as it picks up a piece from the board and drops it into a box to the side - used to contain the discarded pieces from the game

Captured by a camera over the boy’s shoulder, the video starts by showing the robot as it picks up a piece from the board and drops it into a box to the side – used to contain the discarded pieces from the game

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

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

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

‘The child made a move, and after that we need to give time for the robot to answer, but the boy hurried , the robot grabbed him. We have nothing to do with the robot.’

Video of the incident was published by the Baza Telegram channel, who said the boy’s name was Christopher. Baza said he was among the 30 best chess players in Moscow in the under-nine age group category.

According to The Guardian, Sergey 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 did not realise he first had to wait,’ The Guardian quoted Smagin as saying. ‘This is an extremely rare case, the first I can recall.’

The footage shows 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 chess boards. It’s AI can reportedly play three matches at the same time.

Captured by a camera over the boy’s shoulder, the video starts by showing the robot as it picks up a piece from the board and drops it into a box to the side – used to contain the discarded pieces from the game.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lazarev said in his statement that the boy was able to return to the tournament the following day in a case, and finished the tournament.

However, he told TASS that the boy’s parents had contacted the public prosecutor’s office about the incident, and that his organisation had been contacted by Moskomsport – the Department of Sport for the Russian capital.

He offered to help the family ‘in any way we can,’ and warned that the operators of the robot were going to have to ‘think about strengthening protection so that this situation does not happen again.’

Smagin told RIA Novosti that the incident was a ‘concidence’ and said the robot is ‘absolutely safe,’ The Guardian reported.

‘It has performed at many opens. Apparently, children need to be warned. It happens,’ Smagin said – calling the robot ‘unique’.

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