Russian ChessBot breaks child opponent's finger

But don't get all 'Rise of the Machines' on this one – Russian media says the 'bot has played for years without problems


A Russian chess robot has broken the finger of a child.

The incident happened at a Moscow tournament on July 19, when a robotic arm that uses AI to help it play three games at once went rogue. Its antics went viral after video appeared in the Telegram post embedded below.

There's no need to fear the rise of the machines, or to bemoan the state of Russian robotics.

The Register offers that analysis because local media such as Yamal quote vice president of the Moscow Chess Federation, Sergey Smagin, as saying the Chessbot has been used in tournaments for 15 years and has never done anything like this before.

Nor does it appear the bot grabbed the child to make a winning move.

Instead, reports suggest the bot expects a certain amount of time to elapse between its move and a human player's response, and the child played more quickly than safety rules allow.

Which definitely does not sound like Russia has nailed robotics. And it doesn't seem like this robot should be playing against kids – or perhaps anyone.

The victim's finger is reportedly in a cast and the lad is expected to heal swiftly without any ill effects.

The bot will be allowed to keep playing, too.

Another thing to note is that this story made it to Russian readers and then out of the country. Russia currently censors its internet to prevent its populace receiving real news of the illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Poorly-designed robots, it appears, may be able to evade censorship and break children's fingers … for now. ®

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