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A chess-playing robot broke its seven-year-old opponent's finger

·Contributing Reporter
·1 min read

In something out of Black Mirror meets Queen's Gambit, a chess robot accidentally broke the finger of its seven-year old opponent during an exhibition in Moscow, The Guardian reported. The child apparently moved his piece too soon and the robot grabbed his finger and squeezed it, causing a fracture before help could arrive. "The robot broke the child’s finger," said Moscow Chess Federation president Sergey Lazarev. "This is of course bad."

Video shows the robot grabbing the boy's finger and holding it for several seconds a group of people come to free him. It's not clear what went wrong, but Lazarev said the child had "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 implied that the robot's suppliers may need work on the safety aspects, saying the are "going to have to think again."

The boy was identified as Christopher and went on to play the next day, finishing the tournament. His parents, however, have reportedly contacted the public prosecutor's office. Russian chess official Sergey Smagin downplayed the incident, calling it "a coincidence" and saying the machine was "absolutely safe."

In any case, the incident can be seen as a modern parable of the dangers of robots, even in something as innocuous as chess. On a larger scale with things like robotic cars, however, the stakes are considerably higher.