Chess Robot Breaks The Finger Of Its Child Opponent During Match

A chess robot broke the finger of its child opponent during a match at the Moscow Open last week. Russian media outlets report that the robot was “unsettled” by how quickly the 7-year-old boy was moving during the game on July 19 and the AI ended up grabbing and breaking his finger. Well, that shouldn’t fill us all with terror or anything!

  1. Admittedly, this is not good. In fact, even the president of the Moscow Chess Federation, Sergey Lazarev, told TASS news agency that this was a bit problematic. “The robot broke the child’s finger. This is of course bad,” he said.
  2. A video of the incident has been making its way around the internet. Originally published by Baza Telegram, the clip shows the child’s finger being grabbed by the robot for a few seconds before three men and a woman step in to help him. It’s hard to say how much worse his injuries could have been otherwise.
  3. The robot seemed to have developed a temper. The vice-president of the Russian Chess Federation, Sergey Smagin, also told TASS that the broken finger incident happened after the robot snatched one of the boy’s chess pieces. How on earth would a robot even have the capacity to be aggressive?
  4. Smagin believed the kid was kind of at fault. In a spectacular case of victim-blaming, Smagin claimed that the child should have followed “certain safety rules” by letting the robot finish its turn first. “There are certain safety rules and the child, apparently, violated them,” Smagin claimed. “When he made his move, he did not realize he first had to wait. This is an extremely rare case, the first I can recall. It has performed at many opens. Apparently, children need to be warned. It happens.” He went on to say that it was simply “a coincidence” that the kid was injured and that the robot is “absolutely safe.”
  5. Time to go back to the drawing board with this robot, you would think. Lazarev claimed that the boy “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.” Again, it’s a robot, so unless it’s been programmed to respond aggressively by physically grabbing an opponent and injuring them, seems a bit odd the AI would simply do this on its own. Nevertheless, Lazarev said that the creators of the robot “are going to have to think again.”
  6. Thankfully, the boy was able to finish his match. The injured child is one of the 30 best chess players in Moscow in the under-nine age group. While his finger was fractured and needed to be placed in a plaster cast, he finished his match, played the next day, and actually completed the tournament. His parents are said to have been in touch with the public prosecutor’s office.
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill