Chess-Playing Robot Breaks Boy’s Finger

Image credit: Baza/Telegram

Russian Chess Federation calls chess-playing robot ‘absolutely safe’ after it broke boy’s finger at Moscow tournament last week

An official of the Russian Chess Federation has said a chess-playing robot is “absolutely safe” after it reportedly broke the finger of a seven-year-old child at last week’s Moscow Chess Open tournament.

Sergey Smagin, vice-president of the Russian Chess Federation, told the RIA Novosti news agency that the incident was “a coincidence” and the robot was “absolutely safe”, adding that the federation would “communicate, figure it out and try to help in any way we can”.

A video posted by the Baza Telegram channel shows the robot taking one of the boy’s pieces. The boy quickly moves to make a riposte, at which the robot grasps his finger. Several adults then rush in to aid him.

artificial intelligence, robot‘This is of course bad’

“The robot broke the child’s finger,” Moscow Chess Federation president Sergey Lazarev told the TASS news agency. “This is of course bad.”

He added that the machine, called Chessrobot, had played many previous matches without incident.

Smagin said the boy had failed to allow the device enough time to complete its move and that the robot was apparently attempting to pick up another piece.

“When he made his move, he did not realise he first had to wait,” said Smagin.


“The boy hurried, the robot grabbed him,” Lazarev said.

He said the child had played the next day and finished the tournament in a cast, with volunteers helping to record the moves.

Lazarev said the boy’s parents wanted to contact the public prosecutor’s office.

“We will communicate, figure it out and try to help (the family) in any way we can,” Lazarev told TASS.

Safety measures

“And the robot operators, apparently, will have to think about strengthening protection so that this situation does not happen again.”

Baza named the boy as seven-year-old Christopher and said he was one of the 30 top chess players in Moscow in the under-nines category.