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21 Jul, 2022 23:19

Chess robot breaks boy's finger (VIDEO)

An aspiring Russian chess master ended up in a cast after a tournament machine mishap
Chess robot breaks boy's finger (VIDEO)

A seven-year-old boy had his finger broken by a chess-playing robot during a tournament in Moscow, the local authorities said on Thursday. The organizers say the boy’s finger was caught when he rushed to move a piece before it was time to do so. He was able to finish the tournament while wearing a cast, but his parents now reportedly want to press charges.

“The robot broke the boy’s finger, which is obviously a bad thing,” Sergey Lazarev, head of the Moscow Chess Federation, told reporters. He pointed out that the federation doesn’t actually own the robot, but has been renting it from its operators, who seem to have “overlooked” this possibility in the safety protocols.

“The boy made a move, but needed to give the robot time to respond. However, he rushed and the robot caught him,” Lazarev explained.

The incident took place during the Moscow Chess Open tournament, which ran from July 13-20. Video from inside the venue, obtained by the Baza Telegram channel, shows bystanders rushing to help free the child from the clutches of the robot arm.

According to Lazarev’s deputy, Sergey Smagin, the aspiring chess master “apparently violated” the safety protocols and tried to make a move while it was the robot’s turn to play.

“This robot has been playing for a long time, about 15 years,” Smagin said. “This is an extremely rare case, the first in my memory.”

He described the boy’s injuries as “nothing serious,” adding that he was able to continue playing with a cast on his finger, attend the awards ceremony, and even sign documents. 

“The boy is fine,” Smagin said. He insisted that the robot is “absolutely safe” to be around, but that its “very talented inventor” may need to install additional safety protocols.

The child’s parents have since decided to contact the Moscow prosecutor’s office, Lazarev told TASS, adding that the chess federation will “sort it out and try to help in any way we can.”