A Chess Robot Broke a Kid’s Finger
And the child is being blamed for violating safety policies.

Chess isn’t typically a contact sport. At the Moscow Open earlier this month, however, a robot broke a seven-year-old player’s finger because he moved too suddenly for the robot’s liking.

The Guardian reports that a video of the July 19 incident, which the newspaper has republished, started to circulate on Telegram.

“There are certain safety rules and the child, apparently, violated them,” Russian Chess Foundation vice president Sergey Smagin told Baza. “When he made his move, he did not realise he first had to wait. […] This is an extremely rare case, the first I can recall.” The Guardian echoes this sentiment—that a human is at fault when they are hurt by a robot—after noting that robots intended for industrial usage or performing medical procedures have killed hundreds of people since the first incident at a Ford production line in 1979.

“Generally, however, human error – or a lack of human understanding of robotic processes – is the most frequent cause,” The Guardian says. “It pays to be careful around robots, even if they are only playing chess.” (Or, in this particular instance, only harming a child.)

That’s an interesting response to a robot breaking a kid’s finger because he… was impatient? Even if there are policies against moving out of turn, it’s troubling that there were no safeguards in place to prevent the robot from physically harming someone, and even more troubling that the default response seems to be blaming the person injured by this chess-playing robot.

Chess Robot Goes Rogue, Breaks Seven-Year-Old Player’s Finger
“The robot did not like such a hurry —he grabbed the boy’s index finger and squeezed it hard,” said the news website. “The people around rushed to help and pulled out the finger of the young player, but the fracture could not be avoided.”

In a video shared by the news website, the boy appears to have his finger trapped by the robot’s hand for a few seconds before a woman rushes to help him and pull at the robot to get the child’s finger free. Three men intervene shortly after and manage to get the boy’s finger free of the robot’s hold. They were then shown bringing the boy away from the chessboard.

According to Baza, the seven-year-old is called Christopher, and he’s among the 30 strongest chess players in Moscow aged up to nine years old.


Image courtesy techworm.net

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