Local news sources claim that a chess robot injured a seven-year-old boy’s finger while he was competing in a competition in Russia.

When the event occurred last week, the robot had been engaged to play opponents at the Moscow Chess Open. The device, which can be seen in the incident’s video (below), is an industrial robot arm that has been modified to move pieces on three chessboards at once.

“The child’s finger was broken by the robot. The Moscow Chess Federation’s president, Sergey Lazarev, told the Russian news agency TASS that this was obviously awful (translation via Google Translate).

Lazarev stated, “We rented the robot, which has been on display for a long time with experts in several locations. Evidently, the operators failed to notice it. The toddler moved, and we needed to allow the robot some time to respond. But because the boy moved quickly, the robot grabbed him. The robot has nothing to do with us.

Although it is unclear what justification, if any, the robot’s designers have provided for this incident, such occurrences are not uncommon when robot developers have neglected to adequately consider safety protocol near humans.

Robots are essentially unobserved operators in the majority of industrial settings. They frequently lack sensors to detect or react to surrounding persons and follow predetermined routes at certain intervals. In other words, if you cross in front of them, they won’t notice you.


Numerous robot fatalities have been attributed to this kind of blind collision. It is generally accepted that the first such occurrence occurred in 1979 when Robert Williams, a worker at the Ford factory, was crushed by a robot arm. The US Department of Labor keeps track of these fatalities, which average about one per year, however the statistics change depending on how various corporations define a robot. Is a conveyer belt, for instance, a robot? or a mold-making device?

It appears that the chess robot was created solely to recognize and move chess pieces, not to react to the presence of a human hand in the playing area.

There are several safety regulations, and it appears that the child disregarded them. He did not comprehend he needed to wait before making his move, according to Sergey Smagin, vice-president of the Russian Chess Federation, speaking to the news station Baza on Telegram.

It would be more correct to state that the robot’s designers broke safety regulations by building a device that could unintentionally harm people. Simple features like mounting a camera above the chess board that stops the robot from moving if any foreign objects appear in the frame or restricting the amount of force the robot’s arm may produce could have prevented the accident.

Despite the distressing nature of the incident’s video, Lazarev claims that the boy quickly recovered enough to resume playing. The volunteers assisted to film the maneuvers, and the child played the very next day and ended the competition in a cast, according to Lazarev’s statement to TASS. The robot operators will allegedly need to consider enhancing security to prevent a situation like this from occurring again.