Even chess can be a dangerous sport if it is in russia. During the Moscow Chess Open tournament, a robot that “worked” as an opponent for participants broke the finger of a 7-year-old player.

The incident happened last week. In the video from the tournament, it can be seen that the robot is an ordinary industrial robotic arm, which was configured to move the pieces on three chessboards at the same time.

“A robot broke a child’s finger and it is, of course, bad. The robot was rented by us, it was exhibited in many places, with specialists. Obviously, it is the operators’ fault. The child made a move and after that, it was necessary to give time for the robot to respond, but the boy acted too quickly, so the robot grabbed him. We have nothing to do with a robot,” commented the president of the chess federation Sergey Lazarev.

It is unclear why the experts who provided the robot did not take measures for the safety of the players in advance. Such incidents are predictable when robot engineers fail to properly develop safety protocols for human-robot interactions.

In most industrial environments, robots work independently of humans. They move along set paths at set times and do not have sensors to recognize people nearby. That is, if someone gets in the way of the robot, the robot will not know about it. This has become the cause of many fatal accidents involving robots in production.

It seems that the robot for the moscow chess tournament was programmed to recognize and move chess pieces, but did not add the ability to respond to a human hand in the game area.

“There are certain safety rules and the child obviously violated them. When he made this move, he didn’t understand that he had to wait first,” the vice-president of the russian chess federation commented on the incident.

However, it seems that in this situation the developers have broken the rules by creating a robot that can harm a human. A few basic features could have prevented the incident. For example, you could install a camera from above and immobilize the robot whenever a foreign object enters its field of view. Or limit the robot’s power so it can’t hurt.

According to Lazarev, the next day the child played again in a cast. Robot operators “will have to think” about how to make the robot safer so that the situation does not happen again.