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Thursday, 18 June 2015

Cheating in Chess #1

Cheating in chess has recently resurfaced with a well known player being caught for cheating.
This series will reflect on past events of cheating and alleged cheating in the past.

This first article in the series is not so much about a player , but rather about a man conning people into believing that he had created the world's first chess playing automaton.

The Mechanical Turk or Turk was created in 1770 by Wolfgang von Kempelen , to impress Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. The turk beat well known statesmen like Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin (now you know of at least two famous people who played chess) and was mostly undefeated.

Below is a representation of the turk

 

However the creator alleged that the machine played on it's own without human input , which was later revealed to be a lie. it turns out that a chess player of great skill would hide in the machine and that the machine would then be manipulated to move the pieces according to the moves calculated by this player.

The Turk was unfortunately destroyed in a fire , but it's legacy lives on
It wasn't until the 20th century that real chess computers would surface.