Reports | May 24, 2012 10:12

Robots in a Moscow park... playing chess (VIDEO)

Alexander Grischuk vs KUKA Monstr

Two unique chess matches involving robots took place on Saturday, May 19th in Moscow, on Strastniy Boulevard. In a specially built pavilion made for this event two-time Olympic champion and former world champion Alexander Grischuk and two robots, KUKA Monstr (Germany) and CHESSka (Russia), faced off at the chessboard.

By Eldar Mukhametov | Photos by Julia Manakova, more here

The Russian robot CHESSka, the first chess robot to beat grandmasters in blitz chess, was created by Konstantin Kosteniuk, Honored Coach of Russian Chess and an inventor with tens of registered patents. CHESSka is already well-known among Russian chess fans. This “chess terminator” has played against former world champions Vladimir Kramnik and Alexandra Kosteniuk, as well as Sergey Karjakin, one of Russia’s leading players, and has beaten a number of well-known grandmasters.

KUKA Monstr
Challenging our hardware heavyweight for the title is KUKA Monstr, created by the German company KUKA Robotics, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of industrial robots. Though it is younger than its Russian opponent, its creators favor it to win the match. They say that blitz chess is precisely where KUKA can fully manifest its intelligence, accuracy and speed. Other world-class robot makers showing interest in developing chess-playing robots include FANUC Corporation of Japan and ABB of Sweden.

KUKA Monstr (Germany)

First, to test himself in a fight with a robot, came Alexander Grischuk. The match consisted of six blitz games. In the first three the grandmaster was white [alternating colors after each game turned out to be technically impossible - at first the robot, having white, was waiting for his opponent to move! - CV], and at first he had the initiative, but he could not break the resistance of his opponent.

Grischuk: A decent score with White

When the score was 1.5-1.5 (three draws) KUKA got white in the next three games, and the preponderance of the "Metallic Mind" became apparent. As a result, the robot KUKA Monstr gained a victory with a score of 4.5-1.5.

Grischuk backing away when KUKA makes a move...

...and missing some tactics here and there

Lots of visitors around the special tent, GM Sergey Shipov providing commentary, Anna Sharevich as host

Then, after a short break, the match kicked off for the historic title for the absolute world champion in chess for robots. KUKA Monstr attempted to take away the title from the current  owner – the Russian robot CHESSka. However, perhaps the German robot was "exhausted" after its fight with Grischuk and a persistent struggle did not happen. CHESSka acted faster and more accurately than his opponent. In prolonged fights, KUKA simply could not fit into the allotted 5 minutes per batch. As a result, the speaker awarded a convincing victory under the Russian flag to the CHESSka robot with a score of 3.5-0.5, who managed to defend his world title in chess among robots.

CHESSka vs Kuka 

Note that the matches involving robots gathered a large number of viewers and became an outstanding event in the chess life in Moscow. More than a hundred chess players faced off on the same day and grandmaster Farrukh Amonatov took part in the next stage of the Moscow competition "Chess Boulevard". Throughout the day, along with the audience, the show saw the leading champion of Belarus, Anna Sharevich, and the well-known chess commentator Sergey Shipov in attendance.

A dance competition on a chess board

The winners of the tournaments, as well as the winners of the competition programs, were awarded T-shirts branded for the match with the title of absolute champion of chess robots.

The match was exciting, both for spectators and for the participants, and in the future we plan to hold similar meetings every year

said the inventor and inspiration behind robot players, the honored coach of Russia, Konstantin Kosteniuk, in an interview with reporters present at the event.

A popular pawn

The organizers of the event were: Summa Group, the Russian Chess Federation, the Center for Physical Culture and Sports of the Central Administrative District of Moscow, the Chess Club named T.V. Petrosian, as well as the participation of the Fund to support creative chess, the company ChessQueen.

Heavy knight development

Organizer and author of this report, Eldar Mukhametov

Video impressions


Editors's picture
Author: Editors


Bert de Bruut's picture

Someone should have told Grischuk about the Second Law of Robotics.

NBC's picture

What is the second law of robotics? In fact, what is the first one? :)

Ruben's picture

1.A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2.A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3.A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Zeblakob's picture

This is an unfair match.

Guillaume's picture

"alternating colors after each game turned out to be technically impossible - at first the robot, having white, was waiting for his opponent to move! - CV"

So, the robot cannot start his games with white, and cannot switch colors to play with black. In my book, the human Grishuk wins 6-0.

Ruben's picture

They must program this really better. It is so stupid that the Robot cannot start the game with white and not switch collors. " technically imposssible " ? Of course not! Next time better.

Stefan's picture

Grischuk is grimacing like Kasparov when blundering ...

Bronkenstein's picture

Nowadays you need guts to blitz against machines in public, bravo Grish =)

arkan's picture

On what engine/hardware are thse robots running?

Ruben's picture

It is so funny that the chess engines are allready stronger then humans but that the hardest thing is to make mechanical the move with a piece with a robot arm. For the rest it is very simple you only have to connect the chess computer that make the moves to the robbot arm that move the pieces. Beating humans interlectual is now allready more easy for the computer then beating humans with arm ( or body ) movement.
While I always in the 80 expected the opposite!

James's picture

The casual title belies the fact that this was quite a major chess event that took place in Moscow. It must have been a sight, and an experience, seeing two-time Olympic champion and former world champion Alexander Grischuk as well as two chess robots, KUKA Monstr of Germany and CHESSka of Russia, face off in games of blitz chess. I’m trying to imagine how fast the chess pieces flew! It’s unsurprising that CHESSka won both against Grischuk as well as against KUKA, as it was created by the coach of Russian chess, Konstantin Kosteniuk. The giant chess set in the park seems to have gotten the attention and involvement of the young kids. Perhaps this is the best way to build the interest of the young in a chess game.

Ruben's picture

Anyway I think Chrischuk was beaten more because the power of the engine then because of the speed of making the moves by the robot arm.
I think the arm moves still very slowly.
But the robot need maybe only between 25 or 35 movements befor it is allready completly over.

Al's picture

here is a video of KUKA vs CHESSka Game 1

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