Chess is one of mankind’s most intelligent pastimes. How well the game is played is entirely based on the mind, experience and skill of the two participants involved. Unlike most games, there is absolutely no luck involved, and it’s almost impossible to cheat. Unfortunately, it’s also very difficult to find someone to practice with who won’t destroy you every game.
Even someone who’s played just a few more games than you will usually be your better. As the British author and chess fan Martin Amis once wrote, “nowhere in sport, perhaps in human activity, is the gap between the tryer and the expert so astronomical.” But chess neophytes now have another option for someone to spar with as they take their first, tentative steps in the fascinating world of chess. Someone robotic.
Say hello to the Arduino-Powered, Chess Playing Robot. Built by a talented DIY-er known on the Internet as mJusticz, it not only knows how to play chess, it can actually move its pieces all by itself using magnets and a robotic arm. Even more amazing, it can “read” where you move your pieces and respond accordingly.
It’s an amazing piece of hardware, and would make a great teacher for any amateur chess player who wants the thrill and feel of a real board, without having to look at the smug face of the person who wastes him every game. Depending on your skill, this robot may always beat you, but at least it will be halfway cool about it and not rub your nose in it. Until its programming develops and it takes over the world, of course. Then it’s going to be a total jerk.