Two unique chess matches involving robots took place last Saturday on Strastniy Boulevard in Moscow. In a specially built pavilion made for this event two-time Olympic champion and former world championship candidate Alexander Grischuk and two robots – Kuka Monstr from Germany and Chesska from Russia – faced off at the chessboard. Here is some information on the two participants:
The Russian robot CHESSka, the first chess robot to beat grandmasters in blitz chess, was created by Konstantin Kosteniuk, Russian chess coach 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, Sergei Karyakin and Alexandra Kosteniuk, and has beaten a number of well-known grandmasters.KUKA Monstr
Challenging Chesska for the title was 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 favored 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.
As a warmup Alexander Grischuk played six blitz games against KUKA. In the first three the grandmaster had white, and at first he had the initiative, but he could not break the resistance of his opponent. In fact in the third game he had to take refuge in a rook endgame. After the three draws the "Metallic Mind" had white, and its preponderance became apparent: KUKA Monstr won all three games and the match ended with a score of 4.5:1.5.
Every time the robot had to make a move close to Grishuk, the grandmaster jerked back (watch it in the film below). The sudden movements of the machine are a bit scary, when you sit opposite it. During the games there was commentary and loud music, which did not make things easier for Grishuk.
After a short break the match for the title of Absolute World Champion in Robot Chess kicked off. KUKA Monstr seemed a little "exhausted" after its battle with Grischuk, and a real struggle did not take place.
Chesska played faster and more accurately than its opponent. In prolonged fights, KUKA simply could not keep to the five minutes allotted to each game. As a result, the Chesska robot scored a convincing victory of 3.5:0.5 over KUKA, and managed to defend its world title in Robot Chess. Believe it or not we have all the games.
Note that these matches involving robots have attracted a large number of viewers and have become an outstanding event in the chess life in Moscow.
More than a hundred chess enthusiasts played against each other on that day
GM Farrukh Amonatov in his "Chess Boulevard" simul
Anna Sharevich interviews Valentina Gunina...
... and Evgeny 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5
Throughout the day, along with the audience, the show saw the leading female player of Belarus, Anna Sharevich, and the well-known chess commentator Sergei Shipov in attendance. 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 Robot Chess.
A mime watches children playing with garden chess pieces
"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, Konstantin Kosteniuk, in an interview with reporters present at the event. 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 T.V. Petrosian, as well as the company ChessQueen.
Photos by Julia Manakova