- Chessbots -
"Chess" on facebook one day featured a picture of a chess set that combined like an old-school transformer toy into a robot.
Amazingly, I was able to track the set down in a matter of minutes and thrilled to find it available on Etsy for a small chunk of change
This is the Chessbot by Joseph Larson 3D printed from a Makerbot 3D printer.
Actually it's two copies of the "hero" bot in contrasting colors. Joe's also designed a "monster" bot to pit against these. While the design is phenomenal, the pieces themselves are feather light, oddly bumpy in spots, and brittle, all of which I believe are limitations of the Makerbot printing medium at this time. That said the price was right and these chessbots are a lot of fun.
A few pieces with the included board and instructions.
The set. Kings and Queens are a bit of a departure from the Staunton design but the rest just about resembles a tournament set.
You'd never guess these pieces could be...
...assembled into robot form.
Royal pieces, quite different from Staunton as each is one half of the torso and head of the robot.
Kings marked with crowns and crosses.
Queens again stamped with the coronet mark typical of symbol sets, this time surmounted by a circle.
It looks a bit like a crescent moon in this picture but I think it's only the light.
Bishops which form the robot hands.
Knights which form feet and legs.
Rooks which form the shoulders.
Pawns which hold everything together.
I went with a wooden board instead of the cardboard provided.
In honor of robots and chess I chose positions from Kasparov vs Deep Blue 1997.
Kasparov won this game after the robot weakened his Kingside with these pawn advances.
This final game was more one-sided.
Kasparov was aware of this Knight sacrifice but either didn't think the machine would play it because machines are famously bad at seeing compensation for lost material or was simply tired after many games ended in draws earlier and mixed up the move order of this opening. Wikipedia says that later and also that this sacrifice was too deep for the machine and Deep Blue would not have played it if it hadn't been programed into its opening book.
The robot's decisive sacrifice.
The same positions viewed from Gary's side of the board.
Deep Blue stomps the e6 square with his Knight/boot.
If only Gary had been playing with a chessbot he might have forgone in the Caro-Kann Defense in favor of the rarely played Also-turn-into-a-robot Defense.
In that case the battle might have looked something like this...
And the outcome may have been a different one...
Though obviously not every super GM possess a chess set capable of turning into a fighting robot.