Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The "Turk" A False Automaton, Genuine Fascination

A pseudo automaton that beat Napoleon, Ben Franklin and other notables in chess and may have helped spawn the genesis of computers, pretty damned cool:
The Turk or Automaton Chess Player was a chess-playing machine of the late 18th century, exhibited from 1770 for over 84 years, by various owners, as an automaton but later explained in January 1857 as an elaborate hoax . Constructed and unveiled in 1770 by Wolfgang von Kempelen (1734–1804) to impress the Empress Maria Theresa, the mechanism appeared to be able to play a strong game of chess against a human opponent, as well as perform the knight's tour, a puzzle that requires the player to move a knight to occupy every square of a chessboard once and only once.

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