Second chess player - Second chess player internal view

Torres Quevedo Museum

Torres Quevedo Museum
Madrid, Spain

In 1920 the Laboratory of Automation constructed the 'Second Chess Player' introducing noticeable improvements in respect of its appearance. In terms of the Automation field it does not provide with any essential perfection in relation to the previous one. It can be considered as a scientific toy devoted to demonstrate the possibilities of the General Theory of Automation of Torres Quevedo.

The chess players do not play the whole game but a final move of the tower and king against king. The automaton drives the white pieces and its movement is based on a complex mechanism made up of shaft, drums... The second player worked trough several electromagnets that were placed under the chess board, so the pieces gave the impression of moving by themselves, which caused a great impact on the audience.

The chess player presented a chess board with sensors that deteted the position of the pieces; each square was conected to some wires so the pieces closed the circuit when they placed on the mentioned square, so this is how the position of the pieces was detected. By getting the position of the pieces, the automaton carried out the calculation of the movement looking for the checkmate and, once it got it, a phonograph that played a sound with the message 'checkmate' was activated, indicating the end of the game.

Internal mechanism of shaft and wiring.


  • Title: Second chess player - Second chess player internal view

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