by Steve Lopez
Chess King contributor
I’ve been “robot crazy” ever since I first saw Battlebots
on TV over a decade ago. It’s still one of my all-time favorite shows, which I view as a sort of “fight club for smart people” competition. I became involved in various virtual robot programming competitions – virtual because my mechanical skills are approximately nil. A variety of online competitions allowed software users to construct virtual robots from a suite of parts, then write a program which allowed the robot to move and fight autonomously, and I was spending long hours pounding the keyboard, smashing keys like a cross between a wild chimpanzee and a mad scientist, writing programs for my virtual monstrosities. It was around this same time that I began to travel to various robotics exhibitions, everything from LEGO Mindstorms to FIRST scholastic competitions. In fact, by the early 2000’s I all but gave up chess for amateur robotics.
Yeah, I’m definitely a “robot geek”. So when I heard about the robot chess blitz championship between CHESSka and KUKA Monstr, my tail started a-waggin’. Then I learned that our own Alexandra Kosteniuk’s dad was the creator of CHESSka, and I started bouncing off the walls. Read more…