1911-20 – Chess Playing Machines – Leonardo Torres y Quevedo (Spanish)

I recently placed on Youtube a video clip (see below) of the Torres Chess Computer as demonstrated at the Congress on Cybernetics in France of 1951. I wasn't going to put a post together as I still have a lot of work to do in completing my existing categories. I've rushed this one together as a stand-alone posting just to get some new images out there. Some of the images are already on the internet from sites providing more information on the Torres Chess automaton; some of the images are as a result of my research in my mainstream topics.

VIDEO OF 2ND VERSION from 1951 Cybernetics Congress, Paris,

1st version – El Ajedrecista (The Chessplayer)

In early 1910, Torres began to construct a chess automaton he dubbed El Ajedrecista (The Chessplayer) that was able to automatically play a king and rook endgame against king from any position, without any human intervention. This device was first publicly demonstrated in Paris in 1914.

(Source: via)


The above two images are from Vigneron’s article “Les Automates” – La Nature, no. 2142, 13th June 1914, pp. 56–61 (see full pdf here).

See Levy's translation of Vigneron pdf here.

See Dr. James M. William's Byte (Sept 1978) article here.


2nd version – "el segundo,” i.e. the second chess machine

1951 Cybernetics Congress, Paris.  I believe the shorter chap wearing glasses and a white coat is José García Santesmases. 

(Source: Popular Science July, 1951)

Both machines as they appear in the Torres Quevedo Museum. Note the original machine in the background is missing the weights, and most of the componentry on the table top.

Leonardo Torres y Quevedo's other inventions in the museum. The chess machines are in the far right-hand corner.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, January 15th, 2011 at 4:17 pm and is filed under Not Quite Robots. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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