One well-known automaton is The Turk. What is the first one and when was it constructed, including fake ones? [1]:

  • 1
    Just to be clear: for the purpose of your question, do you count The Turk as a "chess-playing automaton," or do you discount it since it was really a person doing the playing?
    – ETD
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 17:02
  • 3
    I remember reading that computers were able to win K + R vs K endings as early as 1920s. I tried to google for verification of that, but I couldn't find anything.
    – Akavall
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 17:12

2 Answers 2


The first chess machine:

"In 1769 the Hungarian engineer Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen built a chess playing machine for the amusement of the Austrian Queen Maria Theresia. It was a purely mechanical device, shaped like a Turk. Naturally its outstanding playing strength was supplied by a chess master cleverly hidden inside the device. The machine was a fake."!

1769 fake chess machine

From: A short history of computer chess, by Frederic Friedel

So "the Turk" that you mentioned was the first one.


In 1910 Leonardo Torres developed a machine he called "El Ajedrecista". It was capable of automatically playing K+R vs K endgames without human intervention. It was publicly demonstrated for the first time in 1914.

  • 1
    Very cool. I'd never heard of this before.
    – ETD
    Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 21:32
  • Thanks for the answer. I was a little unclear earlier. I'm looking for even fake automatons. But this answer is still useful. +1 Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 0:20

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