The Turk Chapter 1: Reality Notice

May 25, 2012, 10:40 PM |

The Turk, invented in the 1770s by Wolfgang von Kemplen, was an outstanding, but really fake, machine. It was a life-sized mannequin that moved the pieces by its own! The Turk was invented to impress the Empress Maria Theresa. 

It would often win, and it would excel at performing the Knight's Tour

Whenever your queen was threatened, the Turk would nod two times, so it was almost half-learning, half-challenging. Like a GM (actually a chess master) was mentoring you. The Turk would nod three times if you were in check, and would shake its head for an illegal move and moved the piece back, forfeiting the opponent's move because The Turk would make its own move.

One master attempted to trick the Turk by moving a queen in a knight's way, but the Turk moved the piece back and took it.

It was then discovered that a person was working the moves inside and controlling the Turk. Evidence turned up somehow. Articles and newspapers started exploding with Turk stories in the 19th and 20th centuries. It was first discovered in 1859 saw a candle inside the cabinet. Smoke was rising from the turban and where the game was played. 

In 1975 and 1980 were two books about the Turk. Interest decreased and the world nearly turned silent until Deep Blue came up by IBM and the world started chattering after the first game versus Garry Kasparov.

Several authors had deduced the trick after pondering so long. 


excel be exceptional at something

Knight's Tour a chess puzzle where a knight could only visit every square once but had to go to every square

ponder think

pondering thinking; see ponder