Chess Terms
Chess Terms
Mittens

Mittens

Mittens, until 2023, were articles of clothing that you could wear on your hands when it was cold outside. Now, Mittens is something of a cultural phenomenon. Read on to find out about the chess-playing cat that shocked and awed the world.


Who Is Mittens?

On January 1, 2023, Chess.com announced the next in its series of monthly, limited-time chess-playing bots: cats. There were five of them, named Scaredy Cat, Grumpy Cat, Angry Cat, Catspurrov, and then the most curious one of all: Mittens, with a listed Elo rating of 1.

There were five cat bots in total (not pictured: Grumpy Cat) but Mittens lorded over them all.

However, Mittens was actually as good as the Komodo chess engine at full strength and, despite her outward demeanor, was also a savage when it came to in-game trash talk.

Why Is Mittens Important?

Mittens was played against almost 40 million times in January 2023. All the top streamers got in on the action. IM Levy Rozman exuded terror and confusion as he struggled against Mittens' ruthless prophylaxis. Over 2.5 million people and counting saw it happen.

GM Hikaru Nakamura fared much better both in his psychological display and on the board, making a draw with Mittens in a 166-move slugfest and getting over four million views for his efforts.

But Mittens' popularity was not at all limited to the chess world as she received significant mainstream press attention. Outlets that covered the phenomenon include Slate, the Wall Street Journal, and CNN.

Can You Still Play Mittens?

Sadly, no. Mittens was part of a monthly bot series and went away at the end of January. As of February 1, 2023, there is no way to play against her.

But Mittens transcends space and time, and who are we to say that she won't be back someday? It won't be anytime soon, however.

Conclusion

Now you know who Mittens is and why she's important. She may be gone, but you can still play our other 100-plus bots on the Play Computer page.

Explore More Chess Terms