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Electro-Mechanical Computing Machines,
combine mechanical and electrical components to implement their discrete or digital combinatorial logic, and along with memory, sequential logic. Components include switches, electromagnetic actuators, and most commonly relays. While pure computing is nowadays the domain of electronics, Robots, including dedicated chess playing devices, along with their sensors and actuators are the domain of mechatronics, a design process that includes a combination of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, control engineering and computer engineering.

Chess Machines

Beside the early mechanical and electro mechanical calculators and general purpose computers, like the relais computers by Konrad Zuse, Howard H. Aiken, and George Stibitz, there were early electro-mechanical dedicated chess machines, most notably El Ajedrecista, the electro-mechanical KRK Solver by Leonardo Torres y Quevedo of 1912 and Claude Shannon's relay-based chess machine, built in 1949, to play some endings with up to six pieces. Tihamér Nemes designed an electro-mechanical mate solver in the late 40's [1].

El Ajedrecista

see main article El Ajedrecista


Gonzalo Torres y Quevedo and Norbert Wiener, El Ajedrecista II [2] [3]

Nemes' Chess Machine

link=[Tihamér Nemes#Machine

Nemes' design of a theoretical chess-machine [4]

Shannon's Chess Machine

Quote of the text on the back on the photo, as given in ICCA Journal, Vol. 12, No. 4: [5] :

Dr. Claude E. Shannon demonstrating to Chessmaster Edward Lasker his (home-made) electric chess automation, build in 1949. The machine could handle up to six pieces, and was designed to test various programming methods. With one hundred and fifty relay operations required to complete a move, it arrived at the reply to an opponent's play in ten to fifteen seconds. It had built into it a random element, and as a result did not necessarily always make the same move when faced with the same position. 
2-0 and 2-1.shannon lasker.prior 1970.102645398.NEWBORN.lg.jpg

Computer pioneer Claude Shannon and chess champion Edward Lasker at MIT, ponder the computational
aspects of playing chess at Shannon's early relay-based chess machine [6]

See also


Forum Posts

External Links

Electro-mechanical computers from Wikipedia

Mechanical Computers


Informatik - Digitaltechnik - RS-FlipFlop mit Relais (German)

Relay Computers

Early Computers

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