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The Mechanical Turk Automaton

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Author Topic: The Mechanical Turk Automaton  (Read 542 times)
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« on: December 30, 2010, 02:45:48 am »

Another part of the machine's exhibition was the completion of the knight's tour, a famed chess puzzle. The puzzle requires the player to move a knight around a chessboard, touching each square once along the way. While most experienced chess players of the time still struggled with the puzzle, the Turk was capable of completing the tour without any difficulty from any starting point via a pegboard used by the director with a mapping of the puzzle laid out.[24]

The Turk also had the ability to converse with spectators using a letter board. The director, whose identity during the period when Kempelen presented the machine at Schönbrunn Palace is unknown,[25] was able to do this in English, French, and German. Carl Friedrich Hindenburg, a university mathematician, kept a record of the conversations during the Turk's time in Leipzig and published it in 1789 as Über den Schachspieler des Herrn von Kempelen und dessen Nachbildung (or On the Chessplayer of Mr. von Kempelen And Its Replica). Topics of questions put to and answered by the Turk included its age, marital status, and its secret workings.[26]
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