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The Turkish Chess Player

A machine pretending to be a human with inside the machine a human pretending to be a machine.


The Turk was an automaton. A chess machine built in the late 18th century by Hungarian author and inventor Johann Wolfgang Ritter von Kempelen de Pázmánd (1734 -1804).


The automaton was built to impress Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. The machine, or human, was able to compete against some of the finest chess players.


The Turk was in fact a mechanical illusion where a human chess master hid in the cabinet to operate the machine from within.



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