THE INTELLIGENT SINGAPOREAN

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Archive for April 3rd, 2007

Today’s Reads (Apr 03)

Posted by intellisg on April 3, 2007

Minister Pay

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Offbeat

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[Travelogue] In Search of the Turk……

Posted by intellisg on April 3, 2007

turkLong before IBM’s “Deep Blue,” and “HAL 9000” in Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001 Space Odyssey. There was the world’s first mechanical chess computer called, “The Turk.” Invented in the mid 18th Century by the Hungarian aristocrat Wolfgang von Kempelen – the chess playing automaton amazed all who saw it. It consisted of a wooden box with whirring gears and an elaborate set of pulleys and a mannequin complete with a turban, whose hand deftly moved pieces across the board, beating most of its human opponents.

Although some people suspected it involved a trick, nobody could quite figure it out, and the automaton attracted crowds wherever Kempelen took it. With his pedigree, for the right fee, the Turk would even command numerous royal performances through out Europe. Legend has it even Napoleon sought the wisdom of the Turk to further his campaigns into Egypt by playing a game which mirrored his military strategy in the real world. After losing three rounds, he placed a 10 carat ruby on the mantle as a fee with the words,

“I see now that which I was blind too.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Travelogue Series | 44 Comments »