The bizarre career of “The Turk,” an ingenious mechanical chess player that defeated Frederick the Great, George III, and Napoleon (whom it caught cheating) and nearly fooled all America

On April 13, 1826, a strange-looking contrivance was wheeled into the assembly rooms of the brand-new National Hotel at 112 Broadway in New York City. It consisted ol the lifelike wooden figure of a turhancd Turk, seated before a table-high maple chest three and a half feet long by two feet deep. The figure’s right arm rested lightly beside a chessboard eighteen inches square permanently affixed to the top of the chest, and his left hand held a long-stemmed clay pipe.

Read more »