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Friday, October 28, 2016

Chess and Homicide

     While reading Edward Winter's article on Chess Murders, I was lead to another of his articles on the Wallace Murder Case. That got me curious as to how many other murders chess players had been involved in. 
     I was familiar with Claude Bloodgood's having murdered his mother with a hammer and IM Raymond Weinstein's slitting an old man's throat with a razor. I also knew about and US Senior Master Abe Turner having been stabbed to death by a fellow employee at Chess Review and English IM Simon Webb having been stabbed to death by his son. But, what about other cases involving chess players and murder? Googling "chess homicide" turned up a gaggle of stories! 

Alexander Pichushkin - a Russian serial killer believed to have killed at least 49 people and possibly as many as 60 was a chessplayer.  
Massimo Fishti stabbed his roommate through the heart in an argument over a game of chess.  
Jens Eberling fatally shot his 11-year-old son with a rifle and then himself in Scotch Plains, New Jersey a couple of years ago.

In Jeffersontown, Kentucky last year Steve Dillard, active in Kentucky chess, was found by a family member murdered inside his home. HERE. Followup 

Two years ago in Ireland, journalist/researcher Tom O'Gorman was murdered by an Italian boarder over a chess game. One of his lungs had been cut out and couldn't be found  Did his killer eat it? HERE

Earlier this year in Fort Collins, Colorado a man who had been acquitted of a 1994 homicide that stemmed from a chess game gone awry shot three Colorado deputies, fatally wounding one of them.  Details.

In 2014 in Iowa City, Iowa a man was charged with killing his neighbor after the neighbor slapped him over a chess game. Details.

     The list goes on, and maybe that accounts for the fact that in 2013, in a city in central New York State, after a 65-year old man was stabbed to death in a vacant lot the city had proposed to turn it into a chess park, but neighbors objected. One lady living next to park commented, "If we can't feel safe in our own home, what possibly could a chess park do? We can't get people to stop stabbing each other... now the idea is we're going to get those people to play chess?" You can understand her concerns.


  1. Chess players here in New Jersey are still shaken by the murder of Thomas Eberling, a very popular and talented young player who was just a couple of tournaments away from becoming a USCF Master by his twelfth birthday. But all in all, the number of these murders that we can call definitely “Chess related,” is fairly small. I think I can speak for most patzers when I say that self-hatred is a far more common emotion than hatred of our opponent.
    Now the situation with Contract Bridge is quite different, and I suspect you will find many more crimes of violence resulting directly from the game itself. I myself have seen some pretty ugly scenes at the completion of a night of Tournament Bridge. Unlike in chess, where you are almost always the author of your own misfortune, in Bridge there is always an enemy to blame, your own treacherous, blundering partner! It’s rare to feel any emotion at all about your nominal opponent, but to be stabbed in the back by your own partner! This is an unforgivable offense. And if the Bridge partners are also marital partners, you have all the necessary ingredients for a violent explosion!

  2. Check out the bridge game murder mystery....