This week in our wrongful death serial series, we are going to be talking about Alexander Pichushkin, otherwise known as “The Chessboard Killer.” Alexander Pichushkin is a Russian serial killer believed to have killed at least 48 people and as many as 60. This blog is going to recap Pichushkin’s life and why he killed, causing several wrongful deaths.
When Alexander Pichushkin was a child, he fell off a swing and damaged the frontal cortex of his brain. Since the accident, Pichushkin frequently became hostile and impulsive. Growing up, Pichushkin was bullied at school. Kids even often referred to him as “that retard.” After this, his mother decided to transfer him to a school for children with learning disabilities.
Pichushkin moved into his grandfather’s house when he started to pursue intellectual activities outside of school. Pichushkin learned how to play chess and eventually got very good. He would often play chess publicly in the park with other men. Chess became a way for him to channel his anger and aggression. When Pichushkin’s grandfather died, it affected him greatly. After his grandfather’s death, he began to consume vodka on a regular basis.
The First Kill
Pichushkin committed his first known murder in 1992 by pushing a teenage boy out of a window. Later, when police questioned about this wrongful death, they declared it a suicide. Once he was caught, Pichushkin said, “This first murder, it’s like first love, it’s unforgettable.”
Pichushkin then started to continue his streak of murders by primarily targeting elderly homeless men by luring them with the offer of free vodka. After drinking with them, he would then hit them on the head with a hammer and then push a vodka bottle into the wound. He did not solely target just homeless people, he also targeted younger men, women and children. His idol was Andrei Chikatilo, one of Russia’s most well-known serial killers. Chikatilo was convicted of 52 murders in 1992.
Alexander Pichushkin was finally caught after he killed a woman he worked with at a local supermarket. After his arrest, police discovered a chessboard with dates on 61 of the 64 squares. Pichushkin had been trying to kill as many people as there were squares on the chessboard. Pichuskin’s confession was aired on Russian television. It was there when he said, “For me, a life without murder is like a life without food for you.” He even claimed to have killed more than just the 61 on the chessboard. He was then sentenced to life in prison. To our knowledge, no one has sued him for wrongful death.
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Stock Image by Yuri Kochetkov for editorial use, Oct 29, 2007