Chess-Playing Killer Goes on Trial in Russia

Says he tallied victims on a board, but cops are at a stalemate
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2007 7:16 AM CDT
Alexander Pichushkin is escorted into a court room in Moscow on Monday, Aug. 13, 2007. Alexander Pichushkin, accused of killing 49 people in a Moscow park over nearly 15 years, will face a jury trial...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Russia is in the grip of the king of all murder trials, the Guardian reports: A chess player has been accused of luring dozens of opponents away from the board and to their brutal deaths in a Moscow park. Alexander Pichushkin has allegedly boasted of 63 murders, one shy of a chessboard, and each marked on his personal board with a cross.

Police finally arrested Pichushkin, a supermarket clerk by day, after they discovered his phone number on the body of a former colleague; they say the competitive killer wanted to break Russia's serial-murder record. And while the defendant purportedly revealed his game, police admit that the case is not exactly black and white—they've only found 14 bodies and have no forensic evidence.