It's an unspeakable tragedy, and one that police say started over a failure to say "checkmate." A 10-year-old New Jersey boy died on March 6 after jumping from his school's second-story window. After a nearly month-long investigation, the Dumont Police Department says the action followed a game of chess during a recess period at Grant Elementary School; the unnamed fifth-grader's opponent reportedly didn't say "checkmate" before taking his king, and things spiraled from there. A lunch aide says the boy asked his opponent, "Do you want me to do something drastic?" and then wrote a note that he handed to him. The aide intercepted the note (the report did not reveal what it said), put it in her pocket—and then saw the boy go out the window, reports the Record.
He climbed on a shelving unit in order to do so, and the police chief on Wednesday said he went out the window "headfirst, unforced, unassisted, and of his own accord." NJ Advance Media reports it was a roughly 25-foot drop. The report included a statement from a classmate who said the boy had threatened to jump out the window in December after a chess game; it was one of four times the classmate says he made such a comment. The Record has a sad detail: The aide cited in the report also noted that the boy had complained earlier that week about being excluded from games, and so she ordered his classmates to play with him. Police ultimately determined "there was no criminal activity on the part of any individual that would warrant further investigation or criminal charges," per the police chief. (Read more chess stories.)