Deaths of Chessplayers
by Bill Wall

Books by Bill Wall
The most comprehensive article about death and chess on the internet!

In 1251, a chess player in Essex lost a chess game, which angered him so bad that he stabbed his opponent to death.

In 1264, a court case was opened when a man stabbed a woman to death with his sword after a quarrel over a chess game.

In 1495 the Inquisition saw victims of persecutions stand in as figures in a game of living chess. The game was played by two blind players. Each time the captured piece was taken, the person representing that piece was put to death.

Atahualpa (1497-1533) was the last sovereign emperor of the Inca Empire. In 1532, the Spaniards sacked the Inca army camp and imprisoned Atahualpa. While in prison, he was taught chess by the Spaniards and became very good at it. Atahualpa advised Hernando de Soto in one game of chess that helped defeat one of the Spanish friars named Riquelme. Popular tradition in Peru says that Atahualpa would not have been condemned to death if he remained untutored in chess. Atahualpa was sentenced to death by 13 votes for and 11 against. It was Riquelme's vote that broke the tie that called for the death sentence. The Peruvian people say that Atahualpa paid with his life for the checkmate that Riquelme suffered because of his advice. [source: Betanzos, Relacion de Inca Atahualpa de don Francisco Pizarro, 1535]

On March 18, 1584 (old style), Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584) died of a stroke while playing chess against his adviser, Bogdan Belsky (died in 1611). He was 53. [source: Grekov, Soviet Chess, 1949, p. 2]

In 1598, Paolo "il Bove" Boi (1528-1598), one of the leading chess players of the 16th century died in Naples. He lost to Alessandro Salvio 3 days before his death. It was rumored that he had accumulated over 30,000 scudi from playing chess. Historian H.J.R. Murray says he was poisoned in by jealous rivals. Other sources say he caught a cold when hunting and died as a result of it. [source: "Paolo Boi,"]

On December 26, 1776, Colonel Johann Gottlieb Rall (Rahl) was playing chess in Trenton, New Jersey when General George Washington crossed the Delaware River and attacked Rall and his Hessian troops. Rall was struck by a musket ball and died later that day of his injuries. A note was found in his coat pocket that a spy gave him earlier of Washington's plans, but Rall failed to read it during his chess game. [sources: Whatley, "The Note Unread," River Regions Journey, Nov 11, 2014 and Schwartzmann, "Some stories of chess and U.S. history," Gainsville Sun, Mar 6, 2003]

Louis-Charles Mahe de La Bourdonnais (1795-1840), strongest player of the 19th century, died of a stroke. He died penniless in London, having been forced to sell all his possessions to satisfy creditors. He was only 44 or 45. [source: Manchester Weekly Times, July 10, 1850, p. 3]

In 1853, a young man from Bordeaux died while playing chess in a cafe in Paris. (source: New York Times, Feb 4, 1853)

On May 18, 1853, Lionel Kieseritzky (1806-1853), died penniless at a charity hospital (La Charite) for the insane in Paris. A hat was passed around to collect money for his funeral but nothing was raised. As a result, he was buried in a pauper's grave. Only one person came to his funeral, a waiter at the Cafe de la Regence. The location of his exact plot has not been found. [source: "Lionel Kieseritzky,"]

On October 10, 1858, the German writer, diplomat, and soldier, Vanhargen von Ense (born in 1785), died while playing a game of chess with his niece. (source: New York Times, Nov 3, 1858)

In May 1860, Mrs. Lafayette Lee and Mr. U. G. Flowers sat down to play a game of chess in Vicksburg, Mississippi. During the game, Mr. Lee, who was standing behind Mr. Flowers looking on, pulled out a pistol and shot his wife after a quarrel about Mrs. Lee wishing to visit her mother. He then aimed his pistol at Mr. Flowers, but Mr. Flowers pulled out his own pistol and shot Mr. Lee 5 times, killing him. Mrs. Lee was in critical condition, but survived. (source: Nashville Union, June 2, 1860)

William Henry Russ (1833-1866) one of America's leading compiler of chess problems, died in a hospital after trying to commit suicide. He adopted an 11-year old girl and proposed to her when she was 21. When he rejected him, he shot her four times in the head. He left her for dead (she survived), then tried to commit suicide by jumping into the river to drown himself. However, the tide was out and the water was not deep enough. He climbed out of the river and shot himself in the head. He died 10 days later in a hospital, lacking a will to live. He was only 33.

On Aug 19, 1873, Charles II (1804-1873), Duke of Brunswick, was playing chess at the Beau-Rivage Hotel Geneva, Switzerland, when he suddenly got up, went to his room and died. He was 68.

On June 22, 1874, Howard Staunton (1810-1874), chess master and Shakespearean scholar, died of a heart attack (coincidently, on Morphy's birthday) at his home in London while working on his last chess book, Chess: Theory and Practice, which was published in 1876. His grave had been unmarked and neglected until 1997. Then, a memorial stone bearing an engraving of a chess knight was raised over his grave. [source: The Tennessean, July 1, 1874, p. 2]

On March 14, 1879, Adolf (Adolph) Anderssen (1818-1879) died of a stroke in Breslau (Wroclaw, Poland) at age 60. His obituary ran 19 pages in the May, 1879 issue of "Deutsche Schachzeitung." He took part in 12 tournaments between 1851 and 1878 and won the first place prize in 7 of these events (London 1851, London 1862, Hamburg 1869, Barmen 1869, Baden 1870, Crefeld 1871, Leipzig 1876). He appeared on the prize list of all 12 tournaments he entered. Adolf Anderssen is buried at the Osobowicki Cemetery in Wroclaw, Poland. During World War II, his grave was damaged during bombing raids on Breslau (Wroclaw). The grave was then neglected by the Polish Communists because of Anderssen's German heritage. The Polish Chess Federation moved his grave to the Osobowicki Cemetery in 1957. [source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, Mar 22, 1879, p. 1]

On April 2, 1879, Carl Goering (1841-1879), a German professor, philosopher, and chess master, committed suicide in Eisenach, Germany. He got sick with rheumatism in 1872 and was suffering from depression.

On July 10, 1884 Paul Morphy died of a stroke while taking a cold bath. He was just 47 years old. He is buried at the Saint Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans. The tomb contains eight Morphy family members. [source: The Times-Picayune (New Orleans), July 11, 1884, p. 4]

On June 20, 1888, Dr. Johann Zukertort (1842-1888) died of a stroke while playing chess at Simpson's, a London coffee-house at the age of 45. While playing a chess game with Sylvain Meyer, Zukertort fainted. Instead of calling for medical help, he was taken to the British Chess Club in an unconscious state. They then took him to Charing Cross Hospital where they diagnosed the problem as a cerebral attack. He never regained consciousness, and died at 10 a.m. the next day. The cause of death was cerebral hemorrhage. At the time, Zukertort was also in the middle of a tournament at the British Chess Club and was in 1st place. He was scheduled to play a match with Blackburne on June 23, 1888 and Bird on June 26, 1888. He is buried at Brompton Cemetery in Kensington, England. His grave is A.F. 107 x 18. His grave was rededicated in 2012. [source: The Times-Picayune (New Orleans), June 25, 1888, p. 4]

On December 27,1890, Walter Grimshaw (1832-1890), a famous chess problemist, committed suicide by cutting his throat with a razor. He became despondent and his mind became "unhinged." He is buried with his first wife and infant daughter in Whitby, England. [source: "Walter Grimshaw, Superior Amateur Chess Player and Chess Problem Developer from Yorkshire,"]

On April 14, 1891, George Mackenzie (1837-1891) was found dead at a hotel in New York. A hotel worker called at his room and found him dead in bed. He had terminal tuberculosis before his death. The day before, he visited the Manhattan Chess Club and was arranging to challenge the winner of the forthcoming match between Blackburne and Gunsberg. William Steinitz reported that his death was from an intentional overdose of morphine, by accident or by intent. This rumor was started by a doctor who refused to sign a certificate for an insurance policy because the doctor had not been paid a fee. During the Civil War, Mackenzie was arrested for desertion. [source: The Muscafine Journal (Iowa), April 28, 1891, p. 1]

In Feb 1892, Matthew Wilson, a well-known portrait painter, died while playing chess at the Brooklyn Chess Club. He was 77 years old. His portraits included President Arthur and Lincoln. (source: New York Times, Feb 24, 1892)

In March 1893, General Hiram Berdan (1823-1893) died while playing chess with Admiral Peirce Crosby (1824-1899) at the Metropolitan Club in Washington, DC. He was the inventor of the Berdan range finder, torpedo, and rifle. He was 69. (source: New York Times, April 1, 1893)

In January 1894, James Edward Ryan died of a heart attack after leaving his chess club. He was a principal at a public school in New York. (source: New York Times, Jan 14, 1894)

On May 11, 1894, Austrian-Hungarian chess master and architect Alexander Wittek (1852-1894) died in a lunatic asylum in Graz. He was diagnosed with a "paralytic mental disorder" the previous year. One source says that he committed suicide but another cites tuberculosis. He was the architect of the City Hall building in Sarajevo. [source: "Alexander Wittek, architect, chess player,"]

On August 16, 1897, Major William C. Wilson (1842-1897), age 55, a prominent member of the Franklin Chess Club in Philadelphia and bookseller, was robbed and killed by a hammer in his store. The Philadelphia Inquirer called him "one of the most lonely characters in the city." [source: "The Mysteroius Murder of William Wilson,", Oct 6, 2018]

In 1897, Norman Willem van Lennep (1872-1897), a Dutch chess master, killed himself by jumping into the North Sea from a ship at the age of 25. His father had disowned him unless he gave up chess and found a steady job. His body was lost at sea. [source:]

In October 1898, George Stanfield, age 45, died suddenly of a heart attack while playing chess at the Fulton Chess Club. (source: New York Times, Oct 28, 1898)

On August 12, 1900 William Steinitz (1836-1900) died of a heart attack in the Manhattan State Hospital at Ward's Island, New York at the age of 64. For months, he had been confined there, diagnosed as insane. He was committed by his wife. In 1897, he began to have the illusion that he could talk on the phone without thread or elauricular and his secretary often surprised him waiting for a response through the invisible hearing aid. He also used to approach to the window where he spoke and singed, remaining after waiting for an answer. The secretary informed about this to the American consul who suggested that Steinitz should be taken to a sanatorium. In 1900, he thought he could deliver electric charges, with the help of which it would be feasible to move the pieces at will. Claimed to be in electrical communication with God and could give him a pawn ahead and White pieces. He is buried at the Cemetery of the Evergreens in Brooklyn, New York (Bethel Slope Section, Lot 5893). [source: Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper (London), Aug 19, 200. P. 23]

Johannes von Minckwitz (1843-1901) committed suicide by stepping in front of an electric car near Biebrich, Germany. He lost both arms and died May 20, 1901. He was only 58.

In May 1902, N. T. Elliott dropped dead while playing chess at the Hotel Oakee in Live Oak, Florida. He was a prominent Mason and was chairman of the board of county commissioners at the time of his death. [source: The Pensacola News, May 16, 1902, p. 2]

In November 1902, Lester R. Brooks (1847-1902), a millionaire grain and lumber magnate, died while playing chess with his physician, Dr. Lester W. Day. He died at the West hotel in Minneapolis. (source Williamsport Sun-Gazette, Nov 13, 1902)

In January 1905, Levi Taylor (1842-1905) of Osceola, Iowa, had just lost a chess game, slumped over, and died. His last words were, "I'm checkmated. You win the game." He was a pioneer jeweler of Clarke County, Iowa. [sources: Davenport Morning Star (Iowa), Jan 21, 1905, p. 3 and Alton Telegraph (Illinois), Jan 26, 1905]

In October, 1905, General Thomas E. Moss (1839-1905), a veteran of the civil war and former attorney general of Kentucky, died while playing chess with his son-in-law, Captain Wheat, in Manila, Philippines. Moss was born at Greensboro, NC. (source: The Watchman, Sumter, SC, Oct 18, 1905)

On June 17, 1906, Harry Nelson Pillsbury (1872-1906), a world class chess player, died of syphilis, which he caught from a prostitute in Saint Petersburg about 10 years before his death. In March, 1905, he tried to jump out a 4th story window at the Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia. He was stopped by several nurses and doctors. He died at Friends Asylum in Frankford, Pennsylvania. His obituary in the New York Times stated that he died from an "illness contracted through overexertion of his memory cells." He was only 33. He had no children. [source: New York Times, June 18, 1906, p. 7]

At 9:50 pm on January 25, 1908 (Jan 12, Old Style) Mikhail Ivanovich Chigorin (1850-1908) died of diabetes in Lublin, Poland at the age of 57. Several years later, his body was moved to the Novodevichy Cemetery in St. Petersburg. [source: "Mikhail Chigorin, May 17, 2019]

In August, 1909, chess master Rudolf Swiderski (1878-1909) committed suicide in Leipzig. He took some poison, and then shot himself in the head with his revolver. He had recently been convicted of perjury in connection with a love affair and he was to face legal proceedings. Other sources say that he had an illness extending over a period of years and was discouraged by what he deemed a hopeless flight. He died a week after his 31st birthday. [source: "Rudolf Swiderski," Tartajubow on Chess, May 11, 2012]

On September 11, 1913, Dr. Julius Perlis (1880-1913), died in a mountain climb in the Alps. During a pleasure trip, he went astray and spent the night on a mountain. He died of extreme exposure to low temperatures during a climb in the Austrian Inntaler Alps (Hochtor-Ostgrat). He was only wearing light clothing. He was climbing the mountain without companioor guide and lost his way. In the evening his cries for help were heard by two tourists. However, they were unable to reach him due to approaching darkness and the onset of a snowstorm. He fell asleep on the ridge and froze to death. His body was found by a rescue team two days later. [source: "Dr. Julius Perlis," Tartajubow on Chess, Sep 24, 2013]

In 1915, Ajeeb, a chess automaton was set up at Coney Island by James Smith and Emma Haddera. One player lost to it and was so angry he took out a gun and shot at the torso of the automaton. It killed its hidden operator, Sam Gonotsky, which was covered up. In another incident with Ajeeb, a Westerner emptied his six-shooter into the automaton, hitting the operator in the shoulder (source: New York Times, January 1929)

On December 27, 1918, Carl Schlechter (1874-1918), leading Austrian player, died from pneumonia and starvation in Budapest, Hungary, during the war-imposed famine in Central Europe. He never mentioned to any of his acquaintances that he needed food or money. He was found in a room without any money, heat or food. He was buried in Budapest on December 31, 1918. He was only 44.

In 1921, James Dunlop, a member of a chess club that met regularly at a Glasgow restaurant, died while playing chess. He was 65. (source: Glasgow Sunday Post, Feb 6, 1921)

In 1923, a spectator watching the Edward Lasker - Frank Marshall chess match in New York died of a heart attack. The excitement was too much for him.

In December 1923, the Rev. Dr. Charles H. Merrill of Washington, D.C., died while playing chess. [source: Vermont Union Journal, Dec 19, 1923, p. 3]

On January 31, 1924, Curt von Bardeleben (1861-1924) threw himself out of the second floor window of his boarding home in Berlin and died of his injuries. Other sources say he fell out by accident. Seeking some fresh air, he opened a low silled window and fell out. He was living in extreme poverty at the time. [source: "Curt von Bardeleben,"]

On June 6, 1929, Richard Reti (1889-1929) was crossing the road and was hit by a street car in Prague. He was taken to a hospital to heal, but developed scarlet fever while in the hospital in Prague and died. [source: "Richard Reti Dies; A Master of Chess," New York Times, June 7, 1929, p. 19]

In May, 1931, Andors Wachs of Hungary had just checkmated his opponent at a chess club in Hungary. He then dropped his head on the table and died of a heart attack.

In 1931-1932, Dutch Master Daniel Noteboom (1910-1932) attended the Hastings Chess Congress, held in December-January. The weather was so cold that he caught pneumonia at Hastings and then died a week after the tournament on January 12, 1932.

On April 20, 1932, Edgar Colle (1897-1932) died in Ghent, Belgium, after an operation for a gastric ulcer. He survived three operations for a gastric ulcer, but died after a 4th operation. [source: "Legends of Chess: Edgar Colle," Boylston Chess Club blog, Jan 11, 2009]

On November 11, 1932, Fred Dewhirst Yates (1884-1932) died in his sleep at his home in London from a gas leak due to a faulty gas pipe connection. It was not suicide. A gas company official proved that no gas tap was turned on. It was ruled an accidental death. He was buried at Leeds on November 16, 1932. He was only 48. [source: "Remembering Fred Dewhirst Yates," British Chess News, Nov 11, 2020]

On July 23, 1933, Dr. Adolf George Olland (1867-1933), a Dutch chess master, died of a heart attack while playing in the 1933 Dutch chess championship at The Hague. He was 66. His last game was White against Hamming. Olland made his 25th move, then he collapsed, his head fell on the chessboard and the pieces rolled off the table. The arbiter declared the game as won by him.

On December 14, 1934, Paul Saladin Leonhardt (1877-1934) died of a heart attack while playing chess at a chess club.

At the end of 1934, Aron Nimzowitsch became ill and was bedridden for 3 months before dying of pneumonia (Hans Kmoch reported that it was cancer) in Copenhagen on March 16, 1935 at the age of 48. He is buried in Bispebjerg Kirkegaard (Cemetery) in Copenhagen. The gravestone simply says "Skakstormesteren Aron Nimzowitsch" (The Chess Grandmaster Aron Nimzowitsch), together witdh dates of birth and death. Included in Nimzowitsch's grave is that of Jens Enevoldsen (1907-1980), Denmark's first International Master. It is a 'double-grave.'

In August 1935, Mrs. R.H. (Agnes Lawson) Stevenson, age 52, one of the top women chess players in the world, was killed after she walked into the propeller of the plane she had been flying on. She was on her way to Warsaw to take part in the Women's World Chess Championship when the plane made a refueling stop at Poznan. She left the plane to have her passport inspected. On returning to the plane, she forgot the propeller was rotating, stepped in front of the plane, instead of approaching the aircraft from the rear, and the rotating propeller hit her and killed her instantly, cutting her head in two. [source: British Chess Magazine, Nov 1937, p. 551]

In August, 1936, Lev Spokoiny, editor of the chess magazine, Shakhmaty v SSSR, was arrested as a Trotskyite and counter-revolutionary. He was shot in October, 1936.

On September 10, 1936, Pyotr Izmailov (1906-1937) was arrested for "participating in a counter-revolutionary Trotskyist-fascist terrorist organization," and on April 28, 1937 he was sentenced to death and shot by a firing squad after a 20 minute trial. He was married to Galina Efimovna Kozmina, who received eight years at the harsh camp at Kolyma as "wife of the enemy of the people". In 1928, he was the first champion of the Russian Republic. He played in the Soviet Championship in 1929 and 1931. [source: Johnson, White King and Red Queen: How the Cold War Was Fought on the Chessboard, 2008. p.36]

In 1937, Petr Moussory (1911-1937), an expert chess problemist, and his mother, were arrested and executed.

In 1937 chess study composer Sergey Kaminer (1908-1938) was caught up in the purges and was arrested. He was sent to the Siberian gulag. He died on September 27, 1938. [source: Soltis, Mikhail Botvinnik, 2014, p. 103]

On May 30, 1937, Herman Steiner (1905-1955) was on his way back to Hollywood from the annual North-South chess match when he hit a car head-on. Steiner's passenger was Dr. Robert B. Griffith (1876-1937), who played Board 2 for the South (Steiner played Board 1). Griffith was a former University of Pennsylvania chess champion. Griffith died in the car crash and the driver in the other car was critically injured. Dr. Griffith was a medical doctor for the Hollywood film industry. He was the physician for Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin.

In early July 1937, Vladimir Fridberg (1884-1938?) was arrested. He was sentenced to 10 years in the Gulag. He died soon after entering the Gulag. Earlier, he had been elected to the central committee of the Chess Section. He work for Nikolai Krylenko (1885-1938) in the People's Commissariat for Justice. [source: Hudson, Storming Fortresses: A Political History of Chess in the Soviet Union, 1917-1948, 2013, pp. 294-295]

In October, 1937, chess problemist Mikhail Platov (1883-1938) of Latvia was arrested in Russia after making a derogatory remark about Stalin. There was no trial. He was sentenced under Article 58 to ten years in a labor camp. He was shipped off to the Gulag in Siberia and died in early 1938.

On November 21, 1937, Arvid Ivanovich Kubbel (1889-1938) was arrested for sending his chess compositions to the German chess magazine, Die Schwalbe. He bypassed the USSR Chess Section's Central Composition Committee, which had to approve all compositions for publication. He was charged under Article 58 1a (treason). Arvid was sentenced to 10 year of hard labor without right to any correspondence. He was executed on January 11, 1938, en route to a Siberian prison camp. [source: Grodzenskii, Lubianskii gambit, pp. 90-91]

In 1937, Nikolai Krylenko (1885-1938), Chairman of the Chess Section of the Supreme Council for Physical Culture of the Russian Federal Republic, was arrested in Russia and later executed on orders from Stalin. One of the charges against him was that he had retarded the development of chess in the Soviet Union. On July 29, 1938, Krylenko was executed in Stalin's purges. His trial lasted 20 minutes, he was then found guilty and immediately shot.

On December 2, 1938, chess master Donald MacMurray died of stomach cancer. He was 24. MacMurray possessed the highest IQ ever recorded up to the early 1930s. [source: "Donald MacMurray," Tartajubow on Chess, Sep 17, 2012]

From 1933 to 1938, Pavel Neunyvako (1897-1940) was the chairman of the All-Ukranian Chess Section. He was involved in controversies over formalism in composition. In 1938, he was arrested and exiled to Alma-Ata. He was later re-arrested and shot in 1940.

On February 17, 1940, the several times New England chess champion, Harold Morton (1906-1940), died in Iowa after a car wreck. His passenger, Al Horowitz (1907-1973), was seriously injured. They were travelling together giving tandem simultaneous chess exhibitions across the country. Morton was driving on the return trip from the west back to an exhibition in Minneapolis when he collided with a truck. Morton was killed instantly and Horowitz suffered a concussion and other injuries.

In March 1940, the Germans arrested all the chess players that were meeting at the Warsaw Chess Club (Kwiecinski Chess Cafe), which was banned earlier by the Germans. The Jews were all taken to a concentration camp (Danilowicowskia) in Palmiry, Poland (north of Warsaw) and were later killed in a mass execution. This included Polish masters Dawid Przepiorka (1880-1940), Achilles Frydmann, Stanislaw Kohn, and Moishe Lowtzky. Over 2,000 men and women were executed there by the Nazis.

In March 1940, Moishe Lowtzky (1881-1940) was arrested in Warsaw. That same year, he died in a Nazi concentration camp. He was a Ukrainian-Polish chess master.

On Jan 11, 1941, Dr. Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941) died of a kidney infection. He was 72. He was world chess champion from 1894 to 1921. His home was at 619 West 139th street. He had been a charity patient at Mount Sinai hospital. About the same time, his sister died in a Nazi gas chamber. A condolence letter was sent to Martha Lasker by Albert Einstein, when Emanuel Lasker died. He is buried at Beth Olom Cemetery in Queens, New York. [source: Daily News (New York) Jan 12, 1941, p. 142]

In 1941, Josef Cukierman (1899-1941), a chess master who won tournaments in Moscow, Poland, and France, committed suicide in France according to Alexander Alekhine in an interview.

In June 1941, Estonian player (Estonian champion in 1934) Ilmar Raud (1913-1941) was found wandering in the streets of Buenos Aires and was arrested by the police. A fight occurred while he was in jail, and he was later sent to a lunatic asylum, where he died on July 13, 1941, most likely of starvation. The coroner listed his death as being caused by "debilitation and typhoid fever." [source: CHESS, Oct 1941]

In August 1941, Soviet chess master Georgy Schneideman-Stepanov was shot by the Soviets. He was one of the strongest chess players in Leningrad. He was falsely turned in as a spy by a fellow chess player, the Russian master Peter Romanovsky (1892-1964). He was shot on suspicion of being a German spy only because there was a German general named Schneideman. [source: Grodzenskii, "Family Names That Cost Lives," 64-Shakhmatanoe obozrenie, Aug 1989. pp. 22-23 ]

On September 3, 1941, Alexander Ilyin-Genevsky (1894-1941) died during the siege of Leningrad by the Germans. He was on a barge on Lake Ladoga, east of Leningrad, trying to escape the city, when a German aircraft bombed the barge. He was the only one killed on the barge, which was displaying Red Cross flags. He was only 46. During World War I, he suffered from shell-shock and had to learn how to play chess for the second time. During the Russian Civil War in 1918, his wife shot herself. His second wife, uninjured on the barge, was so overcome with despair that she killed herself a few days after Alexander died. [source: Salisbury, The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad, 2009, p. 281]

On October 2, 1941, Dr. Karel Treybal (born Feb 2, 1885), famous Czech chess master, was shot in Prague during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia (Bohemia-Moravia). On May 31, 1941, he was arrested, imprisoned and later charged with concealing weapons for use by resistance forces and the illegal possession of a pistol. His corpse was not given over to his family. [source: "Remembering Karel Treybal," ChessBase News, Jan 26, 2018]

In November, 1941, Viktor Korchnoi's father, a chess player, was killed in battle east of Leningrad. He was part of a volunteer defense unit. Korchnoi survived the siege of Leningrad.

In 1941, Leon Schwartzmann (1887-1942) was arrested in France and was transported to Auschwitz concentration camp. He died there on September 3, 1942. He was a Polish-French chess master.

In 1941, Simon Rubinstein (1910-1942) was sent to a concentration camp. He died in a Nazi concentration camp in 1942. He was an Austrian chess master. [source: Ehn & Strouhal, The Chess Players of Vienna, 1998]

In 1941, Emil Zinner (1909-1942) was sent to the Nazi Majdanke concentration camp outside Lublin, Poland. He died there on July 8, 1942. He was a Jewish-Czech chess master.

In November 1941, Mikhail Barulin, a Soviet chess problemist and executive secretary of the Central Composition Committee, was arrested. He refused to sign a confession of anti-Soviet jokes or denounce other Soviet problemists. He died in prison in 1943. [source: Grodzenslii, "ne podpisav nichego" (Signing Nothing), 64-Shakhmatanoe obozrenie, Nov 1989. P. 26]

In January, 1942, Samuil Vainshtein (1894-1942) died of starvation in Leningrad. He was a Russian chess master, organizer, publisher and editor.

In 1942, Dr. Leon Monosson (1892-1943) was deported from France to the Auschwitz concentration camp. He died there on Feb 17, 1943. He was a Belarussian-French chess master. He was Paris champion in 1935.

On March 7, 1942, Sergey Belavenets (1910-1942), former Moscow chess champion, died in combat at Staraya Russia near Novgorod. He was a member in the Soviet Army. His daughter, Liudmila Belavenets (1940- ) was the 4th women's world correspondence chess champion from 1984 to 1992.

On March 8, 1942, Jose R. Capablanca (1888-1942), died after watching a skittles game at the Manhattan Chess Club on 100 Central Park South. The cause of death, after suffering a stroke 7 hours earlier, was given as "a cerebral hemorrhage provoked by hypertension." He died at Mount Sinai Hospital, the same hospital that Emanuel Lasker died a year earlier. Capablanca's body was given a public funeral in Havana on March 15, 1942. He is buried at the Cristobal Colon Cemetery in Havana, Cuba. It is the only grave with a large chess king on top. [source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Mar 9, 1942, p. 9]

On April 18, 1942, Karl Leonid Kubbel (1891-1942), a chess problemist, died of starvation during the siege of Leningrad. He was only 51.

In 1942 Ilya Rabinovich (1891-1942), Russian master, was evacuated from Leningrad, but died of malnutrition in a hospital in Perm, Russia. He died on April 23, 1942, and was a few weeks from his 51st birthday. [source: "Ilya Rabinovich," Tartajubow On Chess, April 16, 2015]

In August 1942, Alexey Troitzky (1866-1942), Russian chess theoretician and one of the greatest composers of chess endgame studies, died of starvation during the siege of Leningrad. [source: "Troitzky: In Memoriam," ChessBase News, Mar 21, 2016]

In August, 1942, Vladimirs Petrovs (1907-1943) was a Latvian chess master. He entered the Red Army where he served briefly in a Latvian army unit. He was recalled back to Moscow to work for TASS, the Soviet news agency. He was arrested on basis of a denunciation by other chess players.. He was accused of making disparaging remarks about the falling standard of living in Soviet-ruled Latvia, where he was from. He was sentenced to 10 years under Article 58 (treason), but died shortly after arriving at a labor camp. He died of pneumonia at the Kotlas Gulag on August 26, 1943. [source: Fride, Vladimirs Petrovs, p. 32-33]

In January, 1943, Abram Szpiro (1912-1943) was arrested by the Gestapo in the ghetto of Warsaw and transported to Auschwitz concentration camp. He died there on February 16, 1943. He was a Polish chess master.

In 1943, Wilhelm Orbach (1894-1944) was sent to Auschwitz concentration camp. He died there in 1944 and was later buried in Paris. He was a Jewish German chess master. He won the championship of the city of Frankfurt in 1925.

In 1943, Endre Steiner (1901-1944) was sent to a Nazi concentration camp near Budapest. He died there on Dec 29, 1944. He was a Hungarian chess master and the older brother of International Master Lajos Steiner (1903-1975). [source: L. Steiner, "My brother Endre," Chess Review, Nov 1946]

In March 1944, Salo Landau (1903-1944) was gassed by the Nazis in a German concentration camp in Poland. He was sent to a forced labor camp in Graditz, Poland and died sometime there. His wife and daughter were hiding, but they were betrayed and sent to Auschwitz, where they were gassed and died om October 12, 1944 in an Auschwitz gas chamber.

In 1944, Hungarian chess master Kornel Havasi (1892-1945) was sent to a Nazi concentration camp. He died of exhaustion on January 15, 1945 in Bruck/Leitha, in lower Austria. He had to work there as a forced laborer for the Nazis and died along with 155 other Hungarian Jewish slave laborers. He won the Hungarian championship in 1922.

In 1944, Al Horowitz's opponent died of a heart attack in Kansas City just after Horowitz made a spectacular move. Horowitz was giving a simultaneous exhibition.

On June 26, 1944, world woman chess champion Vera Menchik-Stevenson (1906-1944) died in a German bombing of London. She died along with her sister, her sister's husband, and her mother. She died in Kent after a German V-1 rocket hit her home (the bomb shelter in the garden remained intact). Her sister, Olga Menchik-Rubery, was world woman chess challenger in 1935 and 1937. At the time of her death, Vera was serving on the editorial staff of Chess magazine as games editor. Her husband, R. H. S. Stevenson, was the secretary of the British Chess Federation. He died of a heart attack in 1943. [source: The Gazette (Montreal), June 30, 1944]

On January 14, 1945, Dutch chess master Arnold van den Hoek (1921-1945) was killed in an allied bombardment at a German defense plant. He was deported from the Amsterdam in 1943 and did forced labor at Watenstedt, a suburb of Braunschweig (Brunswick), Germany.

On April 17, 1945, Klaus Junge (1924-1945), one of the youngest German chess masters, was killed in action at Welle, Germany. As a lieutenant, he refused to surrender and was killed by Allied troops in the battle of Welle on the Luneburg Heath, close to Hamburg, three weeks before World War II ended. He was only 21. He was the last of three brothers to die during World War II. [source: "Klaus Junge," Tartajubow On Chess, Jan 26, 2011]

GM Miguel (Mendel) Najdorf's (1910-1997) entire Polish family died in German concentration camps during World War II. The family lived in Warsaw and Najdorf was born in Warsaw. Najdorf lost his wife, child, father, mother, and four brothers in concentration camps. If he had not gone to Buenos Aires to participate in the Chess Olympiad, he would have perished also.

On the evening of March 23 or early March 24, 1946 (a chambermaid found his body at 10:30 am on March 24) Alexander Alekhine died in his shabby hotel room (the Park Hotel) in Estoril, Portugal (just outside Lisbon) at the age of 53. He was dressed in an overcoat to keep warm and slumped back in a ratty armchair with a peg chess set on the table and his dinner dishes in front of him. The official cause of death was asphyxiation due to a piece of meat that had become lodged in his throat. Some believed that he was assassinated by the French intelligence. His son believed that the NKVD had murdered his father. Alekhine was first buried in Lisbon in 1946. In 1956, his ashes were transferred to the Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris (Section 8). Buried with Alekhine is his fourth wife, Grace. The grave was heavily damaged by a severe storm in 1999 (a tree fell on the grave) and was later restored in 2003. [source: Letras, Checkmate in Estoril: The Death of Alesandr Alekhin, 2001, p. 112]

On Nov 17, 1947, Gordon Thomas Crown (1929-1947) died of appendicitis at the age of 18. He was a promising British chess player. In 1947, he took 3rd place in the British Chess Championship. [source: "Remembering Gordon Crown," British Chess News, Nov 17. 2020]

On September 30, 1948, Llewellyn Walter Stephens (1883-1948) died at the age of 65. He organized and financed many US chess tournaments. He was the first president of the Brooklyn Chess Club. (source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Oct 7, 1948)

On January 6, 1949, James W. Durran, age 67, second officer of the S.S. Tahsis in the Pacific Ocean, suffered a heart attack during a chess game with another crewman and died. (source: Long Beach Independent, Jan 8, 1949, p. 1)

On May 29, 1951, GM (1950) Geza Maroczy (1870-1951) died in Budapest at the age of 81. He is buried in the National Graveyard in Fiumei Street in Budapest.

On June 18, 1952, GM (1951) Efim Dmitriyevich Bogoljubov (1889-1952) died of a heart attack after concluding a simultaneous chess exhibition in Triberg, Germany. He was 63. [source: New York Times, June 19, 1952, p. 27]

In 1952, Juan Quesada, Cuban chess champion, died of a heart attack during an international tournament in Havana. He was 40.

On Feb 23, 1954, GM (1950) Jacques Mieses (1865-1954) died in London at the age of 88, just 4 days before his 89th birthday.

On November 25, 1955, Herman Steiner, age 50, died of a heart attack after a California State Championship game in Los Angeles. He was defending his state championship title and finished his 5th round game (a 62-move draw against William Addison). He then said he felt unwell, so his afternoon game was postponed. About two hours later, around 9:30 pm, Steiner had a heart attack while being attended by a physician. By agreement of the players, the 1955 California State Championship tournament was cancelled. [source: "Herman Steiner," The California Chess Reporter, Dec 1955]

On Feb 4, 1956, GM (1950) Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956) died in Paris at the age of 68, 18 days before his 69th birthday.

On Jan 5, 1957, GM (1950) Oldrich Duras (1882-1957) died in Prague, Czechoslovakia at the age of 74. [source: "Oldrich Duras," Tartajubow blogspot, Feb 1, 2011]

On June 1, 1960, an American sailor, Michael L. George, got into a fight at a Greenwich Village bar, Chumley's at 86 Bedford Street, when a spectator criticized the sailor's chess game after he lost. The sailor struck the spectator (Clinton Curtis, a free lance editor from Miami) with a broken beer bottle, which cut his jugular vein, and he died. The sailor was eventually acquitted of murder and charged with accidental death instead. (source: New York Times, June 2, 1960)

On Feb 9, 1961, GM (1950) Grigory Levenfish (1889-1961) died in Moscow at the age of 71.

On March 15, 1961, GM (1950) Akiba Rubinstein (1882-1961) died in Antwerp, Belgium at the age of 80.

On March 11, 1962, GM (1950) Viacheslav Ragozin (1908-1962) died in Moscow at the age of 53.

On April 3, 1962, GM (1950) Ernst Gruenfeld (1893-1962) died in Ottakring, Vienna at the age of 68. He is buried at the Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery) in Vienna, Austria. It is one of the largest cemeteries in the world and the largest by number of interned in Europe (over 3.3 million bodies).

On Oct 9, 1962, GM (1950) Milan Vidmar (1885-1962) died in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia at the age of 77.

On October 25, 1962, Theodore Smith, an ex-mental patient, was arrested for murder after stabbing to death chess master Abe Turner (1924-1962) at the office of Chess Review magazine. Smith stabbed Turner 9 times in the back, and then stuffed his 280 pound body in a safe. Turner's body was found by the building superintendent that afternoon. Smith had been recently released from an insane asylum and claimed that Turner was a Communist spy and had to be killed on orders from the U.S. Secret Service.

On Nov 30, 1962, GM (1950) Ossip Bernstein (1882-1962) died in his sleep at a sanatorium in the French Pyrenees at the age of 80.

On July 25, 1963, GM (1954) Gosta Stoltz (1904-1963) died in Sweden at the age of 59.

On Nov 11, 1963, GM (1950) Boris Kostic (1887-1963) died in Belgrade, Yugoslavia at the age of 76.

On July 31, 1965, E. Forry Laucks (1897-1965), founder of the Log Cabin Chess Club, collapsed of a heart attack and died after the 6th round of the U.S. Open in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

On February 10, 1967, French master Pierre Rolland (1926-1967) died in a car accident. He was French champion in 1956.

On May 26, 1967, GM Gideon Stahlberg (1908-1967) died of a liver ailment in Leningrad at the age of 59. He had just participated in the drawing of lots at the 1967 Leningrad International when he became ill and died several days later. He is buried in Gothenberg, Sweden.

On Sep 25, 1968, GM (1962) Vladimir Simagin (1919-1968) died of a heart attack while playing in a chess tournament in Kislovodsk, Russia, at the age of 49.

On March 3, 1969, GM (1953) Alexander Tolush (1910-1969) died in Leningrad at the age of 58.

In 1970, Charles Khachiyan, President of the New Jersey Chess Association, died of a heart attack while playing chess at the Montclair Chess Club in New Jersey.

On Oct 31, 1971, GM (1967) Alexander Zaitsev (1935-1971) died in the USSR of thrombosis as a consequence of a leg operation at the age of 36.

On October 4, 1972, USCF business manager Kenneth Harkness (1898-1972) died of a heart attack on a train in Yugoslavia on his way to a FIDE meeting in Skopje, Yugoslavia, where the chess Olympiad was to take place.

On July 4, 1973, GM (1962) Leonid Stein (1934-1973) died of a heart attack in the Rossiya Hotel in Moscow at the age of 38. He was preparing to leave with the Soviet chess team for the European team championship, set for Bath, England, when he died.

On June 5, 1975, GM (1950) Paul Keres (1916-1975) died of a heart attack in Helsinki, Finland, while returning home to Estonia from the World Class Championship in Vancouver, B.C. He had just won the event despite a doctor's orders not to play in the event due to the stress and his high blood pressure (he did not play in any tournament in 1974 due to health problems). His airplane had taken off from Helsinki to Tallinn when Keres had his heart attack. The aircraft turned around and landed back at Helsinki and Keres was rushed to the hospital and died. (I also played in that tournament and have one of the last photos of him, playing Walter Browne). Keres was buried at Metsakalmistu cemetery in Tallinn.

On July 24, 1975, GM (1953) Nicolas Rossolimo (1910-1975) died in New York City at the age of 65. He died of head injuries following a fall down a flight of stairs in Greenwich Village. At the time, he had been giving chess lessons late at night in his studio.. He is buried in a Russian Orthodox cemetery in New Jersey.

On Aug 16, 1975, GM (1950) Friedrich Saemisch (1896-1975) died in Berlin at the age of 78.

On Feb 15, 1977, GM (1950) Isaac Boleslavsky (1919-1977) died in Minsk, USSR at the age of 57. He died after falling on an icy sidewalk, fracturing his hip and contracting a fatal infection while in the hospital. He is buried in Minsk a few yards away from his best friend and son-in-law, David Bronstein.

On March 17, 1978, GM (1966) Semyon Furman (1920-1978) died of stomach cancer in Leningrad at the age of 57.

On March 19, 1978, Honorary Emeritus GM (1977) Carlos Torre Repetto (1905-1978) died in Merida, Yucatan at the age of 73.

In 1979, Patrick McKenna, a prisoner in Nevada, strangled his Las Vegas cellmate, Jack J. Nobles, after an argument over a chess game in which he lost. He has been on death row for over 36 years. He was once considered as Nevada's most dangerous inmate. He was denied the latest in a long line of appeals. (sources: Crime & Capital Punishment blog; The Pacific Reporter, 1986, p. 616)

On June 14, 1979, GM (1950) Igor Bondarevsky (1913-1979) died in Piatigorsk, USSR at the age of 66.

On November 6, 1979, Cecil Purdy (1906-1979) died of a heart attack while playing chess in the Sydney, Australia chess championship. His opponent was Ian Parsonage. His last words were, "I have a win, but it will take some time."

On June 2, 1980, GM (1953) Vasja Pirc (1907-1980) died in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia at the age of 72.

On Oct 3, 1980, GM (1956) Alberic O'Kelly de Galway (1911-1980) died of leukemia in Brussels, Belgium at the age of 69.

On Dec 8, 1980, GM (1953) Peter Trifunovic (1910-1980) died in Belgrade, Yugoslavia at the age of 70.

On Jan 8, 1981, GM (1950) Alexander Kotov (1913-1981) died in Moscow at the age of 67.

On Feb 14, 1981, Honorary Emeritus Grandmaster (1977) Esteban Canal (1896-1981) died in Varese, Italy at the age of 84. He is buried in Cocquio Trevisago, Italy.

On Nov 24, 1991, GM (1952) Herman Pilnik (1914-1981) died in Caracas, Venezuela at the age of 67.

On Nov 26, 1981, GM (1950) Max Euwe (1901-1981) died of a heart attack in Amsterdam at the age of 80. He was cremated on December 1, 1981 in Driehuis-Westerveld, the Netherlands.

On October 21, 1982, Ed Edmondson (1920-1982) died of a heart attack while playing chess on a beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.

On July 18, 1983, GM (1950) Salo Flohr (1908-1983) died in Moscow at the age of 74. He is buried at the Vagankovo Cemetery in Moscow.

On Sep 10, 1983, GM (1979) Victor Ciocaltea (1932-1983) died of cerebral apoplexy while playing his 4th round game at a chess tournament in Manresa, Spain at the age of 51. Ciocaltea became an International Master in 1957. He took him 22 years to become an International Grandmaster.

On Dec 9, 1983, GM (1980) Janos Flesch (1933-1983) died in an automobile accident with his wife Ildiko Tenyel in Whitestable England at the age of 50. He was returning from the Kasparov-Korchnoi match in London to a tournament in Ramsgate when he became involved in a car accident.

On Aug 8, 1984, GM (1952) Tigran Petrosian (1929-1984) died of stomach cancer in Moscow at the age of 55. He is buried in the Moscow Armenian Cemetery (Vagankovo Cemetery).

On Sep 8, 1984, GM (1962) Mijo Udovcic (1920-1984) died in Yugoslavia at the age of 63.

On Feb 20, 1985, GM (1954) Isaac Kashdan (1905-1985) died of a stroke at his home in West Los Angeles at the age of 79.

On April 19, 1985, Jozef Gromek died during a blitz game in Poland. He was 53. In 1955, he had won the Polish chess championship.

On Feb 27, 1986, GM (1954) Gedeon Barcza (1911-1986) died in Budapest, Hungary at the age of 74. He is buried at the Kerespesi cemetery in Budapest.

On May 28, 1986, GM (1977) Borislav Milic (1925-1986) died in Yugoslavia at the age of 60.

On Aug 27, 1986, GM (1984) Georgy Agzamov (1954-1986) died at the age of 31. After finishing a chess tournament in Sevastopol in the Crimea, he was accidentally killed when he took a shortcut to go swimming, fell off a cliff between two rocks and became trapped. People around him heard his cries for help, but he was too deep down a cliff, and by the time rescue crews got to him, it was too late. He was the first Uzbekistand grandmaster. At one time he was ranked number 8 in the world, with a 2728 rating. He died a week away from his 32nd birthday.

On Jan 13, 1987, Honorary Emeritus Grandmaster (1983) Vladimir Alatortsev (1909-1987) died in Moscow at the age of 77.

On Nov 27, 1988, GM (1959) Jan-Hein Donner (1927-1988) died of a stroke at the Vreugdehof nursing home in Amsterdam at the age of 61. He is buried at Zorgvlied Cemetery in Amsterdam.

On Dec 5, 1988, Honorary Emeritus GM (1983) Erik Ruben Lundin (1904-1988) died in Sweden at the age of 84.

On Oct 15, 1989, GM (1974) Anatoly Lutikov (1933-1989) died in Tiraspol, Moldova at the age of 56. He committed suicide.

On Jan 7, 1990, Honorary Emeritus GM (1984) Eero Book (1910-1990) died at the age of 79.

On Aug 26, 1990, GM (1990) Rudolf Maric (1927-1990) died in Yugoslavia at the age of 63.

On Sep 21, 1990, Honorary Emeritus GM (1983) Alexander Konstantinopolsky (1910-1990) died in Moscow at the age of 80.

On Oct 26, 1990, GM (1976) Guillermo Garcia Gonzales (1953-1990) died in a car wreck on his way to the airport to catch a plane to play in the Chess Olympiad in Novi Sad. He was only 36.

On June 28, 1992, GM (1957) Mikhail Tal (1936-1992) died of a hemorrhage of the esophagus and renal failure at a hospital in Moscow at the age of 55. A month earlier, he left the hospital to play at the Moscow blitz tournament where he defeated Garry Kasparov. He is buried at the Jaunie ebreju Kapi cemetery in Riga, Latvia.

On Nov 3, 1992, GM (1987) Vladas Mikenas (1910-1992) died in Vilnius, Lithuania at the age of 82.

On April 4, 1992, GM (1950) Samuel Reshevsky (1911-1992) died in New York City at the age of 80. He is buried at Congregation Sons of Israel Cemetery in Spring Valley, New York.

In 1993, a person was shot and killed while playing chess with a friend outdoors in Bosnia. It was the first recorded killing of a chess player by sniper fire.

On Jan 2, 1993, Honorary GM (1987) Vladimir Makogonov (1904-1993) died at the age of 88.

On March 28, 1993, GM (1950) Reuben Fine (1914-1993) died of a stroke and pneumonia at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Medical Center in New York City. He was 78. He was survived by his wife Marcia.

On May 20, 1993, GM (1965) Dragoljub Janosevic (1923-1993) died in Serbia at the age of 69.

On May 13, 1994, GM (1964) Vladimir Antoshin (1929-1994) died in Moscow at the age of 64, one day before his 65th birthday.

In 1994, Martin Wirth, 37, of Fort Collins, Colorado, shot to death Vernie Cox, 24, on his birthday after the two argued over a chess game. Cox died of two gunshot wounds to the chest. Witnesses said that Wirth had lost a chess game with Cox, knocked over the chess board and some furniture, and then began to argue with his opponent. Wirth went across the street to his home and returned with a gun and shot Cox to death. (source: Boulder Daily Camera, Aug 16, 1994)

On November 13, 1994, Soviet grandmaster Igor Platonov (1934-1994), age 60, returned home to his apartment in Kiev after a chess tournament, when two thieves ambushed him and murdered him. The killers were never caught.

On Jan 7, 1995, Honorary Emeritus GM (1985) Harry Golombek (1911-1995) died in Lambeth, London at the age of 83.

On May 5, 1995, GM (1950) Mikhail Botvinnik (1911-1995) died of pancreatic cancer at his home in Moscow at the age of 83.

On May 7, 1995, International Master Nikolai Kopilov died while giving a simultaneous chess exhibition in Voronezh. He was 76.

On June 6, 1995, GM (1992) Heinz Lehmann (1921-1995) died in Germany at the age of 73. On June 28, 1996, GM (1977) Julio Bolbochan (1920-1996) died in Caracas, Venezuela at the age of 76.

On June 30, 1995, Honorary Emeritus GM (1985) Mario Monticelli (1902-1995) died in Italy at the age of 93.

On Aug 30, 1995, GM (1962) Lev Polugaevsky (1934-1995) died of a brain tumor in Paris at the age of 60. He is buried at the Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris.

On July 5, 1996, GM (1975) Predrag Ostojic (1938-1996) committed suicide in Mainz, Germany at the age of 58.

On Aug 4, 1996, GM (1965) Vladimir Liberzon (1937-1996) died in Israel at the age of 59.

On Aug 14, 1996, GM (1996) Karoly Honfi (1930-1996) died in Budapest, Hungary at the age of 65.

On Dec 29, 1996, GM (1965) Wolfgang Pietzssch (1930-1996) died in Leipzig at the age of 66.

On Feb 2, 1997, GM (1952) Erich Eliskases (1913-1997) died in Cordoba, Austria at the age of 83.

On July 4, 1997, GM (1950) Miguel Najdorf (1910-1997) died in Malaga, Spain at the age of 87. He is buried at the Cementerio de la Tablada in Buenos Aires.

On Aug 8, 1998, GM (1950) Laszlo Szabo (1917-1998) died in Budapest at the age of 81.

On Sep 11, 1998, GM (1960) Carlos Guimard (1913-1998) died in Buenos Aires at the age of 85.

On Sep 24, 1998, GM (1976) Rosendo Balinas (1941-1998) died of liver cancer in Antipolo City, Philippines, at the age of 57.

On Nov 17, 1998, GM (1952) Efim Geller (1925-1998) died at a hospital in Peredelkino, Russia at the age of 73. He died from complications due to prostate cancer and heart disease. He is buried at Peredelkino Cemetery in Moscow, Russia.

On May 17, 1999, GM (1990) Lembit Oll (1966-1999) committed suicide by jumping out of a 5th floor window of his apartment in Tallinn at the age of 33. He suffered from severe depression after his wife divorced him. He is buried at Metsakalmistu Cemetery in Tallinn.

In September 1999, Laurence Douglas, 32, stabbed Craig Williams, 25, to death over a chess game in Poughkeepsie, New York. Williams beat Douglas in a chess game that had a $5 wager. Williams took a $5 bill from Douglas after the game and Douglas then stabbed Williams 16 times. Douglas was sentenced to 12 years in prison. (source: Associated Press, May 12, 2000)

On Nov 11, 1999, Honorary GM (1982) Lodewijk Prins (1913-1999) died in The Netherlands at the age of 86.

On Jan 6, 2000, GM (1989) Alexei Vyzmanavin (1960-2000) died of a heart attack in Moscow at the age of 40.

On Feb 5, 2000, Honorary Emeritus GM (1988) George Koltanowski (1903-2000) died of congestive heart failure in San Francisco at the age of 96.

On March 5, 2000, GM (1964) Daniel Yanofsky (1925-2000) died in Winnipeg, Manitoba, three weeks before his 75th birthday. He was Canada's first grandmaster. He won the Canadian championship 8 times. [source: CBC News, Mar 6, 2000]

On April 3, 2000, GM (1961) Miko Bobotsov (1931-2000) died of a stroke in Sofia, Bulgaria at the age of 68. He was Bulgaria's first chess grandmaster.

On April 13, 2000, GM (1967) Aivars Gipslis (1937-2000) died of a stroke while playing chess in Berlin. He was playing for a local Berlin chess club when he collapsed from a stroke during the chess game. He died in a German hospital in Koepenick after being in a coma for several weeks. He was 63.

On May 2, 2000, Honorary Emeritus GM (1986) Arthur Dake (1910-2000) died in his sleep in Reno, Nevada after a successful night of blackjack. He died 20 days after his 90th birthday.

On July 2, 2000, GM (1963) Georgi Tringov (1937-2000) died in Bulgaria at the age of 63.

On July 21, 2000, GM (1978) Vladimir Bagirov (1936-2000) died of a heart attack while playing a tournament chess game in Jyvaskla, Finland at the age of 63. He had started the Heart of Finland Open event with three straight wins to take the lead, and, following a time scramble, was in a winning position in round four against Teemu Laasanen, but suffered a heart attack, and died the next day.

On Aug 6, 2000, GM (1982) Raul Sanguineti (1933-2000) died in Buenos Aires at the age of 67.

On Sep 19, 2000, GM (1961) Karl Robatsch (1929-2000) died of throat and stomach cancer in Austria at the age of 70.

On Mar 4, 2001, GM (1987) Gerardo Barbero (1961-2001) of Argentina died of cancer in Budapest, Hungary at the age of 39.

On Sep 10, 2001, GM (1965) Alexei Suetin (1926-2001) died of a heart attack in Moscow at the age of 74. He had just returned home from the Russian Senior Chess Championship.

On Sep 25, 2001, five chess players died in a vehicle crash in India on their way to a chess tournament.

In 2001, Christopher Newton, imprisoned for burglary, murdered his cellmate, Jason Brewer, 27, over a game of chess in a Ohio prison. Brewer would resign his chess game against Newton every time a pawn was lost or the position looked bad. Newton tried to tell him not to give up and play the game out, but Brewer refused. After a month of playing chess and Brewer always resigning early without playing out the game, Newton finally had enough and strangled Brewer. Newton was executed on May 24, 2007 by lethal injection on Ohio. He was the first murderer executed for killing someone over a chess game.

On Nov 12, 2001, GM (1976) Tony Miles (1955-2001) died at his home in Harborne, Birmingham, from heart failure at the age of 46. He suffered from diabetes, which contributed to his death.

On Feb 13, 2002, GM (1980) Edmar Mednis (1937-2002) died at Woodside, Queens, New York, of complications from pneumonia and a heart attack at the age of 64.

On June 19, 2002, GM (1996) David Garcia Ilundain (1971-2002) died of a brain tumor in Spain at the age of 31.

On Sep 23, 2002, GM (1967) Eduard Gufeld (1936-2002) died of a heart attack at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at the age of 66. He is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California.

In 2003, Simon Andrews of Falls Township, Pennsylvania, stabbed to death Jerry Kowalski during a chess game. Authorities said that Andrews was disturbed by Kowalski's constant talking during their chess games. Andrews then pulled a knife from under a sofa-bed mattress and stabbed the unlucky Kowalski in the neck, who bled to death. Andrews was sentenced from 15 to 30 years in state prison.

On Feb 4, 2003, Hoorary GM (1985) Jaroaslav Sajtar (1921-2003) died in the Czech Republic at the age of 81.

On March 6, 2003, Ludek Pachman died in Passau, Germany at the age of 78.

On May 16, 2003, GM (1987) Bogdan Sliwa (1922-2003) died in Poland at the age of 81.

On Aug 31, 2003, GM (1994) Peter Szekely (1955-2003) died of a heart attack in Hungary at the age of 48.

On Oct 30, 2003, GM (1998) Aidyn Guseinov (1955-2003) died in Azerbaijan at the age of 46.

On Nov 20, 2003, GM (1994) Valantin Mikhailovich Arbakov (1952-2003) died in Moscow at the age of 51.

In 2004, at the Canadian Open, Donal Hervieux collapsed and died over the chess board while playing a FIDE master during round 8.

On Jan 29, 2004, Honorary GM (1984) Stojan Puc (1921-2004) died in Kranj, Slovenia at the age of 82.

On Aug 22, 2004, GM (1992) Konstantin Aseev (1960-2004) died in Saint Petersburg at the age of 43, after a long illness.

On Jan 2, 2005, Honorary Emeritus GM (1981) Arnold Denker (1914-2005) died of brain cancer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the age of 90.

In 2015, Oscar Humberto Castro-Rojas (1953-2015) died in Medellin, Colombia, of a heart attack when he was assaulted by robbers.was born in Colombia. He was Colombian champion in 1972 and 1973. He was awarded the IM title in 1975.

On Jan 3, 2005, GM (1976) Laszlo Vadasz (1948-2005) died in Hungary at the age of 56.

On March 31, 2005, GM (1976) Milorad Knezevic (1936-2005) died in Serbia at the age of 68.

On April 5, 2005, GM (1991) Dragoljub Minic (1937-2005) died of a heart attack on his 69th birthday in Novi Sad, Serbia.

On April 22, 2005, GM (1965) Leonid Shamkovich (1923-2005) died of complications from Parkinson's disease and cancer in his Brooklyn home at the age of 81.

On June 1, 2005, GM (1973) Vladimir Savon (1940-2005) died in Kharkiv, Ukraine at the age of 64.

On Aug 28, 2005, GM (1999) Ruben Gunawan (1968-2005) died of heart failure and pneumonia in Manado, Indonesia at the age of 38.

On Nov 12, 2005, GM (1978) Dragutin Sahovic (1940-2005) died in Belgrade, Serbia at the age of 65.

On Nov 17, 2005, GM (2005) Igor Ivanov (1947-2005) died of cancer in St. George, Utah at the age of 58. Three weeks before his death, he took 1st place in the Utah Open.

On Dec 15, 2005, Honorary Emeritus GM (1996) Enrico Paoli (1908-2005) died in Italy at the age of 97.

On Feb 18, 2006, GM (1960) Ratmir Kholmov (1925-2006) died in Moscow at the age of 80.

On April 20, 2006, GM (1954) Wolfgang Unzicker (1925-2006) died in Albufeira, Portugal, during a holiday trip, at the age of 80.

On July 14, 2006, GM (1990) Aleksander Wojtkiewicz (1963-2006) died of a perforated intestine and massive bleeding in Baltimore, Maryland at the age of 43. A few weeks earlier, he tied for 1st at the World Open in Philadelphia. [source: Shahade, "GM Aleksander Wojtkiewicz dies. Memories, Life and Games, Chess Life Online, July 14. 2006]

On July 23, 2006, Honorary Emeritus GM (1992) Rudolf Teschner (1922-2006) died in Berlin at the age of 84.

On Dec 5, 2006, GM (1950) David Bronstein (1924-2006) died in Minsk, Belarus of complications from high blood pressure at the age of 82. He is buried at the Chizhovskoe Cemetery in Minsk, Belarus.

In July 2007, Bernard Papet, age 73, died right after completing his 10th round game in the Veteran's French championship.

On June 30, 2007, GM (1992) Maxim Sorokin (1968-2007) died of complications from a car accident that occurred while driving home from the Candidates matches in Elista,Kalmykia at the age of 39. He died in the Elista hospital several days after an auto crash on the road from Elista to Volgograd.

On Dec 16, 2007, GM (1978) Ivan Nemet (1943-2007) died of a heart attack in Basel, Switzerland at the age of 64.

On Jan 17, 2008, GM (1958) Robert Fischer (1943-2008) died from degenerative renal failure at the Landspitali Hospital in Reykjavik, Iceland at the age of 64. He had a blocked urinary tract and refused surgery or medications that would have prevented an early death. He is buried at a small Christian cemetery of Laugardaelir church, outside the town of Selfoss, Iceland, 30 miles from Reykjavik.

On May 13, 2008, GM (1998) Valery Grechihin (1937-2008) died in Russia at the age of 70.

On May 24, 2008, GM (1970) Bukhuti Gurgenidze (1933-2008) died in Tbilisi, Georgia at the age of 74.

On June 9, 2008, GM (1997) Karen Asrian (1980-2008) died of a heart attack while driving in Yerevan, Armenia at the age of 28.

On Aug 10, 2008, GM (2000) Igor Zakharevich (1963-2008) died in Russia at the age of 45.

On Sep 25, 2008, GM (1975) Nino Kirov (1945-2008) died in Sofia, Bulgaria at the age of 63.

In October 2008, David Christian of Iowa City got in a fight with Michael Steward while playing a game of chess at the rooming house where they both lived. He was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. Christian choked Steward to death. (source: KCRG News, Oct 13, 2009)

On Nov 22, 2008, GM (1986) Theodor Ghitescu (1934-2008) died in Romania at the age of 74.

On Dec 20, 2008, GM (1972) Albin Planinc (1944-2008), who suffered from mental illness, died in a mental institution in Ljubljana, Slovena at the age of 64.

In December 2008, a man was so upset in losing a chess match, that he threw his opponent out the window. It happened in Gloazov, Russian Republic of Udmurtia. 43-year-old Aleksey Valentikhin lost several games to a 60-year-old pensioner neighbor. He got so mad that Aleksey threw his opponent from his second floor window. The pensioner broke several bones and later died. Valentikham was sentenced to 6 years in prison. (source: Susan Polgar blog, April 24, 2009)

On Jan 17, 2009, GM (1999) Alexander Moroz (1961-2009) died in Ukraine at the age of 47. On Jan 23, 2009, GM (1960) Hector Rossetto (1922-2009) died in Buenos Aires at the age of 86.

In February 2009, a man killed a friend with a sword after a chess game in Alameda, California. An argument broke out during their game, and the two started wrestling. Joseph Groom retreated to his bedroom and returned with a sword, which he used to stab Kelly Kjersem once. Kjersem later died. (sources: Oakland Tribune, Feb 5, 2009; Mercury News, Feb 4, 2009)

On Feb 17, 2009, GM (1994) Edhi Handoko (1960-2009) died of a heart attack at the Cibinong Hospital in Bogor, Indonesia at the age of 48.

On April 27, 2009, GM (1955) Miroslav Filip (1928-2009) died in Prague at the age of 80.

On May 19, 2009, GM (1980) Alexander Panchencko (1953-2009) died in Russia at the age of 55.

On Sep 20, 2009, GM (1999) Shukhrat Safin (1970-2009) died of blood cancer (leukemia) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan at the age of 39.

On jan 17, 2010, Dale Lyons of Portsmouth, NH died while playing chess. He was 60.

On Feb 19, 2010, GM (1974) Jesus Diez del Corral (1933-2010) died in Madrid at the age of 76.

On March 20, 2010, GM (1962) Istvan Bilek (1932-2010) died in Hungary at the age of 77.

On March 27, 2010, GM (1950) Vasily Smyslov (1921-2010) died of congestive heart failure in a Moscow hospital three days after his 89th birthday. He is buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow, Russia.

On March 31, 2010, GM (2004) Yuri Shabalov (1937-2010) died in Moscow at the age of 72.

On May 8, 2010, GM Andor Lilienthal (1911-2110) died at his home in Budapest 3 days after he turned 99. He was the last surviving member of the 27 original grandmasters. At the time of his death, he was the oldest GM in the world. [source: Peto, "Hungarian chess grandmaster Lilienthal dies at 99," Reuters, May 10, 2010]

On Sep 5, 2010, GM (1997) Janis Klovans (1935-2010) died in Latvia at the age of 75.

On Sep 9, 2010, GM (1956) Bent Larsen (1935-2010), who suffered diabetes, died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Buenos Aires at the age of 75.

On Nov 15, 2010, GM (1957) Larry Evans (1932-2010) died in Reno from complications following gallbladder surgery at the age of 78. He was survived by his wife Ingrid Evans, and two stepsons.

On Feb 12, 2011, GM (1964) Mato Damjanovic (1927-2011) died in Zagreb, Croatia at the age of 83.

On June 2, 2011, GM (1996) Leonid Yurtaev (1959-2011) died in Kyrgyzstan at the age of 52.

On Sep 24, 2011, GM (1986) Konstantin Lerner (1950-2011) died in Herzlia, Israel at the age of 61.

On Oct 2, 2011, Honorary GM (1990) Andrija Fuderer (1931-2011) died in Palamos, Catalonia at the age of 81.

On Dec 4, 2011, GM (1975) Vitaly Tseshkovsky (1944-2011) died in Krasnodar, Russia at the age of 67.

On Jan 13, 2012, GM (1993) Andrei Kharitonov (1959-2012) died in Russia at the age of 52.

On March 21, 2012, GM (1976) Yuri Razuvayev (1945-2012) died in Moscow at the age of 66.

On Aug 14, 2012, GM (1951) Svetozar Gligoric (1923-2012) died of a stroke in Belgrade, Serbia at the age of 89. He was the national champion 12 times. He was buried in the Alley of the Greats at Belgrade's New Cemetery. When he died, he was the world's second oldest chess grandmaster. [source: "Serb grandmaster Svetozar Gligoric dies," AP News, Aug 18, 2012]

On Sep 14, 2012, GM (2008) Dmitry Chuprov (1978-2012) died of alcoholism in Kurgan, Russia at the age of 34.

On November 18, 2012, Elana Akhmilovskaya Donaldson died in Kirkland, Washington. She was 55. She was once ranked as the second-best women's chess player in the world. She took 1st place in three U.S. women's chess championships. She died of brain cancer. In 1988, she left Russia and eloped with IM John Donaldson. [source: Seattle Times, Nov 23, 2012]

On Dec 29, 2012, GM (1999) Peter Dely (1923-2012) died in Hungary at the age of 78.

On Jan 19, 2013, GM (1992) Marcel Sisniega Campbell (1959-2013) died of a heart attack in Mexico at the age of 53.

On Feb 14, 2013, GM (2004) Julian Radulski (1972-2013) died in Plovdiv, Bulgaria at the age of 40.

In April, 2013, six members of the Melbourne Chess Club in Australia were returning from a chess tournament in Canberra when their car rolled off the freeway. Two of the chess players died. International Master James Morris (1994- ) was seriously injured in that accident.

On April 12, 2013, GM (1964) Robert Byrne (1928-2013) died at his home in Ossining, New York from Parkinson's disease at the age of 84.

On May 18, 2013, GM (1959) Lothar Schmid (1928-2013) died in Bamberg, Germany at the age of 85.

In 2013, a Chinese player murdered his best friend and then killed himself so they could play chess in the afterlife.

On Aug 8, 2013, GM (2003) Igor Kurnosov (1985-2013) died in Chelyabinsk, Russia at the age of 28. He was hit by a car as he was crossing the street in Chelyabinsk and died at the scene of the accident. He was killed on the spot at 2:45 am. He was one of the top 20 GMs in Russia, rated 2680 at his peak. [source:, Aug 9, 2013]

On Oct 9, 2013, GM (1965) Milan Matulovic (1935-2013) died of Parkinson's Disease in Serbia at the age of 78.

In January, 2014, an Italian man, Saverio Bellante, who had been living in a rented home in Dublin, killed his unlucky landlord over a game of chess. He was arrested for the killing after stabbing his landlord, Tom O'Gorman, multiple times. O'Gorman was a minister. Bellante told police that they were fighting over a chess game. Bellante was then asked by O'Gormon to leave the house following an argument over a chess move. Instead, Bellante found a kitchen knife and stabbed O'Gormon, then beat him over the head with a dumbbell. Bellante was also accused of eating the heart of his victim.

On Jan 11, 2014, GM (2002) Vugar Gashimov died in Heidleberg, Germany of a brain tumor at the age of 27. He was buried at the Alley of Honor in Baku, Azerbaijan.

On Jan 25, 2014, GM (1974) Gyula Sax (1951-2014) died in Hungary at the age of 62.

Om May 22, 2014, GM (1973) Dragoljub Velimirovic (1942-2014) died in Belgrade, Serbia 10 days after turning 72.

On June 15, 2014, GM (1992) Andrei Kharlov (1968-2014) died in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia at the age of 45.

On Aug 17, 2014, GM (1965) Dragoljub Miladin Ciric (1935-2014) died in Serbia at the age of 78.

On Aug 18, 2014, GM (1964) Levente Lengyel (1933-2014) died in Budapest, Hungary at the age of 81.

In August 2014, Candidate Master Kurt Meier, 67, a Swiss-born member of the Seychelles chess team, died on the last day of the 41st Chess Olympiad, held in Tromso, Norway. His son was playing on the board next to him and tried to revive him. Hours later, Alisher Anarkulov from Uzbekistan was found dead in his hotel room in central Tromso.

On Oct 3, 2014, GM (2000) Zaw Win Lay (1963-2014) died in Mandalay, Myanmar at the age of 50.

On Dec 8, 2014, Honorary GM (2003) Elmars Zemgalis (1923-2014) died in Seattle at the age of 91.

On Jan 10, 2015, GM (1979) Slobodan Martinovic (1945-2015) died in Serbia at the age of 69.

On Jan 23, 2015, GM (1997) Alexander Lastin (1976-2015) died in Zheleznovodsk, Russia at the age of 38.

On Feb 6, 2015, GM (2000) Oleg Chernikov (1936-2015) died in Russia at the age of 78. In 2000, he won the World Senior Chess Championship and became a grandmaster at the age of 63.

In 2015, Alan Wright, age 88, died on his way back from a chess match in England.

In 2015, Michael Uriely died one day after participating in a chess game at the 2015 Mind Sports Olympiad.

In April 2015, a New Jersey boy, age 10, jumped to his death after losing a game of chess.

On June 24, 2015, GM (1970) Walter Browne (1949-2015) died in his sleep in Las Vegas at the age of 66. He was staying at the home of Ron Gross when he died. He had just finished playing in the 50th National Open where he tied for 9th-15th. He then played a 25-board simultaneous exhibition.

In July 2015, Craig Woolcock of Wales killed himself after he quit his job as a customer services official to concentrate on chess, but failed to qualify for the British chess championship. The unlucky player suffered from mood swings. (source: MailOnline, July 14, 2015)

On Oct 23, 2015, GM (1976) Krunoslav Hulak (1951-2015) died in Zagreb, Croatia at the age of 64.

On October 17, 2015, International Master Emory Tate died while playing in a chess tournament near San Jose. He was 56. He was about an hour into his game with Yuan Wang when he went to the bathroom. When he emerged, he told someone, "Call 9-1-1." Those were his last words. He was a friend of mine and analyzed my games when I was an Air Force major.

On Dec 25, 2015, GM (1993) Leonid Gofshtein (1953-2015) died in Israel at the age of 62.

On Jan 12, 2016, GM (2011) Ivan Bukavshin (1995-2016) died at a chess training camp in Tolyatti, Russia at the age of 20. He died of a massive overdoes of No-Spa (an antispasmodic drug). Bukavshin became U-12 European chess champion in 2006, U-14 European Youth Champion in 2008 and U16 European champion in 2010. He took 3rd place in the 2015 Aeroflot Open in Moscow.

On April 7, 2016, GM (1967) Laszlo Barczay (1936-2016) died in Budapest, Hungary at the age of 80.

On April 27, 2016, GM (1984) Viktor Gavrikov (1957-2016) died in a hospital in Burgas, Bulgaria at the age of 58.

On May 17, 2016, GM (2004) Dragan Paunovic (1961-2016) died in Serbia of a heart attack at the age of 54.

On May 26, 2016, GM (1962) Arturo Pomar Salamanca (1931-2016) died in Barcelona at the age of 84.

On June 6, 2016, GM (1956) Viktor Korchnoi (1931-2016) died in Wohlen, Switzerland at the age of 85. Korchnoi defected from the USSR in 1976 and lived in the Netherlands, then moved to Switzerland. He was a candidate for the World Chess Championship on 10 separate occasions, and won the USSR championship 4 times. [source: "Chess legend Viktor Korchnoi dies at 85,", June 6, 2016]

On June 6, 2016, GM (1978) Herman Suradiradja (1947-2016) died in Indonesia at the age of 68.

On Nov 26, 2016, GM Yuri Eliseev (1996-2016) died in Moscow at the age of 20. He died after falling from a balcony on the 12th floor of his Moscow apartment, apparently while undertaking the extreme sport of parkour. He was trying to reach the balcony of a neighboring apartment. In 2012, he was the world under-16 chess champion. [source: CNN Sports, CNN, Nov 28, 2016]

On Nov 28, 2016, GM (1952) Mark Taimanov (1926-2016) died in Saint Petersburg at the age of 90.

In January 2017, GM Hans Berliner died at his home in Riviera Beach, Florida. He was 87. In 1968, he won the Fifth World Correspondence Chess Championship. [source: "Hans Berliner, Master Chess Player and Programmer, Dies at 87,", Jan 18, 2017]

In March 2018, GM Anatoly Lein (1931-2018) died at the age of 86 in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. He died 13 days after the death of his wife. In 1976, he was given permission to emigrate the United States. In that year, he won the U.S. Open. [source: McClain, "Anatoly Lein, an emigre Chess Grandmaster, Dies at 86," New York Times, March 6, 2018]

In August 2019, GM Pal Benko died at the age of 91.

In October 2019, international chess player Rajkumar was accidently electrocuted in his house, which was under construction. He was pulling an iron rod when it touched a wire carrying 1,100 kilovolts of electric current. Rajkumar was a chess coach and an international arbiter. [source: Hundustan Times, Oct 26, 2019]

In 2020, Ukrainian chess champion Stanislav Bogdanovich, along with is girlfriend, Alexandra Vernigora, died of poisoning by laughing gas. They were found dead in their Moscow apartment. They both inhaled nitrous oxide using a balloon. Bogdanovich was a grandmaster from Odessa. [source: "Young Ukraine chess couple 'killed by laughing gas,'" BBC News, March 6, 2020]

In March 2020, Filipino-born Australian chess player Arianne Caoili died in Yerevan at the age of 33 in a car crash. She was the wife of GM Levon Aronian. She crashed her Lexus R350 into a supporting column under a bridge in Yerevan. [sources: "Fil-Australan chess player Arianne Caolli dies,", Mar 31, 2020 and, Mar 31, 2020]

In July 2020, former national chess champion Della-Mari Walcott died at the age of 19. She failed to recover from a brain tumor. She was a former Trinidad junior chess champions and represented Trinidad at the World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul in 2012, and in Norway in 2014.

On September 4, 2020, GM Dmity Svetushkin (1980-2020) committed suicide by throwing himself out of the window on the 6th floor of a house in Chisinau, Moldova. He played 10 times for Moldavia in the chess Olympiads. In 2000, he won the Moldovan national chess championship. [source: ChessBase News, Sep 11,2020]

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