The Chessboard Killer

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Alexander Yuryevich “Sasha” Pichushkin (born 9 April 1974 in Mytishchi, Moscow Oblast), also known as The Chessboard Killer and The Bitsa Park Maniac, is a Russian serial killer. He is believed to have killed at least 49 people and up to 61–63 people in southwest Moscow’s Bitsa Park, where several of the victims’ bodies were found.

Pichushkin committed his first murder as a student in 1992 and stepped up his crimes in 2001. Russian media have speculated that Pichushkin may have been motivated by a macabre competition with Russia’s most notorious serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo, who was convicted in 1992 of killing 52 children and young women in 12 years. Pichushkin has said his aim was to kill 64 people, the number of squares on a chessboard. He later recanted this statement, saying that he would have continued killing indefinitely if he had not been stopped.

Pichushkin primarily targeted elderly homeless men by luring them with vodka. After drinking with them, he would kill them, hitting them on the head with a hammer. He then stuck vodka bottles in their skulls to ensure that they did not survive. He also targeted younger men, children and women. He would always attack from behind to avoid spilling blood on his clothes. He claimed that while killing people he felt like God as he decided whether his victims should live or die. “For me, life without killing is like life without food for you,” he once said. “I felt like the father of all these people, since it was I who opened the door for them to another world.” Experts at the Serbsky Institute, Russia’s main psychiatric clinic, have found Pichushkin irrecuperable.

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