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Alexander Pichushkin, also known as the Chessboard Killer, was a serial killer in Russia from 1992 to 2006. Alexander Pichushkin was born in April of 1974, in Moscow, Russia. According to several articles, Pichushkin fell off of a swing in his childhood years and left him with brain damage to his frontal cortex. This injury, especially at such a young age, left him with permanent damage and impairment in mood regulation, problem-solving, impulse control, and several other behavior-oriented aspects. Aside from his internal injuries, Alexander was left with a misshapen forehead which he was often bullied for in school. Alexander’s lack of control and intense aggression showed through his retaliation; beating the bullies up, and getting into fights. Pichushkins behavior became so much of an issue that his mother decided to put him into a separate school for special needs kids. In his new school, his teachers were very fond of him and said he acted polite and pleasant. One way Alexander channeled his aggression was through the game of chess. Chess formed a bond between Alexander and his grandfather. Pichushkins was devastated by the passing of his grandfather, which is said to be the triggering cause of his killings.
Alexander Pichushkin has 60 murders to his name, 48 of which are confirmed murders. At age 16, it was said that Alex would go to Bitsa Park and take pictures of kids running around and playing. Alexander’s first kill took place at age 18 when the girl he liked started dating a guy other than himself. Alexander took it upon himself to kill the new boyfriend and coincidentally five years later, the girl turned up dead. Alexander would go to Bitsa Park (where he happened to have buried his dead dog) with a bottle of vodka and his chessboard and ask strangers if they wanted to join him for a game. Most of Pichushkin’s victims happen to be older/middle-aged men. Few of his victims were women and children. Alex would take his victims to the spot where he buried his dog, sit them down, play chess with them, then out of the blue when they weren’t paying attention, kill them. Other victims of his were pushed into sewers, revealing that Alexander wasn’t too concerned about hiding the bodies, especially during the end of his killing sprees. One signature of his was how he placed a bottle of vodka in the holes he made in his victims. Ten of Pichushkin’s victims lived in his same apartment complex, to which can be explained up by his statement that killing people that you are close to is more pleasurable to take part in. Pushkin has stated that his goal was to have the same number of kills as spaces on a chessboard, which he did not fulfill. For many of his murders, he would take the last wish of the victim into consideration.
One possibility for Alexander Pichushkin’s murders could be because of his early childhood injuries. The area of his brain that was affected by his injury would have impacted his anger and self-control so situations or traumatic events such as his grandfather dying, may have set him off. Alex probably had issues in his competence vs inferiority stage (as defined by Erik Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development), because of his experience with bullying throughout elementary school. One form of motivation he may have had wanting to make others feel the same way he did when he was made fun of for having a deformed forehead and make others feel just as bad as he did. The dominant emotion that Alex portrayed was self-righteousness. Alex acted as if he was doing his victims a favor by releasing them into a new world. Freud would agree that Alexander’s id got the best of him and his ego was not making any of his decisions. Alexander did not seem to consider the reality of his crimes or take into consideration the devastation he was inflicting upon others.
Alexander Pichushkin was not diagnosed with any mental illness, but in my opinion, I think he is just crazy. The way he described his motives showed that it was something inside him that he didn’t have control over that caused his actions. Alexander received life in prison and the first 15 of those years are to be in solitary confinement, and his only allowed visitor is his mother.
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