In 1622, Gioacchino Greco was robbed of all his money (5,000 crowns) that he won in Paris from playing chess while on his way to London.
In 1897, William Wilson, age 55, a prominent member of the Franklin chess Club in Philadelphia and bookseller, was robbed and killed in his store.
On July 29, 1938, Nikolai Krylenko (1885-1938), who headed the Soviet Chess Association, was executed in Stalin’s purges. His trial lasted 20 minutes, he was then found guilty and immediately shot.
On October 2, 1941, chess master Karel Treybal was charged will illegal possession of a firearm (a pistol) by the Nazis and condemned to death. He was executed the same day in Prague.
In the 1940s, a tournament director of the U.S. Championship had his car stolen during the tournament. The car was recovered a day later.
In 1948, grandmaster David Bronstein (1924-2006) survived an assassination attack during the first chess Interzonal in Saltsjobaden, Sweden. On the last day, Bronstein was playing Tartakower when, suddenly, a Lithuanian made a lunge at Bronstein to kill him. Several spectators grabbed the would-be assassin. The attempted killer wanted to murder a Russian because he claimed the Russians were responsible for sending his sister to Siberia and murdering her.
In 1966, grandmaster Mikhail Tal was beaten up and hit on the head with a beer bottle during the chess Olympiad in Havana. He missed the first five rounds because of his injuries.
In 1973, the police raided a chess tournament in Cleveland, Ohio. They arrested the tournament director and confiscated the chess sets on charges of allowing gambling (cash prizes to winners) and possession of gambling devices (the chess sets). Later, the charges were dropped.
In 1978, grandmaster William Lombardy was attacked in New York City by a mugger who had a knife. Tendons in two fingers were severed and he underwent a long operation to repair the severed tendons.
In 1981, Bobby Fischer was falsely arrested in Pasadena, California under suspicion of being a bank robber.
In 1988, undercover police arrested a chess player at a park in New York City after he won a marked $5 bill against a police officer posing as a construction worker during a blitz game. The chess player was jailed for 3 days, his medication was confiscated, and he had a heart attack. The arrest was finally tossed out by a judge. Five years later, the city settled the wrongful arrest lawsuit out of court for $100,000.
In 1989, the police raided a chess tournament in Los Angeles. The L.A.P.D. vice officers raided a nightly chess tournament held at Dad’s Donuts. They cited three men for gambling after finding $1.50 on the table. The police staged the raid after an undercover detective tried unsuccessfully to join a blitz chess game. The detective then pulled out his badge and said “all of you are under arrest,” as the L.A.P.D. swooped in.
In 1990, grandmaster Gregory Kaidanov and his wife had their luggage stolen from the trunk of a car while he was having dinner at a restaurant in New York City. The next day, he was attacked by a gang and robbed of his money, airline tickets, and 10 years of chess analysis.
In 1990, grandmaster Artur Yusupov was shot in the stomach and seriously injured during a burglary attempt in Moscow. He had just returned to his Moscow apartment to discover several burglars in his apartment. A struggle broke out and Yusupov was shot and was in critical condition.
On November 13, 1994, Soviet grandmaster Igor Platonov (1934-1994) returned home to his apartment in Kiev when two thieves ambushed him and murdered him. The killers were never caught.
In 1994, the captain of the Macedonian chess team was robbed of $7,000 inside a bank in Moscow during the 1994 Moscow Chess Olympiad. He was later robbed again and beaten into unconsciousness. Am American chess player was mugged during the event and the robbers threatened his life if he did not come back the next day with more money.
In 1995, International Master Gilles Andruet, a former French champion, was murdered in Paris over gambling debts. He was found dead in a plastic bag.
In the 1990s, grandmaster Maurice Ashley was mugged twice.
In 2000, Laurence Douglas stabbed Craig Williams 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.
In January 2003, grandmaster Svetozar Gligoric, age 79, was attacked and beaten up by masked burglars in his Belgrade home. The armed robbers broke into his home at 3 am, beat and tied him up, the stole his money and jewelry of his late wife. They also took his chess trophies.
In October 2004, the FIDE vice president, Zurab Azmaiparashvili, was punched, wrestled to the floor and dragged to jail by a group of security agents. During the closing ceremonies of the chess Olympiad, he tried to get closer to the stage, but security people stepped in front of him, pushed him back, and assaulted him.
In 2005, Canadian grandmaster Pascal Charbonneau and his friends were mugged at gunpoint during the World Open in Philadelphia.
In 2006, Anatoly Karpov was working on a manuscript for a new chess book when it was stolen in Brussels. One thief distracted him while the other attacked from behind and stole his briefcase with the 300 page manuscript.
On February 18, 2007, Teimour Radjabov had all of his possessions stolen from a hotel room while playing in the Morelia-Linares chess tournament in Mexico. The burglary occurred in Patzcuaro, Mexico only a few days before the start of the tournament. Radjabov and his father left for a quick dinner and returned to their room within 30 minutes. All of their valuable items were stolen. They reported the crime, but got neither help from the local authorities, nor even a police investigation.
In 2007, the Rochester Chess Center was the official vendor at the World Open in Philadelphia. They had 21 expensive chess clocks stolen during the event. It was later discovered that some of the chess clocks were being used to pay off gambling debts from backgammon and poker at the tournament.
In 2007, grandmaster Farhad Tahirov was kicked and punched by a gang of eight thugs during the 82nd Hastings International Chess Congress. He was robbed of a thousand British pounds.
In December 2007, the tournament director’s laptop was stolen at the 34th Eastern Open in Washington, D.C. It had occurred shortly after round 3, when the 6-month-old laptop was stolen from the director’s room. Generous chess players at the event contributed $600, which was matched by a generous donor to pay for a new laptop.
In 2008, grandmaster Leonid Timoshenko had a precious diamond he was carrying stolen. The diamond was part of a trophy won by the Ukrainian National Chess Team in the 2008 Chess Olympiad. The diamond and trophy was in his checked bag on the airplane, but when he landed, his bag was open, the trophy was broken and the diamond was stolen. He was forced to check the cup into baggage at Frankfurt on his flight to Kiev. On the previous flight from Dresden, he was allowed to take the trophy onboard as a carry-on piece.
In October 2008, an antique chess set from the 17th century was stolen after thieves broke into a Brisbane home. The 32-piece chess set was a hand carved ivory chess set made up of eight individual sections of ivory.
In 2009, a chess player who had just finished a tournament at the Marshall Chess Club was mugged after leaving the club.
In 2009, thieves stole bags from chess players during the World Open in Philadelphia. The players would set their bags down in an area with computers attached to the Internet for hotel guests to use. Thieves would then make off with the bags.
In 2010, someone fired a shot at The Chess Club in Syracuse, New York. A 16-year old boy received a gunshot wound to the foot.
On March 17, 2010, Anthony Beaver, age 19, was shot and killed while being robbed in Atlanta. He had been chess champion of his high school and won the 2009 Clayton County Chess Championship.
In April 2010, five chess pieces were stolen from the Christchurch Cathedral Square. The large public chess set was a popular attraction in Cathedral Square. The pieces were stolen over the Easter weekend.
On October 4, 2011, grandmaster Vassily Ivanchuk and his wife were robbed at gunpoint in Sao Paulo, Brazil as they were sitting in the taxi form their hotel to the airport. Two men with guns took two suitcases and a handbag and ran. They missed his laptop computer by his feet and his passport in the inside pocket of his jacket, but got his wife’s passport which was in the handbag. Ivanchuk said that the most valuable item stolen was his chess set, which he had for many years.
Chess sets, pieces, chess clocks, chess books, and other items are stolen all the time at chess tournaments. Keep your eye on all of your possessions at chess tournaments.