Was Alekhine assassinated?

JamieDelarosa

From Wikipedia article on Alexander Alekhine:

After World War II, Alekhine was not invited to chess tournaments outside the Iberian Peninsula, because of his alleged Nazi affiliation. His original invitation to the London 1946 tournament was withdrawn when the other competitors protested.

While planning for a World Championship match against Botvinnik, Alekhine died aged 53 in his hotel room in Estoril, Portugal on March 24, 1946. The circumstances of his death are still a matter of debate. It is usually attributed to a heart attack, but a letter in Chess Life magazine from a witness to the autopsy stated that choking on meat was the actual cause of death. At autopsy, a three-inch-long piece of unchewed meat was discovered blocking his windpipe.

Some have speculated that he was murdered by a French "death squad". A few years later, Alekhine's son, Alexander Alekhine, Jr., said that "the hand of Moscow reached his father". Canadian Grandmaster Kevin Spraggett, who has lived in Portugal since the late 1980s, and who has thoroughly investigated Alekhine's death, favors this possibility. Spraggett makes a case for the manipulation of the crime scene and the autopsy by the Portuguese secret police PIDE. He believes that Alekhine was murdered outside his hotel room, probably by the Soviets.

(Footnotes and hyperlinks in the original have been removed for greater ease of reading)

"Are you an Alekhine fan? Do you have an opinion either way about his death? I’d love to hear them--feel free to leave a comment!"

JamieDelarosa

An alleged "death photo" of Alekhine in his hotel room.

SaintGermain32105

I don't think so. Even if he died elsewhere it doesn't mean a thing. And no, I'm not his fan, and neither were the Nazis. Btw. did you know that the Nazis implemented anti-tobacco policies at the end of the 1930s? Adolf Hitler's personal distaste for tobacco and the Nazi reproductive policies were among the motivating factors behind their campaign against smoking, and this campaign was associated with both antisemitism and racism. Alekhine was an avid smoker btw.
Hitler viewed smoking as "decadent"

JamieDelarosa

Part 1 of the Kevin Spraggettt blog:

https://kevinspraggettonchess.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/part-1-alekhines-death/

JamieDelarosa

Part 2 of the Kevin Spraggett blog:

https://kevinspraggettonchess.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/part-2-alekhines-death/

JamieDelarosa
RonaldJosephCote wrote:

    He looks dead to me.

And dead he was!

Observers have asked these questions of the photo:

1.  If Alekhine choked to death on a piece of meat,  why are the chess board and table undisturbed from from the likely thrashing of a person choking?

2.  The dishes makes it seem he had finished his meal?  Did he die on the last bite of dinner?

3.  Why was he wearing an overcoat inside of his hotel room?

Come on, Columbo, you have to question the crime scene!!

JamieDelarosa
SaintGermain32105 wrote:

I don't think so. Even if he died elsewhere it doesn't mean a thing. And no, I'm not his fan, and neither were the Nazis. Btw. did you know that the Nazis implemented anti-tobacco policies at the end of the 1930s? Adolf Hitler's personal distaste for tobacco and the Nazi reproductive policies were among the motivating factors behind their campaign against smoking, and this campaign was associated with both antisemitism and racism. Alekhine was an avid smoker btw.
Hitler viewed smoking as "decadent"

When they could not get Coca Cola syrup from the United States, they invented the Fanta brand.

Alekhine enjoyed somewhat "harder" beverages.

JamieDelarosa
RonaldJosephCote wrote:

    In the mid-40's a lot of hotel rooms were cold.

Possibly.  Alekhine died 24 March 1946.

Krooze
JamieDelarosa wrote:

1.  If Alekhine choked to death on a piece of meat,  why are the chess board and table undisturbed from from the likely thrashing of a person choking?

The design of the chess board looks very similar to my Drueke magnetic set, albeit larger.  The squat pieces, their proportions to each other, the circular wear on the black squares... I'd bet money that that board is Drueke's magnetic model of the day.  Very little about the design has changed over the years.

Omega_Doom
JamieDelarosa wrote:
He believes that Alekhine was murdered outside his hotel room, probably by the Soviets.

 No way it were Nazis, because they were western. Putin indeed!

JamieDelarosa

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." - Sherlock Holmes

Senior-Lazarus_Long

No way! He agreed to a match with Botwinik. His death meant the Soviets had to wait longer to have a World Champion.Alekhine died from a series of problems brought on by age,poverty and alcohol.

SaintGermain32105

His father, Alexander Ivanovich Alekhine (1856-1917), was a wealthy landowner, a marshal of the nobility and privy councilor of the Fourth Duma (1912-1917), a legislative assembly (lower parliament house) in the late Russian Empire established by Tsar Nicholas II.  He was also the ex-governor of Voronezh, a southern province.   Alekhine’s father spent several winters on the French Riviera where it is reported that he lost 15 million rubles at the gambling tables in Monte Carlo.



Yep! I was right. Who could have been his enemies?



Until World War I, Alexander Alekhine spelled his last name Aljechin. As a child, Alexander's nickname was Tisha.


Alexander started recording his chess games in 1900. Divinsky states that in 1900 Alekhine's family hired the well know master Fyodor Duz-Khotimirsky (1979-1965) to give Alexander chess lessons for 15 rubles.


In 1902, Alexander Alekhine watched Harry Pillsbury (1872-1906) play 22 boards blindfolded in Moscow. ( ot. great player in my humble opinion )



n February, 1909, at the age of 16, Alekhine traveled to St. Petersburg to play in the All Russian Amateur Tournament. He won the tournament (+12-2=2) which gained him the Russian National Master title. First prize was a cut glass Sevres vase valued at 650 rubles, donated by the Czar and Czarina and decorated with the Imperial Russian shield.  He was the youngest player in the tournament.


In the Russian émigré circles, Alekhine was held to be responsible for the arrest and death of many White Russians in 1919. Shortly after, on April 29, 1921, Alekhine was given permission to leave Russia for a visit to the West with his wife. Alekhine never returned to Russia.   The couple traveled to Riga, Latvia, and Berlin, where he only had 200 marks in his pocket.  Alekhine wanted to go to France and from there, tour the world playing chess.  But the entry visa into France was refused by the French Consulate.  Alekhine finally obtained a visa on the understanding he would not undertake any communist propaganda.

Right, anything else?


Senior-Lazarus_Long

But chess players weren't considered as important,why risk getting caught?

cleosvaldo

In this photo, it looks like he got poisoned. Maybe with something that put him to sleep, i don't know.

cleosvaldo

The theory that the soviet kill him makes sense. After all, if Stalin kill ALL members of the original Central Comitee members of Bolshevik party (except himself and Lenin), why he wouldn't kill a chess player to make way for his players?

SaintGermain32105

Well if it were for me I would have never left him dead in my restaurant ( be it or not ) for the police to find him.

JamieDelarosa
Senior-Lazarus_Long wrote:

No way! He agreed to a match with Botwinik. His death meant the Soviets had to wait longer to have a World Champion.Alekhine died from a series of problems brought on by age,poverty and alcohol.

You had two opposing Chess forces at work in the Soviet Union, at the time.

Botvinnik was allied with the authorities of the Communst Party, who sought the match for the prestige, cultural and propaganda value of the title.

On the other hand, you had the Chekists at the NKVD (state security forerunners to the KGB), who saw Alekhine as a traitor (for having left the Soviet Union soon after the Revolution), and as a Nazi collaborator.  The NKVD was responsible for foreign assassinations.

enotSgnilloR

Yes, def murdered.  Also, a few of the recent GM deaths in Russia have been murders as well.  When the Russian Federation reports a death from natural causes, don't believe it.  Too coincidental so many of these guys "jumped" to their death.

JamieDelarosa

A "witness" to the death scene was Luis Lupi, who took the black and white photos.  He wrote on 24 March 1946 to Robert Bunnell, of the Associated Press in London, the following description:

‘Dear Bunnelle,

 

Herewith please find four (4) negatives and three prints of EXCLUSIVE ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTOS taken by me. They are ALEXANDER ALEKHINE last photographs. I took these pixs with a small camera that I borrowed in the Hotel Park in Estoril where I rushed to cover the Alekhine death story – without my own camera! This is why they are not so good.
Pixs show ALEKHINE lying dead in his hotel room just as he was found in the morning of 24/3, by one hotel waiter. He must have died the night before (23/3) at about eleven p.m. as, according to the porter of the hotel, the Chess Champion went in about 23.40 – and had ordered his dinner to his room as usual.

 

He seemed to be sleeping so calm and natural he looked. Doctors said he must have died suddenly just when he was beginning to eat. On his right hand he still held a beefsteak – He ate with his hands and used knife and fork only when he ate in public…
The giant of Chess – dead, resembled a fallen oak tree. In his face he kept an expression of deep thought.
For captions suggest you use (if you will use these gruesome pixs…) and rewrite my messages of 23/3 slugged 01230 and 02345. Will you have a couple of prints on these negatives (a couple of each, please)? and oblige

 

Yours sincerely, Luís C Lupi.’


24 March was the same day that Alekhine's corpse was discovered in the hotel room at about 11 AM.  Lupi had to have had the film developed immediately that day (a Sunday?).
 
As Lupi wrote, he took multiple photographs.  Here is another one, taken from a slightly different angle.
 
Note the subtle difference in the scene from the previous photo, on Page 1.  In the upper right corner of each photo, there are two vases. Next to the vases are a black binder, in one picture with some light-colored papers on top of it.
 
Other sources say that Lupi had placed the chessboard adjacent to the dining table for sensationalistic effect.  In either case, the "official photos" of the death scene suggest manipulation.