Russian chess player killed by gang

| 1 | Chess Event Coverage
Tragic news from Moscow, where last Saturday IM Sergey Nikolaev (46) was killed by a vicious youth gang. Police is undertaking the investigation into the killing of the Russian chess player, which most probably was racially motivated. Up to 30 suspects have been detained in connection with the case. Extremist literature was found during searches of the suspects.

The 46-year-old Nikolaev and his friend Galijan Gulyashov were attacked in south-west Moscow by a gang of up to nine teenagers. The two were badly beaten. Despite numerous witnesses, nobody came to their aid or alerted the police for 30 minutes. Nikolaev died later from his injuries and his Uzbek friend was taken to hospital. He's in a serious but now stable condition.

Police suspect up to nine teenagers attacked Sergey Nikolaev, who had a Eurasian complexion. Those responsible were reportedly wearing black coats which, combined with the weapons (baseball bats and knifes), match characteristics of racist gangs across Russia.

"He died from the stab wounds at the site of the attack. The young people aged 14-16 had disappeared by the time the police got there. A criminal case has been launched into this event," Marina Molokova, Moscow Police spokesperson commented.

The violence broke out on Saturday after a soccer match. The group of youths marched around the southern part of the city, attacking anybody they saw who did not look like an ethnic Russian. The first victim was Nikolaev, who originally came from Yakutiya. Two other victims were set upon in separate attacks and both were hospitalized in serious condition. Another victim was stabbed to death near the Chertanovskaya metro station.

An eye-witness said: "I think they were skinheads. After the attack, they divided into two groups. The first ran away, the other went to a block where there are lots of skinheads. In this block there are lots of symbols used by nationalists."

If the attack does prove to be racially motivated, it will add to Moscow's rising number of hate crimes. In June this year, clashes erupted between members of nationalist movements and people of ethnic Asian and Caucasian origin. Last year, a 20-year-old Muscovite was found guilty of promoting national hatred after bursting into a Moscow synagogue and attacking ten worshippers. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison for the crime.

Sources: RussiaToday and Trend News Agency.

Alexander Baburin, the editor-in-chief of Chess Today, about Nikolaev:

"I first met Sergey in a tournament in the Russian Federation in the early 1980s. Then I saw him at tournaments in Hungary in late 1980s. Soon after that he stopped playing chess and became a successful businessman. He employed only chess players in his company, which was his way of supporting his former colleagues.

Sergey kept interest in chess and attended chess events in Moscow. I remember meeting him at the FIDE World Championship in Moscow in 2001. From time to time he would phone me in Dublin and we would talk for 20-30 minutes about the state of modern chess and players we both knew.

Recently Sergey started writing about chess and its history for various Russian websites, particularly for There A. Kentler wrote a nice article about Sergey (in Russian). Sergey Nikolaev will be remembered kindly by those who knew him."
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