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Alexander Pichushkin: Chessboard Killer

Alexander Pichushkin was born on April 9, 1974, near Moscow. The boy’s father was fond of alcohol and left the family when his son was not even a year old (Harrington 8). Pichushkin did not like his studies. He was only fond of tennis, checkers, and drawing. Due to his rather slender physique, Alexander did not differ in strength and could not stand up for himself; once he was even severely beaten by a group of other teenagers. In a 14-year-old boy, aggression began to appear: he attacked younger and weaker children. For example, Pichushkin grabbed one of them by the legs and threatened to smash his head. In 1992, Pichushkin decided to kill people – this was prompted by the trial that was taking place over the most famous maniac of the USSR, Andrei Chikatilo (Greig 65). He became the idol of Pichushkin – he collected all the information about the serial killer. Ideally, Pichushkin wanted to kill 64 people – according to the number of cells on the chessboard.

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At first, Alexander thought to take classmate Mikhail Odiychuk as a partner. Later Odiychuk abandoned these plans; however, he was afraid to tell Pichushkin about it directly. Nevertheless, he immediately noticed a change in his friend’s behavior. Continuing to play an accomplice who agreed to everything, Odiychuk signed himself a death warrant: it was with his murder that Pichushkin decided to start his criminal path (Harrington 19). Odiychuk’s body was never found.

Pichushkin realized that he might not have enough physical strength to cope with another victim in the future; then, he began to build muscle mass actively. The maniac was in no hurry with new crimes – the emotions from the murder of Odiychuk turned out to be too strong. After graduating from school, it turned out that Pichushkin had big mental problems: the army commission recognized him unfit for service after being examined in the mental hospital (Bovsun). But instead of taking care of his mental health, Pichushkin began to drink.

Pichushkin knew many of his victims personally – and this did not stop him at all. Moreover, the maniac noted that it was doubly pleasant for him to kill acquaintances. Therefore, before the massacre, Pichushkin tried to get to know as best he could those whom he wanted to murder. He took pleasure in asking future victims about their dreams and plans for life — he knew they would never come true.

After another murder, the police came to Pichushkin’s apartment in the early morning, when he was still asleep. The maniac was handcuffed right in bed, and during a search in the apartment, the police found a chessboard on which the killer marked the victims. The court hearings in the case of Pichushkin, whom psychiatrists recognized as partially sane, began in 2007. The punishment for Pichushkin was life imprisonment, combined with compulsory psychiatric treatment. The maniac was dissatisfied with the court’s verdict and filed a cassation appeal, demanding to reduce the sentence to 25 years (Bovsun). However, his application was refused.

Pichushkin’s crimes should be considered from the point of view of the psychological school of thought. Within the framework of this school, people’s actions are considered a result of their mental activity. People rely heavily on principles and characteristics formed at an early age. In addition, various mental deviations also have an undeniable effect on the entire life of a person. Psychological processes can be influenced, but this is often a difficult task. As a result, people get lost in their problems and cannot function independently in society.

Pichushkin’s case is a vivid example of how mental deviations affect all the actions that a person performs and lead to disastrous consequences. It should be noted that as a teenager, Pichushkin was impressed by the crimes of another serial maniac. Being young and reactive, he retained this image in his imagination and decided to follow it. However, likely, the man was initially subject to mental disorders: he enjoyed killing, which is not a mental norm. Alcohol consumption is another indicator of mental health change. Pichushkin often drank from a young age, which probably also influenced his further worldview.

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An essential aspect of Pichushkin’s life is the absence of his biological father nearby. As mentioned earlier, he left the family when Pichushkin was a child. This, too, could injure him, depriving him of the correct example that would show the necessary patterns of behavior. In addition, the excessive cruelty of the maniac may be the result of a desire to “take revenge” on the world for being deprived of a loved one. Undoubtedly, these processes may be unconscious, but they are an integral part of the maniac psyche.

The crimes of Alexander Pichushkin are a vivid example of how many factors can add up and ruin a human life. When negativity appears in a person’s life from an early age, it cannot but affect the mental state. In addition, the social and political environment can also play a role in developing manic tendencies. The conclusion is the need to protect loved ones, especially children, from such events and influences. Undoubtedly, children need to be aware of the dangers of the world around them, but it is unacceptable for them to take an example from negative characters.

Works Cited

Bovsun, Mara. “Alexander Pichushkin – Who Killed 61 People in Moscow between 1992 and 2006 – Couldn’t Live without Murder: ‘It’s Like First Love. It’s Unforgettable.’” Daily News, 2016, Web.

Harrington, Roger. Alexander Pichushkin: The Shocking Story of The Chessboard Killer. Amazon Digital Services LLC.

Greig, Charlotte. Serial Killers. Arcturus Publishing, 2017.

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