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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Violence Plagues Chess Olympiad

The world's top chess players came to Moscow armed with intricate strategies and exceptional intellect. Perhaps they should have brought guns instead.


A rash of violence has rocked the 31st Chess Olympiad, while participants fall victim to attacks and muggings from Moscow's notorious criminal element.


In one of two attacks against the Macedonian team, several of the players were lured out of their hotel to a currency exchange office across the street. Five men entered the exchange office, held down the security guards and seized $7,000 from member Lazar Jancev.


In the second attack, according to the players, Loso Yanchev, 56, the team's captain, was beaten unconscious and robbed of $2,500 by a group of street urchins outside his hotel.


Both incidents were reported to police, but no attackers have been found.


Muggers stole $700 from Alexander Yermolinsky, the top player for the U.S. team. The thieves threatened to kill Yermolinsky if he did not return the next day with $70,000, although they did not follow up on it.


Members of other teams said they receive threatening phone calls at all hours, and some reported loud banging on their doors in the middle of the night.