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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

5 Arrested in Case of Chess and Rape

City Crime Statistics
Aug. 18 – Aug. 24
Theft (total)1,036230
Apartment burglaries32116
Car theft4719
For the Record
Car accidents123
a) killed15
b) injured132
Missing persons64
Bodies discovered100
Source: Moscow police

Five men claiming to be professional chess players have been arrested on suspicion of abducting two women and sexually assaulting them while keeping them in an apartment near Kursky Station, police said Wednesday.

Police were tipped off by the mothers of the women, who reported that their daughters had disappeared Aug. 17, police spokeswoman Yelena Persilova said. A day later one of the mothers received a call from her daughter saying they had been kidnapped and were being forced to perform sexual acts.

The women, aged 19 and 25, are both from the town of Krasnogorsk in the Moscow region, Persilova said.

Police traced the call to an apartment at 8 Gorokhovsky Pereulok and raided it Saturday, apprehending the suspects. Two of the men are from Moscow, and the others are from Ulan-Ude, Chistopol and Krasnogorsk, Persilova said. None of their names are being released.

According to Persilova, the men told police that they were professional chess players participating in a chess tournament in Moscow. They apparently met the two women a few days earlier in Krasnogorsk and invited them to go out to a nightclub. Instead, they took the women to the apartment and sexually assaulted them, Persilova said.

Police are considering filing rape charges, which carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

The Russian Chess Federation, which organized a tournament between China and Russia that finished Aug. 16, was at a loss to explain who the self-proclaimed chess players might be or what tournament they could have been playing in. "I really have no idea who they could be," said Alexander Bakh, head of the federation. "It certainly was no one from the China match. Those are all pretty prominent names."

Arnold Yangarber at the Moscow Chess Federation was equally baffled. Yangarber said his federation last week held the semifinal of the Moscow Speed Chess Championship, but none of the registered participants were from Ulan-Ude, Chistopol or Krasnogorsk. "Maybe the guys were just trying to impress someone by saying they were grandmasters," he said. "Or maybe they were trying to give chess players a bad name."