This Is How Many Victims Alexander Pichushkin Actually Had

In 2007, Moscow police found a chessboard. Written on the board, in all but two of the squares, were calendar dates. That chessboard belonged to Alexander Pichushkin, otherwise known as "The Chessboard Killer," one of the most notorious serial killers in Russian history. According to Biography, the dates on the board corresponded to the dates on which Pichushkin had murdered his victims. There are 64 squares on a chessboard — could the remaining empty squares on Pichushkin's board be an ominous warning of killings to come?

It's now known that Pichushkin committed his first murder around 1992 and that the death was ruled a suicide at the time. By the early 2000s, though, Pichushkin would kill again, luring unsuspecting victims to a park near his house and killing them with a blunt object before throwing them in a sewer pit. According to GQ, some were still alive when they were thrown into the dump. The killer was caught in 2006 when he killed his coworker, a woman who had informed her son that she would be out on a walk with Pichushkin, linking him to the crime. He ended up sentenced to life in prison. But how many victims did Pichushkin actually have?

He was convicted of killing 48 people

Pichushkin was convicted of 48 murders, making him among the deadliest serial killers in history, possibly behind Albert Fish — an early 20th-century New York killer nicknamed "The Gray Man" — and ahead of the infamous Zodiac Killer (via Best Attorney). Pichushkin's crimes were so heinous, Russia even considered re-instituting the death penalty. With his conviction and sentencing, it seemed the Pichushkin nightmare might be over for the people of Moscow. What about that chessboard, though — could those empty squares really be a clue for how many murders he had actually committed?

Pichushkin claims he killed up to 63 people, although that story varies — sometimes he credits himself with 61 victims, and sometimes he says he killed more, per Biography. Investigators were only able to link him to 48 murders, however, and based on that conviction, that's where his gruesome total stands. As if proud of his crimes, Pichushkin said this at the trial, "I thought it would be unfair to forget about the other 11 people." Chilling. What's for certain, though, is that there may be a handful of missing person cases in Moscow that will one day be linked to the Chessboard Killer.