Chess ‘wonderkid’ dies after overdosing on laughing gas with girlfriend

Two young Ukrainian chess stars have died in Moscow from a suspected overdose of laughing gas.

Stanislav Bogdanovich, 26, a grandmaster, was his country's former quick chess champion and his death came soon after he had controversially played online for Russia against Ukraine.

His girlfriend Aleksandra Vernigora, 18, also a chess professional, was a student at Moscow State University and number 1,861 in FIDE rating.

Their bodies were found by Aleksandra's father at the family's Moscow home on Kastanaeyvskaya Street. Balloons filled with nitrous oxide were at the scene.

"They died from laughing gas," reported TASS citing first information from the scene.

"Both had plastic bags on their heads."

Law enforcement in Moscow have indicated that so far their deaths on Thursday appear accidental with no indication of foul play but detailed checks are underway.

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"There were no traces of violent deaths found during the initial check," said the Russian Investigative Committee.

"Investigators are currently working at the site. Medical analysis is to follow."

Stanislav, from Odessa, was described as a chess "wonderkid" and was Ukraine's quick chess champion in 2013.

Earlier this week he had gone on social media with a heartfelt call to end the bitter conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

He also explained why he had played for Russia against Ukraine, a move that saw his name included on a website listing alleged "enemies" of his home country.

His post provoked hostile comments from Ukraine and he subsequently deleted it.

'I played for Russia in today's game against Ukraine on," he said on Tuesday.

"I managed to win my game.

"I want to answer those of you who don't understand why I was playing for Russia.

"First of all, I was supported by donations for doing this.

"I only do this because it is better for business….

"Secondly I am currently in Russia.

"I wouldn't be good as a guest here to play against such hospitable hosts.

"This was just my way of showing respect.

"And finally – I believe that this was my modest input into the case of bringing peace between our countries.

"It is time for us all to get back to our senses and to stop this feud.

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"Perhaps if every one of us was to play for Russia at least once, any conflict would have been over."

The two countries have been at loggerheads since Vladimir Putin's military annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The chess star, also believed to have been studying at Moscow State University, posted: "I want to ask every Ukrainian and every Russian who reads this to comment with a hugs emoji in a sign of our eternal friendship and brotherhood.

"This is the only way it will be right and good."

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