A 27-year-old chess grandmaster from Ukraine, who once ranked eight in the world, and his 19-year-old girlfriend, who was also a professional chess player, were found dead due to inhaling nitrous oxide or more popularly known as laughing gas.
According to investigation, the couple were choked to death after inhaling the gas.
Stanislav Bogdanovich and his teenage girlfriend Alexandra Vernigora both hailed from Ukraine's Odessa region. They were both found dead by Vernigora's father in their adopted home in Moscow.
Before his death, Bogdanovich was ranked 31st in Ukraine's chess ranks and was once known as the world's number eight in fast-paced Blitz chess.
The couple, who have been dating for a year, was initially reported to have been found beside balloons which were used to inhale the gas. Laughing gas is legally available in Moscow. However, there were also reports saying that the investigators found the bodies with bags over their heads.
Nitrous oxide or laughing gas is often used as a surgical anesthetic. But when misused, the compressed liquefied gas can cause asphyxiation, hallucinations or in this case, death.
In 2016, the supply of laughing gas was made illegal for recreational purposes in the United Kingdom despite the relatively low death rate associated with using the gas. Twenty-five people have been confirmed to have died due to inhalation of nitrous oxide in Britain between 2010 and 2016.
Investigators have said that there were no evidence of foul play in the scene where the couple was found dead.
The death of Bogdanovich, follows after he faced criticisms since he decided to play for Russia against Ukraine in an online chess event. Bogdanovich who was born as Ukrainian earned the ire of his countrymen due to this decision.
Bogdanovich defended his decision saying he was only doing what was best for business. Furthermore, he added that since he was already living in Russia, it would be disrespectful as a guest to speak out or play against those who provided him a warm welcome. He also added that playing for Russia was a tribute to the country he was currently living in.
Moreover, he stated that he believed that after making the choice to play for Russia he was contributing to the peace between the two nations. He also added that it is time for both countries to end the long-standing feud saying that perhaps each of the Ukrainians played for Russia one at a time, then it may be the reason that any conflict that existed will be forgotten.
However, his explanation earned him even more criticism to add to the previous he received after his decision to play for the other country. Ukraine's former defence minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko, even said that Bogdanovich's actions has been callous, just five days before his death.
The 27-year-old chess grandmaster graduated from the National University Odesa Law Academy and was the previous victor of the 2013 Ukrainian blitz tourney and Ukraine's Under-18 competition. He was even recognized by another Ukrainian chess grandmaster Mikhail Golubev as possibly the most talented player in Odesa's history.
Related article: Ryan Newman 'Great to be Alive' After Daytona 500 Crash