Ukrainian chess grandmaster and his girlfriend choke to death after inhaling laughing gas

Stanislav Bogdanovich died days after his controversial decision to play against home nation Ukraine, for arch-rival Russia

Stanislav Bogdanovich, a 27-year-old Ukrainian chess grandmaster, died along with his 19-year-old girlfriend Alexandra Vernigora, also a professional chess player after on laughing gas, chemically called nitrous oxide, as per reports.

Ukrainian chess player killed by laughing gas

Stanislav Bogdanovich and Alexandra Vernigora
Stanislav Bogdanovich (27) and Alexandra Vernigora (19) Twitter/ChessBase India

Bogdanovich, who once ranked eighth in the world, was found dead along with his girlfriend, in a Moscow flat, industry publication reported. They were found alongside balloons used to inhale laughing gas. Russian investigators claimed that the pair might have choked to death after inhaling nitrous oxide and denounced any foul play. Laughing gas for recreational purpose is legal in Russia.

Bogdanovich once ranked eighth in the fast-paced Blitz chess. Before his death, he ranked 31st in Ukraine. His girlfriend Vernigora, also a chess player, was a student at Moscow State University. Both the deceased belonged to Ukraine's Odesa region.

Stanislav Bogdanovich's controversy just before his death

The 27-year-old chess master was widely criticized over his decision to play against his home country Ukraine, for arch-rival Russia, in which he won. Bogdanovich, who participated in an online team chess event, against Ukraine, defended his decision by saying that he did "what is best for business", reported.

"I am now in Russia. It would be ugly as a guest to speak out against those who provide a warm welcome. This is just a tribute", he added. "I believe that in this way I have made a modest contribution to the peace between our countries. It is time for us to shy away and stop this feud. Perhaps, if each of us only played for Russia one at a time, then any conflict would already be over", he said, further.

Neither his decision nor his explanation got down well with fellow Ukrainians. Being used since 1884, nitrous oxide is a recreational drug and has led to several deaths. It can cause breathing difficulties, increased heart rate and burns.