20-year-old GM Urii Eliseev dies after falling from the 12th floor

by Priyadarshan Banjan
11/27/2016 – 20-year-old Russian GM Urii Eliseev died after he fell from his apartment balcony on the 12th floor of a building in Moscow. With a rating of 2614, he was ranked 212 in the world and 42 in Russia. He was the 2016 Moscow Open champion. A brief report.

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20-year-old GM Urii Eliseev dies after falling from the 12th floor

GM Urii Eliseev (2614) — Moscow Open 2016 Champion, Former World Youth U-16 champion.

20-year-old Russian GM Urii Eliseev died after he fell from his apartment balcony on the 12th floor of a building in Moscow. The incident reportedly took place on 26 November, Saturday, at 23.30 when Eliseev was relaxing with his friends.
Eliseev, who was fond of heights and 'parkour', decided to jump from the apartment balcony to the balcony in the next apartment. Unfortunately, he failed.

A social media photo showing Eliseev's love for heights.

Eliseev hit the first-floor balcony and stair railing and landed on the asphalt near the utility room. He died of multiple injuries before reaching the hospital.

REN TV interviews the neighbor and friend who witnessed the incident. [Russian; 4.30 mins.]

GM Daniil Dubov reported the incident on Facebook. He wrote in Russian: 'Last night a close friend was tragically killed. A brilliant chess player and an analyst, one of the most talented people I knew — Yuri Eliseev. He tried to climb out the window onto the balcony of the twelfth floor, but it broke. I will write a lot more, but not now.'

Eliseev won both the games he played in the Moscow Team Championship this month. He had a stable performance at the Chigorin Memorial 2016 in October. Earlier this year, he had won the strong Moscow Open 2016.
With a rating of 2614 (live: 2621), he was ranked 212 in the world and 42 in Russia. He had a sharp style of play, opening with 1.e4 and defending with the Sicilian in most of his games.
ChessBase expresses condolences to the friends and family of GM Urii Eliseev.


Priyadarshan Banjan is a 23-year-old club player from India. He works as an editor for ChessBase News and ChessBase India. He is a chess fanatic and an avid fan of Vishy Anand. He also maintains a blog on a variety of topics.
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starso starso 12/8/2016 12:22
Hi RuslanT,

I agree with everything you said. And said it very well.
midknightblue midknightblue 11/29/2016 09:59
thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. Not the time to argue the prudence of his actions. More of a time for condolences and sadness about the lost potential of a promising young man.
MaxMinus MaxMinus 11/29/2016 07:05
@RouslanT You may call 'playing with your life' not defenately a sign of stupidity, and maybe some people are on your side with that, but when you're in an appartment with friends, and you say 'lets take this risk'... and none of your friends manage to convince you it's not worth the risk, you are in trouble nevertheless.
rafpig rafpig 11/29/2016 02:34
RouslanT, I agree with everything you wrote in your first paragraph. However, I strongly disagree with everything else you wrote.
yesenadam yesenadam 11/29/2016 02:19
Thanks for your long post, RouslanT, you make some good points. But I found it strange that with your message of "Don't dismiss others' way of life, you may not understand them at all", you write: "Unless you're able to compete at world level, playing chess at 2400 to 2700 level is a complete waste of time and intelligence."
This seems to me wrong, in many ways; who are you to define how other people should use their time? To say what is a waste of time or not? Are you an arbiter of life? Maybe you just mean that only the players at the very top give pleasure, beauty, entertainment, inspiration to others; below that, it's a relatively selfish pursuit. It's hard to believe a lover of chess would write the above sentence. And for you, is following chess, commenting on chess sites not also a waste of time?

Here's Theophile Gautier, founder of "art for art's sake", complaining in 1835 about 'utilitarian critics' insisting that art be useful:
"Is there anything absolutely useful on this earth and in this life that we live? In the first place, there is very little use in one being on the earth and living. I challenge the most erudite of the band to say of what use we are... Nothing beautiful is indispensible to life. ...What good purpose does female beauty serve? ... What is the use of music? or painting? ... Nothing is really beautiful but that which cannot be made use of; everything that is useful is ugly, for it is the expression of some need, and the needs of man are vile and disgusting, like his poor, weak nature. -The most useful part of a house is the toilet."
Heavygeardiver Heavygeardiver 11/28/2016 05:17
I have had a few of my trainees die doing daredevil sports. I always feel like I was robbed! What a great waste. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. I know such a bright spark will be missed!

R.I.P. Urii Eliseev
Reason Reason 11/28/2016 04:42

You are right when you claim that even GM level players have low incomes, so for most people a chess career is not a very wise choice. However you are wrong on the other points you made.

Reaching a level of 2200, even effortlessly, means absolutely nothing about one's ability to become a GM. The distance from 2200 to 2500 is much bigger than the distance from 1200 to 2200. A good method and hard work are simply not enough - our brains are not wired the same way. After 30 years of teaching chess I can tell you that very young, bright people, can get stuck anywhere between 2000 and 2500 and are unable to improve no matter what they do and how hard they try. Nature - nurture = 1-0.

Regarding intelligence, it is true that there is no direct correlation between IQ and rating. However most studies clearly show that master level players (and higher) have average IQs close to 130 (2 standard deviations above general population). It does not mean that a 2600 level player is more intelligent than a 2300 level player. IQ and chess abilities do not measure the exact same thing (but part of what the IQ measures is also needed for playing chess well).
geraldsky geraldsky 11/28/2016 03:39
@RouslanT Are you discouraging people to play chess?? So what if our rating is only 2200..?? YOU ARE FULL OF PRIDE!! We don't believe you. If you don't want to play chess..stop commenting like that .. you are discouraging people to play chess..it's like you want people to stop playing it. YOU just love money and chess is not all about money..it's a game, a sport, an art, passion, leisure, ... You just love money and you have full of pride.
Andrea Mori Andrea Mori 11/28/2016 03:06
@RuslanT: I agree 100%. Finally someone with the guts to say what you said.
geraldsky geraldsky 11/28/2016 03:01
There are many news that Russian youth were killed due to falling from building. Others caused their fall because of selfie.
fons fons 11/28/2016 11:24
Why are russians so obsessed with heights?

fightingchess fightingchess 11/28/2016 09:34
he knew the risks and paid for it. i prefer bullet and blitz games to satisfy my own andrenaline junkie.
Rama Rama 11/28/2016 07:21
I don't recall his exact words, but I read that Vladimir Kramnik said that he was a strong believer in 'fate'.
Catastrophe Catastrophe 11/28/2016 05:08
For a moment I thought we had a repeat of the Jessie Gilbert death. Not at all the same, but both were tragic nonetheless.
dengtianle dengtianle 11/28/2016 04:50
Parkour is dangerous sport:-(

R.I.P. Urli
Kpawn Kpawn 11/28/2016 04:45
?? Unforced error. Game over. Sad.
RouslanT RouslanT 11/28/2016 04:38
"Why would an intelligent and talented young man do such stupid things? Hard to understand."

First, I don't think it's fair and respectful to say that testing your limits, playing with your life is a sign of stupidity. It's not because you don't understand it, Dumkof, that it's stupid. Some people need to prove themselves they're able to cross lines, some people do moutain climbing, diving, red bull rampage, extreme snow sports, fomula 1, GP500 motorbike, Isle of Man TT, and so many other dangerous sports... It's not a proof that they're stupid, but I understand that some people may not be able to get it, and if you're part of those who don't understand it, you off course will believe that it's stupid, especially when an accident happens.

Second, I think that it's quite unfair to connect intelligence with chess. It's not because you're a strong chess player that you're necessarily intelligent, and actually I've met a couple GMs that were pretty dumb.

When I was younger, I tried to learn chess, until I understood that the sentence of Morphy : "The ability to play chess is the sign of a gentleman. The ability to play chess well is the sign of a wasted life."

Being strong at chess proves strictly nothing. Once Kenneth Rogoff or Joël Lautier left chess, they started to live for real. Unless you're able to compete at world level, playing chess at 2400 to 2700 level is a complete waste of time and intelligence.

Actually, any chess player who reaches a 2200 level effortlessly is able to go for a GM title. It's as simple as engineer studies, a good method is enough, work tactics, spend hours on a database, build up opening repertoire, work endgames, play a game every two days and spend the other day analyzing your game and improving tactics and openings.

Any person who reaches 2200 without studying chess, who spends a couple years studying chess, will end up at GM level. Of course, a kid will do it even easier than an adult, mostly because between 10 and 20 he's not paying any bill.

Being 2500 GM means you're somewhere around 1000th world ranking. It's a big achievement in life, but most 2500 GMs fight to pay the rent, don't have healthcare, aren't able to buy a house, and will be homeless when 60+. As opposed to that, most engineers have good pays, buy their house, have pension, healthcare, and can raise kids in good conditions.

That's why I find it hard to say that high rating means high intellect.

That being said, sympathies to his family, friends. Any loss at 20 years old is always an awful drama, especially for the parents. Much love to them, may they find the strength to overcome that horrible drama.
chess_crusader chess_crusader 11/28/2016 02:21
Bill Alg Bill Alg 11/28/2016 01:26
Unbelievable. Second super talented, 20 year-old Russian grandmaster to lose his life in 2016, after Ivan Bukavshin.
fructosobedogus fructosobedogus 11/28/2016 12:21
Really devastating. Now he joins Ivan Bukavshin, Viktor Korchnoi, Mark Dvoretski, and also Karen Asrian, Igor Kursonov and Vugar Gashimov, as many others who have left this world by nature or prematurely.
Us, chess lovers really miss them, but on the other hand, they will live forever in form of their legacy.
May their families and friends find consolation.
siamesedream siamesedream 11/27/2016 11:53
What a stupid way of dying.

tom_70 tom_70 11/27/2016 10:57

cause he was a thrillseeker. Sometimes that can be a bad thing.
dumkof dumkof 11/27/2016 07:31
"He tried to climb out the window onto the balcony of the twelfth floor..."

Why would an intelligent and talented young man do such stupid things? Hard to understand.
scoobeedo scoobeedo 11/27/2016 06:18
What a tragedy!

My deepest sympathies go out to his friends and his family.

R.I.P. Urii