I got robbed $2000 in Spain During Elllobregat Chess Tournament 2022 - Story

Recently multiple Indian Chess Players were robbed at Sunway Sitges Chess Festival 2023. I was planning to write this article when that incident happened but unfortunately, I didn't get enough time.

This article is originally published in my Newsletter -

Recently multiple Indian Chess Players were robbed at Sunway Sitges Chess Festival 2023. I was planning to write this article when that incident happened but unfortunately, I didn't get enough time.

I also faced a similar robbery incident in Spain when I went to play in the Ellobregat Open Chess Tournament in 2022. My and my friend’s laptop bag got robbed on the first day.

How Robbers Took Our Bags?

Me (Nikhil Dixit) and my friend Moksh Doshi reached Mumbai to Barcelona Airport and we waited for our friend who was coming on another flight. He came and we took a bus which directly dropped us in front of the hotel.

When we reached the hotel, we were at the reception to pay the amount. We three saw 2 old guys watching us but we thought they were guests.

Shantanu booked the hotel and he showed the booking confirmation to the receptionist hence he had his bag in his hands. Me and my friends took a passport from the bag and kept it at the side.

Suddenly I noticed that Moksh’s bag was not there. After a few seconds, Shantanu said where is your bag?
We realized that our bags had been stolen and we asked the receptionist to call the police and also show us CCTV footage.

Police arrived in 4-5 mins. We told the whole incident to them. They said that they cannot help us with the situation. The receptionist also showed the video when they entered the hotel where there faces were clearly visible. Following the video clip of the robbery.

After some days we heard more than 5-10 cases which happened with Indian tourists and chess players.
We even asked the police about informing the Indian embassy and the police said that don’t say it to anyone. Even they were not interested in doing FIR.

In my bag, there was a Laptop, Kindle, Tablet, 300 euros in cash, all accessories and a jacket. In all, I lost the goods and cash worth rupees 1,50,000 (2000$) and my friend lost a similar amount of goods including a Laptop, mobile, chess books, and accessories.

Organizers Take on it

On the next day, I told the organizers. Organizers said sorry to hear and that’s it. We were not staying at the official hotel and so the organizers were not also much interested in the whole case.
I think the biggest mistake we made at that time was not putting this incident on Social Media.

Recent Incidents in Chessable Sunway Sitges 2023

I played the Sunway Sitges 2022 and at that time we felt safe and I really liked the city. This year it was a disaster for Indian Chess Players. A total of 6 players faced a robbery issue from the official Hotel Apartment. An official apartment is a place that is provided by Organizers.

Following are the screenshots of tweets made by the players


Chessbase India covered this in detail. You can read the complete article by clicking here.

Other Incidents Happened in the Past with Chess Players

Several other players also got robbed in Spain. There are hundreds of threads on Twitter mentioning how their bags got stolen in Spain.
Also, I heard 2-3 incidents where the robbery happened from the official hotel i.e. Sunway Playa Resort. I cannot reveal the names without anyone’s permission but a few Indian players faced the same issue at the Barcelona Airport and also at Sitges Official Hotel.
Grandmaster Iniyan P also lost his laptop in Spain a few years ago. You can read a full story from here
Full Story -

Should you play in Spain Tournaments?

With all the above-mentioned incidents, I have decided to avoid playing in Spain. If you play in Spain events, here are a few points which you can consider.
1- Carry less cash and more credit cards to avoid robbery. Turn off the credit card from the app and turn it on only when you are making a transaction and the card is in your hand.
2- Pickpocketing is a big issue and it’s better not to carry any unnecessary things there. Just carry essentials.
3- If you are going to a tournament in Europe, you can choose safe countries.

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