Homeless ‘tramp chess champion’ challenges Cambridge’s best minds with dogs Check and Mate
Accompanied by his pet dogs Check, 14, and Mate, 4, Slide has found a loophole in begging laws by challenging the world’s cleverest students to matches – and winning
12:00, 8 NOV 2016
UPDATED 10:37, 8 NOV 2016
A “tramp chess champion’ is laying down the gauntlet to Cambridge University’s finest minds and challenging them to try their luck against him at chess.
Rough sleeper Slide Martin, 62, is back in the city and claims to have only lost six times in his 35 years living on the streets and is unbeaten since arriving in Cambridge four years ago. Mr Martin has been returning to the city on a regular basis for more than three decades.
Accompanied by his pet dogs Check, 14, and Mate, 4, Slide has found a loophole in begging laws by challenging the world’s cleverest students to matches – and winning, as the News previously reported.
Slide, was a junior chess champion and began challenging passersby as a way to get round begging laws.
He plays people for free and skirts round the law by accepting “donations” if he wins.
The father-of-three has used the loophole to make a living off challenging and invariably beating the world’s cleverest students.
The former under 11s south London chess champion said: “I don’t think much of these Cambridge University students. They’re not really that clever.
“Most of them think that they can play but they haven’t got a clue. They look at me and think I’m stupid because I’m a tramp.
“They assume they’ll easily beat me but when they realise I’ll win they get the hump.
“I’ve had students kick the board and steal pieces, they’re really sore losers.”
Slide, a self-titled ‘knight of the road’, has travelled across the country playing anyone since he was made homeless after losing his job as a chef aged 27.
He claims the game has provided him with a “comfortable” living and allows him to buy the five cans of super strength beer he drinks every day.
Currently he sits plays outside a side entrance to St Michael’s Court, part of Cambridge University’s Gonville and Caius College.
Since he’s on private property the police cannot move him on unless the college complains, which it has yet to do.
This allows him to challenge passers-by heading into the city’s nightlife district on his brown and cream coloured chessboard.
He said: “I’ve played people everywhere from Land’s End to John O’Groats and I’ve only lost six times.
“I’m a natural and I’ve played the game since before I can remember.
“I sit in a busy part of the city so I get loads of passersby. I just put my chess board out and challenge anyone to a game.
“I don’t take drugs but I like a drink. I have around five cans a day and playing helps pay for that.
“I like Cambridge because it’s the only place I’ve been where you can walk around with a can and not get and hassle.
“The beer also helps me because the drunker I get the better I play.”
Slide currently alone in a garage in Cambridge with Check, a black retriever cross, and Mate, a husky cross.
His three adult children, two women and a man, live independently in London and he speaks to them regularly.
A police spokesman said: “The act described is not an offence of begging under the Vagrancy Act therefore are not enforceable by police officers.”