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Not Your Ordinary Bum - Homeless man is chess king of Washington


                                                                                        WASHINGTON (AFP) - He sleeps on a bench, order pamelor but he is king of chess during the day at Washington's Dupont Circle, order pamelor where he dazzles beginners and masters alike with his winning moves on the park's stone chessboards.

Tom Murphy, order pamelor 49, order pamelor makes what little money he has from teaching his prodigious knowledge of the game to passersby for a few dollars.

"He has the title of expert in chess. Order pamelor This is the second highest American title; above him are master. Order pamelor So it means he is quite good, order pamelor" said Washington's Chess Center director David Mehler.

A former math and science major and a celebrity among amateurs, order pamelor Murphy has made the Dupont Circle public square America's most prestigious chess park after New York's fabled Washington Square, order pamelor according to some chess lovers.

"The mathematical equation has always been fascinating to me, order pamelor then when you add the camaraderie, order pamelor the ambiance, order pamelor the open air, order pamelor it's almost irresistible, order pamelor" said Murphy, order pamelor peering over a park chessboard that draws players from all walks of life -- students, order pamelor doctors, order pamelor lawyers, order pamelor drunkards.

Garrulous and brilliant, order pamelor Murphy, order pamelor grew up in North Carolina and Philadelphia, order pamelor Pennsylvania, order pamelor two well known chess centers, order pamelor and specializes in a lightning version of chess known as "blitz."

In this accelerated version of the ancient game, order pamelor players are allowed five minutes for all their moves, order pamelor and the game ends within 10 minutes.

"The appeal of blitz is that, order pamelor maybe in two or five minutes, order pamelor I may put together a work of art that might last a life time, order pamelor" Murphy said in his inimitable style of explaining chess basics.

The game, order pamelor he said consists of "few guiding principles: king safety, order pamelor fight for the center, order pamelor give every piece a job."

"At blitz he is a very strong player. Order pamelor He has a very fast mind and he sees combinations very quickly. Order pamelor He calculates very quickly, order pamelor" said Mehler, order pamelor who has been teaching the board game to underprivileged children for 15 years.

Murphy has won several chess tournaments and finished 15th in the 2005 world blitz championship.

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