I’ve recently been researching the Leicester player Alfred Lenton, who shared 3rd place and 2nd place in the 1935 and 1936 British Championships.
At the time he was an avid student of hypermodern chess, particularly the games of Richard Réti, and favoured opening with 1. Nf3 followed by a double fianchetto.
In two county matches, played two weeks apart in 1937, he won with the same move: Bxg7, sacrificing his powerful queen’s bishop to expose the black king to a decisive attack.
In a match between Leicestershire and Birmingham he reached this position.
Here’s the critical position from the first game. Bxg7 gave him a winning attack with queen and knight There’s another bishop and a rook ready to join in as well. Play it out yourself to see what might have happened had Black accepted the sacrifice.
Here’s the complete game.
Two weeks later, against Nottinghamshire, he threw in a rook as well for an attack with queen and bishop. Although Lenton was generally considered a positional player, when the opportunity arose he was more than adept at sacrificial attacks.
Again, the critical position.
And again the complete game.
What do you think? Perhaps this is an opening setup you might like to play with white. It requires relatively little study and, if you understand the positional ideas, can be very effective against unprepared opponents. Just look at the part played by his queen’s bishop in these two games.
If you’re a club player with little time for opening study it could be just what you’re looking for.
You can read a lot more about Alfred Lenton, and see some more of his games here. A follow-up article covering the remainder of his career will follow soon.