Alfred’s Double

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.

Richard James

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Richard James

Author: Richard James

Richard James is a professional chess teacher and writer living in Twickenham, and working mostly with younger children and beginners. He was the co-founder of Richmond Junior Chess Club in 1975 and its director until 2005. He is the webmaster of chessKIDS academy ( or and, most recently, the author of Chess for Kids and The Right Way to Teach Chess to Kids, both published by Right Way Books. Richard has been a member of Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club since 1966. Richard is a published author and his books can be found at Amazon. Richard is currently promoting minichess (games and puzzles using subsets of chess) for younger children through his website, and writing coaching materials for children (and adults) who want to start playing serious competitive chess, through View all posts by Richard James

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