Thursday, November 26, 2015

In which I draw with a man who once came second in the British chess championship

Derren Brown came to Leicester in 2010:
We stayed at a terrific boutique hotel ‘Maiyango’, which was just lovely, and has a great restaurant attached. Worth seeking out. And pop into Alfred Lenton’s next door: an odd gem of a downtrodden second hand bookstore that has been there for 40 years.
In my experience he did well to find Alfred Lenton's open, but I am glad he enjoyed himself.

Alfred died in 2004 and these days the shop is run by his son.

Alfred Lenton was a strong chess player. His obituary on the Leicestershire & Rutland Chess Association website begins:
Alf Lenton was a notable player immediately before WW2, playing in the first three Anglo-Dutch internationals and the last four pre-war British Championship tournaments. 
He made his debut in the British Championship in Great Yarmouth in 1935, when he finished 3rd= (with Golombek, Michell and Tylor) behind Winter and Sir George Thomas. 
In 1936 he improved to 2nd= with Ritson Morry, once again behind Winter. Had he taken a good chance to beat Winter he might have won the championship that year.
Lenton played chess for Thurnby in the Leicestershire league until a few months before his death.

I played him in a match in the late 1990s when he must have been pushing 90 (and I was pushing 40).

I remember the game was a short, violent King's Indian Defence that soon burned out into a draw, but I cannot remember if I was White or Black. (I may still have the game score somewhere.)

So as well as having beaten someone who played top board for two different countries in the Olympiad, I can say I have drawn with someone who finished second in the British championship.

1 comment:

ejh said...

I drew with a man who once beat Bobby Fischer.