Leicestershire &
Rutland
Chess
Association
Alf Lenton (1911-2004)

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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.  In 1937 Lenton did less well in the British Championship but nevertheless claimed the scalps of two distinguished former champions, H. E. Atkins and Sir George Thomas.  Earlier that year he had played eight in the inaugural Anglo-Dutch match in Flushing, scoring a draw and a loss from two games.  He played on board ten of the 1938 Anglo-Dutch match, winning his match 1½-½.  In the British Championship of that year he was once again down the order, but managed to beat Frank Parr in only nine moves.  He played in the 1939 Anglo-Dutch in The Hague but this time went down ½-1½.  He did not play in any post-war British Championship and seems to have dropped out of high-level chess, perhaps devoting himself to his second-hand book business in Leicester.  However he beat Czech IM Tibor Florian in the Midlands versus Czechoslovakia match of 1947, and won the Leicestershire championship nine times.  He reappeared briefly in 1961 in a short international tournament held to celebrate the centenary of the Leicestershire club.  He carried on with club chess into his extreme old age, and last appeared in a grading list as late as 2003, playing for the Thurnby club and showing an (unconfirmed) date of birth of 1 November 1911.